Today’s consumers expect superior customer service, with interactions the way they want, when they want.
Now more than ever, customers have control over who they buy from, how they access customer service, and how they learn about companies. To thrive in this new environment businesses need to ensure they have the right solution to enable engaging conversations.
Customer expectations have changed
Customers are more demanding than ever. In fact, research shows that 90% of customers say an “immediate” response is very important, or important, when they have a service question.
Increasingly, people want more than just products or services; they want human interaction. Customers are looking for meaningful experiences. They want relationships with companies that make them feel valued.
Social media has changed our idea of “fast”. Consumer technology has elevated expectations for customer service. The pandemic has proven that while we can live in an environment of uncertainty, we want to deal with companies that can adapt quickly to change.
Customers expect companies to respond immediately to their requests, regardless of the circumstances. For example, they need to receive their package at the right time, at the right place, and if they don’t, they need to be able to reach an agent at any time, through a range of channels.
For businesses, this means they must be able to offer a multitude of communications methods such as phone, email, or other digital channels. More importantly, they need to put the customer in direct contact with the expert best suited to answer their questions.
Communication channel options
Traditionally, if you required customer support, you’d just pick up the phone and call someone. Today there are many ways to communicate, and every customer has their preference.
People act differently, think differently, and have different habits. Some will continue to use their phone to call customer service, some will choose other methods. All the while, customers expect brands to monitor their mentions on social media and respond instantly to complaints.
Channels like Facebook Messenger, chat, and Twitter still only represent a small part of the exchanges happening between customers and brands, but they’re growing rapidly. Among younger generations, these channels are becoming the number one choice for communications. Not offering these channels means cutting off part of your customer base.
Ultimately, offering a complete digital experience is the only solution – one that seamlessly addresses the challenges faced by companies and customers.
Leveraging a unified experience
With the rise of new channels comes increased complexity and cost. Businesses need to be prepared to address these challenges. The secret to great contact centre productivity has always been to allow agents to use multiple channels in parallel. When not handling a phone request, they can deal with emails, or manage multiple chats to optimise time. To make this a reality, businesses need to proceed in stages — starting with one or two channels, then adding more over time. The solution must be plug-and-play to enable businesses to activate new interaction channels quickly and easily. The software must also be natively omnichannel.
Companies can start from where they are. For example, if a customer service solution already handles phone calls efficiently, there’s no need to change it. For companies ready to make the move to a unified experience, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise and AKIO have partnered to deliver ALE Connect. The solution combines voice, messaging, social media, and other channels into a convenient customer service solution.
With ALE Connect teams can manage new interaction media channels and connect with customers in the way that suits them best. Agents, consultants, and first-line responders are connected in a cohesive environment.