Are Your Customer Service Channels Integrated?

Multichannel Contact Center
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The biggest danger to any contact center is the lack of coherent information.  As Aberdeen’s report Customer Engagement Analytics: How to Use Data to Create (and Keep) Happy Customers” (May 2014)  indicates, it’s not a lack of data but a lack of integration between systems that is the major pain point in the contact center. Although contact centers possess the technical infrastructure that specifically focuses on handling customer interactions via phone, the web, email, live chat and more,  the use of isolated systems that are not properly integrated limits your agent’s ability to succinctly resolve a customer’s issue in one call.  Even the best system for managing customer data will be of little use if the agent does not have easy access to the information they need when they need it!

For instance, when a customer calls in with a service or sales issue, their identity has to be verified by your agent. This gives your agent the ability to pull up their past call history and start with a little background information. However, is that identity connected to their social handles which have also interacted with your customer service team? Has this customer tweeted about their problem to your @customerservice handle in the past? If they are calling you it means either A) your social service team never responded (which is bad) or B) your social service team prompted them to call (which is fine IF the agent knows what is going on the minute they open up their customer profile!) Does that customer profile have records of all the times they have used voice chat to contact your call center? Is this a new issue or an old? Having to repeat themselves is one of the biggest pain points of callers, and un-integrated systems force them to rehash their problems time and time again. If your service channels aren’t properly linked than your agents are actually dealing with only a small percentage of the real story and can’t have as powerful a customer experience as there could be.

Aberdeen found that best-in-class companies relied on three key capabilities to manage customer data flows across company systems:

  • 83% – Centralized knowledgebase of product/service information
  • 83% – Data from social customer care interactions shared with non-contact center staff
  • 56% – Access to all customer information on a single screen/desktop

In Best-in-class contact centers, customer data moves with the customer even if they switch channels or get transferred. This is especially important as research has shown that typical interactions involve at least one transfer. Companies that provide recent and historical data enjoyed a 3.5% reduction in average handle time compared to .7% reduction of those without the process. When your customer gets transferred to another agent are they forced to re-tell their tale? This slows down the interaction (increasing AHT) and only adds to the frustration of your customer.

Coherent information, and not a bunch of unrelated raw data, is required to be able to make informed decisions. So not only do contact channels need to “talk” to each other, they also need to understand what the other is saying! How do you incorporate information from the voice channel with information pulled from emails and ensure that nothing is lost in translation? Data mining systems must also be in place to help those channels better integrate and ensure your customer information is 100% accurate across the board.

Although contact center problems are frequently attributed to a lack of knowledge or the attitude of its staff or departments which support it, the truth is that the information is all there, it’s just that the traditional contact center systems aren’t “talking” to each other properly. So is your customer information on point or are you only getting part of the story?


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