Guest blog from Ring Central: Picture the situation: you’re on the phone with customer support. You speak to a representative who can’t help you. Your call gets forwarded to another agent. So, you start your story over from the beginning, explaining again what’s wrong. They can start the process but need another team to jump in to finish it. Another agent gets involved, and you explain your problem again, as well as explaining the two previous calls. Sound like great customer service, right? Of course not.
By this point, the customer is feeling any range of emotions, ranging from frustrated to annoyed and angry. Their problem is simple but their interaction with the business in question is tedious, complicated and drawn out, and as a result, the customer relationship begins to fray.
The key to success
This is no different for eCommerce businesses selling through online marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay or Etsy, or their own website. The ease of the customer journey, including having any problems solved, is key to success in today’s competitive online environment – turning buyers into repeat customers.
The connection consumers experience with a business, whether selling online or from bricks and mortar stores, extends far beyond the marketing and sales strategies that got them to buy in the first place. Every interaction and experience a customer has with a business impacts their desire to continue with or move on from that business.
On-demand customer communication expectations
The way people connect, discover, communicate, and transact has changed dramatically. For eCommerce sellers, much of the initial engagement happens directly through the marketplace in use or website. Customers expect to connect in the way they prefer, whether through mobile, social media, or other channels available in the micro-moments that make up their day. Consumers today are not satisfied with the automated attendant greeting, intelligent voice system, or waiting in line to speak to an agent.
And their preference is beyond just a hope or want; it’s a requirement. A company unable to meet a customer’s communication requirements can be affected by:
– Customer defection
– Poor lead conversions or transaction rates
– Low repeat purchasing rates
– Reduced revenue
And, importantly, this extends to interactions post-sale.
Need for a better customer service experience
Much of a post-sales customer experience lives in the customer engagement centre. Technology is central to the ability of a marketplace seller to align with the changing demands of the customer. Contact centres today are rich with functionality from smart routing to workforce optimisation capabilities and omnichannel support. Some even integrate with a CRM to provide additional information on the customer request.
In the past, a contact centre might be seen as a cost centre. But when we factor in the impact of not rising to customer demands, a contact centre can either make or break a customer relationship. This means your contact centre is more than a cost centre; it’s an opportunity to create long-term customers, both lowering churn and increasing revenue.
But first, you’ll need to select the right technology.
The rise of Contact centre 2.0
In a recent study by RingCentral and Brian Solis of Altimeter group, 71% of companies of all sizes stated that the two most important digital transformation strategies are customer service and digital technology integration. These strategies point to the need today for technology to be a critical component in providing better experiences.
What does this mean for eCommerce sellers?
For the digital transformation of contact centres, cloud-based technologies are leading the charge. Cloud technologies upgrade the way organisations manage customer engagement by giving them a centralised platform to connect anywhere, anytime. Cloud computing also maximises the consumerisation and distribution of web-enabled devices, allowing customers and contact centre representatives to communicate, collaborate, and connect more effectively.
Critical to contact centre 2.0 is the use of collaboration technology. Contact engagement centre agents, teams, and experts throughout the organisation are connected through intuitive, agile, and real-time tools that work across multiple channels and devices. No longer get transferred from one agent to the next. One agent has access to not only a variety of integrated cloud applications but the combined knowledge of the organisation. This levelling experience allows for unparalleled information sharing and customer satisfaction.
Multichannel management technology
Providing consistent customer experience across multiple sales channel(s) can be challenging. Multichannel management software enables customer service agents to manage inventory, orders and returns quickly and efficiently, from a central platform – reducing the risk of the errors and oversights that lead to customer complaints.
Making it happen
Customer expectations and preferences for service and engagement are surpassing the capabilities of legacy systems and models. Customer experience and customer satisfaction are directly tied to contact centre capabilities. As such, improving customer experience and satisfaction moves the contact centre from a cost centre to a revenue generator. Today it’s critical for companies of all sizes to update their contact centre technology to a cloud solution that not only integrates with the tools businesses rely on but connects with the additional sources of information within the organisation.
It’s important today that businesses incorporate a solution that lets customers choose their preferred method of communicating with your company, including voice, chat, social media, SMS, email, and more.
Intelligent IVR and self-service options—tightly integrated with smart routing functionality—help customers connect more quickly to the agent who can best handle their needs. Optimisation tools will help you optimise staff scheduling, improve call-centre efficiencies, survey customers, and more.
Stephanie Liais is part of the Product Marketing team for RingCentral in EMEA. She is focusing on helping businesses in EMEA transition to cloud business communications. She has spent the last 6 years in cloud software and communication industries. Stephanie is based in London, has a European background and is a keen traveller.