When faced with operational cost increases, reducing call centre costs can seem like an insurmountable task. B2C communication is shifting towards an omnichannel offering as customers now no longer want to contact solely via telephone. They want to be able to contact you online, and that means call centre models need to change.
Why You Should Transform Your Call Centre
Transforming a traditional call centre into a contact centre allows you to reduce customer service (CS) costs by changing phone calls into online contacts. A contact centre means embracing digital channels alongside your traditional contacts. A contact centre means embracing digital channels alongside your traditional voice, to provide a truly omnichannel CS offering. An advisor that was previously only helping one customer at a time on a phone call can now assist multiple customers at once, via webchat or social media.
It’s important to realise that telephony and email are no longer the preferred channels when customers want to contact a business. In fact, 64% of people say they’d rather use Facebook to message a business. So over half of consumers have shifted to more modern methods of communication, which is great for your operational costs. Embracing social customer care protects and grows your long-term profit margin, for what is actually a relatively low set-up cost.
Would you be surprised if we told you each telephony contact is, generally, five times more expensive to a business than a single webchat or social media interaction? It’s understandable to be apprehensive about the time involved with moving to an online-focused model but continued reliance on telephony will cost your business in the long run.
The ease with which a tweet or Facebook message can be sent has bred the expectation that a reply should be received with similar efficiency. It’s also led to an increase in the number of contacts per order, which means call-dominated customer service centres simply can’t keep up; they need to evolve into omnichannel contact centres.
In 2019, people and businesses sent 10 times as many messages to each other via Facebook Messenger than they did in 2016: over 20 billion every month. Mobile internet has enabled people to communicate at any time, from any place, and such ready access has produced an expectation of faster responses.
Long responses are usually the result of a small social team, often an outcome of a business’ continued dependence on traditional channels. Our solution to this problem has been to cross-train our operators so they’re well-versed across multiple channels and can jump onto the team that needs them most at a given time. This is combined with real-time monitoring to make our CS teams agile in their response to contact volumes.
How to Transform Your Call Centre
Shifting to new customer service channels also means advisor skillsets need to evolve. Tone requirements change by channel; social posts with the formalities of an email feel unnatural. Webchat requires a chattier style of communication. Advisors need training that equips them to recognise the need for different tones across channels and what said tone sounds like. This will also be influenced by industry; a bank, for example, will need to be a lot more formal than an online fashion retailer.
The department is also changing as a whole. Customer service departments have traditionally been split into teams that deal with discrete parts of the customer journey. Advisors were a member of specific teams that dealt with specific interactions, and each had their own training path and skillset. But this isn’t what the modern CS department looks like. Customer service advisors are having to evolve into highly-skilled, versatile professionals. An operator on your Twitter team would need to be able to handle any query you would expect to receive.
That sounds like a lot of training, but it doesn’t necessarily need to mean additional money out of your pocket. You can offer ongoing training to your operators to improve and diversify their skillsets over time. The best CS providers already have highly skilled teams ready to deliver high-quality customer service and thrive in an online support team.
Contact Management Software
The shift from traditional telephony to online contacts almost definitely comes with a need to adopt a new contact management software. Multichannel software options are varied and picking the one that best meets the needs of your business is vital. The real game-changers enable you to provide omnichannel customer service. This seemingly small distinction is an important one. Our experience with multiple providers has shaped our belief that omnichannel software is the backbone of a successful contact centre.
Our preferred provider, Gnatta, enables us to communicate with customers seamlessly across channels. We can help a customer across social media accounts, email, and webchat, and all their contact history with our client is available to our operators in one, easy-to-read user interface. Any technological handover has its headaches and, when it has the chance to affect the customer experience, it’s important to minimise any disruption. Progression towards a contact centre able to keep up with the demands of a large digital consumer base, however, necessitates such a transfer.
Deliver a Successful Strategy
Simply offering social media and webchat channels isn’t going to provide the benefits we’ve described above. If they aren’t managed effectively (either by your actual CS managers or by a software solution that isn’t quite up to the task), the valuable time and effort put into providing them will be wasted.
Transformation isn’t just about moving your customer service to new channels. To provide a great customer experience and reduce CS costs, these new channels need to be attacked with enthusiasm. Cutting corners with operator training, software, or channel management will limit any advantages.
Ultimately, once any operational qualms have been settled, the biggest question is “how much is this going to save us?” Luckily, we’ve got that covered.
And remember: making the transition towards an omnichannel contact centre will not only make strategic cost savings, but it allows you to serve your customers effectively. With the right software and training, you can be sure your CS operation stays dynamic and a cut above the rest, giving your customers the service they deserve.