Increasingly, studies show most consumers prefer to use self-service or digital communication tools to solve problems and interact with brands. Although human voice still has value to offer in the right circumstances, most customers prefer the opportunity to avoid interaction with an agent whenever possible.
Customer Communication Preferences are Changing
The telephone has remained one of the most significant customer engagement and service fixtures for several decades. Today, it remains a critical piece of the puzzle – but it’s only one part of a successful customer service strategy. Younger generations, raised in a digital environment, are naturally more comfortable using alternative channels for customer service.
By the time a customer reaches out to a contact center representative, there’s a good chance they have already looked for guidance across a range of channels. Customers are viewing the phone as a “last resort” after they’ve tried everything else.
For companies trying to compete in today’s changing CX landscape, understanding this shift is key to configuring ways agents will interact with customers.
Is Your Contact Center Equipped for the Trends?
Omnichannel interactions are becoming a must-have to serve a wide range of different kinds of customers. While customers still expect to access customer service representatives over the phone when they need to, they’re also looking for other opportunities in the form of self-service AI bots, online FAQs, and web-based chat technology.
If you’re not meeting your customers on all their favored channels, your satisfaction levels will suffer. Crucially, it’s not enough to offer customers the right selection of communication platforms either. Today’s businesses need to track, align, and understand the customer across all stages of their interaction journey.
With tools like Buzzeasy omnichannel history reporting, it’s possible to track information about a customer’s previous interactions with self-service tools and digital contact systems. This means you can gather context about a client’s needs and the fixes they’ve already tried for each agent.
Combining contextual information about the customer journey with the data you already have from your CRM technology and contact center ecosystem means you can provide your customers with more personalized, relevant, and customized experiences without asking them to repeat themselves.
Adapting to Customer Preferences
We’ve seen several significant changes in customer behavior in recent years, particularly following the pandemic. The world is becoming more digitized, and consumers are increasingly comfortable with self-service solutions, bots, and intelligent technology.
To thrive in this new environment, business leaders must ensure they’re implementing the right digital platforms and self-service solutions their customer’s demand. A fully connected, omnichannel solution with the correct tracking technology will deliver a faster time to resolution for customers, minimizing churn and dissatisfaction.
At the same time, implementing more effective tools for managing the omnichannel contact center represents a powerful opportunity for agents. If customers are using phone calls as a last resort, this indicates they’re looking for agents to help them with more complex questions – the type a standard chatbot couldn’t answer. Some customers are more comfortable speaking to an individual and that's when interpersonal skills become essential, as well as how to navigate complex problem solving if needed.
Often already frustrated by a lack of success, your customer will be looking for contact center agents to deliver rapid, relevant, and efficient solutions to problems. It is much easier to accomplish this when each employee already has access to all the context and information required to solve a problem – without asking for repeat customer explanations.
Don’t Leave Customers Frustrated at the Last Hurdle
As valuable as self-service solutions and online tools for communication are becoming for the modern contact center, it’s important to remember there’s still a clear place for your agents to step in. While calling may be a last resort, it’s still something customers turn to when they can’t find the solutions they need elsewhere.
Suppose your customer has already tried many ways to solve their issue. In that case, the chances are that the “last resort” call will also be your company’s last chance to leave a positive impression on your target audience. In addition to focusing on empathy and interpersonal skills, providing your agents with a centralized environment where they can track, understand, and leverage information from the customer journey empowers them to deliver the best possible experiences.
Make sure you’re equipped to support your customers on every channel, with a contact center solution built for the modern age.