According to Oracle, businesses following a multichannel customer care strategy achieve more than double (9.7 vs. 3.9%) year-over-year improvements in customer satisfaction, as opposed to those using only a single channel. While voice has always been the dominant mode of communication, with 98% utilization amongst businesses and the channel with the highest client satisfaction ratings across all generations, alternative means of communication are playing an increasingly important role within the customer service space.
Consider the following:
- 42% of generation Z, Y, and X online adults use community support channels
- 31% of generation Z, Y, and X use Twitter when seeking assistance
- Adoption of online support chat has risen by 13% in recent years
- 67% of customers state a preference for self-service over speaking to a live representative
- Email is not dying—in fact, it remains the third most widely used communication channel, increasing in usage by 2% from 2009-2012 to 58%
- Help and FAQ pages have increased in usage by 10%
- 25% of consumers utilize one to two channels when seeking customer care and 52% of consumers utilize three or four
Communication channels other than traditional telephony (email, web self-service, chat, social media, etc.) now account for more than 30% of customer service engagements. As a result, as consumer preferences and technology continue to rapidly shift, offering a multichannel communications platform has become an essential part of today’s contact centers.
However, as multichannel adoption continues to expand, many businesses are coming to the realization that the simple act of offering additional channels will not improve customer service metrics. In fact, many of the increasingly popular communication modes aren’t measuring up to consumer expectations.
Consider the following:
- 67% of customers state a preference for self-service over speaking to a live agent, but only 58% rate such services as satisfactory.
- 80% of Twitter users expect a response to a customer service inquiry within a day or less, but roughly 56% are ignored all together, leading to a 15% increase in customer churn.
- For those calling in, 26% of customers report being transferred from agent to agent without any resolution of their problem or inquiry.
So how does one bridge the gap?
Consistency Across All Interactions: 83% of businesses using multichannel contact center programs cite improving consistency as a top goal driving their contact center initiatives. In other words, if a contact center offers superior service in one channel, the same level of quality service should be expected in all others or risk the loss of a consumer. But only by providing agents with ongoing training, e-learning tools, dynamic scripts, and virtual guidance, can contact centers conceivably achieve consistent levels of service across all communication platforms and customer interactions. Regardless of the effort, however, the results speak for themselves with “Best-In-Class” companies 44% more likely to offer the training tools needed to successfully use each channel.
Manage All Channels and Information from a Single Platform: Forty-one percent of multichannel contact centers face the daunting task of managing multiple customer care activities across disparate data management applications and platforms. But as more and more customers begin to expand their use of alternative channels, the need to access and manage all interactions from a single location will become increasingly important, if not crucial. With cloud, the ability to easily integrate all aspects of a business’ various data management platforms (Billing, Support, Workforce, Contact Center, etc.) becomes feasible, offering immediate access to all relevant customer records when the client interactions occur; agents can easily provide high-quality, data driven service to clients regardless of a client’s communication preferences.
Understand Customer Preferences: Businesses offering “Best-in-Class” multichannel communications are 26% more likely to adopt customer feedback management tools, providing valuable insight into the client satisfaction levels for each communication channel. Rather than generalize consumer preferences by generation, companies can gain a better sense of their customers’ habits and expectations and respond accordingly.
Utilizing multichannel communications can certainly help contact centers improve customer satisfaction, but it is contingent on their ability to properly manage each channel and derive useful insights from client interaction. By providing consistent, personalized services across all channels and improving internal processes, give your business greater adaptability to meet changing consumer demands.