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Today’s customers expect digital communication channels from the businesses that they connect with. It’s well documented that millennials hate phone calls, and to meet the needs of these customers, businesses are undergoing digital transformation to remain competitive.
Call centers are evolving to become contact centers in increasing numbers, supporting a wide variety of contact channels for customers. According to McKinsey & Company, the Pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital transformation by businesses by seven years.
In this article, we’ll explain why contact centers need digital transformation, and what steps you need to take to ensure a smooth and successful transition throughout your organization.
Today’s customers demand to connect via digital channels, and not phone, because they want the fast and accessible support that the former provides. Live chat is particularly popular for this reason. Compared to telephone support, live chat gives customers more power over how they connect, and allows for a more efficient response, avoiding wait times and frustrating call transfers between agents. Customers can receive answers in real time with minimal effort – all within a digital medium that has become integral to their everyday life.
One of the greatest benefits of live chat for customers over phone support is the immediate response that live chat provides. In 2020, when many call centers saw overwhelming wait times, companies using the Comm100 platform were able to maintain an average 35 second wait time for live chats.
Another customer benefit of business going digital is the ability to support a variety of channels. Younger generations demand to connect how and when they want. Adopting an omnichannel approach to customer support allows customers to receive amazing service no matter how they reach out. With this in mind, today’s businesses need to be available on social media, SMS, live chat, or wherever else their customers are.
When ordering and receiving a package within a day has become commonplace, it shouldn’t be surprising that this expectation for accessibility and speed has seeped into customer service. With customers demanding the superior experience that digital channels provide, it has become key for contact centers to adopt live chat and other digital technologies.
With many businesses establishing a remote workforce for the benefits to operational flexibility, digital transformation allows companies to maintain a high level of customer support. Web, desktop, and mobile apps have allowed live chat teams to easily relocate from office to home with nothing more than a computer and internet connection.
In a post-COVID world, digital accessibility isn’t just a matter of customer preference, it could be the only way that your business can reach your customers. Adopting a digital strategy for your contact center also means that you’re positioned well to adapt to the needs of future technologies as the digital landscape changes.
Powerful technology often comes with a steep price, but digital transformation of customer service can also save costs. The cost of live chat is less than 1/3 the cost of traditional voice support. This is accomplished through increased agent productivity compared to voice support, and the ability for agents to handle chats concurrently to support multiple customers at once.
With the benefits of digital transformation clear for both customers and businesses, let’s look at the steps that you can take to see successful digital transformation in your contact center.
As you begin your contact center digital transformation journey, you’ll need to identify which channels to support based on your customer demographics and the contact points that you already have with customers. With all the options available, it can be overwhelming to choose which digital channels to support.
The most important trend to follow in customer support is the adoption of live chat, as it’s the most popular digital channel among customers and should be at the core of your digital strategy. Today’s customers often favor live chat over traditional phone support, and the accessibility and easy availability of live chat also allows it to be a powerful tool in providing customer insights for your business.
Live chat can be implemented across websites for accessibility purposes but also as a way to guide your customers through the information gathering, selecting, and even purchasing phases. Services like Comm100 Live Chat can be easily introduced to apps for customers that access your services through a dedicated mobile application using a developer-friendly software development kit.
In time, you may add other channels (see stage 5 for more info) – but for now, focus on providing a perfect live chat experience.
As you move toward digital transformation, it’s important to understand your customer intents and develop your support strategy around them. When onboarding and training your team, it’s important to orient agents around the concept of high and low-value intents. These will form the building blocks of your live chat customer interactions.
Low value queries include simple questions that are commonly asked. These do not represent significant value to the organization. Examples of low value queries include password changes, delivery time questions, or information that might be otherwise available on your website.
High value interactions include more complex questions, potential sales, or complaints that could end up costing the organization. You’ll want to be sure that your agents are ready for these interactions by using all the live chat tools at their disposal. Features like canned messages allow for agents to save on typing by responding to chats with pre-established responses. For the most complex issues, chats can either be automatically routed using custom rules or escalated to senior agents and management, and real-time monitoring also allows these senior personnel to keep an eye on agent responses.
Developing a digital strategy for your contact center requires building a single source of truth in the form of a knowledge base. A knowledge base is a unified location for your information that is reusable and constantly updated as a source of authority for both your customers and your agents.
A strong knowledge base feeds into all other aspects of digital customer service response, as it can be used to divert customers who would otherwise seek help from live agents. Live agents also consult knowledge bases to draw responses from and provide quick responses to customer, linking them to information when applicable.
Ultimately, a knowledge base is what will ensure that you’re providing consistent support to customers and will help to keep your support team on message. While developing this resource, be sure to involve all members of your support team to retain the knowledge that your organization already has and to prepare your team for their transition to the new digital support environment.
The true power of a contact center digital transformation is seen in the adoption of automation within omnichannel support environments. With your knowledge base and chat routing established, services like Comm100 AI Chatbot can be implemented to easily resolve low value interactions, often without the need to ever see a human response.
AI chatbots become better at responding to customers over time by understanding query responses based on how customers rate the confidence of answers. As more material is made available in your knowledge base, your chatbot can respond to an increasing number of customer queries without agent intervention.
The fully automated nature of chatbots allows them to be implemented for 24/7 support, providing your contact center’s customers with after-hours support. This feature alone shows the value potential of a contact center digital transformation to both your business and your customers.
Chatbots provide other benefits too, like shortening the queue for customers by responding immediately and then handing off to a live agent if necessary. Chatbots can also collect customer information at the start of an interaction, shortening the overall time for an agent to respond.
An AI chatbot doesn’t replace your live agents, and instead offloads low value queries to allow more human resources to be devoted to high value interactions. If a request moves from low value to high value, it can easily be diverted to a live agent for a more detailed response.
Now that you’ve mastered live chat support, it’s time to increase usage and identify new channels for growth – social media and SMS. 58% of Millennials now expect to be able to connect with companies where they want, and this has led to increased expectations for a wide variety of supported channels by companies. Other channels to consider supporting include social media, where your customers may be likely to reach out.
This can all be delivered through one platform – Comm100’s omnichannel customer service platform. This platform collects all technologies in one simple console for your support agents. Besides benefiting agents with ease of use, an omnichannel platform collects customer history from one platform to the next to make sure that agents understand the entire customer journey.
Using omnichannel support, a customer can first connect with your company through live chat and then later move to social media or SMS, and the conversation will move with them seamlessly. By capturing customer history from one channel to the next, omnichannel provides powerful insights and speeds up support by negating the need for customers to repeat their previous conversations with your support team.
The result of this process is that your organization has now completed its digital transformation journey! Your high-functioning customer experience team has bridged the gap between question and answer, and you are meeting your customers when, where, and how they want to interact. You are a leader in your industry for customer engagement.
As new technologies develop, you’ll be ready for them with an omnichannel strategy that can bring you together with your customers on new platforms as they emerge using tools that your agents can already leverage for powerful insights.
Digital transformation goes above and beyond simply adopting digital technologies. An organization that has fully adapted to digital transformation is one in which the available tools and technology inform your processes and not the other way around.
If you’re ready to see how your own organization can benefit from the technologies we’ve looked at here, let Comm100 help you modernize your contact center and bring it into the 21st century through digital transformation.
Find out how Comm100 can take you on your digital transformation journey with world-class software and method.Learn more