Today's Connected Customers Expect a Rich Contact Experience

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Connected Customers Connected Customers

During the 2013 holiday shopping season, Deloitte interviewed over 5,000 U.S.-based consumers and found that 47% of participants said: “the Internet” was their favorite shopping destination, while the prior year’s favorite—discount department stores—slipped 7 percentage points to second place.

Also, in 2013, according to Gartner, smartphone sales have exceeded feature phone sales worldwide.

All this, and yet...consumers still struggle to get immediate customer service. They wrestle with number hunting, manual dialing, complex IVR systems, and ultimately sit idle, listening endlessly to music in a queue, so they don’t miss their chance to speak to a representative.

And when they do get to a representative, they’re limited to verbal descriptions of their situation – typically on a smartphone with two built-in cameras providing still photography and motion picture capabilities. To record an order number, trouble ticket number, etc., they have to hunt for pen and paper, all the while using a device that can send and receive text-based messages three different ways, out-of-the-box.

Is it any surprise then that, according to Bain & Company, 80% of brands believe that they provide a superior customer experience, while only 8% of customers agree?

Better Than Toll-Free

Frankly, customer experience managers have a tough time too: they pay toll-free telecommunications rates that, as tough as they were to negotiate, are still too high, and they pay the same per-minute rate whether their customers are talking to a live agent or listening to on-hold music in the queue.

The whole toll-free experience is essentially unchanged since 1967 – to put that in perspective, Super Bowl I was held in January 1967 (Green Bay won).

Customer identification is still performed by the IVR – which consumers dislike – or by the customer service representative, often several times. There’s little opportunity for brands to segment high-value customers to offer them preferential treatment, short of providing them with a separate toll-free number, and hope that they remember, and use it.

So, in the modern age, how could it be done differently?

  1. A rich contact button within a smartphone app, or even on a website, can provide customer support options tailored to the user and the situation at hand. Think identification, segmentation, and service selection even before the request is made. Imagine that no call is presented to an agent before the caller is identified and the reason for the call is known.
  2. Instead of customers calling in, the contact center places an outbound call to the customer, eliminating on-hold music and inbound toll-free charges.
  3. A side-band data connection can capture and transmits customer identification, location, active app functions and request progress data, all without forcing the consumer to use an IVR.
  4. Pictures and videos can be sent from the smartphone to the contact center over that same side-band connection.
  5. Concurrent text and voice conversations, simplifying the exchange of reference numbers, website URLs, telephone numbers, and any other information that might cause the consumer to reach for a pen.

For the ninth consecutive year, consumers ranked Amazon first in customer satisfaction during the holiday shopping season. Some twenty million Amazon customers are subscribed to their Prime service – meaning they are guaranteed return-shoppers. One of the reasons for Amazon’s success is their great customer service communications strategy.

Amazon already does 1 through 3.

With us, you could do all that, and more - we'll show you.

Sergey Menshikov

About Sergey Menshikov

Vice President of Product Management at Bright Pattern with 20+ years in the contact center space.

Mobile customers - mobile services! Mobile Customer Service at Hot Topic at Call Center Week

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