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Customer service channels call centre

Jan Kühn, Director at INOVO

As companies consider adding more customer service channels to provide a more efficient, productive service for their customers, they may find it tricky to earmark which channel options suit their business requirements.

The options available are just that: options. A business strategist can ascertain what elements will enhance processes and work effectively, contributing to the core business and desired outcomes of the implementation. The clients who interact with the company must be considered, too, in terms of what they need from interactions, and how they prefer to conduct those specific interactions. More often than not, the influence on the customer experience plays a key role in many of these decisions.

Each channel has benefits, but not all are necessary, depending on business requirements

Voice channel

Voice channel communication via agent to customer caters for many variables and options and can deal with a large volume of information in great detail. It relies on the ability of the agent to access information and to interact across the different channels, services and products. Staffing is the biggest cost contributor in the voice channel; depending on the efficiency of the contact centre, the cost can be between 60 – 80%.

Email and/or SMS

With email and/or SMS as a channel, agents are still used. The main consideration for e-mail as a channel is the volume and percentage of client interactions when compared with voice interactions. With e-mail and SMS, customer expectations can be met with immediate auto reply (acknowledgement of receipt) and in setting expectations on service level agreements (SLAs), reply templates, standard responses, insertion of pre-approved text (e.g. warranty vs. guarantee) contextual responses (standard responses containing client-specific data (“Your balance is ”) and more.

In a contact centre with voice and email channels, it’s possible to blend contacts from different channels to balance volumes and manage the SLAs while either reducing the staff complement or improving on SLAs. It also provides the option of switching between channels, so a positive response to an email or an SMS can trigger an automated outbound call.

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