5 Customer-Facing Support Technologies to Consider



Customer service has evolved from the days of customers simply calling into a customer service or contact center to speak to a live agent. For starters, the phone is no longer the only customer service domain. New customer service technologies include chatbots, click to call (CTC) social media, and mobile devices, and savvy organizations are leveraging these technologies for better customer service experiences.

Chatbots

As customers continue to use self-service options, such as interactive voice response systems and Web self-help applications, an area of growth is the rise in chatbots that act like online customer service representatives. Employing artificial intelligence and natural language, these human-like agent representations can process customer questions and perform tasks that steer customers to appropriate Web site information such as FAQs, payment services and password recovery. The benefit of self-service can pay off in lowering cost from inbound calls and providing immediate information to the customer. 

Click-to-Call

CTC solutions is another trend in the contact center. The technology enables Web site users, whether on PCs, or increasingly tablets, to request a call back from an agent. Many customers also appreciate feeling as though they are getting more personalized attention via CTC rather than having to dial an 800 number or send an e-mail.

Mobile Customer Service

Indeed, a recent study (commissioned by Nuance Communications and conducted by Vocal Laboratories) found that when given a choice, 85 percent of consumers performing tasks, such as checking a flight status or bank balance, expect to turn to a mobile app first for customer service over the next year. 

Social Customer Service

Social media also represents a shift from IVR-centric customer service. According to a recent survey by Nielsen and McKinsey, 47 percent of social media users in the United States said they use social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter for customer service, whether to ask questions, voice complaints, or acknowledge positive experiences. The power of word-of-mouth communication cannot be ignored as customers are inclined to post or Tweet their experiences, particularly negative ones, and pass the word to hundreds or thousands of current or future customers, which directly affects brand loyalty. More customer service departments are listening to relevant social media chatter by hiring agents to monitor social customer activity.

When it comes to social customer service, it doesn’t end with listening platforms. More customer service departments are turning to social community platforms for peer-to-peer support. As published reports have stated that customers are more inclined to trust someone like them, brands that create a trusting customer environment benefit as they are attached to the positive customer experience. The trust over time could then extend to the company. Organizations do this by leveraging the expertise of advocates and influencers and giving them a place to share their knowledge, talent, and ideas.  

Multichannel Customer Service

Stellar customer service also means that it is crucial to provide a consistent and seamless customer service experience as customers start an interaction in one channel and segue into another without losing information. Whether it’s through SMS, the Internet, or social media, customer service centers are increasingly being called upon to provide multichannel customer service and support to meet and satisfy customer expectations. A multichannel approach to customer service is bound for failure if customers are forced to repeat information as they cross from one customer service channel to another.

These initiatives can provide a more robust and complete picture to customer service providers and will allow them to respond in real-time fashion, offering not only lower costs, but increased customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and potential revenue from future consumers.