Customers now want great experiences by voice, email, web chat, and social media. Whether placing an order, seeking help with a product or service, or sharing their experience with others, customers connect with call center through multiple channels.
Gone are the days when a call center relied solely on phones to take orders and provide customer support. Now, customers prefer to contact call centers via several channels. Offering all of them, or at least some, has the potential to enhance your call center and bring your customer service to the next level.
The number of channels customers are using to communicate with call center has increased exponentially, as well as the interactions across them. Customers are still using voice, email and more recently web chat, but there have been significant increases in video and social channel usage.
In today’s call center market, “contact center” is becoming an increasingly more popular term, as communication channels expand to various areas and companies strive to better meet their customer’s needs.
Below are the most used channels of a call center as well as information about how this may change in the future.
Even though it’s the most expensive channel, 80 percent of customers still prefer to talk to agents over the phone. Thus, phones aren’t going anywhere anytime soon when it comes to call centers. Furthermore, the preference for communicating over the phone kicks into high gear when the going gets rough. Customers are also more than twice as likely to prefer to talk to a person over the phone than they are via email when solving more complex problems.
Video is also especially helpful for troubleshooting services. For example, Ikea uses videos to showcase how to assemble furniture and some phone companies answer frequently asked questions in video form. Video can also be used as a chat feature, which allows the agent to visually see the caller and even the caller’s issue in some cases. Results show that 18 percent of call center managers plan to implement video support features within the next two years.
Many on-the-go customers prefer the convenience of email when reaching out a call center. Call center companies have special team in place that will answer inquiries that are sent to company’s inbox.
Web chats especially mobile chats as a customer service and marketing platform is rapidly on the rise. Chatting apps like Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, and Kik are among the most popular apps on the App Store and Google Play, with billions of people using them daily.
Web chat is a perfect channel for helping and educating customers as they interact with your website and assisting them if they have any issues with online ordering and check-out. Instant communication via web chat helps visitors find what they need quickly and conveniently, leading to higher levels of overall customer satisfaction.
Even with the wide variety of chatting and social media apps available, traditional SMS text messaging is just as popular as ever, with 350 billion texts sent every month. Why? With text messaging, your customers never have to worry about platform compatibility and internet access. If they have a phone, they can receive text messages.
There was a huge rise in social media in just about every other aspect of business, so it should come as no surprise that call centers have also started to embrace social as a means of communication with customers. Now, instead of calling and dealing with hold times, many prefer to reach out via Twitter or Facebook. This can mean good things for call center agents, who spent much more time on phone calls than they spend on any other form of customer support and service.
If you’re looking to provide the best customer service possible, offer your customers different ways to contact your call center and different ways to communicate. People are different and work in different ways. Therefore, offering just one or two ways of getting in touch with you doesn’t cut it. Also remember that your agents need to understand the importance of customer relationship management and have to be trained to expertly represent your brand at any point of contact, including phone, email, web chat, and social media.