A few weeks ago, I participated in a webinar with CRM magazine, and discussed how to create smarter customer interactions and more effective contact centers. I have dedicated the last several years at Harte Hanks specializing in Customer Experience Support solutions, leading a team of technology experts who specialize in Oracle Service Cloud for Contact Centers. Today, I’d like to share my thoughts and experiences on defining what a “smarter customer interaction” means, as well as suggestions on customer support tools that can improve your overall customer experience.
Defining Smarter Customer Interactions
At Harte Hanks, we have been specializing in smarter customer interactions for 80 years. But what do “smarter customer interactions” actually look like? I’d suggest the following:
- Enable your customers to find answers to their questions quickly and accurately.
- Allow them to find answers using their preferred method of communication whether that is social media, digital chat, self-help, email, voice or video
- Require that customer support representatives have easy access to data and tools that enable them to focus on the customer interaction and solve any issue in a timely manner
- Improve your Contact Center continuously via learning from previous customer interactions and observed behaviors
Let’s take a look at the steps you can take to create smarter customer interactions.
Start with a Great Customer Support Website
Your starting point should always be a customer support website. When executed properly, a great support site can allow customers to self-help by finding the answers they need quickly and efficiently. Remember to make your site more robust than just a traditional FAQ by including website tracking mechanisms that allow you to analyze and improve your knowledge base over time. You can then use that data when customers decide they need to interact with a Contact Center agent multiple times. This is a big step towards creating a smarter customer interaction because it gives insight into where and when your customers give up on self-help and reach out to an agent.
Here are a few other tips for executing a top-notch customer support site:
- Select a technology that allows you to integrate all of your channels. Harte Hanks uses Oracle Service Cloud for this, which creates consistency by using one knowledge base on the public support site and across all agent channels. This ensures consistent, reliable responses to questions regardless of the customer’s preferred channel.
- Format answers differently than traditional FAQs. One simple trick is to reduce the length of a written article and replace it with pictures or video instructions.
- Improve the success rate of self-help by adding guided assistance logic to knowledge base articles. This changes a long written answer into a step-through guide to ensure the customers’ questions are answered and they are not overwhelmed with too much information all at once.
There are no shortages of customer experience solutions available to help create smarter interactions. Check back next week as I will be outlining how to improve the voice channel, and how it can contribute to improved customer interactions.