Want to connect with customers? Stay on the line

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With the wide range of new innovations being introduced in the contact centre sector in the last few years, from online-only live chats to mobile and social interactions, it can sometimes feel like the old stalwarts are being left behind.

Some companies are increasingly pushing their customers towards channels such as online chats and contact forms as opposed to in-person phone conversations – something you might have noticed if you’ve ever been on a website and had to trawl through several links in the ‘contact us’ section to actually find a phone number.

In a few cases, some digital-focused start-ups are even doing away with phone options altogether in favour of web-based alternatives. On the whole, these are part of a new breed of services that promise low prices, but with the trade-off of fewer customer service options.

The phone isn’t going anywhere

But is this really the future of the contact centre sector? I doubt it, and it’s mainly because I think there’s still a personal level of service that a personal interaction provides that other channels can’t match. While obviously it can be more convenient to send off a tweet to a company or use email if the issue isn’t urgent, sometimes you need the reassurance that only a person can provide.

This may be particularly true in certain industries, such as when it comes to dealing with your money. In the last few years, the financial services sector has seen a huge uptick in the number of ‘fintech’ start-ups looking to take advantage of new digital solutions and act as competitors to traditional service providers.

But these may not always offer all the solutions customers expect. In fact, a recent study by EY found that many consumers in the UK still don’t feel completely comfortable relying entirely on digital solutions such as online and mobile when it comes to managing their finances.

A more human interaction

Therefore, there’s clearly a need for banks – and, by extension, all organisations – to maintain personal, human channels, whether this is face-to-face in branch or on the phone. While online and mobile channels certainly have their place in the modern contact centre, being able to put a personal face on an interaction can go a long way towards giving people the level of service they expect.

It also lets you discuss issues in much more detail and clarity than would be possible on channels like mobile or social, so customers can often feel greater confidence the outcome will be a good one.

Of course, having skilled and friendly agents available to answer calls is only part of the recipe for making this a success. Your employees also need the tools at their fingertips to answer questions from customers and ensure they have the right information to deliver the best quality service – something that can be achieved with technologies such as cloud contact centre software.

Putting this in place ensures that you can maintain the right balance for all your channels for years to come. Having online, mobile and social offerings is a great way to reach digitally-savvy customers and answer simple queries, but for more complex needs, you still can’t beat the good old-fashioned phone.

 

Find out more about Aspect’s cloud contact centre solutions here.

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Stephen Ball

Steve Joined Aspect in December 2015 with responsibility for the Europe & Africa region.

Steve has held leadership roles in Computacenter, EMC, Orange, and most recently as RVP for Hitachi Data Systems, where he was responsible for leading HDS regional restructure and Transformation, succeeding in driving growth and market share.

Steve is passionate about delivering world class Customer Service, Technology and hiring and developing great people. He believes how you engage with your customer defines the success of any business, with the client demanding ease of interaction, when they want it and how they want it.

With a simple view that focusses on these three areas, Aspect is ideally positioned to accelerate its growth and Market share. Steve is working with the EA leadership team to create a plan and vision for Aspect EA that underpins the competitive advantage that the Aspect suite of software provides to its clients.
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