Hence, while phone support may be your quickest mode of providing a response, to provide a truly omnichannel experience, it can be integrated with other systems such as:
Let’s say that you are running a travel agency. You have your own team of support agents crewing your contact center. Yet, even with a great staffing strategy, it is immensely difficult for your agents to personally answer every single customer query. This is where self-service portals come into the picture. They bring down the dependency on live agents for answering frequently asked queries. Apart from preventing agent burnout and reducing missed calls, they help you cut down on customer service costs and serve new demographics that are more comfortable with online solutions and self-serve too. In the case of your (hypothetical) travel agency, self-service portals can be used by your customers to find answers that do not need a specialist’s involvement — flight routes, standard cancellation procedures, flight status, and so on.
However, while adopting self-service solutions, you should not alienate your audience who rely on your phone channel or call center. Self-service is not limited to internet-based solutions. Our customer, AlfKa, developed a detailed answering system using Freshcaller’s IVR System. AlfKa is an online education platform and Freshcaller is primarily used by their administrative staff for answering queries related to their course offerings. In order to make sure that more customers or callers can access information faster, AlfKa programmed all their FAQs into a phone tree which can be easily navigated by their callers.
Pro tip: Make sure that all the information across your self-service options is consistent across channels. Always provide the option to switch to another channel of your customer’s preference. For example, AlfKa’s phone tree for their FAQs also provides the option to talk to a live agent.
Like we discussed before, having to repeat your problems to multiple people is universally annoying. This is where the omnichannel experience comes into play again — a robust omnichannel-ready customer support system would minimize the inconvenience associated with talking to multiple agents. Going back to the travel agency scenario, let’s say one of your customers is trying to get a slightly tricky refund processed. She has already spoken to multiple support agents in the travel agency. Every time she calls she gets connected to a new agent. However, with a helpdesk system there is a continuous record maintained of all her interactions with the support team. So, even if she connects with a new agent over email, chat or phone, all this agent needs to do is to refer to her ticket history and have a contextual conversation.
Pro tip: You can also ensure to take notes using the call notes feature on Freshcaller. Doing so, you can communicate the context to another agent when you are transferring a call. It also makes it possible to view all tickets and call notes in the same window for one consolidated customer profile, contributing towards smoother communication with the customer in the future over other channels too.
Live Chat and Messaging
Live chat brings together the best of email and phone. Customers can textually communicate with you like they normally do over emails as well as receive instant responses which is the hallmark of phone support. However, when the agents who run your chat are not online, offering a callback would be a great option. For example, a customer initiated a chat with you on your website outside business hours. You or your chatbot can offer to ping them back. However, it is not necessary that the customer will be online to read your messages, unless they have your app or website open on their devices. In such cases, the best course of action is to offer a callback and reach out to the customer when your call center is open.
Pro tip: You can use chat and SMS, or even email, to share OTPs and other critical information that needs to be made handy to customer when they are on a call with you. At this point, you should also note that each of these mediums has the baggage of expected response times. Similar to phone, customers expect an instant response through chat. Emails have a margin of anywhere between 24 to 48 hours. SMS are generally treated as one-way communication.
If you have an outbound call center operated by a sales team, then integrating your phone channel with a CRM will make your sales reps’ lives much easier as well as help them have more informed conversations with your prospects. Beginning with gauging a prospect’s interest in your products from their tone over a call to closing a deal through persuasive conversations, phone and CRM makes a powerful combination.
CRM software traditionally have email and chat platforms integrated with them. Together with the phone channel, you can give a taste of the omnichannel experience even before a prospect becomes the customer of your organization. More importantly, you can also analyze how many emails or calls it took to convert a customer, and what channels works best at which stage of the sales funnel, all in one place. An integrated CRM system can also be a powerful training tool for your sales reps — call recordings, notes and even email threads can help you assess and train your team for different sales scenarios.
Pro tip: Make sure you maintain a record of past purchases and purchase-related phone calls in your CRM so that you can provide customized experiences should your customer choose to spend more with you.