Here’s a scenario that nearly every person on the planet who has ever tried to contact a business is all too familiar with: You’re using a mobile app or website – maybe your bank, your airline, your health care provider – and you can’t seem to resolve an issue you’re having. So you call customer service. After navigating through several menus and identifying yourself numerically, you finally reach a customer service agent.
That person then asks you two questions:
- Who am I speaking with?
- How can I help you today?
Consumers would love if they could get their issues resolved quickly and conveniently. Yet, as the example above demonstrates, all too often the agents don’t even know with whom they are talking, let alone what actions the customer has already taken or the information gathered before resorting to calling.
The only way to know your contact center solution will scale to current and future demands is to take control of your own roadmap. Whether you are building something from scratch, or augmenting what you already have, composable communication building blocks let you focus on upgrading the entire customer experience, rather than the hardware or software.
Here are the four most important considerations in building out a next-generation contact center.
You don’t get to choose how your customers want to reach you. Without an omni-channel routing solution, it’s difficult to determine the importance of, say, a text over an incoming phone call.
Take call routing, for example: Leaving customers on hold is expensive. By offering customers something as simple as the ability to hang up and text instead, it creates a better customer experience. And since agents can typically handle more than one text-based interaction at the same time, agents will be more efficient in addressing non-emergency customer requests.
Global companies like ING are already investing in digital transformation to create a seamless customer communication experience. Building out a scalable, omnichannel framework for your communications is the best way to prepare for the future.
Whether SMS, Facebook (News - Alert) Messenger, or in-app chat, your customers are already using messaging to communicate. Keeping up with messaging preferences is one of the biggest challenges businesses face today in serving their customers.
Starting with an SMS pilot program with a standalone agent is an easy first step. As you gauge the customer feedback and evaluate the learnings, you can expand this in scope to include other messaging channels. The New York Times recently leveraged texts to deliver unique Olympics news insights, and Mic.com is working on integrating multiple messaging channels, including Facebook Messenger and SMS.
Seek progress over perfection with your development cycles; by the time your six-month planning process to solve everything concludes, your customers behaviors will have changed, just like your business goals.
Go Elastic with Your SIP Trunking
If you’re a growing or global business, telephony is already a core part of your infrastructure, especially your contact center.
Elastic SIP trunking returns the flexibility and autonomy to the business, to make changes and push updates quickly; keep up with your ever-expanding inventory to monitor which numbers are used, by whom, and for what; or, like Twitter (News - Alert), spin up infrastructure practically overnight as you expand into new geographies.
These are all traditional pain points for businesses, which have historically been hard to resolve when dealing with multiple vendors with long contracts requiring you to commit to the maximum capacity you might use, not what you actually use. Rather than navigate and manage different vendors, take advantage of cloud connectivity solutions that let you scale up and down according to your business needs.
Don’t Just Enable, Embed
Mobile apps have a phenomenal view of the customer journey within the app. Yet when the customer needs actual help, or to speak to an agent, the app often throws them out of all context and into a customer service line.
By keeping communication in-app, you can answer customer questions faster by using the context and identification from the mobile app to route to the most qualified agent, while informing and equipping agents to best answer the question. In-app also facilitates back and forth interactions, such as user verification. Context isn’t a new concept in understanding your customers, but forgoing the power of context is the difference between delighting or frustrating them.
Al Cook is director of product and head of the contact center business at Twilio.
Edited by Alicia Young