There are many contact center management platforms. Across all of these systems, customer delight comes with the speed and usefulness of the response. Some of the largest and best known tools are Avaya and SalesForce.com. All of these platform vendors are constantly evolving due to the rapid change of self service on the web. Systems that originally managed phone systems and call routing, now include content management, web integration and automated customer support. Innovations in social media have lead to continuous scanning of the web for mentions of your company or its products with automatic prioritization of the events for your follow up.
SalesForce.com with its acquisition of Radian6 and the creation of its Service Cloud puts it right up front for this innovation. Additional leaders in this space are eGain, Kana, and home built apps in Lithium. Of course, big corporate players like Oracle, IBM, and SAP are all developing next generation improvements to their platforms as well.
With every launch and promotion, you will be creating new content for posting on your web site. This same content will be used in your campaigns to reach out and entice customers to review your products. You have to also consider response dialogs and support for these product and service promotions. Key to this effort is identifying who will be the support person for every campaign/piece of content and the capacity of that support. This content will have to be maintained over time and personnel will leave or take on new jobs. This all has to be taken into account and managed in your system.
As mentioned in the Customer Experience Strategy section under Branding, I am a huge advocate of Customer Scenario Mapping as the best way to plan your interactions. You can do this at a very simple level to start and your scenarios will rapidly grow driven by the frequency of the interactions until they are very detailed. The key is to log the process and build on it quickly as you learn. Do not make the same mistake twice and minimize the customer disappointment.
Unless you have infinite capacity (unlikely, right?), the key to customer service is filtering and event management. Whether you are listening in on a social blog or responding to a customer email, you have to balance the response to this event with your capacity. This is where you get back to your sales pyramid and prioritizing immediate resources based on the likely value of the customer. Top accounts require immediate response and notification to their sales teams that they were served or that they require additional service. Mid tier accounts may not get the same attention and unknown visitors may be directed to your self service resources. The filtering algorithm is key but you want to respond appropriately. Customer emotions can be identified nowadays and you will need escalation rules. We've all dealt with the message to the CEO scenarios only nowadays, this may be published to all of your customers and posted permanently on the web. It is best to be prepared.
Web/Mobile Self Service
Your web site and your content management process are your first line of support. The better prepared you are with content scenarios, the smoother this will go. In the ideal case, your web site will have scenario design at its core and every launch or campaign with have a clear transactional funnel that is easy for the customer to follow. All of your touch points will refer users to this path. Mobile support is an extension of your content and modular design will make it possible for you to deliver a good experience with minimal additional effort. When the transactional flow raises questions, the learning and feedback cycle moves into action. Common questions are solved and FAQs are created and published into the self service flow. Wherever possible, questions are turned into improvements and your agile design process will update the transactional funnel to implement the update. The key is to listen intently and react with agility.
Because we do all have limited resources, it is necessary to engage selectively with your customers. The top of your pyramid must be dealt with immediately and with humans if possible. As you move down the pyramid, modify your support to align to the business value. Keyword alarms can be used to raise priority in the same way that your top search query list drives your web site improvements. The fundamental point is to listen closely and move with the input.
Direct versus Channel
You have immediate response with your own resources and you need to build layers of support based on your content owners, direct sales, and channel partners.
Always attempt to give users an opt out process to a phone number and a human. Only eliminate this as a last resort. One useful trick is to filter access to humans on phones by identifying users by their domains. This is not always possible but it can allow you to maintain the resource without blowing your budgets.
This Web site is aimed at capturing some of the basic concepts I use when creating integrated marketing programs and leveraging the internet.
Phil Gibson ©2016