cloud contact centerIn Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic musical, The Sound of Music, the tune “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” is sung as Maria seeks more direction and purpose in her life. Of course, she finds her calling with the Von Trapp family, and beautiful music is made! 

Just like Maria, many businesses are now at a crossroads with the challenge of keeping up with the fast-paced shift towards digital engagement, which is dramatically changing both customer expectations and how service must be delivered. Whether the engagement takes place on self-service channels, web chat, or social media, customers increasingly prefer digital channels over voice-based contact. Yet, the mountain that must be climbed is that most contact centers do not yet have the infrastructure or capabilities to deliver seamless digital customer service.

Just how important is the trend toward digital customer service? According to leading contact center industry analyst, Sheila McGee Smith, 2016 is the year contact centers should expect more digital than voice interactions. Just as digital contact channels are now reaching critical mass, businesses are looking forward to determine how they can offer video chat, as well as proactive digital service to support internet-enabled devices. With this wide-spread digital expansion, what can you do to orchestrate your digital customer service to sustain service levels and meet customers’ growing expectations?

Consistency Is Key

Findings from the 2016 Dimension Data Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report showed that 82.6% of companies are not able to identify problem service blockages or “hotspots” that negatively impact customer experience (CX), and only 36% have the ability to track customer journeys across multiple channels. Connecting and monitoring CX across digital and voice channels is a fundamental challenge for contact centers today.

In Sheila McGee Smith’s tip sheet Five Tips for Mastering Digital Customer Service, she suggests that improving customer journeys begins with establishing an overriding goal to build consistency across all channels. This omnichannel engagement approach requires customer journey mapping to understand customer behaviors and identify hotspots that hinder service. With integrated channels and monitoring, customer journeys can also be tracked in real time to maximize the business potential of each interaction.

Increase Digital Customer Service Training

Customers are now likely to begin their journeys on digital channels, and many only shift to a voice channel when they want to escalate an issue. Yet, nearly 70% of contact center agents, according to the latest Dimension Data report, are still dedicated solely to the telephone, and new hire training continues to be significantly less for those who provide assisted service on digital channels when compared to that of phone agents. It’s a common problem to have less accountability and management of digital channels than for voice channels. However, as customers continue to shift their preference to digital channels, the need to focus on measuring and managing goals and expectations increases. This begins with a careful assessment of hiring needs and practices, including identifying agent competency requirements for each channel, and providing the training and skills development to ensure consistent CX.

Taking Your Digital Customer Service to the Next Level

As customers’ journeys become more complex, it has become more important than ever to effectively deliver omnichannel customer experiences across digital and voice channels. By doing so, you’ll be able to not only provide the level of service customers now expect, you’ll also be able to leverage new opportunities to increase revenues, lower operational cost, and improve efficiencies.

Want to learn more about overcoming today’s digital customer service challenges? Download Sheila McGee-Smith’s tip sheet Five Tips for Mastering Digital Customer Service or view our on-demand webinar with Sheila, 2016 Trends in Digital Customer Service: 5 Steps to Help You Get a Head Start.