February 09, 2023
How Collaboration Tech Is Changing the Contact Center
Customers now expect companies to offer multiple channels for resolving problems, and to integrate solutions in a way that creates a seamless experience.
For years, the customer service ideal has been an omnichannel experience that gives customers multiple, integrated ways to engage with companies. Rather than funneling their customers into a single channel such as phone, email or chat support, an omnichannel environment seeks to give customers multiple options — and even let them hop back and forth between channels without needing to re-enter their information or restate their case.
With the rise of hybrid work over the past few years, companies and consumers are more accustomed than ever to the collaboration technologies that support omnichannel customer service. In particular, we’re seeing growing interest in the following collaboration technologies to better support customers.
Email Is Still Effective, But It Should Be Integrated with Other Channels
Email remains a popular channel for customer service, and many companies use this channel to manage customer inquiries and support requests.
With the integration of collaboration technology, companies can streamline their email management processes, improving response times and enhancing the customer experience. For example, with email automation, companies can send quick, personalized responses to common inquiries, freeing up agents to focus on more complex issues. Additionally, companies can use email tracking to monitor the progress of customer inquiries and ensure that they are resolved in a timely manner.
It’s important for companies to integrate email with other channels. For instance, if a customer follows up on an email conversation with a phone call, the agent who takes the call should have access to the email thread.
Chat Offers Speedy Response Times for Simple Questions
Chat is a real-time communication channel that offers customers quick and efficient support, and it has grown in popularity as people switch their interpersonal communications from voice calls to text messages. Agents can manage multiple chats simultaneously, improving productivity and maximizing savings. Companies use chat to handle a range of customer inquiries, but it is usually best suited to simple questions that can be answered quickly, such as how to return a product.
The emergence of chatbots powered by artificial intelligence has given companies a way to support customers without involving a human representative. However, it’s important that companies make it easy for people to escalate these interactions to avoid situations where customers grow frustrated due to limitations of the technology.
Screen Sharing Enables Real-Time Customer Assistance
By allowing customers to share their screens with agents in real time, organizations can prevent miscommunication and make it easier for representatives to solve customers’ problems. This feature is especially helpful for tech support. A customer who recently purchased a new laptop, for instance, might have trouble describing an issue over the phone or via text chat. But if customers can share their screens, they can show representatives exactly what is happening as it happens, improving the odds of first-call resolution.
Video Remains an Underutilized Tool for Customer Support
In the business world, we all now take video collaboration for granted. But video solutions took decades to break into the mainstream, and the technology is still something of an underused channel in customer support.
Video collaboration is especially useful for customers who need help with physical products. For example, one medical device provider we work with uses video solutions to walk customers through setting up their insulin pumps. Video may also be used to support customers in the pre-sales process for high-ticket items, helping representatives establish rapport while giving companies a chance to show off their products to interested prospects.
Each of these technologies has its own unique strengths and can be used in different ways to enhance the customer experience. By integrating various collaboration technologies, companies can provide a seamless omnichannel experience for their customers, improving response times and increasing customer satisfaction.
Paul Abraham, a CDW Contact Center Consulting Engineer with over 20 years of experience in the implementation and delivery of high-performance technology and communication solutions.
Sulabh Patel, a CDW Contact Center Pre-Sales Engineer with over 20 years of experience in various contact center–related technologies as well as working with vendors, partners and customers across verticals.