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Contact Centers: Multi-channel Options Explained

Contact Centers: Multi-channel Options Explained

When it comes to providing support to your customers there are more options than ever before for how they can contact you. As a result, customers now expect to have multiple ways available to them. Multi-channel contact centers help customers reach the company and help the company provide quality service.

What Is a Multi-Channel Contact Center?

The traditional call center is what many of us still picture when we think of a customer support center: rows and rows of people answering telephone calls as they come in. Customer interaction is strictly over the telephone and no other forms of communication are used. While many companies still use this model for their customer support, it’s slowly being replaced with the multi-channel contact center.

In a multi-channel contact center, customers have plenty of options to choose from when they’re looking for ways to reach the company. A few of these options include email, social media, live chat, and other online channels. Not only do customers enjoy having options when it comes to ways they can reach a company, they also expect it. One survey found that 55 percent of customers believe companies should provide customer service over social media websites such as Facebook.

Incorporating Live Chat

Younger customers have grown up with instant messaging and email and they often prefer to use live chat when they communicate with a company. In fact, 44 percent of online customers say that one of the most important features a website can provide is live chat where an agent can answer questions in the middle of a transaction.

Understanding Email Support

One option now available through a multi-channel contact center is email support. For some customers, email support is frustrating because they have to type a problem they feel could be easier to explain. However, at the same time, receiving support or instructions in an email is sometimes simpler because the process is listed in a step-by-step fashion that they can refer back to when they need it.

Turning to Social Media

The newest option that many companies are turning to as they implement a multi-channel contact center is social media. Facebook and Twitter are the two largest networks that companies are using but other sites such as YouTube, Pinterest, and Yelp are also growing in popularity.

When helping customers through social media, service agents need to be especially careful that their tone doesn’t get misunderstood or they might accidentally come across too harsh. At this point, only 33 percent of contact centers use social media as a support method but it’s expected to be one of the largest areas of growth. It’s fast, convenient, and when it’s done right it can really increase customer satisfaction.

Telephone Support Will Never Go Away

While the rise in other communication tools means the traditional contact center is changing, customer service over the telephone still has one major benefit over every other form of communication: you have a live agent working on the telephone who can provide personal and intelligent support. With a carefully managed call center you also have complete control over the quality of service provided to your customers.

However, this is also one of the most expensive options available. Not only are you paying for a well-trained staff who can handle any problems your customers call in with, you also have to equip your staff with a computer, telephone, and Internet access to do their job properly.

In the evolving world of customer service, the only certainty is that our communication options continue to change. By keeping up with the latest trends in contact centers, you can offer your customers the type of support they need and improve customer satisfaction.

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