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Sabio has identified 10 key technologies that will help organisations optimise their Web-enabled customer journey during 2013 and beyond. The list highlights the importance of effective Web, social media, multimedia, apps and mobile-optimised sites in delivering integrated customer service experience.

According to Sabio’s Head of Consulting, Stuart Dorman: “With Web access now widely available as a fourth utility, and with a growing number of users now engaging with organisations via their smartphones and tablets, customer service providers need to ensure that processes are Web-enabled at every stage of the customer journey. This not only demands that e-commerce and customer service operations work effectively in partnership, but also that the right Web technologies are in place to support customers before, during and after voice interactions.

“Whether organisations like it or not, technologies such as social media, mobile-optimised websites and apps are disrupting traditional customer service approaches,” continued Stuart. “Today’s best practice operations are differentiating themselves through the smart deployment of technologies that strengthen customer engagement, and that’s only going to accelerate throughout 2013. The good news for service providers, however, is that the benefits from these technologies flow both ways – with customers taking advantage of faster, more engaging and more successful interactions while organisations enjoy lower contact costs and greater customer loyalty.”

Sabio’s Top Ten Web-enabled Customer Service Technologies are based on findings gathered over the last year during engagements with leading organisations. Sabio’s Top Ten list for 2013 covers:

 

  1. Mobile-optimised customer websites – a new generation of task-driven websites that are optimised for mobile are already providing customers with a primary route into organisations. With digital strategies closely aligned with traditional contact centre tasks such as paying a bill or taking a meter reading, mobile web front ends are playing a key role in challenging demand – potentially cutting 10-15 percent of overall contact centre traffic volumes

  2. Realtime web support with web chat – increasingly intelligent web chats, where customers are offered more appropriately timed web chat opportunities, are also helping to challenge demand. BT, for example, now deploys web chat to support almost 1 in 4 of its online sales

  3. Unlocking the power of Virtual Agents – analyst firm Gartner is expecting big things from Virtual Agents, and is targeting 400 percent growth in the market by 2014. The most effective Virtual Agents can handle thousands of contacts a day, with Norwegian company Telenor now supporting 5,000 queries each day, with just four percent being passed through for a live chat. It’s also a great way of delivering additional support for out-of-hours contact

  4. Putting mobile apps to work – today’s smartphones and mobile apps open up new opportunities for customers, with the latest apps effectively giving users the opportunity to bypass traditional IVR channels and deal directly with the right person. The best apps are those that also leverage the power of the smartphone, perhaps featuring barcode and QR code scanning, videos for product showcases, additional security options, and context-specific features based on location, time and customer history

  5. Stronger social media engagement – social media-based initiatives such as the community-powered support programme implemented by Kiddicare illustrate the power of social-enabled capabilities within customer service. To date this service has helped secure a 30 percent reduction in customer emails and calls. Another successful application area is the creation of internally-facing social media, with benefits including improved employee engagement, reduced ramp times, trends spotting and improved response times

  6. Embedded Service – illustrating the power of cross channel integration, organisations are now using Embedded Service on their websites to streamline engagement. Amazon’s ‘contact us’ page, for example, asks customers what help they require, the reason for contact, and which contact channel they would prefer from e-mail, phone and chat. However, you’ll need to have an integrated contact centre infrastructure to be able to deliver this kind of capability

  7. Invest in Knowledge Management – having access to the right information is critical, with best practice operations now in a position to enable their agents to deliver near real-time service updates to customers. Having this level of capability is helping companies such as Lebara – who continually update their knowledge base using ‘live’ information from the front line – to move from delivering basic service to the provision of shared customer experiences

  8. Effective Call Steering – simplicity is key to great customer service, so anything that can be done to streamline the experience by reducing the number of internal transfers, and applying intelligence to each stage of the process will contribute directly to an improved customer experience. Web-enabled technologies can play a key role in accelerating the traditional IVR process, particularly during the critical period between pickup and answer

  9. Listening to Customers – capturing customer feedback is an essential process, but it’s what you do with it that distinguishes best practice organisations. There are multiple ways of collecting feedback – by SMS, email, and callback, for example – however it’s essential not just to collect scores, but also to capture customer comments and anecdotes to really gain a sense of what customers actually think. Operating a closed loop is important here, with feedback circling back to individual agents

  10. Repeat Call Analysis/Analytics – one of the fastest ways to drive up your First Contact Resolution is to carefully study repeat calls and identify the reasons that are causing customers to keep calling back. This kind of analysis – particularly when combined with speech analytics – can quickly help you zero in on the issues and processes that are impacting your business, often identifying broken processes or competitive offers that previously weren’t considered an issue

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