Digital channels have been making their way into the call center for a while now, resulting in the use of the more modern term “contact center.” We expect to see a continued trend of consumers reaching out less and less via the phone as they favor low effort, fast digital channels.
While live chat may have been introduced in the mid-1990s, it seems to have come into its own this past decade as a popular means of customer support. Tools like LivePerson, Zendesk Chat and Olark have enabled both large and small businesses to engage with their customers via chat.
You may have noticed the little “Chat Now” buttons are at the bottom of the screen of most websites now. It’s an older technology, but live chat presents the opportunity for one agent to respond to multiple queries, better leveraging contact center resources.
Social Media and Messaging Apps
Social media was one of the first digital tools that allowed consumers to have a public conversation with a company. Promoters had the ability to demonstrate their undying love for a brand (and maybe even get a response), while folks needing support could connect with a real-life human instead of a phone tree. The fact that other consumers could actually peek in on a conversation forced contact centers to up their response game.
Early adopters realized that this was a channel that could get results faster and began abandoning the phone in order to focus on social. Contact centers adapted, with many major brands now fielding a fleet of social media responders, who often spend time trying to get a disgruntled customer away from public-facing social and on to a person-to-person platform. These employees not only monitor direct messages from customers, but also use platforms like HelpSocial to search the entire social web for keywords and text related to their brand.
The channel has further evolved with the introduction of chat bots, notably on the Facebook Messenger platform. A well-designed support chat bot can quickly provide a consumer with relevant information or solve a minor problem before routing to its human peer, essentially doing to social what IVR—Interactive Voice Response— did to the telephone. Of all the requests we get for social channels, messaging apps by far have the bigger demand, in part because of their easy integration with bots.
While SMS messaging may seem like the most mundane of these three digital channels, it presents great opportunity. The primary reason is that since SMS operates on an open protocol, there is no specific browser or username required.
It also offers nearly universal access, since all a customer needs is a cell phone to take advantage of this channel. By offering support over SMS, your business can capitalize on the cultural shift of people opting to send a message instead of making a call, even in their personal lives.
Additionally, when a customer engages support via SMS, savvy contact centers can provide the customer that same phone number to call in. This allows the consumer to call the contact center with a click of a button, while relaying the text conversation to the technician taking the call.
HelpSocial Is There for Your Business
With so many different digital channels converging, it’s important that the contact center has the ability to easily integrate emerging channels into their service workflows. We’ve made this simple. It’s what’s made HelpSocial the #1 platform for integrating digital channels into the contact center. We’d love to connect and see how we can we can make your contact center’s digital transformation easier.