Modern Customer Service Must Be Engaging, Flexible

    Customers in today's business world know what they want. Often, they do not so much desire what is being sold as they do the support that comes with it. In this sense, modern consumers are looking for a relationship with the companies that they frequent.

    "Customer interaction now becomes as important, if not more important, than the product itself," wrote Forbes contributor Mike Kavis. "The products and service are on display in real time so the quality of service, the cleanness of the operation, and responsiveness to real time events are crucial."

    An organization that comes off as disinterested in their patrons cannot survive in today's economic climate. Thanks to advancements in mobile technology, people now more than ever are demanding instant gratification on many fronts in their lives, and customer service is absolutely one of them. Contact centers need to be able to process countless numbers of queries over a broad variety of channels.

    Given the ever-shifting demands of customers and employees alike, businesses need to examine how a cloud based phone system can impact their organization-specific practices. There is level of flexibility and engagement that has to occur regarding help desks of the present day, and it is quickly helping to make the cloud a status quo throughout many industries.

    Channels Of Preference Among Customers Changing

    Contact centers of previous generations had a far less significant number of considerations to make. Generally speaking, there was only one kind of connection that needed to be in place - voice. But as communications have continued to morph, more people began leveraging a greater amount of channels. The ease of use that has become synonymous with modern telecom devices has placed a certain kind of pressure on companies to keep up.

    "Today's ultra-empowered shoppers have a very low tolerance for poor customer service, crave a more-intimate relationship, where retailers know their needs, wants and preferences, and want retailers to respect their time and business," a release for KANA Software stated.

    According to a recent study conducted by KANA, the Web was found to be the most popular channel of connection in terms of customer service, with 24.5 percent of respondents regarding it as their favorite. Web was followed by email, with 17.9 percent of those polled citing their preferences as such. Elsewhere in the report, 40.5 percent of respondents expressed that online customer service was better online than in a retailer's physical storefront.

    This trend is representative of a major shift for the business world. People want to feel as though companies are accessible and able to provide rapid assistance whenever an issue arises. According to KANA senior director of product marketing Scott Hays, employees will frequently have to operate several channels at one time in order to facilitate a truly immersive experience. This can, for example, be seen in a phone conversation that is supplemented by online interactions through a desktop computer.

    "It's no surprise that organizations are leveraging Web self-service and email more and more as our survey shows consumers prefer these channels," Hays said in the KANA statement. "We not only see Web and email infused with strong knowledge management, we have also observed that Web self-service addresses a new way that consumers are engaging with brands—in a multi-modal fashion."

    The Customer Is Always Right

    While there could potentially be some hesitation regarding the upheaval and replacement of an office phone system, it is becoming evident that telecom and customer relationship management alike are headed in a clear direction. There is a growing need to have effective unified communications assets available for help desk representatives. According to 1to1 Media editor-in-chief Mila D'Antonio, the desire for efficient assistance underscores the importance of having the right call center software in place. Without it, customers are sure to seek out competing companies who are able to provide interactions in this wheelhouse.

    "Consumers want the ability to find the answers to their customer service questions, at the time and place of their choosing," D'Antonio wrote. "Because consumers' preferences to use digital channels for service inquires continues to grow, companies must advance their digital service strategies through a digital-first mindset. Achieving this goal depends on closing the gap between the traditional and digital service channels and enabling cultural change."

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