Is Your Contact Center Available to All of Your Customers?

    Your company contact center is the first line of communication with your customers. Companies can no longer rely solely on voice interactions via a toll-free number. Those who excel in customer service realize they must keep pace with emerging technology trends while keeping costs in line. How does your contact center measure up?

    With the advent of Web chat, email and mobile phones, companies have had to figure out how to offer additional channels for customers to communicate with them. Unified Communications provides a single platform that integrates all of these capabilities to make it easier for companies to add channels and simplify procedures.

    The top communication channels customers prefer are:

    1. Voice – especially desirable when there is an emergency or major issue to resolve

    2. Web chats – real-time assistance direct from the website

    3. Email – ideal for general questions or inquiries

    4. Mobile devices – perfect for on-the-go support

    Offering more than voice communication is good for the bottom line as well. “Web chats and emails are usually more cost effective than a voice call,” says Steve McElderry, director of product management for contact center at ShoreTel. “When a voice call is queued, you’re consuming network resources that can add up. Web chat in particular can be more efficient as it allows agents to handle multiple sessions simultaneously.”

    How the Cloud Plays a Role

    Organizations are increasingly outsourcing solutions, such as CRM, telephone and contact centers, to cloud providers. According to McElderry, minimizing risks and improving efficiencies are key drivers, particularly with contact center growth. “The contact center is customer-facing so businesses require a stable environment that will minimize risks and provide strong security,” he says. “The cloud can fulfill this need because providers’ business depends on following best practices and investing in robust security mechanisms.”

    Influence of Mobile Devices

    While customers may want to use their mobile device to communicate with companies, companies can leverage mobile technology to reach customers. Because a mobile device is typically associated with a single individual, more accurate data can be attained to customize service. Instead of sales calls most people ignore, businesses can text customers with relevant information, goods and services that enhance customer experience and retention.

    Future Contact Center Trends

    Despite rapidly evolving technology environments, contact centers should continue to adopt leading voice solutions. “Voice communications will become more interoperable with new, innovative technologies that will be integrated into a single, powerful platform,” says McElderry. “Voice will supplement other communication methods.”

    The next phase for contact centers will likely build upon the current technologies, such as cloud, mobility, video and social media. While social media is poised to become another vital channel, McElderry believes most enterprises aren’t quite ready to handle social media in the same way they handle a Web chat or email. “The consequences of your response are more visible to the world and will require some level of oversight.”

    ShoreTel Is a Leader in Contact Center Solutions

    Contact centers have evolved in a relatively short amount of time, thanks to increasing consumer demand for alternative methods of communication. ShoreTel provides integrated tools to make it easier for companies to adapt to these new trends, provide excellent customer service and ensure every customer is reached. Click here to download our new contact center whitepaper that expands on the ideas shared in this post.

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