Live Agent Series – Part 4
In our moving world today, people have stuff to do. We’re all trying to get to our next meeting on time, make time to hear about our kid’s day, or just get the daily chores done so we have time to ourselves. Because of the variety of needs on each person’s plate – nobody has time to wait for customer support.
As customers, clients, or users – the time is of the essence, and it’s critical that your Omni-Channel support network understands that. Through the use of different channels and routing settings, Omni-Channel is able to match the speed of anyone trying to connect to your support network. Whether the user is typing a lengthy email to explain a problem, or have their most recent purchase information texted to them. Either way, we got you!
Now that you understand your Omni-Channel is the recipe for your success. Follow along with us as we explain each ingredient for your customer success cake.
As you just read, the first ingredient is to make sure your Omni-Channel network focuses on the needs of those who will be utilizing it. How do you do that? Simple – you build your network with agents who have the skills needed to support those users, customers, or clients. Your agents making up the customer success team have to be able to meet the needs of your target audience; otherwise, you are not providing any value to them.
Secondly, like I already told you “people have stuff to do!” Which means you have to resolve their needs quickly and effectively. You already met the effective part; now you need to focus on the speed. This is achieved by implementing capacity management and agent skills.
Your Omni-Channel should only allow a limited workload per agent. When an agent takes too large of a workload, customers are left aggravated and waiting. At this point, an agent’s skills come into play. Being sent to an agent that can’t help you doesn’t speed things up, does it? No. But being routed to an agent with the skills to quickly get you on your way, gives you the best Omni-Channel experience.
Don’t forget the spices – you have to add a dash of connectivity. Your Omni-Channel support agents have to be just as connected as your users are. If the people you are supporting typically use their mobile phones and rarely make phone calls, you better be ready to support that. It’s important to know which of the many channels you’ll need to support and what your users will be using those channels for.
Speaking of channels – I hope you remembered to add the channel spices! Have you thought about the channels you need to support and why? Well first, think about how each channel can be desirably used by your target audience. Relating back to the example at the beginning: you may want to use SMS messaging for quick responses such as account balances or last login dates, whereas email would be saved for a lengthy complaint that will take several stages to resolve, such as credit fraud.
The list of different support channels goes on and on. But knowing the channels your customers use to best solve their current needs helps you customize the experience for those customers. Making each communication channel serves a specific situation, rather than mindlessly giving your users a large list of options.
Take into consideration that not every channel is useful and you’ll need to consider what channels not to add; just like not every spice belongs in every recipe. The goal of setting up an Omni-Channel support network is not growing it past the point where it is useful. The more channels supported, the more agents are needed, even as some channels go unused. Eventually, you will have more agents than needed, incurring the cost, but not helping customers.
Building your Omni-Channel network support team
When building your team, it’s important to first look at the skills required. Just like hiring a chef to cook the desired food at your restaurant, support team members should have skills-based around the products and services they are being hired for. Otherwise, you will need an extensive training program just to bring them up to speed. Knowing how to fix a WindowsOS doesn’t help when your entire org supports Mac. Once you have pinpointed your agents that meet the required hard skills, you have to focus on the soft skills.
Don’t forget, your agents may be dealing with customers or users that may have just lost their job, had an expensive product fail on them while traveling or are calling to collect the insurance on a deceased loved one. Agents need to be empathetic and able to relate to what the customer is going through. As important as it is to get the customer’s issue resolved as quickly as possible, let’s keep in mind we are dealing with another human who could have just had the worst day of their life.
On the flip side, Omni-Channel offers agents who excel at their job many different ways to shine. With skills-based routing, for example, a good agent’s skills will be recorded and reflected. That agent will be the front line and given priority over the other agents, opening the door for many incentives based on call times and post-call scoring mechanisms.
Lastly, as a manager or owner of the Omni-Channel support network, building a team is almost useless unless feedback is given and implemented. Your customer satisfaction rates should be used to find the root cause of your problems. Are customers waiting a long time? Do your agents have the right skills? Are your agents displaying the proper level of soft skills? Your customers should be the source of these answers. Once you find problems, they should be dealt with as quickly as possible.
Improving Customer Interactions
We’ve tackled several ways to improve customer interactions with an Omni-Channel support network. But let’s recap and call out a few specifically:
- Knowing your customers
- Quick and effective transactions
- Personal interactions
Knowing your customers loops back to how you set up your Omni-Channel. Like I’ve been hammering into your brains the majority of this article: You set up your Omni-Channel support network to know your customer. Your channels and supported skills all connect in a way that give your customer the best experience.
Second, the quicker and more effective your transactions are, the higher your customer satisfaction will be. Customers don’t ring call centers because they want to have a conversation; they have a problem that they expect you to solve. Don’t make them wait or waste their time with an agent who doesn’t know something. Be quick and effective and your satisfaction scores will show it.
Third, we can’t forget that at the end of the day we are all human. Our personal interactions are what really drive home the experience of every communication. Always talk like you’re happy to help, and use your voice or text to communicate to your customer, user or client that you are connecting and listening to their concerns and celebrating the resolution of the issue with them.
For your convenience, I have attached a customer support glossary to help you get a better understanding of the icing on the success cake.
Is your organization interested in or currently setting up an Omni-Channel customer success network? Please contact us so we can help you out.