To meet the demands of today’s customers, many contact centers are investing in technology to balance operational excellence with service excellence. Conversational messaging is one technology that helps contact centers achieve that balance, while giving customers what they want.

Customers want to be heard. But they also want to experience an engagement model tuned to their needs. Text messaging platforms are built to support the modern customer who is mobile and impatient. Messaging allows them to converse from wherever and whenever they choose to engage. Messaging is also a medium they are familiar with, so it’s comfortable and satisfies their need for immediate engagement.

Deloitte predicts that phone calls for customer service will likely fall from today’s 64% of contacts to 47% in 2019. Meanwhile, chat and messaging is expected to grow from 6% to 16%, ahead of both video chat and social media. With less than half of service interactions relying upon phone as the preferred channel for customer service in 2019, it’s time to adapt to what your customers want.

After all, customer experience drives customer choice. Contact center respondents to Deloitte’s survey agree, saying customer experience is predominantly influenced by providing accurate service and information (66%) and by making interactions effortless (62%).

Customer Experience Drives Customer Choice

Conversations with customers are markedly better when the engagement is enhanced by context. One of the things customers dislike most is having to repeat themselves and feeling like an anonymous account to the companies they contact for support. They may remember the experience, but are they remembering for the right reasons?

Converse is the text messaging platform that puts conversations in context. Each conversation is recorded in the customer’s record in your CRM so that customer service agents can quickly access the right conversation and step seamlessly into the conversation as needed—and whether synchronous or asynchronous, over time.

It’s important to remember that customer experience is the customer’s perception based on the outcome of each interaction, conversation, or engagement with your company’s people, products or services. And customers are clearly voting for the ease of a conversation, just not as often over the phone. That’s where conversational messaging comes in. Messaging and chat are replacing phone calls.

Your customers want accurate information via efficient and easy service interactions. Their preferred methods of engagement with family and friends, as well as how and where they shop are habits that work for their lifestyles. Text messaging is fast, efficient and easy. It’s comfortable and allows them to communicate with businesses from wherever they are and whenever the need arises.

In fact, research by NewVoiceMedia found that only 27% of survey respondents said calls are the most effective way to resolve an issue. When the experience—as defined by the customer—is inconvenient or inadequate, they are likely to jump ship. And defection is on the rise with consumers who reported leaving a business due to inadequate customer service jumping from 29% in 2016 to 67% in 2018. That’s $75B in economic value that walked in just the United States.

Contact Centers Need to Move from Cases to Conversations

Keeping pace with customer expectations means that companies need to consider how they show up in their customers’ lives in a way that provides mutual value. When you think about a “case” – it’s most likely to be a series of disconnected actions by the company and the customer. At least, that’s how customers have reported they feel when interacting with traditional customer service channels.

Yet, when you think about text messaging as a conversation, what you have is a connected set of “turns” or engagement and responses in relation to a customer’s inquiry and resolution of their issue. The beauty of it is that conversational messaging can be synchronous or asynchronous, but it will still be contained in the context of one conversation—easy for both your customer and your agent to follow and continue—without need for repetition.

Part of the resistance by contact centers to conversational messaging is the investment of time that increases costs to serve. The contact center has long been considered an obligation and a cost, rather than a top-line contributor, a focus on reducing costs via reducing average handle time (AHT) has had an adverse impact on customer satisfaction and lifetime value.

However, as first call resolution (FCR) takes precedence—given customers’ demands for accurate, fast and easy service experiences—this is the optimal time to consider adding messaging to your service channels. And the cost trade off will not be as high as you may have estimated.

One of the benefits of messaging as a channel is that an agent can handle six messaging conversations to one phone call. A combination of automated and human-driven messages can keep the all the conversation moving forward, allowing the agent to spend time in the conversation where she or he is most needed.

In comparison to chat bots that are mostly used for simple inquiries, using messaging that combines automated and human interactions can allow them to tackle more complex cases without needing to ask the customer to change channels. Creating continuous, connected conversations helps customers reach successful outcomes in the use of your products, on an emotional level and in brand affinity.

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Categories: Text Messaging for Support

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