When people think of customer service, they often think of the call center. While today’s call center has evolved in many interesting ways, it’s also given way to the idea of the “contact center.” Your customers no longer need to pick up the phone to get in touch; they can email, text, chat, or even log on to Facebook or Twitter to interact with your brand and your customer service representatives. "Going Virtual" is more important than ever, as more and more employees are moving to work-from-home solutions, and your customers are facing new challenges.
With that in mind, businesses need to stop thinking about the “call center.” Instead, they should think about the “contact center,” and the virtual contact center in particular. Offering virtual contact methods is becoming more of a necessity—and the right virtual contact center can help you improve your business.
Multiple Methods of Contact
Today’s communication technology is incredibly diverse. At the turn of the century, most people simply used a phone, while others may have employed fax or email to communicate. Fastforward to today, and people use any number of methods to keep in touch: Chat, text messaging, email, phone calls, and even social media such as Twitter and Facebook are all common methods of communication.
Your contact center should also branch out into new ways of communicating, especially since many of the new methods are even more convenient for your customers. Rather than waiting on hold, the customer can send an email and know you’ll reply to them within 24 or 48 hours. With multiple methods, customers can get in touch with you in any way that’s easy and convenient for them.
More Frequent Contact
Since communication methods have diversified and made communicating easier than ever before, it’s also easier than ever to stay in touch with your customers. Want to ask about customers’ most recent interactions with your brand? Ask them to fill out a quick survey via text or email. Details about a great new promotion can easily be sent the same way.
Getting feedback from your customers helps you understand what you’re doing right and where you can improve, as well as allowing you to offer a unique, tailor-made customer experience. Better yet, since contact can be frequent, you’re likely to stay in touch with even those customers who may not otherwise contact you.
Are your customers independent and techsavvy? If so, you might want to offer them some self-service options. As much as getting in touch with customer service representatives has never been easier, many customers prefer to find the answers themselves—or at least try to find them first.
Offer you customers a searchable knowledge base or a forum where they can ask other users questions. Letting your customers be independent can cut down on the amount of time your customer service reps spend answering the same questions, and it allows your customers to get answers when they need them.
Call centers have rapidly expanded their hours to embrace a 24/7 paradigm. Many businesses now employ multiple centers and a “follow-the-sun” strategy, meaning their customer service reps are located in several different time zones. Such a strategy enables great care for your customers, day or night, while eliminating some of the difficulties of finding people to staff a graveyard shift.
The virtual contact center is even more capable of being “on-call” 24/7 than its call center cousins. Since virtual contact centers are supported through the web, it’s easy for your customers to contact you whenever they find it convenient, and it’s easy for your reps to get back to them in short order—when it’s convenient.
Another huge advantage of the right virtual contact center is data. While call centers collect mass amounts of information about your customers, virtual contact centers collect at least as much data—and in a more efficient manner. You can deliver exceptional customer service while simultaneously collecting information about your customers in order to offer them the best possible customer experience.