For decades, consumers have turned to 1-800 numbers when they experienced product or service issues. Companies favored these channels as issues and complaints were addressed 1-on-1 and isolated from the general population. Now an increasing number of consumers are bypassing contact centers and turning to the Internet and social media communities to air their grievances.
Instead of lashing out at a company representative, consumers are finding it more gratifying to take their issues public, forming a movement with a few mouse clicks. The voice of the customer has now amplified. This shift in consumer behavior does not signal the death of the contact center model, but an evolution in the way companies must address customer concerns.
Here are 5 ways contact centers can connect with customers using Web 2.0 channels:
Consumer to consumer (C-to-C) help – We’ve all heard of B-to-B or B-to-C, but now there is a new term that contact centers need to start embracing which is C-to-C or consumer-to-consumer help. Thanks to social media communities, customers now have the option of posting their product or service question online for other customers to help answer. That community could be a simple Facebook fan page or a community page off of the company website similar to Dell’s Support Community. The most important part is that there is someone monitoring it to ensure correct responses 24/7/365.
Crowdsourcing customer feedback – Typically, when contact centers want to collect customer feedback, it’s been done using a telephone. The feedback resides with the customer and representative gathering it. The results usually end up on the executive’s desks and left up to them to decide what’s worthy or not. The better alternative is to set up an online community where idea sharing, suggestions, and voting are encouraged. When an idea gets posted, the rest of the community can vote it up or down. Good ideas surface to the top, less significant ideas fall to the bottom.
“How To” Videos – YouTube is the second largest search engine and “How To” searches are the No. 1 searched for item. If you hear customers say they are having a hard time figuring out how to place an order, or how to log on to their account, why not create a how-to video and upload it to a YouTube channel on the company’s website and help them get the answer on their own.
Video Agents – Video is the future of all communication. Since the launch of the iPhone4 and iPad 2, where Apple strategically placed a camera on the front and back of the device, FaceTime and Skype has never been easier! The trend is catching on for good reason; nothing can replace good old fashion face-to-face communication. Customers are going to start requesting the option of speaking with a customer service rep through video. The benefits are two-fold: less hostile customers and deeper relationships.
Mobile Apps & SMS Strategies – Ordering, viewing or paying bills, or rating your experience are all activities that can be done using a smart phone and mobile app. On the flip side, signing up to receive an order reminder or payment confirmation are activities that can be done using SMS strategies. Employ these two channels and watch your contact center call volume drop.