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Tech-Enabled — 04.27.2020

How digital strategies can complement high-volume call centers

Austin Westerfeld, Business Development

Many service-based websites I’ve visited over the past few weeks have the same foreboding disclaimer — “Our call volume is extremely high, so please be prepared to wait.”

Maybe you experienced the same thing when you went to change your summer travel plans from flying to driving. Delta and Southwest urged travelers that, unless your flights occur in the next two months, to simply wait to call (or go online) so they could get to people with more urgent travel needs.

Or, maybe you had to file for unemployment or help someone else do so. Florida’s Department of Economic Opportunity has answered two percent of calls and reports wait times of 400 minutes or longer. They recently signed contracts with various agencies to “massively increase call center capacity, develop a mobile-friendly site, buy data management software, and purchase hardware and software services.”

Why are people picking up the phone to call customer service and instead of getting answers to their questions online?

Maybe you were able to make all of your changes online, or maybe you got frustrated when you couldn’t and simply moved on to a phone call or started looking for a new service. Call centers are considered essential services (an ethical dilemma facing many businesses trying to serve and protect), but despite the social distancing challenge, many of us still want to talk to a real person when we have a problem that isn’t clearly addressed on a company website.

For businesses looking to both protect their employees and support their customers in a time of need, a compromise solution needs to exist. Let’s take a look at four examples you can consider for your customer support strategy.

Self-Help Centers 

Customer expectations have evolved with the emergence of digital technologies. Even prior to the stay-at-home order, your operating hours no longer had the luxury of aligning with traditional store hours. If someone needs support at 3 a.m., your business should be ready.

Consider the implementation of self-help centers or an interactive FAQ section, where the next generation of customers is able to quickly resolve problems for themselves.

Customer Portals

A customer portal is a secure platform for two-way information sharing with your customer. You’re providing them with the information they need when they need it, such as payment processing for their bill or a quote on specific services.

Customer portals can be off-the-shelf solutions or custom builds depending on how standard your industry is and what your growth trajectory looks like.

Data Capture 

Large corporations have already put emphasis on data and analytics. Data helps drive critical business decisions in sales and marketing, but oftentimes capturing data is forgotten in the realm of customer service.

Chat sessions alone provide valuable data that can be turned into insights that can help your business optimize products and procedures. Intercom and Drift are two popular services that can maximize your ability to communicate with customers the moment they click onto your website.

Intelligence 

While it can seem like a big hairy goal to apply artificial intelligence (AI) to your operations, today’s technology is making it easier than ever.

Software and AI can help detect issues by picking up on sentiment in a chat box and direct that customer to an online resource or route the call to a subject-matter expert that can handle the specific issue. This is happening right now in healthcare with Authenticx, a new customer data interaction platform, where call center data can now inform healthcare leaders and front-lines administrative staff to answer COVID-19 questions faster.

Identifying the best digital strategy solutions for your business does not have to be a daunting task. Start by evaluating the customer data you already have and look for efficiencies in the customer support pipeline. Consider bringing in the team of experts at Innovatemap to help you ideate on the right digital solution through a workshop with you or your team.

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