Customer Service – Which Channels are Trending?

Customer Service – Which Channels are Trending?

What are the key trends when customers choose service channel? Working with ContactBabel the contract centre research specialist we have collected information about service channel choice by industry segment. 

It may be no surprise that agent based telephone customer service is still the number one channel used by customers. But with overall share of telephone based customer service reducing, which channels do customers choose instead and why?

Although it may seem difficult for beleaguered customer contact professionals to juggle service levels across five or six different channels, the multichannel revolution has only just begun.

At the most basic, customers will choose to interact with a business through the channel which they believe best suits their requirements, which are usually quite generic regardless of the actual query.

Specifically, customers look for service experiences which are effective, quick, painless and cheap. The question is how best to deliver this across channels?

Service Channels Trends – Which Trend to Follow?

Self-service is found across most industries – there is often at least one function that self-service is suitable for, regardless of what a company actually does – but some sectors use it far more than others.

Some businesses are finding that web self-service is becoming more popular with their customers especially with the uptake of smart-phones which can provide customer services apps and allow web browsing on the move. What other trends did we discover?

Effective, Quick, Painless and Cheap – How do you deliver all at once?

If a channel does not meet these requirements to a significant extent, it is unlikely to succeed. The majority of customer interactions fall into one of two categories: those that are purely transactional and those that require dialogue (interactional):

Transactional Service

Service Interactions such as balance enquiries and travel information, require access to highly-structured business information, and non-automated transactions can require an agent to act simply as an ‘organic interface’ between the back office systems and the customer. Such communications may be dealt with effectively by self-service and increasingly are. Automation requires effective system integration but little work on content and knowledge management.

Interactional Service 

Interactions such as technical help desks, complex or multiple enquiries or where the customer requires reassurance and confirmation – require actual dialogue and discussion between the customer and the business’s representative.  For these investment in both systems and knowledge base is required. System will ensure the interaction is slick while investing in the knowledge base will ensure the interaction achieves the desired outcome for the customer.

Cost Saving or Service Improvements?

Self-service can provide huge cost savings to businesses. Some organisations, having seen this, perhaps got overexcited about the potential for cost savings, and implemented self-service too enthusiastically and sometimes inappropriately. The large number of poor customer experiences over the years with self-service would seem to suggest that this is still an issue. The question is how to avoid the pitfalls and achieve better service delivery at a reduced cost.

Together with ContactBabel we have created a comprehensive guide to multichannel service delivery packed with insights, industry data, recommendations and ideas for how to address the multichannel service delivery challenges faced by the customer contact industry.

This summary is just skimming the surface. For anyone facing the challenge of multichannel service delivery this comprehensive 95 page report is essential reading. Download your copy now:

Join the discussion, what are your own experiences of preparing for and delivering multichannel customer service?