How to Transform Your Contact Center Using Messaging

[24]7.ai | March 12, 2020

Forward-thinking companies are starting to speak the consumer’s language. We see it in social media accounts where brands post memes and invite consumers to comment. Most corporate websites now offer chat capabilities, and even doctor’s offices have started to communicate via SMS. But many businesses are still hesitant to jump onto messaging platforms.

Consumers are way ahead — more than five billion people around the world spend their time on messaging apps like Whatsapp, WeChat, and Facebook Messenger.1

76% of Americans say chat-based messaging would be their preferred support channel if they knew they would get an immediate response1

41% of millennials say that they would be truly satisfied if they could use messaging or SMS to connect with companies and organizations2

And yet, 90% of contact center agents are still focused on voice communication3 and 70% of contact centers don’t train agents to support multiple channels.4 If companies want to provide the level of customer service that consumers demand, contact centers need to match consumer expectations of convenience, personalization, and efficiency.

52% of consumers would switch away from brands that don’t personalize communications4

91% of consumers say they’re more likely to buy from brands that remember them4

Synchronous communications like phone calls and traditional, real-time chat fall short on each of these fronts, but asynchronous messaging delivers on all three. Not only does messaging make customers happy, it makes contact centers more effective—and more efficient.

Re-imagining the customer conversation

Here's a simple scenario: A customer sees a QR code on an ad from a service provider. When they scan the code, they are taken to a familiar messaging app where a chatbot tells them about the service. When the customer chooses to opt in, the chatbot introduces them to a live agent.

Virtual Agent & Chat Demo

The agent joins the conversation, already knowing who the customer is and what they want. They can look at the customer’s comments, review suggested responses from AI, and encourage the customer to sign up for a medium-tier service. When the customer is ready, the agent can push signup forms directly into the messaging app. While the customer completes the forms, the agent moves to another conversation to resolve a service issue, and yet another conversation to send out payment forms for a customer whose account is past due. Then the agent can return to the first customer to confirm that the signup was a success and invite them to reach out again in the future. All of this can be done within the time it normally takes an agent to complete one customer conversation on the phone.

Now, take that transformation of the agent’s time and ability and multiply it across your entire contact center. Imagine the difference to your overall operation.

Clear up issues for good

Many customers avoid contact centers because they anticipate frustration, don’t have the time in their busy schedule for a long call, or suffer from "phone anxiety". And they certainly don’t want to have to start over and repeat themselves if they’ve already spoken to another agent about the issue, but failed to resolve it.

44% of Americans would rather scrub a toilet than call customer support, with “long waits and hold times” accounting for 60% of that subset1

This creates a lot of backlog and chronically unhappy customers. But by putting the conversation in the customer’s hands (literally), AI and agents can provide more options. Consumers can park a message when they think of it and return at their convenience. They can test solutions and report back, and they’re more likely to give updates. This back-and-forth freedom helps agents and bots turn long-term issues into lasting solutions.

Messaging also accommodates supportive media like videos, images, and attachments that customers can review at their leisure, instead of getting tedious step-by-step instructions over the phone. Agents can even include emojis to create a positive moment in a stressful situation.

Work smarter, not harder

Because they aren’t weighed down by long phone scripts or copious notes, agents can hop between multiple conversations or focus all their attention on solving one issue. They can hand off the conversation to another agent or bot seamlessly, with context — no playing "telephone" with consumer concerns — and add comments only as needed. And because the conversational thread is preserved, the experience stays consistent even when different agents come in and out of the conversation across time.

Messaging also maximizes the relationship between . While agents may be more personal, AI can process information and anticipate needs more efficiently. It can extract conversational intent, understand complex human sentences and emotions, and never has to "catch up" on a conversation. By knowing when to hand-off communications, alerting emotional cues, and serving up relevant responses, AI can help agents to work faster and more accurately.

It’s no surprise that agents are happier when they have more information, less busywork, and better resources. But their morale is also affected by customer interactions. Messaging ensures that customers feel taken care of before they even get to an agent — there aren’t any aggravating menus, and communication is on their terms. This translates to less friction and more positive productivity all around.

Build a better business

Deflecting high-cost calls to messaging channels significantly increases operational efficiency and reduces costs. You’ll have more opportunities to improve service, deepen engagement, and convert customers. Click to tweet. An intelligent AI framework can also help to identify and capitalize on cross-sell and upsell opportunities. When consumers can engage on their terms, they’re much more likely to have a sales-oriented conversation. Choosing the right partner to support messaging across channels can even make your contact center less IT-dependent and more secure.

With an omnichannel platform, messaging makes it easy to maintain a strong brand ethos — you get to control every aspect of your brand experience and can carry conversations seamlessly within your brand voice, so customers feel they can trust you no matter how much time has passed. And that drives long-term loyalty and revenue.

A new kind of connection

Messaging not only meets the demands of today’s consumers, it opens up an entire ecosystem where messaging, ads, notifications, bots, and live agents can work together in a seamless omnichannel experience — all while improving productivity and efficiency, transforming your contact center — and your business.

To learn more about implementing messaging for your business, schedule a demo today.

1 "Why Messaging is the Only Support Channel that Aligns with Today’s On-the-Go Lifestyle"

2 Digital Marketing Magazine

3 Salesforce

4 "State of Messaging 2019"

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