It’s 5 o’clock Somewhere

October 23, 2017
Andrea Lowe, Marketing Content Writer

Imagine opening a business in today’s retail landscape and planning to have only a bricks and mortar space operating from 9-5.

You might as well throw in the towel before you even get started.

Consumer habits have changed dramatically in this online era, and it’s no longer feasible for businesses to expect to survive operating solely during regular business hours, especially given today’s global marketplace.

Customers in all time zones want to interact with companies when it’s convenient for them – and more often than not, that means outside of 9-5. Why should a customer in Vancouver get a different level of service than a customer in Boston simply because they start and end their days at different times? They shouldn’t. That might seem like an obvious statement, but many businesses are still making this mistake today.

Why? For many companies, staying open 24/7 or having call center agents available around the clock is too expensive to even consider, so offering limited support windows seems like an acceptable and cost-effective compromise. But this thinking couldn’t be further from the truth. In our digital age, self-service solutions provide highly effective options for around the clock customer service at a marginal cost to organizations. These smart self-service solutions, like virtual chat agents or web-aware Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, are ideal for most businesses because they allow customers to engage and get quick answers to a range of common or complex inquiries when it’s most convenient for them.

No more suffering through hours of Hold Music’s Greatest Hits or worse, being greeted with a canned recording instructing you to call back during regular business hours – smart self-service solutions are able to rapidly resolve a range of customer interactions, virtually transforming your customer service offering into a 24/7 outfit while empowering customers to interact in a way that works for them. Self-service technologies are also gaining popularity amongst consumers. A recent Forrester study found that web and mobile self-service interactions are continually gaining traction, with more consumers now opting for web or mobile self-service over speaking with an agent on the phone.1

Still not convinced? Learn more about a few benefits these self-service solutions can offer your business:

Virtual Agents (chatbots)

Chatbots are a top choice for many businesses because they can be deployed on nearly any interface and mimic all the qualities and capabilities of your best human agents. Smart chatbots can:

  • Capture and leverage data to improve customer experiences and better predict intent.
  • Provide a conversational solution that resolves more customer interactions within the automated self-service channels, increasing first contact resolution rates.
  • Enable customers to self-serve more effectively, from answering simple questions to completing complex tasks with a chatbot.
  • Engage clients at the right time with the right message and help them complete their interactions seamlessly using context and history handoff.

Web-Aware IVR

Most customer journeys begin on the web and transition to phone only when customers can’t find the answers they’re after. When they do call your company, they expect the experience to be an extension of the journey already underway and won’t want to start all over. Unlike many outdated IVR systems that most consumers dread, a modern, web-aware IVR can understand where the customer is in their journey and is often able to predict their intent, essentially eliminating the frustration caused from forced repetition (or being forced to listen to hours of jazz flute covers while on hold).

The benefits offered from a web-aware IVR include:

  • Reduces repeat contacts by allowing customers to complete transactions and resolve issues quicker.
  • Integrates with your web services.
  • Helps contain more calls in self-service channels and increases efficiency by anticipating customer needs and offering rich visual aids to expedite resolutions.
  • Able to understand accents, dialects and tones in over 90 languages with 95% accuracy.

Learn more about the how these smart self-service solutions can benefit your business.

1https://go.forrester.com/blogs/16-03-03-your_customers_dont_want_to_call_you_for_support/

Andrea Lowe, Marketing Content Writer
Andrea Lowe, Marketing Content Writer

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