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Picture this: an angry customer is trying to resolve an issue that they are having with your company. After exploring your website for 10 minutes, the customer cannot find the information needed to resolve her issue on her own, so she opts to email you.  In response she receives an immediate email back that tells her the question will be answered in the next couple of hours.  When she gets the response, however, it reads like someone just copy and pasted some information from a template and doesn’t have the specifics that will resolve her issue.   She returns to your website but unfortunately, you do not have chat capabilities, so she digs around further to find your phone number and upon calling, realizes your call center is already closed.  This is not a customer that is going to remain loyal to your brand.

In today’s omni-channel environment, customers want to contact your company in a variety of ways, including through voice, email, social and chat. According to The Northridge Group’s 2016 State of Customer Service Experience Report, 55% of consumers report using two or more communication channels to contact a company or brand before an issue is resolved.  This not only affects your customer’s experience but also impacts your bottom line through increased operational costs.  To better manage the quality of the customer experience and improve first contact resolution, you need to understand the challenges associated with omni-channel contact centers, how your customer wants to resolve their issues and provide a consistent experience across all points of contact.  The most efficient way to achieve that understanding is to listen to your customers and monitor all points of contact through an omni-channel quality monitoring program.

Why Email Quality Monitoring Matters

Email presents a notable challenge to the contact center experience, especially since agents may or may not have been trained for customer service in email communication. With 24% of customers relying on email as their channel of choice, customer service agents have a large opportunity to wow and satisfy the customer and build brand loyalty through this channel. Some of the most common email contact issues that can be addressed by quality monitoring include:

  • Mechanical responses. Customers frequently submit an email after they have unsuccessfully attempted to resolve an issue through voice or chat. When the reply they receive from the contact center is cold and impersonal, it only adds to their frustration with the brand. Emails need to be monitored so agents can be coached to empathize with customers in email responses.
  • Lack of specificity. Nearly one-third of consumers will try another communications channel if their issue is not adequately addressed within one hour. When responses to customer emails lack detailed and specific solutions to the customer’s issue, the customer loops back to the call center, creating a longer resolution time, added operating costs, and compounding customer frustrations. With appropriate email monitoring, agents can be better trained to clarify customers’ problems and provide the appropriate responses.
  • Grammatical errors. Language and grammar errors are more than embarrassing—they can give customers a weak brand impression. When writing emails, agents often use templates to improve response times, however, without an understanding of how to appropriately use the templates, they are riddled with grammatical errors and leave a sense of “cut and paste” versus a personalized experience.  Email monitoring highlights these kinds of errors and creates opportunities for improving agents’ writing skills to leave the customer feeling valued.

It’s also important to understand the reason why customers chose to use the email channel in the first place. Perhaps email is the customer’s preferred channel. However, in many cases, customers use email because they are having difficulty navigating the company website or performing self-service activities. With quality monitoring, you can uncover these types of business insights to improve the usability of your site for your customer and decrease the number of questions your contact center needs to field.

Addressing the Challenges of Chat

One in five consumers turn to online chat as an alternative to telephone, and millennials are most likely to use this medium. Effective chat systems quickly connect online customers with an available agent. However, in addition to having the right technology, it’s important to implement a robust quality monitoring system to measure chat interactions and prevent common chat challenges.

  • Poor customer service and inconsistency. Chat creates opportunities to provide exceptional customer service in real-time. However, to generate value to the customer and the brand, chat interactions need to be accurate and helpful, anticipating and proactively solving customers’ problems. They need to accurately echo the information that is being shared with customers across the other points of contact.  Chat monitoring can also be useful for making sure that agents validate customer information and confirm that the customer has permission to exchange chat information.
  • Inadequate chat handling. Chat monitoring ensures that sessions are timely, useful and personal. For agents, the challenge is often finding ways to manage delays and complete the interaction in a reasonable timeframe, while at the same time providing a personalized and helpful experience that deepens the customer’s relationship with the brand. The use of chat templates can be invaluable in helping agents ask the right questions and quickly resolve the customer’s concerns.
  • Weak writing skills. Whenever possible, agents should be encouraged to use free form text in chat because it appears more genuine and personal to customers. Chat monitoring offers an assurance that agents are using positive, upbeat language as well as words and phrases that reinforce your brand and align with the customer’s technical knowledge.

Chat experiences must be fulfilling for customers with discussed actions summarized at the end of the session.

The key to creating a brand loyal customer who enjoys interacting with your company is creating an effective omni-channel strategy that is constantly improved through quality monitoring across all points of contact.