Connecting with Clients: Moving Beyond the Phone
With companies having to reduce their staff, engaging with clients by voice became increasingly more difficult. Businesses now have to find alternative ways to communicate with clients; such as email, webchat or SMS.
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Client Engagement Transcript
Aaron: Sadly, we had a lot of companies that were reduced their staffing levels. And so limited staff created this need for client engagement beyond just voice. And so companies that recognize that—I mean, these are discussions that Nate and I particularly started having with clients before COVID hit, but really has accelerated through this time is how do we engage with our clients beyond just the phone, because we might not have the staff to accommodate that, and then offering, being able to find ways to offer real-time self-service options, whether that’s through the website or some other means of communicating with the organization. So those companies that were looking at that were successfully offloading the voice stress and being able to find new and effective ways to engage their customers…
Aaron: Consumer engagement, it doesn’t matter what your businesses or your business model is, we all engage with customers. And we don’t have to be a contact center to start thinking about what our consumer engagement strategies are. And so, for a long time, voice has been King. I would say that it’s still King, but now more than ever, I think we’re starting to see that we have to find more ways to engage with clients beyond just voice. Even before we get there, to define what those different channels or communication paths are, we need to start by understanding now more than ever, when customers contact a business, they’re really looking for four basic things. And one of those is reliability. So when somebody engages with a business, they want to know that that business is dependable. They also are looking for assurance, so they want to make sure that they’ve made the right decision and we can do that. And we can help with that by being helpful when we engage with them and meeting expectations during those different interactions. And then the third one, which I actually probably would put at the top of the list, is empathy. People want to feel understood and they’re looking for personalized attention. And so we’ve all been in that situation where we, we call into customer support and we sit on hold forever. Maybe we get asked a couple of automated questions about our phone number, account number, whatever it is, what we’re calling about. And then we finally get to a point, where somebody picks up and they asked us all those same questions again. Can you imagine that experience now being where you call in and the agent picks up, they already know who you are, they already know what you’re calling about, and they already have all of your contact information about whatever it is your calling in about right there in front of them. And then responsiveness would be the fourth thing, customers don’t want to wait. It doesn’t matter if they’re walking into a store, which we can’t do right now. It doesn’t matter if they’re calling in, doesn’t matter if they’re coming in through an email or a web chat or something like that, they just don’t want to wait. And so with those things in mind, I think now we can form this foundation for any consumer interaction discussion. Where we can start looking at technologies like the use of web chat or SMS or email, or even social media, or all the advancements that companies like Google are doing with artificial intelligence for self-service. So I think what we’re going to start to see is that small businesses in particular will start to invest in not only those products, but start having those discussions. Something else I think we’re going to start to see is that small businesses will begin to invest in more open and flexible communication platforms to bring disparate interactions together into more of a single pane of glass. So we simplify that technology stack that end users are using, especially now as they’re working from home. So rather than having to jump into all these different applications, we can have everything all in one simple pane of glass and be interacting with our customers in different ways.
Aaron: If voice is your only method of communicating, chances are that your remote workforce is probably struggling with internal collaboration and meeting customer needs, or figuring out how to meet those customer needs. And then worse; you’re probably losing out to what could have been potential customers who are now having more meaningful engagements with somebody else, unfortunately.