Published: July 18, 2017 | Comments
The key to an effective omnichannel support strategy is access. Customers need access to the support team wherever they turn: social media, email, SMS, live chat, or phone.
Access plays an important role on the other end of the line as well. Customer service agents with the right information available to them at the right time deliver a much more comprehensive omnichannel customer experience. Use these three tips as a launch pad for creating great training content for an omnichannel team.
1.) Understand the Customer Journey
Omnichannel support was the biggest support trend of 2016 for a reason—agents have massive amounts of information at their fingertips. This allows support team members to solve customer issues faster and improve the overall customer experience.
But support leaders must explain what their team members should do with all this information. Sheila McGee-Smith of McGee Smith Analytics noted in a recent interview that teams often falter by throwing support agents into complex omnichannel interactions without the right context:
“You can’t just give a laundry list of ‘these are the last 10 interactions we’ve had with this customer.’ Companies have to do a better job of providing customer journey management systems that give reps information that they can easily digest.”
Of course customer journey management systems and other pieces of contact center technology come with their own learning curve, but Sheila’s point goes deeper than that. Omnichannel support reps need to be well-versed in a customer's journey and experience up until the point of contact. When training new—and existing—support agents, make sure that your learning materials contain information on the customer journey, and how reps should react to different situations at different touchpoints in that journey.
2.) Maximize Downtime for Productivity
The rapid pace of omnichannel support places a larger emphasis on each individual support representative. For teams looking to maximize productivity and get the most out of a fixed number of hours in the day, view every minute that isn’t spent with customers as an opportunity to improve the company.
I recently spoke with Matt Burnaford, Customer Service Manager at Headsets.com who couldn’t emphasize this productivity hack enough. Even though it sounds simple, Matt sees a lot of support teams fail to utilize these precious minutes: “When the phone isn’t ringing, there are other things that need to be done,” he says, “No one really likes to sit there and not be working. Take advantage of people’s drive to work and find productive work that can help the team when they aren’t on the phone.”
Of course, this level of productivity means that support team members need to be empowered enough to work in those rare moments of downtime. Building lessons and training documents that explain the ways that reps can do good work when they aren’t with a customer is a great place for support leaders to start.
3.) Use Meaningful Key Performance Indicators
Key Performance Indicators are signposts for all companies, but are exceptionally important for support teams. According to the 2016 Global Customer Experience Benchmark, 71.5% of support leaders agree that analytics enable better rep performance. Choosing the right KPIs and being transparent about how they are tracked is a great way for support leaders to show their teams the results that their customer interactions have.
David Tull, Quality Assurance Manager for CoverMyMeds, is open with his team about sharing where they are with KPIs and what it means going forward. When talking about his team’s “Time on Hold,” he had this to say:
"This was usually a really good indicator, on a micro level, of support quality and customer satisfaction. We wanted to get away from the culture of calling in and being placed on hold while the rep is working. I wanted my reps talking to the customer and walking them through what they’re doing.”
David and his team used the Time on Hold indicator to change how they interacted with their customers. But, that wouldn’t have been possible if David and the other leaders were reading those numbers in a vacuum without the input of their teams. Support leaders must make performance changes based on KPIs within the context of their omnichannel teams.
Each rep should understand how they impact metrics. If performance dips, they should know what they need to do in order to right the ship. For example, tracking First Call Resolution can be a double-edged sword. A high FCR percentage could mean that customers contacts are being handled quickly and thoroughly, or it could mean that reps aren’t asking questions because they’re worried that the customer will write back. Training content that explains the need for good customer experience over a better KPI will generally result in happier customers and a better reflection of the support team at large.
These are not the end-all, be-all of training tips for your omnichannel support contact center team, but sharing these three lessons with support reps is a good start. This incremental change will have exponential impact on the customer experience in the long run.
Want to learn from other contact center leaders who are successfully delivering omnichannel support? Join us at ICMI Contact Center Demo this September!