Covid-19 has changed the way we live, work and shop.
From doctors’ appointments to yoga classes, trips to the supermarket and meetings with the boss — everyday activities that once took place in person have now shifted online.
A new era for consumer brands
For businesses – especially retailers – it’s been an earth-shaking shift. When shops and offices closed their doors, customer behaviours changed almost overnight. Demand for online shopping and service surged, with even the most ardent of in-store shoppers making the switch. More than one fifth of UK consumers (21%) tried online shopping for the first time in those first few months of the pandemic . And in the Nordics, 33% of consumers increased their online spending, with 30% saying the shift would be permanent .
But as demand soared, so too did wait times for deliveries and customer service. To begin with, customers were understanding – tolerant even – of these delays. Many businesses had never experienced such steep demand before and had to race to implement new self-service channels. But as time went on, this tolerance diminished, and today customers rightly expect businesses to have adapted their ways.
Customer expectations in 2021
Today, customers expect fast, seamless service across all customer service channels, from voice to email, web chat and more. But most importantly, they expect the same level of attention, empathy and care that they would receive in-store.
According to Salesforce’s latest ‘State of the Connected Customer’ report, 58% of customers say the pandemic has raised their customer service standards, and 68% say they expect to be shown empathy. However, just 37% of customers say they receive it .
The problem is, most customer service teams just aren’t yet equipped to deliver the level of empathy and personalisation that customers now crave. While a voice call can help an agent gauge a customer’s mood based on the tone and pitch of their voice, and can certainly deliver a more empathetic experience than an email or web chat, it still doesn’t compare to a face-to-face conversation. Nonverbal communication, including eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and posture, plays such an important role in not just understanding the needs of a customer but also establishing rapport.
That’s why we believe every customer service team should be equipped with video tools in the contact centre.
Deliver empathetic customer service with video
Every day, millions of people now use video to connect with their colleagues, friends and family. So there’s no reason it can’t be part of their customer service journeys too.
Video can help your customer service team:
- Build closer relationships with customers with friendlier, more personalised experiences
- Help customers make purchases, through visual demonstrations and/or consultancy
- Establish trust with greater transparency and visual verification; and
- Reduce churn by diffusing tension and providing a personal touch when loyalty hangs in the balance
Video can also alleviate common frustrations for customers, such as having to describe complex issues or queries that could be better demonstrated visually. Take buying a new set of kitchen cabinets, for example. Instead of trying to describe what their current kitchen looks like, as well as space limitations and what they would like to improve, customers could simply video chat with a customer service agent and show them in real-time. Instantly the agent would be able to recognise and understand what the customer is trying to achieve and point them in the right direction, faster.
In a world where 66% of customers feel treated like a number, providing this extra level of hyper-personalised, empathetic service in the micro-moments that matter could make all the difference.
Go bigger with screen sharing
Screen sharing can also help deliver more empathetic experiences for customers.
By sharing screens and co-browsing with customers, contact centre agents can:
- Assist customers with complex tasks, such as filling out forms or completing a transaction
- Guide customers to the right destination if they become lost or stuck on your website; and
- Eliminate the need for customers to describe complex or technical problems over the phone
If we take the kitchen cabinets example again, screen sharing would enable agents to guide customers all the way from consultation to purchase and order. This could include setting up an online account, using a virtual kitchen planner and filling out an order form. And when it comes time to fill out sensitive details, such as passwords or payment details, built-in security features can obscure this information for the customer’s security and peace of mind.
Contact centres are evolving
This type of end-to-end customer journey is what contact centres can now achieve with the latest cloud contact centre technology.
Pre-covid, the contact centre was just one part of the full customer experience. But now with video, screen sharing, CRM integrations and omnichannel orchestration, it can become a true extension of your shopfront and embodiment of your brand.
Our Evolution of the Contact Centre research with the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA) revealed contact centres are now moving to the centre of their organisations . They are becoming multi-functional business units capable of delivering everything from marketing to sales, billing, technical support and appointment setting. So with the right tools, your agents can deliver the empathetic service that we know builds customer loyalty, as well as actively contribute to driving revenue and achieving your business’s broader goals.
Technology can also play a key role in retaining your best talent. With attrition expected to rise once the pandemic is under control, providing agents with the best tools to do their jobs effectively and with as little frustration as possible, will be crucial to retaining workforces. In the latest ContactBabel report, investing in technology ranked higher than training, coaching and recruiting as the most effective way to support frontline agents today .
Step up your service with video and screen sharing
Puzzel’s cloud contact centre solution is equipped with cutting-edge video and screen sharing tools to help your customer service team deliver smarter, more empathetic customer experiences.