Hear the word ‘hybrid’ these days and you probably think of hybrid working. But ‘hybrid experiences’ are the next big thing in customer service, Puzzel CEO Frederic Laziou writes.
There’s no doubt this year has been all about hybrid working. With vaccination rates increasing across Europe, many companies have now implemented new working models to allow staff to work from home and the office. Why? Because hybrid working offers staff the best of both worlds. They can work from home when they need to knuckle down without distractions or work around personal commitments. And they can work in the office when they need to interact with colleagues or collaborate on tasks face-to-face.
In short, hybrid working gives staff the freedom to choose where they work based on their needs. And of course, even staff who work from home are only ever a video call away from help if they need.
Hybrid experiences in customer service
Hybrid experiences are about offering this same flexibility to your customers. They’re about giving customers the freedom to choose when to speak to a customer service agent or when to use a self-service channel based on their needs.
Take your local grocery store for example. When your basket is full and you’re ready to purchase your items, you can choose between using a manned checkout or a self-service machine. If you’re in a rush, you might choose the self-service machine to speed up the process and avoid waiting in a queue. But if you prefer to be served by a live person or have a complex request, you might choose the manned counter. Importantly, even if you do choose to self-serve, you can still access live help when you need without having to re-wait in a queue. You just simply press the ‘call assistance’ button and a staff member can be with you in a jiffy.
Now imagine the grocery store is your website or app. With an omnichannel cloud contact centre solution, you can now deliver the same hybrid experiences with live and self-service channels seamlessly connected together. Customers can choose to give you a call or use an automated self-service channel such as a chatbot. And if halfway through the process they decide they’d prefer a little extra help, they can be seamlessly transferred to a live agent via voice, video or web chat.
This is the power of today’s most advanced contact centre as a service (CCaaS) solutions and the foundation of Puzzel’s mission and vision. We help brands to deliver exceptional customer experiences by combining people and technology. We automate when it makes sense and enable your people in the moments that matter, to help you build customer relationships for life.
Tips for implementing a hybrid customer service strategy
With a hybrid customer service strategy, you can serve your customers more efficiently, effectively and with empathy. Here are a few tips to help get you started.
1. Focus on the basics
First things first, you need to be customer-first. This requires listening to your customers and truly understanding what they want and need, both on a practical and emotional level. With this information, you can then develop your service strategy from the outside in. Make decisions based on data, not on gut feel, and continually review and refine your strategy based on results.
2. Orchestrate your channels
Hybrid experiences require a mix of live and self-service channels. But crucially, these channels need to connect and work together. When channels don’t connect, customers get stuck in loops and data gets stuck in silos. For best results, all of your channels need to seamlessly connect and work together so customers can move freely between them.
3. Find the right balance of people and technology
Hybrid experiences are all about customers being able to make the best use of people and technology – and this should extend to your contact centre operations too.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need every technology under the sun to deliver exceptional customer journeys. This only leaves agents with dozens of different systems and applications to toggle through right when customers need them most. In fact, a survey of more than 2,000 frontline agents conducted by Gartner in 2018 found the average contact centre agent uses 8.2 different systems and tools to resolve customer enquiries . That’s far too many!
When it comes to choosing your contact centre technology, quality over quantity is best. A contact centre solution that provides everything agents need in one unified application, and that can integrate with third-party tools if needed, will help you streamline your customer and agent experiences.
4. Don’t just be reactive, be proactive!
Advanced digital engagement tools now enable companies to really get to know their customers and deliver more proactive and personalised service.
They work by building a visitor profile of every customer who visits your website, based on their interactions and browsing behaviour. With this information, you can then offer proactive service or support before the customer even asks! This will not only impress your customers, but also help you stay in control of your inbound conversations.