Four Contact Center Killer Channels for the New Year: Multi-channel Comes of Age in 2014

By Richard McCrossan

According to a recent Ovum international study of 8,000 consumers, the majority of consumers are now using three or more channels to communicate with customer service, with 52 percent of consumers using three to four communication channels and 22 percent using five or more. But which channels will emerge as killer channels in 2014?

1) The Smartphone: Mobile phones are fundamentally remapping the relationship between consumers and companies. The mobile platform has already played a huge part in customer service during 2013, but today’s mobile apps only tend to offer a one-way transactional function. With mobile use still on the rise, companies will have to integrate mobile apps into their overall customer experience, providing a seamless transition between self-service applications and live assistance to deliver the best possible customer experience. As a result, mobile apps will serve as an increasingly important customer service touch point in 2014.

2) Web Chat: Web chat will form a huge part of any digital customer service strategy in 2014. This year we’ve seen Web chat develop in very experimental stages in the contact center, yet it is fast becoming the channel of choice for many customers, particularly the younger generation.

Web chat sits comfortably alongside social media, as it allows organizations to draw customers into a more private dialogue where they can discuss personal details and specific issues in a one-to-one channel. However, in order to make Web chat work in 2014, access to full customer interaction history will be key.

3) WebRTC: In 2014, customer service will undergo a new wave of innovation with an increased use of WebRTC. WebRTC identifies that a customer may be struggling in a Web self-service channel and proactively offers assistance via a human interaction. This allows the customer to transition from a convenient, visual experience on their desktop or mobile device to a live voice conversation with an agent.

In 2014 WebRTC will significantly lower customer effort and provide a better customer experience by offering proactive, intelligent service with the interaction context carrying through the entire customer journey.

4) Skype: Skype is another touch point that promises to open up an exciting range of possibilities for contact centers and customer experience strategies in 2014. At the touch of a button, the customer will be able to contact an agent in a contact center in seconds.

Skype even enables the customer to start a video conversation, see the agent, and have an issue resolved. There is no need to exit what they are doing, call the contact center, and spend time explaining the problem. And it’s easy: this technology can be transferred from an X-Box console to a TV or even a mobile device so the customer can receive on-the-go support.

Richard McCrossan is the strategic business director at Genesys.

[From Connection Magazine Jan/Feb 2014]

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