Call, text, or chat? If you’re like a growing number of people these days, your answer might be anything other than the first option.
While the vast majority of the population in countries like the United States and the UK own a cell phone - 96%, as of June 2019 - an ever-increasing number of those people opt out of phone calls. 81% of the population in these same areas own smartphones. Nearly one in four of these smartphone users say they rarely or never use their phone for actual phone calls. Instead, they opt for text messaging services or instant messaging applications.
Where does this decline in phone call preference leave the call center? Some experts fear that it might mean the imminent death of the industry. However, most agree that it simply means adaptation is needed. Here’s how your facility can evolve along with the trend toward less phone usage by consumers. (Here’s a hint: It involves call center channel alternatives!)
The Importance of Offering Call Center Channel Alternatives
How many channels of communication do your customers have with which to reach you? Every contact center uses phones, and most also work with email. However, today’s most successful centers also have a growing number of call center channel alternatives suited to the modern consumer - some of which don’t require the use of a phone at all.
Some of the most successful call center channel alternatives to consider implementing in your own facility include:
- Text messaging services
- Instant messaging applications
- Live chats and media chats (Including video)
These alternative forms of communication give today’s consumers more options - and more reasons to trust your center with their business.
That’s what it really comes down to when you offer consumers more ways to contact your center. You’re giving them the message that their communication is important to you. You offer them ways to contact you that respect their preferences and use their time wisely. These methods of contact are conducive to their schedule and their needs. This gives any consumer the feeling that they are valued and appreciated - all before you even make the first connection with them. Those are powerful messages to send - and great for the bottom line of your business.
How Can Text Messaging Work for the Call Center Setting?
If you’ve gotten this far, you may be wondering how something as seemingly informal and conversational as text messaging can be properly utilized in the business setting of a call center. Can you really provide great customer service and experiences with this tool? When you’re working with modern consumers, the answer is yes.
The trick when using text messaging for contact center applications is to take the correct approach. It would obviously be extremely time-consuming for live agents to sit next to cell phones and wait for messages to arrive, only to wait several minutes or even longer for each response to carry on the conversation they’re having with the consumer. Thankfully, with today’s technology, there’s no need for any of that.
Messages can be automatically created and sent using software that is available through your call center technology supplier. This technology allows users to create original messages - as personable or professional as you like - and send them individually or en masse to specific groups of people. Instructions can be given, such as “Reply Y for yes.” This gives the recipients of these messages the power to control the pace of the conversation on their terms - and frees up your lives agents to do meaningful work on-site at your facility.
Depending on what you need to reach your customers or clients about, you may also opt to include media files with your messages. This can both further personalize messages and create easier instructions for users to follow for more difficult processes, again freeing up live agents to handle more intensive customer service tasks via the phone lines.
Instant Messaging - an Instant Boost for Customer Satisfaction
Nothing makes a customer feel finder of a brand more quickly than relatable content and services. When they see that your contact center offers the capability to connect through their favorite instant messaging apps, they are not only more likely to get in touch - they are more likely to be satisfied with their experience after doing so.
Millennial and Generation Z customers, in particular, love having the customer service experience tailored to them. By meeting them where they already are - communicating via instant messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp - you can connect with them on a level that many businesses cannot. In their eyes, you become a company that shares their ideals and vision and provides customer service in a way that lines up with both of these.
Prepare for Success with ChaseData
Adding text messaging and instant messaging services to your offerings isn't difficult. Partner with the right provider of call center technology, you and it can be as easy as installing a few updates to your current software and launching a few new programs. You can be ready to hit the ground running with all-new channels of communication by the next business day!
When you’re ready to outfit your contact center with the technology necessary to grow and evolve along with the day’s trends, get in touch with ChaseData. With extensive industry knowledge and expertise, the professionals at ChaseData can guide you through choosing the kind of software that will help your staff provide solutions to even the most phone avoidant consumers. From alternative call center channels to the tools you need to implement them with your current setup, trust the team at ChaseData to give you what you need to succeed in today’s world - and every day that follows.