Walter Lash

5 Tips for Building Consistent Service across Multiple Channels of Interaction

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canstockphoto17338123Your business has its own unique personality and traits. These qualities may have started as something quite organic, but over time your identity has probably been refined and honed by your marketing team. While a strong, identifiable personality can definitely grab attention, it’s a mistake to limit it to your marketing efforts. Rather, it needs to be infused everywhere customers make contact with your business for it to truly be impactful.

Unfortunately, many businesses don’t show their best side of their personality when it comes to customer interactions. Do your customers experience inconsistent service depending on the channel they use to engage with your business? Does your business’s personality change from day to day, depending on variables like staffing, technology limitations, and call volume?

When your brand personality is not congruous with your customer interactions, you’ll create confusion and inconsistency. And that’s not a good thing!

Consistency breeds comfort in customers, and with comfort comes brand loyalty and repeat business. You may have already standardized communications for your contact center representatives so that it is aligned with your image and personality. However, with customers using many new forms of interaction, it requires some effort to get every type of interaction in synch.

The following are a few tips for building consistency across your various channels of interaction:

Tip #1 – Identify Every Customer Touchpoint
Before you can begin to create a consistent customer experience, you need to know every location where a customer is connecting with your business. Of course, there’s the contact center, but there are probably many other touchpoints, as well. Customers may first connect with you via a set-top box, online chat, email, or even Facebook. And one response may lead to another via a different mode of communication.

It’s important to remember that while you think about each touchpoint as unique, your customer thinks of them as one in the same – communication with your business. From the first contact through the sales process to ongoing maintenance and even complaints, each and every touchpoint needs to be aligned and consistent.

Tip #2 – Stick with a Single Communication Strategy
You may have tens, hundreds, or even thousands of employees communicating with customers each day. Your social media person is responding to questions and comments. Your marketing team is generating copy. Your sales force is generating proposals, and your contact center representatives are fielding inquiries, taking orders, and handling complaints.

Each of these individuals has their own unique way of speaking and engaging with customers. While it’s important to recognize their differences, there still needs to be a unifying communication strategy that runs through each interaction.

For businesses in traditionally conservative industries, the tone of the engagement may be more structured and formal. Other businesses may prefer a relaxed, friendly tone. Regardless of the style of engagement you choose, it should be infused through marketing tools, social media channels, sales materials, and your contact center.

Tip #3 – Create a Single Customer View
One of the biggest causes of inconsistency in customer interactions is a lack of access to customer information. Enabling your billing department to see complaints made to the service department can eliminate the need for the customer to repeat their issue. It can also enable your team to respond in a consistent way regardless of the type of interaction. This provides a better customer experience and also prevents customers from taking advantage of potential communication weaknesses.

VHT Digital is one tool that can help tremendously by providing your team with some context of why a customer is calling. This solution captures important non-voice information and provides it to a contact center representative ahead of a call back. With this information, not only will the representative be better prepared but also they can resolve problems faster and reduce call handle times.

Tip #4 – Develop a Customer Interaction Flow Chart
Do you have a plan for when a customer complains on Twitter? What about for the prospect who asks a question via online chat? Understanding how each type of interaction is handled and where the customer should be directed is important for building consistency across each of your customer channels.

The days of all customer engagement being funneled through your contact center are officially over. Your marketing team might be the first in line to see a customer complaint on Facebook. They will need a plan for getting this complaint over to the right service representative. Likewise, the IT team that is gathering data from non-voice devices needs a way to send this information to those who are working directly with customers.

Tip #5 – Invest in Ongoing Training
Many businesses consider it a luxury to spend time and money on customer service training. However, this investment can often be one of your best decisions when you think about how it impacts your customers and your reputation.

An important part of training is coaching those who are on the frontlines so that their communications with customers are consistent. It also provides an opportunity to understand weaknesses and strengths, which can enable you to make improvements and refine strategies.
Training can come in many different forms. Sure, it can be very beneficial to send your team to a formal training class. A casual team meeting each week can be equally as useful by helping to strengthen your communication strategy on an ongoing basis.

While there will always be some amount of differences between how your team relates to your customers, creating a unifying personality at every touchpoint can greatly improve your customer experience and ultimately strengthen your identity, as well.

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