Think You Know How to Choose the Right Customer Engagement Tools ? Think Again!

You might think that most companies are providing excellent customer service, but that would be an incorrect assumption. In fact, only 10% of customers think they are really getting good service.

How important is customer service really?self service support tips

According to helpscout’s recent survey, over 80% of customers find it acceptable to pay more for a service, if that meant they will be enjoying better customer service.

Research also shows that most of us choose which companies to recommend to our friends, based on the quality of customer service that we receive, and it’s a crucial reason for why we decide to stay with a company. Source

This means that the way we are treated by a company has a huge effect on our choice and spending logic.

For the past 12 years, leading analyst firm Gartner has been researching the best customer engagement tools for their customer service contact centers.

With the rise of social media and the need to interact with customers on a multi-channel level, Gartner has given this category a new name “Customer Engagement Center (CEC)”.

This is no small revision…

This evolution means that if your business to be successful; a big determining factor will be using the right customer engagement tools.

There’s just no getting around that fact.

Your customers are the ones that help your company grow, and they are essentially the ones that ensure you get a paycheck. When you look at it through this light, it’s easy to understand why you should do everything possible to keep your customers happy.

There are several different angles that should be considered when thinking about proper customer service. One of the biggest ways you can make an impact is by using social media to your advantage.

Social outlets like Facebook and Twitter give companies a way to create a direct channel to customers and clients, addressing issues quickly and effectively. In this day and age of connected users, it’s very easy for people to access sites like this, even when a phone is not available.

So, given the fact that customer service is so important, how do you actually address the issue and save money while gaining clients?

The key to your success lays in customer engagement tools.

Types of customer engagement tools to consider – The art of automation

Customers like to interact with the company, but it needs to be managed so they can get the most out of the situation and find solutions and offer great customer service and support.

LivePerson:

The first service to consider is LivePerson. As the name suggests, the main draw with this service is the fact that an expert is always a click away. The company uses the Cloud and gives solutions on a hosted basis. Agents can assist the customer over Live Chat, fully engaging them to make sure their issues have been resolved, or at least heading in that direction.

eGain:

Another customer interaction management tool to consider is eGain. This company takes pride in being social, offering services through Facebook and twitter along with chat and e-mail options. eGain also has forums where customers can look through different posts and even help each other out.

Giving customers this option eliminates unnecessary calls and can drastically cut down on time spent with simple solutions. Buffer is another great source for social media. This company helps share your news and advice throughout the day on the biggest social sites.

Intelliresponse:

If you need 24 hour support on your site, but don’t have the money to support that, then Intelliresponse might be the answer.  It allows for you to enhances the multi-channel sales and customer service capabilities by guiding customers through the information gathering process and acting as an “online concierge”.

The IntelliResponse Knowledge Base Management Software platform allows customers and service agents to ask questions in natural language, and get one right answer – regardless of the hundreds of ways the question may be asked.

Fonolo:

If you still need to use the phone as a direct way to speak with your customers, Fonolo is a great service for you. Fonolo gives clients the option to have an agent call them back instead of having them wait on hold.

This can ease the tension for agents when they speak with a customer because they haven’t been waiting for a long period of time. Customers can also seamlessly transition from phone to web, meaning issues will be handled in the best possible manner.

Get Satisfaction:

This software gives customers the tools by letting them have access to numerous resources. Videos, e-books, and webinars can all be found on the site, each with great bits of information. Finally, there is Buddy Media, or Salesforce.

Buddy Media is a service that helps companies connect with customers and maintain a solid relationship with them. It is very data-driven and can be a powerful customer interaction management tool. Eight of the top ten global advertisers use Buddy Media as their go-to resource.

Self Service – The future of customer service

When it comes to customer service, there are 2 types of people:

a)      Those that want to do it on their own,

b)      And those that want to speak with an actual person about the matter.

Sometimes, customers just want the tools at their fingertips to answer their own questions. This is something that can easily be taken care of, and you can eliminate unnecessary phone calls. In fact, 37% of unresolved website issues become phone calls.

If it costs $7.00 to resolve the issue over the phone, 1,036,000 calls would equal $7,252,000. This doesn’t even include issues that have to be resolved through chat sessions or with e-mails.

Looking at these stats, it is vital to allow for self service on your website, for those customers who are not ready to engage or just don’t have the time to call a congested call center.  Self-service options should be the new normal.

WalkMe:

Companies such as WalkMe aid this phenomenon of allowing customers to self-service for small issues that they can deal with in a matter of minutes. This allows for a huge decrease on incoming calls by giving clients easy access to answers with no waiting time.

Customers are taken step by step through processes online, leaving no room for error or confusion, giving your call center the room to take care of more serious issues.

(You can learn more about it from an eBook I recently wrote about adopting self-service in your call center.)

If you customer is taken care of, and it is done swiftly with no hassle, even though it is an automated system you will see a huge increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty.

If you run a business, it is crucial to think about how you can apply these customer interaction management tools into your framework.

While not every option may work for you, think about what you need to do to become more accessible to your customers and what you need to do to make them happy. If you put them first, you’ll be surprised at how far their loyalty will stretch and increase your profits.
Whether you are trying to sell goods or services, knowing what your customer needs and having the tools to resolve their issues is one of the most essential (and easiest) ways to stand out from the rest.

Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe