When customers contact customer service, it’s the job of your customer service team to understand the issue and then address it, rather than smoothing the issue over. However, your team can inadvertently make the situation worse if the service is slow and ineffective.
For example, after a team member obtains relevant information from a customer, this information may get lost when they hand the issue over to a colleague. As a result, the colleague asks the customer for the same information again.
This not only frustrates the customer, but also lengthens the time your team needs to resolve the query.
What’s more, providing competent service only becomes more challenging if your business offers multiple support channels, and your team has to grapple with different channel interfaces and functionalities.
By practicing an integrated approach to customer service, however, your business will be in good stead to sidestep such issues and deliver an exceptional service experience. Read on to learn what integrated customer service is, its benefits and how you can get started.
What Is Integrated Customer Service?
Integrated customer service is an approach that combines technology with the human touch to provide an effective service experience across:
- Your entire customer service team: Customers should receive a consistently stellar service experience regardless of who is attending to their matter, thanks to frictionless team collaboration between service representatives.
- All of your business’ support channels: Different channels offer different engagement features, and customers may get in touch regarding a single issue over multiple channels. Your business needs to have full visibility over each customer’s concerns, regardless of how they had reached out, and then deliver effective service within the unique customer engagement rules of each channel.
How Can Your Business Benefit From Integrated Customer Service?
An integrated approach can help elevate customer service experiences. Discover the three main benefits:
1. Provide a Seamless Customer Experience
Implementing integrated customer service helps ensure a seamless customer experience, with customers receiving smooth and effective service for their queries.
Some queries are relatively straightforward and can be resolved through the smart use of automation. For example, a simple scripted chatbot could help businesses deliver automated responses to frequently asked questions.
However, other queries may be more complex and call for human support. In this case, your business will need to seamlessly hand these queries over to a customer service representative with no drop-in service standards.
As all conversations are appropriately tracked and documented, your entire customer service team will have access to all messages in the conversation thus far.
This is helpful as the representative conversing with a customer may not be the representative who had first engaged with them. Even if they are, it may have been some time since their last interaction.
Whichever is the case, the representative can review the conversation to get up to speed on the situation. Then, after getting a thorough understanding of the customer’s situation and needs, they can provide a timely and satisfactory response.
2. Reduce Customer Response Time
Don’t keep customers waiting when they need help. The sooner your customer service team can respond to and resolve their queries, the more satisfied your customers will be with your business.
Adopting an integrated approach to customer service, your business can set up its customer service solution to pull customer data from these sources:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software
- Customer Data Platform (CDP)
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system
- Other backend integrations
By doing so, you enable your customer service team to view customer data directly right next to the conversation when customers reach out.
This saves your team the hassle of scouring through different channels to piece together a full picture of your customers’ profiles. As a result, they can provide quicker responses, instead of causing the conversation to sputter to a halt.
When business analytics platform Databox surveyed 28 customer support pros, it found that their:
- Average customer response time was approximately three hours and 14 minutes, while their
- Median customer response time was approximately one hour and 56 minutes.
How does your business’ average customer response time compare? Can you do better?
3. Effectively Engage With Customers via Their Preferred Channels
Email and phone aren’t the only channels that customers can use to get in touch with businesses these days. There is also WhatsApp Business, Viber, Facebook Messenger, Instagram Messaging, Google's Business Messages, and Rich Communication Services (RCS), amongst other channels.
In fact, if your business isn’t already offering support through asynchronous chat channels, you may be lagging behind.
A study conducted by Forrester Consulting found that over 51% of customers surveyed rank asynchronous chat channels among their top three preferred communication channels with businesses.
The research also revealed that customers most commonly used such channels to get help with an issue.
However, if a business’ support conversations are scattered across different channels, it may have difficulty building a comprehensive record of all its support interactions with customers thus far. This in turn limits its ability to render effective customer service for future issues.
Not only that: some customers may submit duplicate queries for a single issue through multiple channels. If a business fails to pick up on this, it may end up wasting resources on providing more support than necessary.
With integrated customer service, such headaches are a thing of the past.
Your business can view all conversations in one place, such as a central Agent Inbox, and address these with greater efficiency. Meanwhile, customers can obtain support via the convenience of their preferred channel.
Get Started With Integrated Customer Service
When done right, integrated customer service elevates the service experience for customers, who enjoy seamless, hassle-free, and speedier support. In turn, businesses stand to benefit from improved customer satisfaction, which can incentivize repeat user engagement and purchases.
To practice integrated customer service in your business, your customer service agents have to see themselves not simply as individuals but as a collective unit, striving to render the best customer service possible as a whole.
In this light, it doesn’t matter if one agent provides outstanding customer service if a partner colleague does a dismal job. In the customer’s eyes, you will have let them down. Work on fostering a collaborative mindset in your team, where the focus is on assisting one another in addressing queries as fully and satisfactorily as possible.
After that, invest in technology solutions that will empower your team to streamline their collaborative efforts and work effectively as one, no matter how many support channels your business has or intends to offer.
Mobile Service Cloud is an all-in-one customer service solution for customer service teams to maintain full visibility of all support engagements in one place. Supporting a wide range of chat channels, Mobile Service Cloud contains all the features that your team will need to deliver phenomenal customer service, and keep customers loyal to and delighted with your business.