For the majority of customer service contact centers today the importance of responding to emails has become every bit as important as direct agent interaction over the telephone - especially where some future record of the transaction might be required. With the proliferation of emails and text chats now received and delivered via a variety of mobile devices, this form of communication is fast becoming perhaps the preferred mode of customer interaction for a good many people.
Time constrained customers these days insist on being able to interact with your organization and its customer service representatives via the method that they choose, not those dictated by the company. If your organization has decided to ensure that “Contact Us” email addresses are printed on brochures and posted on web sites, it is imperative that you apply the same sorts of service level objectives to email responses as you would to a voice call.
“Black hole” general delivery mailboxes with manual response selection are fundamentally inadequate, and third party web based services are often expensive and just don’t provide the proper agent reporting integration. So what is the best solution? Fortunately, there are some well designed and integrated platforms available that have properly addressed this challenging problem. The following is a handy checklist of useful tips you can utilize when attempting to select an appropriate email response solution for your individual contact center.
TIP 1: Make sure that the contact center software solution you are considering not only has the ability to provide an auto-response for all email inquiries stating that the message has been received and is in the process of being answered, but also has the ability to track response time performance once these emails are delegated to individual customer service representatives.
TIP 2: Ensure that the solution is capable of working in a “blended” environment where additional specialized email agents are not necessarily required. It has been proven that once the right tools are put in place, it is far more cost effective to cross train and utilize existing agent resources than to have to hire extra individuals to provide service for only one contact channel.
TIP 3: Make certain that the solution you select has the ability to provide true unified reporting of all individual agent activity which includes any type of interaction whether it is a voice call, email, text chat session or any other assigned activity. This type of reporting should also be flexible and customizable and be based on industry standard application models such as Crystal Reports.
TIP 4: Make sure that the contact center software solution you select has the ability to distribute email interactions via both skills and rules based routing techniques, ensuring that the request gets to the right agent the very first time. Detailed attributes should be able to be input to allow for the creation of extensive agent and agent group profiles, capable of addressing the majority of your customers anticipated email requests.
TIP 5: Ensure that the solution you choose provides the proper tools for the implementation of an enterprise wide knowledgebase of pre-established and authorized responses to frequently asked questions and common email inquiries. This approach allows your agents to draw on a trusted source of correct information and provides for significantly reduced response times, increased accuracy and greater levels of customer satisfaction.
TIP 6: Make certain that the contact center software solution is capable of supporting customized email response workflow approaches, able to integrate effectively with existing applications and processes. It should have the ability to escalate email requests to second level experts as well as to track and generate reminders for additional follow-up if necessary.
TIP 7: Make sure that the email response agent desktop interface is intuitive, straightforward and easy to use. Ideally, it should be designed around a familiar Windows based layout making it easy to learn and reducing associated training costs.