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The Biggest Customer Service Trend of 2020? Phone Support

Astro wearing a headset

Answer the call to deliver a consistent and quality service experience for your customers.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused a spike in the demand for customer service over the phone. Unfortunately, many companies are challenged to deliver it effectively — especially now. And according to our latest Snapshot Research, customers want to talk to an empathetic person who can quickly solve their problem with a personal touch. The phone also is the number one way baby boomers ask for service and the second preference for Gen X and millennials.

Despite customer demand for support over the phone, many companies are now challenged to deliver a consistent and quality service experience. The COVID-19 pandemic forced some companies to close offshore call centers because infrastructure wasn’t in place to enable agents to work from home. Other companies had to reduce phone support hours as a cost-saving measure. And many companies don’t have the right solution in place to enable their remote agents to efficiently handle calls, nor the platform to provide insights into agent productivity.

Answer support calls from anywhere

Service providers must provide consistent phone support, however, many companies still have desk phones gathering dust with teams working from home. Cloud telephony enables phone calls to come to service agents through the cloud so they can answer through their laptop, from their home, a contact center, a tent, a tree, or really anywhere they can get a WiFi connection. A routing functionality manages both inbound and outbound calls.

Yet, even with this functionality, companies often struggle to provide agents with complete insights into the customer’s profile and how they have engaged with other areas of the company. For example, an agent may field a call from Lee Shmee, but have zero visibility into the email messages Shmee has sent and received, the knowledge base articles Shmee has reviewed, the chat conversations other agents have had with Shmee, or the products Shmee may have purchased. That’s where a bunch of newly available functionalities come into play. 

Help agents serve your customer, completely

Today, service agents can answer the call from anywhere with access to additional features under one platform with Service Cloud Voice. Help position your agents for success by providing intelligence tools through automation and real-time coaching and training. 

John Hancock made the switch from on-premise telephony to a fully integrated cloud-based call center with Service Cloud and Amazon Connect. By equipping agents with the right tools and technology to work from home or the office, John Hancock has been well positioned to be resilient during the global pandemic. According to Tracy Kelly, AVP of Shared Services Contact Center at John Hancock, investing in the right cloud technology “ … made the transition pretty smooth once the shelter-in-place order came down,” Kelly said. “We did not lose any productivity. In fact, we’ve actually improved our productivity.”

1. Provide key insights with real-time call transcription

Service Cloud Voice launches automatic transcription with the entire conversation being converted to words on the screen while the agent and customer are talking. This allows agents to focus on the interpersonal interaction with the customer instead of scribbling notes or data entry. Real-time call transcription also unlocks AI-powered productivity tools, enabling agents to solve problems faster, improve first call resolution, and service more customers in real time.

2. Drive proactive service and boost productivity

Embedded AI-powered recommendations provide agents with automated help and coaching on the next action to take. For example, when Erin O’Meary calls their car insurance company for help, the agent can easily access the details of O’Meary’s policy and what is the best course of action needed — like finding knowledge base articles of how to file a claim or accessing the forms O’Meary may need to give to their mechanic to outline the damages. This allows agents to be proactive while improving both individual performance and customer experience. Customers no longer hear, “Please hold why I look that up.”

3. Centralize customer conversations and information

No matter which channel customer outreach originated from, all data is centralized and easily accessible on one screen when your cloud telephony is fully integrated with your CRM. This enables agents to quickly find information — eliminating the need to toggle back and forth between multiple screens or putting customers on hold while they search for answers. Having a single, complete view of a customer helps agents to provide faster service.

4. Gain visibility into agent calls and digital conversations

Managers view conversations with customers in real time, allowing them to offer in the moment coaching or immediate assistance via a private chat. Transcripts provide insights into agent performance, helping managers give feedback based on customer satisfaction scores (CStat), average handle time (AHT), and other key performance indicators (KPIs).

Answer the call with Service Cloud Voice

Customers are not going to hang up the phone for service any time soon. They want personalized service now — and this includes the phone. Get ready to deliver a faster and better customer experience over the phone. Dial into Service Cloud Voice.

Bill Patterson

Bill is executive vice president and general manager of CRM Applications at Salesforce, where he leads product innovation, growth and customer success for Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Salesforce Essentials.

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