The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has affected the world in many unexpected ways, including a spike in customer service calls for many businesses and service providers. Intercom's research found that almost half of the companies surveyed had their call volumes increase by 51% on average since the start of the pandemic.
This influx has overwhelmed companies and call centers alike. Due to worldwide lockdown and shelter-in-place orders, call centers across the globe have also been forced to shut down or thin out their staff to ensure the safety of their workers.
Thanks to today's technology, there are dozens of channels that your brand can leverage to help address the long waits that many customers are experiencing when trying to reach out to call centers.
One of the best ways to help cut wait times when reaching out to call centers is to leverage non-voice channels. This allows your staff to continue engaging with the customers via different channels and allows them the opportunity to work remotely.
3 Non-Voice Channels Worth Adding to Your Customer Service Strategy
Call centers are a must-have channel for businesses because 88% of consumers prefer to speak with a live customer service agent rather than an automated service. However, it's crucial to point out that, when done right, non-voice channels can be just as effective as direct phone services.
1. Online Chats and AI Chatbots
Studies have shown that approximately 73% of consumers want the option to live chat with customer service to find a quick solution to their problems. What makes online chats such a good choice for brands is that you can have them powered by your staff or set up an AI chatbot that speaks to your customers as if they were talking to a real person.
Live chat options come in many forms, including in-app support chats, live chats via website, and live chats via your social media channels. AI-powered chatbots, however, utilize your current resources to pull relevant information to help guide customers in their search for answers.
2. SMS Messaging
Another valid option for call centers is to implement an SMS customer service option for their consumers. Research shows that approximately 69% of consumers want to be able to send texts and receive them from businesses. This would allow customers to chat with an agent via text message to get the answers to their questions.
While email may not be nearly as instantaneous as online chats or SMS options, it is one of the most preferred methods of communication, with 83% of consumers saying they prefer to communicate with their favorite brands this way.
While the initial contact will likely happen on your website through a "contact us" form, by sending the email as the follow-up touchpoint, you are allowing the customer to go about their day instead of waiting in a virtual queue for their turn.
With that in mind, it's important to note that 88% of customers expect to receive a reply from their initial touchpoint within 60 minutes. So, make sure you are also using proven email marketing practices, such as autoresponders, to meet these demands while not overloading your staff.
Let Workloop Handle Your Call Center Needs
Workloop is an employee-owned company that offers outsourced call center operations to businesses in the U.S. and abroad. Our outstanding customer engagement and back-office support provide superior customer experience, and we offer both voice and non-voice services to help you best serve your audience.