UNCTAD figures indicate a growth of 13% and a turnover of $ 29 trillion. 1.3 billion people shop online. Cross-border sales account for over $ 410 billion. This should supposedly give ecommerce operators room for complacency. Even if they have a small slice of the pie it is still a sizeable one. However, online buyers, even if they number in millions, are a fickle lot. It does not take them much time to switch from one site to another for any reason. E-commerce sites actually need to woo customers to ensure loyalty. Loyal customers buy again and recommend the site to others. Customer experience is at the core and if an ecommerce operator does not deliver it is likely to be dumped. Of the many different tools, the call center software can play a pivotal role in helping ecommerce sector to attract new customers and retain existing ones.
Inhouse is always better than outsourcing
It may be the done thing to outsource customer service to a call center. However, one never knows the quality of service and just how much of effort they are likely to put in to satisfy each customer who calls or to pursue new targets. After all, a call center agent works for that call center and may not have commitment. When ecommerce operators set up their own call center operations inhouse they can allocate resources and people. People may be expected to be better informed about the company, its operations and its products. Their level of commitment is higher. In case it is necessary they can easily get a senior supervisor or manager to intervene and satisfy the caller. Of course, the employee can do more and give callers the finest experience provided they have access to the right call center software to suit ecommerce operations.
The magic word for ecommerce call center operations is Omnichannel. Like it or not this is the way to go because customers dictate the channel of communication. Consider a typical journey. A customer may come across a post on Facebook or a Tweet and he responds. The conversation may continue on the same social media channel if the customer so wishes it or he may choose to phone. It is likely he may prefer to send an email if he is not in a hurry. On the other hand, if someone is in a hurry the preferred channel may be phone or Whatsapp. There is no way to predict their behavior. Then again, another customer may be browsing the ecommerce site and may want immediate answers to queries. He may activate the chat feature to find out all he can prior to placing an order. Is the ecommerce operator available? That depends on the call center software in use. Omnichannel is not an option; it is a must have feature.
A single dashboard gives a bird’s eyeview on happenings across channels. Agents in the office need not hop from one channel to the other and they can address different users using the customer’s desired mode of communication. That in itself is a delight for customers since they perceive the ecommerce store as being responsive. An added benefit of omnichannel feature is the immediacy of the response and the speed of conclusion. Were it not for the call center software with omnichannel feature it is likely the ecommerce site would lose customers to someone else who offers better quality of service.
With social media integration online sellers need not wait for customers to come calling. Their agents can listen in on social media chatter and identify likely targets and swoop in on them before such a prospective customer can even think of going anywhere for a product purchase.
The Right person gets to handle the call
Customers hate delays when it comes to connecting with the right person. Worse, they hate it even more that they have to explain their issue to one person only to be told that someone else will handle it. The customer is put on hold while the call is transferred. When the agent does connect then the customer starts all over again. This is one scenario. Then take the case of IVR that is said to be a boon with its self service feature. However, it becomes a bane when it is not properly configured and the caller feels like a rat trapped in the IVR maze. Expertly designed call center solutions with some measure of artificial intelligence can avoid both these situations that lead to customer churn. The call center software usually has skill based mapping and automatic call distribution feature. Both these work together to route incoming calls immediately to the agent who is free and has the requisite skill. The caller does not have to spell out name and phone number. The CRM shows up the caller’s details so the agent can get right down to business. Customers appreciate it. This is just one way call center software proves indispensable in delighting customers.
Virtual face to face talk
A telephonic conversation or an email seem sterile given the way people are so used to having a virtual face to face chat using Skype or Whatsapp. Call center software that has WebRTC makes it a trivial matter to engage in a virtual face to face talk with clients. Agents like it. Customers like it even more. Should there be any issue the agent cannot resolve he can always call in his supervisor or someone more knowledgeable in a three way conference. He can show a product demo and even send across a PDF document or email to the customer. Needless to say the customer experience is a cut above the ordinary. These days most call center solutions do feature WebRTC and its usefulness makes it a must-have feature. Please customers. They stay. Call center solutions that have the audio-video chat feature make customer engagement a delightful experience.
No fixed office hours
Ecommerce can have its in-house call center solution and leapfrog the fixed office hours operation barrier that so many customers find irritating. With WebRTC and mobility features of the call center solution the ecommerce operator can be available 24×7 with one or the other employee always available to take a call and resolve issues a customer may have. An online store may have a 1-800 number but it is of little use if no one is there to attend to the call.
More than direct Interaction
Ecommerce operation is not just about direct interaction with calling customers. One must take steps to inveigle more customers and call center software is the best solution.
- IVR: IVR with CRM integration is not just to provide a measure of self service. The call center software usually has a feature that permits users to set up campaigns and then launch outbound calls. Once a call connects the IVR switches target to a live human agent.
- SMS and voicemail broadcasts: This is a one way operational feature that can easily lead to interactions. Call center solutions that have the SMS broadcast feature give online sellers a cheap way to send out text or voice messages to thousands of possible new customers in a matter of seconds. The same feature comes in handy when a promotion must be launched every now and then. Customers love deals and when they get to know about it in time and take advantage they will certainly stay true and loyal.
No one is perfect. Agents can improve provided they know where they went wrong or could have done better. Managers can derive information about customer expectations and tailor approaches that would be more pleasing and result oriented. All these things are possible when one makes use of the analytics part of the call center software. The software automatically records calls. These calls may be played back and analyzed. Then there are other metrics such as call duration, time of calls and other channel interactions that help to refine ecommerce operator’s customer service.
Analytics may not directly give scores but, overall, contact center software in ecommerce operations certainly has a discernible impact on scores:
Customer satisfaction store peaks with improved quality of services.
Net promoter score improves as customer satisfaction level increases and when they promote across social media, the ecommerce store is the gainer.
Analytics can give details about resolution during the first call. With all the above features the call center software certainly contributes to first call resolution in majority of cases.
Quite a few contact center software solutions are available on hosted basis. Ecommerce operators do not need to pay up front or put in place specific hardware-software and yet enjoy the finest features that permit excellent interactions.