Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Vocalabs: Online Customer Service Offers Convenience, Not Necessarily Better than the Phone

January 29, 2013

Customer service, whether face-to-face, over the phone or online chat, greatly affects a business. And an important part of customer care is effective communication; one ought to be both a good listener and provider.

It’s up to front-line customer service representatives, as well as online virtual agents, who have grown in popularity having replaced onsite support workers at many SMBs, to make sure they’re capable of carrying out one of three essential assistant tasks – delivering prompt services, supporting online ordering of products, and dealing with customers’ questions, issues and concerns.

Ultimately, good customer service, whether personnel responses or automated ones, will retain clients who, if satisfied, will likely keep coming back – whereas poor customer service can cause a business to suffer and lose clients – the most valuable asset.

The latter could lower sales and even cause the closure of a business.

Therefore, to meet the customers’ needs and demands, a business must have a customer-centric approach that offers an open an effective channel communication strategy which will provide a helpful service.

Online customer service agents, who work either in a virtual call center or home office, are ready to handle the challenges of a frustrated or difficult phone caller – who may have comments, feedback or complaints to discuss – and record them as well.

There are, however, great alternatives to the phone to get the same real-time support, but 24/7.

Just like a phone conversation, an online customer service system that provides software services offer a new way to interact with clients. It may not actually provide better service than the phone, but it can streamline the communication process; with automated responses, it can handle more customer service calls, record and manage them as well before the client (or live-chat system) closes the connection.

With artificial intelligence-based virtual agents as live online customer service representatives, it’s able to engage in a live chat session and send a text message to customers.

It offers a unified communications (UC) solution for real-time communication services and has created an effective multi-channel experience for customer relationship management (CRM) interactions, either to a PC, mobile device, or via social media channels.

According to Vocalabs’ blog on a customer service survey of “Why Online Customer Service is Better Than Phone (News - Alert),” an automated system that can record phone call information can give clients some satisfaction and ensure they are being heard.

It also gives them the chance to decline interacting with humans for assistance and would rather go through online channel inquiries to be properly served.

But without the use of a live online customer service agent on the other side of the line taking the call, this approach may leave clients having to wait their turn. This may not be an improvement over the phone or be that beneficial to customers. 

As shown by a T-Mobile Chat Transcript, an online customer service system counts down to the next available agent to take the call.

One may ask: How, then, is an online service any different than a traditional one if customers are being placed on hold anyway? It seems it’s not any better for customers to be placed on hold by an online contact centers rather than by a phone customer service provider who will leave them with music playing while being passed around from one phone rep to another before someone can actually handle the call.

How is online service any better than having to spend time standing in a line?

Whether it’s in-person, someone taking the call, or a chat system picking up the phone line, customers still expect some type of interaction with humans for assistance. Therefore, as of today, virtual call centers and their systems may not be able to replace customer service representative agents who can offer face-to-face, quicker, more efficient services to clients.

However, this may not be the case forever as more organizations are fixed on restructuring to reduce manpower and costs while offering a wide-range of services through technology that can offer them a high return on investment (ROI).

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, happening now in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.




Edited by Braden Becker

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