Managing omnichannel support objectives with Salesforce
Implementing self-service functionalities via your website allows your organisation to deflect a number of questions from your support agents. But when customers want to communicate with one of your support people, it is important to have solutions in place to bring the question to the right agent - to have an omnichannel support strategy.
Salesforce Service Cloud brings a lot of out-of-the-box functionalities to your support team. For instance, if today you provide e-mail support from within Outlook, then mail-to-case automates a lot of manual actions already. The same for web-to-case: when your customer doesn't find the answer in the FAQ on your website, this functionality ensures that your customer's questions come in as a standard Case.
The above functionalities all concern written communications, but obviously a lot of people also call to your support team. Typically this is done on - what we call - a Communication Platform, which is a telephony system/PABX. This Communication Platform has to integrate closely with Salesforce! It is a key component to be able to provide true omnichannel support.
But why is this Communication Platform important?
Let's say that there are 3 actors when looking at support organisations:
- The Customer: He or she wants to get a correct answer to his/her question, no matter which channel is used
- Your Support Agent: He or she wants to help your customer as swift as possible
- The Support Team Manager: The one who has to ensure that the support team works optimal, that agents are happy and most importantly: that customers are happy
The Customer's view
Customers may get in touch with your company via all kinds of channels. Young people will first Google their question and may chat in case they didn't find their answer immediately. While older people may immediately call your support team because they are used to speak with agents to get feedback. And obviously it may also be a combination of channels that are used to get the question answered.
They all have one thing in common: they want to have their question answered or resolved as soon as possible. But, ASAP doesn't mean the same thing for every channel.
For instance, someone who calls or chats with your support team expects to get an immediate answer. But someone who sends an e-mail probably expects to get an answer only in a few hours, or the next day. When establishing an omnichannel support strategy, it is important to understand what your customers' expectations are.
The Communication Platform ensures that the customer is directed to the correct Support Agent. This may be, for instance, based on calling number, or recently opened Cases, or other criteria that allow to select the best agent to answer that specific question.
The Support Agent's view
Still too often, Support Agents require multiple applications to find the information needed to answer the customer's question. Also often, different applications are used to support different channels, for instance e-mail get answered in Outlook while calls get logged in the CRM application.
Fortunately Salesforce allows to easily integrate or view the information from other (back-office) applications. Having required information readily available in Salesforce already solves a big burden for the call center agent.
When agents support different channels, it becomes equally important to enable channel support via Salesforce. It is so much easier when an agent may reply to e-mails straight from within Salesforce, to answer the next chat session also in Salesforce, and to get the customer's details automatically displayed in Salesforce upon an incoming call.
Having the Service Console as the central interface for your Support Agents allows them to work efficiently. Closely integrating the Communiction Platform with Salesfoce provide extra intelligence in the Support Team. Question may be directed to the Agent that is best suited to answer that question. Agents skills may be taken into account to route questions from any channel. The Agent gets the customer information immediately displayed in the Service Console. All this will provide much better first-call-resolution statistics.
The Support Team Manager's view
Complex application environments makes the life of the Call Center Manager more difficult. The manager's expected to ensure the best Customer Experience, to ensure that the Support Agents can do their job efficiently and to ensure that all channels are staffed correctly.
With the use of multiple applications, the Support Team Manager probably has difficult times to ensure the best possible Customer Experience. Agents need more time than expected to retrieve the correct answer. Most probably a lot of knowledge (what information is managed in which application) will be in the heads of the agents, which also makes it more difficult to have new agents trained.
Enabling another support channel creates extra complexity, certainly if this requires yet another application.
For the team manager it is also important to have clear rules on what question is to be answered by which team. Providing support via different channels, it is important to be able to manage agent skills and routing strategies in one solution. This solution should manage all channels, which enables the team lead to follow-up the complete team via one solution and to update planning - or react on peak volumes - via an integrated application.
As indicated above, having a Communication Platform that closely integrates with Salesforce provides the most optimal solution for the Support Team Manager. It allows one solution to manage all channels, so all is pushed to the Support Agent in a uniform way. As a bonus, it allows to manage and report on Support statistics straight from within Salesforce.