3 ways to extend customer service across the enterprise

Published on: November 04, 2016
Author: Pauline Ashenden - Marketing Manager

When customers deal with your organization, they don’t care which department they are communicating with – they simply want the best possible experience and service. Whether they are in-store, on the phone to the contact center, talking to a delivery driver or emailing a product expert, they expect to receive high quality, joined-up service and get a consistent, accurate answer to any question that they might have.

However, in many cases the silos within an organization conspire against this. Different teams might have access to different systems, leading to disjointed responses or failure to provide an answer at all. In increasingly competitive markets, this silo-based approach both annoys customers and adds to costs – systems are replicated between departments and knowledge is stored piecemeal, hurting efficiency.

Consequently, more and more businesses are looking to break down silos and share information and best practice between teams so that they can deliver a joined-up experience that matches the customer journey. In today’s world customer service is everyone’s job – and it is up to the business to ensure that everyone in the company has the tools to deliver the highest quality service. Based on this idea, here are three areas to focus on if you want to provide a seamless service:

1. Share knowledge
To answer consumer questions quickly and consistently, customer service departments are increasingly investing in a single, centralized knowledge base that can be accessed both by agents working across different channels and directly by customers through web self-service systems. This information has many uses outside the customer service team – it provides a single version of the truth that can help ensure everyone in the organization knows about company products and services, without the fear that answers are incorrect or out of date. Therefore, look to share your customer service knowledge base across the organization, so that all staff are able to access up to the minute information when doing their jobs and speaking to customers.

2. Use your experts
Customer questions are now much more complex and demanding, meaning that even the most comprehensive knowledge base and well-trained contact center agent can’t answer every one of them. This is when it is vital to tap into the skills and knowledge of experts around your company. Whether they are a specialist in a particular product or service, or have technical expertise or local knowledge, you need to make that available to answer customer queries. Given that consumers want a fast answer, you also have to ensure that experts respond within your stated response time and that any answers they give are added to your knowledge base to help with future queries. This requires a workflow that spans your organization and enables incoming queries to be seamlessly escalated to experts, by the customer service team, and then tracked and monitored to ensure that responses are dispatched quickly and efficiently.

3. Work together on social media
One of the largest uses of social media is for customer service – according to Twitter over 4.5 million tweets are sent to B2C brands every month. However, social media isn’t just a customer service channel – companies use it to market themselves, interact with influencers and engage with customers at all levels. Organizations need to ensure that they adopt a team-based approach to dealing with social media queries, analyzing them as they come in and immediately dispatching them to the right person to provide an answer, whether that is customer service, marketing, PR or sales. This way queries won’t fall through any gaps and people will receive an informed, knowledgeable response, whatever the nature of their query.

When it comes to getting an answer, customers don’t care about departmental boundaries – they simply want a fast, accurate and helpful reply. Extending customer service systems and best practice across the organization will therefore help ensure that they receive a seamless experience that uses the skills and knowledge of your people, whatever the nature of the customer’s question.  

Tags: Knowledge, knowledge management, silo, Social media, Twitter, Eptica, self-service, Knowledge base, Customer Service, Customer experience
Categories: Best Practice

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