How to Create a Powerful Virtual Customer Experience

The pandemic has driven significant shifts in consumer spending patterns, including a massive migration to online shopping. With evidence suggesting this likely will become a permanent adjustment, organizations must take steps to improve their virtual interactions with customers.

Modern contact center technologies make it possible to deliver a strong customer experience (CX) even under tough conditions. These platforms provide seamless omnichannel interactions, intuitive self-service and comprehensive reporting. In addition, most offer tools for workforce optimization, predictive routing and 360-degree customer journey analytics.

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) Platforms

Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions give dispersed work-from-home agents the tools they need to help customers get answers, guidance and services. With no hardware to install, a CCaaS platform can be fully operational in just a few days, and additional features or upgrades can be delivered on demand.
CCaaS platforms feature prebuilt integrations and open APIs that make it easy for agents to share customer or product information across different communication channels without the need to switch back and forth between apps and screens. This agility reduces call times and makes it easier for agents to consult with advisors, supervisors or other subject-matter experts to efficiently resolve customer issues.

Personal Touch Needed

While the right technology solutions can facilitate fluid and efficient consumer interactions, that isn’t enough. With social-distancing protocols limiting personal interactions, consumers are looking for some sort of personal touch.

Almost two-thirds of consumers say their digital engagements with companies during the pandemic fall short of their expectations, according to a study from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council. The main issues cited by study participants included an inability to interact with a live person, non-personalized content and out-of-context messages.

Consumers want to feel special, and they want to believe they are spending their money with someone who values them. Those feelings are being amplified during the pandemic when consumers are already feeling anxious, frustrated and depressed due to social isolation, health concerns and money worries.

Making Video Connections

Video chat is a great way to make a more personal connection with customers. One study found that 79 percent of consumers prefer live chats when communicating with a brand, and 63 percent said they are more likely to return to a site that has live chat capabilities. One-to-one or one-to-many video messages also make an impression on customers. Short, pre-recorded videos offer much more clarity than text-heavy email messages, which can’t convey tone or emotion and are subject to being misunderstood. Plus, video sends the subtle message that you’ve made an extra effort because you care.

Adding video capabilities to the contact center can be a challenge with on-premises infrastructure, but it is much simpler with CCaaS. These cloud-based solutions give you the flexibility to add features without the need to purchase purpose-built applications.

Even with multiple communication channels, most consumer interactions still occur by telephone. As such, anyone dealing directly with customers should participate in some basic phone etiquette training. Workshops and critiques of recorded calls can be utilized to make agents understand the importance of answering phones promptly and politely, speaking clearly and maintaining a positive attitude. Scripts provide an important framework, but agents should treat them as guidelines and talking points rather than rigid speeches that must be followed word for word.

The pandemic has changed business in profound and possibly permanent ways. With more customers taking their business online, companies need a good plan for making strong virtual connections. Cloud-based contact center platforms allow you to leverage a variety of communication channels to make interactions more personal.