Don't Leave Your Customer Service Reps Hanging – Train Them to Master Live Help Technology

Some customer service representatives are better than others.

For every “Smiling Sam” there’s a “Debbie Downer,” and businesses play a big role in not just weeding out the bad eggs but maximizing the potential of talented new hires. One support is providing them with training resources that will familiarize them with live help technology.

Education becomes even more vital as consumer tech products increase in both number and complexity.

According to The Huffington Post, a recent Accenture study revealed that 46 percent of executives at large companies believed that skills gaps were a problem for their operations.

Decision-makers cannot let customer service training fall by the wayside.

This article originally appeared on the LiveLOOK blog, and is reprinted with permission.

More gadgets require more support

Maintaining an arsenal of personal electronic devices was once the more in the sphere of business elites and tech junkies. It’s now common for an average Joe to have a small collection of gadgets on their person at all times, not counting whatever devices clutter the counters and drawers at home.

Weichselbaum cited NPD Group’s Connected Intelligence Report which revealed that the typical United States household contains an average of 5.7 Internet connected devices. As consumers juggle smartphones, tablets, laptops and e-readers, things can become overwhelming when they seek effective support from tech brands.

With an average of 5.7 Internet connected devices and constant “refreshes” to models and software, businesses must have an effective way of keeping service agents on the ball.

The problem of tech overload is further complicated by the growing phenomenon of the Internet of Things (IoT), as interconnected devices coordinate elements of an individual’s personal and work life in a cohesive environment. This adds a new layer to the responsibilities of the average agent.

Not only is ecommerce service tasked with addressing the concerns brought up with isolated products, but consumers expect extra assistance as they link up multiple devices and customize the functionality of their personal IoT ecosystem.

In other words, the typical support role is growing to be a more technical position by the day, requiring businesses to seek and train the best representatives they can find to ensure customer satisfaction.

Related article: How Mediocre Customer Service Is Driving Your Customers Away

Meeting customer expectations

Leading a cutting-edge call center in the digital era poses a diverse set of challenges for decision-makers, especially as representatives’ knowledge begins to play a bigger role in strategy. Consumers need inquiries answered promptly, and companies risk losing a potential purchaser if they can’t deliver results quickly enough.

Live help technology can assist in speeding up resolutions, but agents must rely on their own expertise to act when dealt the most difficult troubleshooting problems. To help business leaders get the most out of their customer support centers, Weichselbaum ran down some key points to keep in mind when refocusing team goals:

  • View service calls as a good thing. Rather than fearing service calls and hoping customers will be able figure things out on their own, executives should be glad that consumers are taking advantage of a service that takes time and resources to keep up. Expenses can add up quickly if training measures are factored into the cost of an up-to-date call center, so Weichselbaum reinforced that these investments pay off when customers truly benefit and stick with a brand as a result.
  • Related article: Online Retailers Strive to Overcome Integration Challenges

  • Provide rich knowledge bases. Most service representatives will be able to navigate through any standard service scenario, but Weichselbaum emphasized the ability for brands to go above and beyond the typical call center expectations. Equipping staff with plenty of educational resources and training sessions can be the factor that separates a firm from its rivals.
  • Break/fix support is not enough. Tech services are already notoriously complex, so companies can benefit from proactively sending update tutorials on common issues and check in now and again to see where problems might persist. Taking action can build a powerful and unique reputation for great ecommerce service.

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Join us for the Transformational Journey: Avaya Evolutions is Now #AvayaENGAGE

For over 11 years Avaya Evolutions Mexico has been the milestone event for Mexico’s technology market, with over 3,000 visitors in each edition. This year Avaya Evolutions transforms into #AvayaENGAGE Mexico. Following Avaya Engage events in Dubai and Las Vegas, this is the third and final location on our tour, and the largest thought leadership event in Latin America. This must-attend event brings together top senior executives, industry leaders, technology innovators and key decision makers to reimagine the possibilities of Digital Transformation and Cloud.

In the past, Dr. Zedillo, Former President of Mexico; Felipe Calderon Hinojosa, former President of Mexico; Jose Fernandez, NASA’s first Mexican American Astronaut; Steve Wozniak; and Guy Kawasaki have all been a part of Avaya Evolutions.

Evolutions began in 2006 in Mexico as the annual premiere technology forum before expanding internationally in June 2010. The Evolutions tour gathered over 30,000 attendees in 15 different cities across the U.S., Central America, and South America, receiving the Internationalist’s Innovation Global Media Award in 2012. The success of these global events was made possible by the continuous commitment and support of our partners and sponsors.

When customers join us this June in Mexico City, they will be introduced to the latest concepts on smart digital economies from forward-looking organizations. At the Digital Transformation Lounge, customers can experience innovative demonstrations and view software solutions live.  

Join us to learn how the experience is everything. Gain knowledge and insights to make informed decisions to support your digital transformation journey.

We are bringing together an exciting lineup of keynote speakers at #AvayaENGAGE Mexico. We’re featuring Kevin Kennedy, Avaya CEO; Morag Lucey, Avaya CMO; and Gary E. Barnett, Avaya Senior Vice President and General Manager, Engagement Solutions. You can find us on Twitter @Avaya. Follow us in early May as we announce our very special guest speakers.

Join us in Mexico City on June 21 for a can’t-miss next-gen experience. I hope to see you there!

Don’t Underestimate Smart and Secure Remote Access

Like many people, I’ve spent a lot of time watching great NCAA March Madness games in the last two weeks. During the commercials, I’ve been thinking about the challenges faced by athletes aspiring to get to the Final Four—and realizing that many careers bring similar tremendous pressure. In my communications industry, I think of IT professionals trying to solve technology issues, bridging legacy and new solutions, always on tight deadlines and tight budgets. These teams need things to go right—and when there’s an error—they need smooth, secure, fast fixes from their vendors.

Underestimating the skills of the remaining NCAA players might be a mistake—don’t blame their current success on luck or a fluke. That’s basketball, but I’ve seen IT departments underestimate the problem-solving power of remote connectivity in a similar way. Remote Access is often dismissed as being too risky for network security.

In his blog “Achieving Secure, Mission-Critical Technical Support is a Two-Way Street” Mike Runda, President of Avaya Client Services, refutes the misconceptions IT can have about remote access. Mike discusses the three key attributes that IT managers should demand of a remote access solution. Before you choose your communications solution, make sure that the provider’s connectivity into your enterprise is smart, secure, and gives you full control.

Secure remote access connectivity is the foundational component for resolving complex network issues. Mike tells the real-life story of an Avaya customer having a network issue, and blocking remote access for Avaya support technicians. The techs needed access to diagnose and resolve the problem. The customer was steadfast in its cybersecurity. The situation became a full-court press (i.e., escalations) by both teams. Once both teams got together and discussed the power and security of Avaya’s remote connectivity, the issue was quickly fixed. Read the whole story in Mike’s blog.

For now, we know the teams heading to the Final Four are doing all they can to bring their A Games to Phoenix. Likewise, when the pressure’s on in IT, Avaya customers can work with us via remote connectivity—with confidence that the pros at Avaya will protect security and bring proven results.

Get out of the Queue: Drive Your CX with Attribute Matching

At this point, nearly every company is working overtime to realign around two simple words: customer experience (CX). So much so that nearly 90% of companies now compete solely on CX—a drastic increase from 36 % in 2010—and 50 % of consumer product investments are expected to be redirected to CX innovations—like attribute matching—by the end of this year.

But what exactly does the CX consist of, especially in today’s new world of digital business innovation? This next-generation CX is supported by several advanced technologies—big data analytics, omnichannel, automation—however, these investments are all aimed at driving one thing: contextualization.

The rise of contextualized service—the ability for companies to not only gain insightful information about their customers but also deliver information in a way that is relevant and meaningful to customers based on individual circumstances to improve their experience—has evolved the CX to a point where it looks virtually nothing like it did as recently as 10 years ago. Whereas consumers once primarily focused on the act of purchasing, driven by such things as product quality and price, they now focus on the richness of brand relationships, driven by the personal value that companies deliver throughout the customer journey. Just consider that 70% of buying experiences are now based on how customers feel they are being treated. This is the key factor that sets apart market leaders like Amazon, Trader Joe’s, and Apple from the competition.

According to Accenture, there is an estimated $6 trillion in global revenue up for grabs due to dissatisfied customers constantly switching providers. The ability for companies to offer contextualized service is vital for operating at the speed of the consumer and capturing more of this market share. There’s just one thing preventing companies from seizing this limitless potential: the traditional call queue.

Every customer is familiar with the call queue. This is the place where statements like, “Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold,” and “Let me transfer you to a specialized team who can help you with that” perpetually live. It’s where exhaustive efforts to route customers to the correct service rep become lost, or where consumers must repeat the same information to multiple agents across different teams. It’s the greatest barrier preventing companies from being more dynamically connected to their consumers, and one of the greatest reasons why customers reduce their commitment to a brand.

Driving Contextualization with Attribute Matching

In a world where customers demand a profound level of connection and transparency, organizations can no longer support a contact center environment in which calls are distributed among agents who are organized by function (i.e., sales, service, support). In today’s smart, digital world, companies must transform the traditional call center into an integrated, digital communications hub. This means moving away from a siloed, metric-driven queue and instead working to put customers in touch with the best organizational resource depending on their exact need or circumstance as immediately as possible. The most effective way to achieve this is to migrate from archaic infrastructure towards an integrated, agile, next-generation platform built on open communications architecture.

Open communications architecture allows organizations to seamlessly collect, track and share contextual data across various teams, processes, and customer touch points. This integrated environment supports a real-time data repository from which businesses can pull from to route customers based on needs beyond traditional characteristics (like language preference). Rather, the technology allows companies to build customized learning algorithms that drive anticipatory engagement, enabling them to match customers based on next-level variables like personality, emotion and relatability.

Imagine, for example, a hotel routing a customer directly to an IT staffer after seeing that the person tweeted about a poor in-room Wi-Fi connection. Imagine a bank being able to route a customer to a money management expert after seeing that the last five questions asked via live chat were about account spending. Imagine an athletic apparel company matching a customer with an agent who is an avid runner after noticing that the individual recently signed up for a 5K.

The future of the CX means creating and continually building a contextualized view of customers throughout their entire brand journey. It means going beyond customer service to establish unparalleled, organization-wide relationships. It means transforming peoples’ lives, verses simply answering questions. This is what companies must work to align themselves with. The good news is that technology has evolved to a point where they can now easily, effectively and cost-efficiently do so.

Interested in learning more or getting beyond the queue to Redefine Your Customer and Employee Experiences? Contact us. We’d love to hear from you.