Dealing with Increasing Volume
One of the biggest differences in online vs. offline customer service is the concept of a queue. It’s well known that British people have a unique appreciation for waiting their turn in line. Throughout COVID-19, we’ve seen people stand outside the supermarket and stoically manage the one–in–one–out policy. However, make the queue virtual and that stoicism gives way to impatience after less than 2 minutes.
Fortunately, there’s a major differentiator digital communication has over in-store when it comes to handling volume: technology. Using context to determine a customer’s place in the queue is the key to minimising that on-hold frustration.
Finding an omnichannel solution that gives you a holistic view of every channel is paramount. Without an omnichannel view, your queueing logic is fundamentally flawed. If a customer is contacting you on all channels, public and private, you need to know that so you can resolve their issue quickly (and quietly).
However, omnichannel is just the beginning. Technology opens up the two biggest weapons an online retailer possesses – automation and AI. These are two separate tools, though equally important for improving the quality and efficiency of your customer journey. Using the example of routing, automation can ensure rule–based prioritisation which means time decay and channel priority both play a part in speaking to the right customer first. Working in tandem, natural language processing (a form of AI) can detect customers in distress and boost their priority regardless of the general ruleset.
Adding in everything from automated FAQs to bots and picking the right technology partner remains key with e-commerce customer service too, especially with peak on the horizon already.
“Where Is My Order?”
As an online retailer, I’d bet a substantial number of the queries you receive are what we term WISMO: where is my order? This is especially true for traditional high street retailers who are seeing increasing online orders during the pandemic. When you add extra warehouse space, inexperienced staff, and new delivery partners together on the back of unexpected changes in customer trends, teething problems will occur for the most experienced business. For an organisation rapidly scaling their digital footprint in place of in-store visitors, it’s inevitable.
Fortunately, technology once again comes to the rescue. By using a system which integrates with delivery partner’s tracking (or your order management system), you can again use automation to keep customers updated in real time. This can be done by SMS, social media, email, or wherever else your customers are contacting you – all fully automated, meaning no reliance on human advisors.
Managing WISMO queries effectively can be one of the biggest differentiators between a successful digital operation, and a failing one.