Links of the week: at-home agents, supermarket self-service and mobile customer service

Spoken | August 9, 2016

This week’s news in the world of call centers, customer service and technological innovation. Miss something? No sweat. We monitored the top stories and bring you the top news for call center managers:

  • 5688814_s Getting more bang for your at-home buck. The debate about remote agents rages on, really, with very little argument on the con side. McDonagh points out that working from home can be a reward for top-performing agents, a failsafe for bad weather, a bonus for agent retention (especially when an agent’s spouse must move the family out of town) and an easy way to enable weekend and after-hours bonus shifts.
  • Workforce management in the multichannel call center. How to get one’s ducks in a row when the ducks entail phone calls, web chat and web callbacks? ICMI’s latest report shows that workforce management for channels other than phone are lacking: “Of those centers that do report having a WFM system, however, many of them do not have accounting in their system for channels other than telephone. Only 38.5% said their WFM system accounts for email; the number’s even lower for chat (18.5%) and lower yet for fax and video chat.”
  • Customers don’t want to talk to you, either. Forbes reports that customers want their questions resolved immediately, with no waiting. So what else is new?
  • In the realm of grocery shopping, at least, live agents are winning against self-service. USA Today reports that supermarket shoppers are avoiding self-service in favor of live checkout help. However, I take exception to the article’s original title,Shoppers prefer customer service to self-checkout. What the study determined was that shoppers preferred live agents to self-checkout. Self-checkout doesn’t immediately correlate to a 100% lack of customer service.
    Some of us like the ability to check out our five items ourselves and get on our way without inane chatter at the checkout line!
  • Is mobile the next frontier for customer service? This article reports on the popularity of smartphones and asks the obvious question: why aren’t more companies harnessing mobile for customer service and engagement? A keen insight: “When businesses approach customer service from a mobility perspective, they need to consider their existing customer service strategy and how they can enhance basic customer engagement with proactive contact, personalized applications and location-based services.” Move it to the phone and make it two-way communication, folks!

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