‘Unified communications’ is a term that gets thrown around a lot in our industry. There’s no secret it means a big piece of new kit. But here at Adexchange, we challenge the idea that contact centres need to buy a ton of software to unify their communications. Instead, we argue there’s a more cost-effective opportunity to unify our content to reap the same rewards. We don’t dispute that aligning customer output is vital to our success as contact centres. When our websites, chatbots, FAQs, IVRs and emails hold the same objective, style and output, two exciting things happen:
Customer experience improves
Our agents’ workload is reduced.
…and from this, these beautiful benefits are born:
1) Seamless customer experience
Bowing to the omnichannel is a posh way of promising to be consistent. By ensuring our content echoes the same wording, tone and processes across our channels, we create a seamless customer journey no matter which platforms and devices our customers favour. On the flip side, imagine we’re a clothing retailer advocating an ‘online only’ returns policy on our website, but promising in-store service in our customer email correspondence. We’d be in big trouble and probably called “liars” by Elaine on Twitter. Unifying content is about eliminating this confusion, (trolling) and clashes of information, by making sure there are no cracks for our customers to fall through.
2) It stops people just checking
Perhaps the biggest bear trap for customer confusion is terminology. As contact centres, we are compelled to ask ourselves whether we’re using the same terms from one channel to the other. If we refer to a “warranty” on our website, a “guarantee” on our IVR and a “protection plan” on live chat, we’re opening some serious floodgates. The kind that fuels Janet’s “I’ll just check” ethos, via countless clarity calls to agents. To avoid this extra workload and flawed customer experience, we need to nail our terminology from the get go and roll it out across the board. That means using the same terms in everything from fine-tuned knowledge articles to instant replies on live chat.
3) Helps agents and gives them more time
Chunky and funky bibles labelled ‘brand guidelines’ are lovely, when you have time to read them. But too often they’re like that luxury book on nan’s coffee table: pretty and thick for something that’s never been opened. The guys who DEFINITELY don’t have time to kick back with extra-curricular reading, are our agents. Busy at the coalface of customer contact, they need short and summarised versions of brand guidelines. Coaching, concise notes, easy-to-use tips and blanket terms will make our agents’ lives a LOT simpler, unify our content and streamline our internal procedures in the process. The work is worth it.
4) Customers know how to get in touch
If our outgoing email lists a phone number for Customer Services, why does our Customer Service IVR tell our customer to go online? It’s not just individual words and terms we need to unify as a contact centre, but the processes they define and describe. We need to ensure our channels echo the same strategies and protocols, limiting the customers’ need for multiple touchpoints with, or reassurance from, us. The goal is letting customers get first-time lucky. Not ten emails, a few phone calls and seventeen swears after being put on hold kinda-lucky.
5) Gives us a panoramic view of our business
By keeping our content consistent across all our channels, we unmuddy a lot of things for ourselves as contact centres. Unified content manifests a transparent contact hub: if something goes wrong, it’s gone wrong across all our channels. This is easier to address than something going awry because “a rogue text might have said something different to a written letter last Wednesday by Phil, possibly, but do check with Eric”. Instead, uniformity allows contact centres to problem solve quickly, create new content which supports self-service in the future, and focus on recurrent knowledge-based customer issues.
Before we fork out for a system of unified communication, we should all spend a bit of time unifying our content. It’s amazing how often a simple review of our wording can deliver the same improvements as pricey software. But if you don’t have the time, that’s what we’re here for at Adexchange. Drop us a line: we love a game of spot the difference.