Customer Collaboration is Emerging as an Effective Customer Sales and Support Tool
Customer collaboration, which includes conferencing, co-browsing, and remote support, can improve the customer experience in handling complex issues and in successfully concluding sales opportunities. It accomplishes these goals by enabling contact center agents to bring in knowledgeable colleagues and subject matter experts (SMEs) into the conversations, and to virtually work alongside the customers, rather than facing them. But how widespread this method will become depends on its adopters overcoming challenges such as application complexity, low utilization, scheduling difficulties, SME resistance, and high costs.
There are occasions when contact center agents need help with complex customer issues and turn to subject matter experts (SMEs) such as a supervisor, billing specialist, engineer, or a senior account manager for help. Technology now allows that SME to join the customer conversation through tools such as audio, instant messaging (IM), video, and Web conferencing. In those cases where spoken or written words may not be enough to handle the customer's inquiries or issues, a contact center agent can even invite the customer to share or "co-browse" with them on their computer or wireless device screen. Indeed, the agent may ask to be allowed to fix problems or make updates directly through gaining access to the hardware itself.
These examples represent the concept of customer collaboration. But what is the extent of this development, and what are the challenges companies may face in applying it?
Customer Collaboration Trends
Organizations are seeing the value of collaboration for customer care, sales, and general business uses.
Total Web Conferencing Market: Revenue Forecast, Global, 2010–2016 It illustrates Frost & Sullivan research, showing increasing demand for Web conference collaboration solutions, which provide a high quality knowledge exchange experience by allowing participants to see and share information over multiple channels.
Non-Users Plans to Implement UC&C Tools, North America, 2012 Frost & Sullivan research demonstrates that demand is also strong for audio conferencing, a solution which is part of the unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) category of applications. Firms see audio conferencing as a solution with much to contribute to a positive customer experience. Recent Frost & Sullivan research reports that percent of chief executive officers (CEOs) cited improved customer service as a key benefit of audio conferencing. This is slightly behind the percent of CEOs who cited cost reduction.
It also reveals that firms are planning to add instant messaging (IM), another indicator of the increased demand for collaboration tools. IM helps to quickly ascertain the availability of a colleague, supervisor, or SME, and then allows agents to bring one of those experts into a conversation with a customer. In addition, it seems that video collaboration through chat and video conferencing via employee desktops are imminent.
Table Of Contents
1 | COLLABORATING TO IMPROVE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Customer Collaboration is Emerging as an Effective Customer Sales and Support Tool 1. Introduction 2. Customer Collaboration Trends 3. Customer Collaboration and Social Collaboration 4. Customer Collaboration Drivers 5. Customer Collaboration Restraints 6. Customer Collaboration Recommendations and Summary 7. Representative Vendor Profiles