A Virtual Customer Service Operation is a Welcome Gift for Holiday Shoppers
by Maria Montenegro
For most consumers, the 'voice' of a brand is the customer service associate that they interact with either in the store or through the company's contact center operations, typically accessed either by calling a toll-free number or virtually through a website's chat function. The quality of a customer's service experience can make or break a company's relationship with a consumer.
And while this maxim can be applied across the board to all industries, no time is more critical for the retail industry than now during the holidays when shoppers are looking for just the right gift at the right price to be delivered in time for Christmas and with minimal hassle.
The holiday shopping season is without question one of the busiest and most important for a retailer's contact center operations – an excellent experience means everything and there is little room for error as a poor one can turn a customer away and into the eager arms of a competitor. In addition to hiring courteous and informed associates, the right blend of technology is essential for accommodating the high volume of calls and inquiries that are flooding contact center operations around the clock this time of year.
To help retailers and other types of companies streamline operations and provide better service to their customers, Verizon Enterprise Solutions teamed with inContact last year to offer an advanced suite of cloud-based virtual contact center services which allow consumers to choose how they want to contact and interact with an organization. Whether by phone, web chat, text or even social media, all of these methods are supported by Verizon's Virtual Contact Center solution, either directly or through integration.
"The holidays highlight the real benefits cloud-based contact center solutions like Verizon's Virtual Contact Center can offer," says contact center industry analyst Sheila McGee-Smith, President of McGee-Smith Analytics. "For companies with traditional premises-based systems, cloud-based agents can be added to handle the peak loads. For companies with highly seasonal needs, like retailers, choosing a cloud-based system when it is time to refresh their technology will allow easy scalability year-round."
The centralized and unified nature of virtual contact center operations creates a single virtual enterprise which helps improve efficiency, accelerate performance and control costs. Additional features of Verizon's Virtual Contact Centers that are beneficial to both customers and enterprises include the following:
- Comprehensive agent desktop tools to help train and prepare agents to field customer inquiries and resolve them quickly.
- Special software that can recognize incoming callers and refer specific customers to agents with the appropriate level of expertise. This 'first-call resolution' eliminates the need to transfer a caller around from one agent to another, a process which is certain to frustrate customers.
- Capabilities such as CRM, knowledge management, social media and automated outbound options can also help enhance the customer's experience.
A state of the art contact center solution such as a 'virtual contact center' can help retailers exceed the expectations of their customers during the holidays and throughout the year. And as 2013 comes to a close, retailers can breathe a sigh of relief on Dec. 25th….that is, until the phones start ringing again on Dec. 26th, the start of 'return season.'
For additional information on Verizon's contact center solutions, click here.