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Using Channels as a Point of Escalation

By Nick Sellers, Senior Director, Strategy & Marketing

When creating the right customer experience (CX), brands must consider how to resolve user issues while maintaining high levels of satisfaction.

For some, providing a range of contact channels is enough. They give consumers options, and each customer can choose their preferred channel.

Others, however, put significant thought and planning into guiding customers into the right channel for their individual need early in the process, so they can access the best help quickly and efficiently.

Identify When Escalation Is Required

When consumers seek help or information, they arrive at a first touchpoint, perhaps via self-service, social media, or a call.

If this doesn’t immediately address the issue, it needs to be escalated. Failing to quickly move toward better help can cause customer frustration and anger, ultimately negatively impacting CX.

When, for example, a network is down, it’s important to inform as many customers as possible quickly so they don’t clog one-on-one channels such as voice or chat. Broadcasting the initial message via social media means more consumers get the information quickly, it is universally available, and customer service colleagues’ time isn’t tied up dealing with the same issue, which they cannot fix individually, across multiple points of contact.

That Might Even Mean Guiding the Customer Away

The right point of escalation may mean steering customers away from agent-assisted one-on-one channels. This can benefit both the brand and the customer.

If, for example, customers call because the network is down and you’ve already broadcast that information via social platforms, having a recorded message on the switch directing them back to social media makes sense. Although this is deflection, the alternative could be waiting in a queue for 30 minutes, only to be given the same information.

Of course, that’s not to say you don’t want to escalate — if the customer doesn’t get what they need from self-service or automated messaging, it’s important to get them through to a customer service colleague to help them quickly.

Understand the Brand’s Perspective

For brands, the aim is to deliver the best possible CX. However, when deciding at what point to escalate contacts, they will almost certainly consider the cost of each channel.

The different channels sit like concentric circles — self-service, for example, provides answers to common questions, and so is a cost-effective solution for individual customer needs. Social media, similarly, allows messages to be broadcast cost effectively right across your CX net. And, as such, these channels form the outer circle.

As customers move further in, a higher degree of input or contact from a colleague is required. As such, the cost per case increases. One-on-one interactions like voice or chat can cost more but do deliver best result in terms of customer satisfaction for complex questions or those of a personal nature.

Identify the Right Channels

Brands need to test and experiment to find the right channel for the right need. By digging deeply into voice recordings, and email and chat transcripts, it’s possible to identify what didn’t work for customers before calling.

For example, if a large volume of calls are received because a certain piece of content on the website is hard to find or is unhelpful, this feedback will help the content team make changes that count. It’s an ongoing process of refinement and escalation to ensure customers get the answers they need, quickly.

The goal is to apply and improve the full suite of contact channels on offer so they all work together.

If you’re looking to embrace the right contact channels for the right issues for customers, without losing the human feel of your CX offering, SYKES has what’s needed for your success. To find out more, please get in touch!