Delivering outstanding customer support in the digital age can be quite a challenge. Online services have led us to expect instantaneous resolution 24 hours a day, 7 days a week across a wide range of communication channels; our willingness to wait has greatly diminished and we still want to be able to talk to another human being when we need to.

For contact centres, this means being able to manage an array of ways to engage with consumers, some automated and some human-to-human. This is not without pitfalls, as we saw in a previous article on common mistakes made in setting up self-services. And the greatest challenge of all is to determine when digital or human support is required. This is made further complicated by the fact that the balance will hugely depend on the industry the company operates in.

Take airlines for example. Most of us will use online aggregators to compare prices and get the best deal. Once we have chosen our flight, we will complete the purchase online and wouldn’t expect to have to talk to someone. On the other hand, if you were buying insurance online, you would be more likely to want human support to clarify the finer points before committing.

Those two simplified cases show that allocating digital or human support depends on your customers’ journey and their profiles.

In the omni-channel context that contact centres have to manage, a common misconception is that those means of communication are interchangeable. However, as far as customers are concerned, they’re not, and they will use whichever one gives them the best result with least effort. Without a thorough understanding of this journey, you run the risk of providing digital support when human support is required and vice versa.

When it comes to digital profiling, the good news is that you don’t have to commission expensive bespoke research as there is already so much available from governments, think-tanks, digital marketing companies, etc… Just remember the golden rule to use at least three different sources.

This literature will inform you on which devices your audience uses, the type of action they use it for, their preferred communication channels and how autonomous they are as a customer.

CorporateConnect is the leading contact centre company in New Zealand. From strategy to full-scale call centres, we can help you deliver outstanding customer support. Contact us on 0800 230 000 to find out more.