How do I choose my Digital Customer Interactions Platform?
A Digital Customer Interactions Platform is an essential block of customer care. As we have previously explained, this tool is used to manage volumes of interactions on digital channels. Selecting one can be a long process. Apart from the general criteria for any software (budget, implementation time…), companies looking to adopt a DCIP should consider specific features. To help you choose the right one for your company, we are reviewing some of these essential features.
1/ Number of channels managed and depth of feature coverage
A Digital Customer Interactions Platform is used to receive and respond to messages from various sources. One of its main advantages is to provide agents a single interface to answer enquiries on all channels.
To be really efficient and help optimizing customer service, a Digital Customer Interactions Platform should be able to process messages from all digital channels. As we focus on customer care, here are a few examples of channels that can be used:
- Live chat
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google +...)
- Messaging: Messenger, WeChat, Viber, In-app messaging...
The relevance of each channel must be considered depending on your business and your target audience: its location, age… In any case, it’s really likely that your customers expect a variety of digital touch points, to be able to contact you by different means, depending on their needs and the context.
You may use other specific channels such as review or community websites: choosing a Digital Customer Interactions Platform able to connect to any source offering APIs will ensure you can manage these channels as well.
You should not only consider the number of channels managed but also to which extent it supports their specificities. If we talk about Messenger for example, can you benefit from all the extended features such as voice messages, file attachment, video? This is essential to make sure to receive all informations sent by customers, answer them efficiently and benefit from the channels’ latest features to communicate more efficiently.
When integrated with your CRM (or customer relationship management system), the Digital Customer Interactions Platform enriches it with conversational data. The information collected through interactions, such as topics of interest and channel preferences can be stored in the customer profile to complete the transactional data.
2/ Customer’s digital identities merging
As we have just explained, a Digital Customer Interactions Platform must be able to manage a variety of channels. It should not only allow to process messages, but also to link customers’ identities on these channels.
It is now common for customers to contact a company on several channels for the same issue. For example, one client may send an email and follow up on Twitter 2 hours later if he didn’t get an answer.
To help your agents answer efficiently and provide them all the necessary information, a DCIP should be able to unify this kind of conversation across all channels. By merging digital identities, it will aggregate customer’s data (preferred channel, social profiles, conversations history…) to make it easily accessible by the agent.
One of the main benefits of this process is to identify the customer’s preferred channel. Rather than answering him on several channels for the same issue, agents will now be able to send him a message on the most relevant channel.
The identities merging also has benefits for the CRM: when integrated, the DCIP will be able to enrich the customer profile with digital identities. On its own, the CRM wouldn’t be able to identify these identities. This data will enrich the profile and contribute to the 360° view of the customer.
3/ Connectivity with customer care tools
DCIP is one of the main blocks for customer care, and it should be able to connect with your other tools to be fully integrated into your strategy.
One of the most important integrations is the one with CRM. CRM softwares centralize all the transactional available data, allowing to know if the user is a customer and all the associated data (name, address, history…). CRM will benefit from the integration with DCIP to enrich customer profiles with conversational data, such as channel preference, conversation history…
Another essential block whose use for customer care is growing fast is chatbots. Messenger is one of the main channels used, but it is also possible to launch it on other channels such as live chat. A chatbot implementation should always include a possibility hand over the conversation to a human. A chatbot-friendly Digital Customer Interactions Platform will allow to setup this handover and deploy chatbots on several channels. By choosing a DCIP connecting to chatbots, you will be able to make the most of this technology while keeping a qualitative customer experience.
In the same way as we have explained, choosing an open platform integrating with APIs will ensure you can connect to more specific tools. For example, if you’re using a semantic analysis tool, connecting it to a DCIP can be useful to analyze the content of the messages received.
4/ Routing features
One of the main benefits of a Digital Customer Interactions Platform is its ability to route and prioritize messages. This will help to organize the stream of incoming messages and make sure they are treated by the right agents. The routing can be customized based on your internal processes, using the channel (chat, social media, email, etc.) content (keywords), number of followers etc…For example, if your customer service is organized by areas of expertise (technical support, invoice enquiries…), you can use routing so that your agents receive inquiries that match their skills.
These features will help you process efficiently your customers’ enquiries and match your service response time for each channel. The CRM integration will help to make the routing even more complete, by providing data to the DCIP. For example, the customer status or the date of last purchase can be used to route and prioritize messages. That way, the routing takes into account the customer information as well.
5/ User-friendly interface
Having an user-friendly interface is essential to help agents process messages efficiently. Apart from the features we have introduced, it is important to think about the end user and consider if the platform will be a convenient tool. If agents appreciate the tool and use it with ease, they will be more motivated. This can also reduce the training required when the tool is implemented and when new agents are hired.
Having added features will help them to answer more efficiently and reduce handling time as well:
- Reply assistant: this feature can save common answers (like “How can I help you?”) to make agents save time.
- Spell checking: with this feature, agents can be sure to send error-free messages.
- Knowledge base: by accessing a knowledge base directly from the platform, agents can respond more accurately and save time.
With the CRM integration, it is possible to manage both CRM software and DCIP through a unified interface. This will save agent’s time, who won’t have to manage two applications independently.
6/ Reporting features
Reporting is an essential part of digital customer care. Accessing data about your effectiveness on digital channels and the activity of your customer service team will help to evaluate your strategy. To make a good use of this data and adapt your company’s strategy accordingly, these figures should be available in a clear and simple way.
Here are some examples of the essential statistics that should be available in each platform:
- Share of enquiries on each channel
- Average response time
- Customer Satisfaction
These are only a few examples of the statistics provided by these platforms. When considering different softwares, you should make sure to find the KPIs relevant to your business objectives. To be able to make use of this data, you should also verify if it can be exported easily.
These criteria will help you to choose a solution contributing to optimize your customer care strategy. This tool’s implementation can require time and technical integrations, so it is essential to find the one able to evolve with your activity. This includes the fact to integrate the market’s latest trends (new channels available for customer care, new tools…) and adapt to the growth of interactions number and agents. Once your DCIP will be setup, the integration with your CRM will then give you access to a very complete customer view, helping you to answer his enquiries more efficiently and increase his satisfaction.