Turning “direct to consumer” into “direct with customer”—the importance of customer service in the DTC business model
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The direct to consumer (DTC) business model has seen explosive growth over the last 15 years, and it’s a boom that seems primed for continued growth, whether you’re in the wine, fashion, banking, or razor business. Digital natives especially expect the ease and self-service options that are the hallmark of DTC.
D2C has its limitations though; a recent study found DTC brands deliver less than half of the features customers have come to expect in today’s on-demand, personalized environment. In-store pick up and return, for example, have gone from being a practical solution to one that is now firmly expected as part of the customer experience, and have extended omni-channel service delivery.
From “direct …
How a pandemic accelerates the demise of on-premise contact centers—and why that’s a good thing
Picture yourself 20 years from now looking back to this year and saying, “There’s nothing like a global pandemic to teach us….” (And then finish the sentence.)
This is what I’d say.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we learned we needed to redefine the term “business continuity.”
Back in the day, the term solely involved contract terms and service level agreements (SLAs) that dealt with disruptions caused by down-time, caused by computer or telecommunications system failures.
Today, we know better. The pandemic exposed points of failure in processes and faults in network topologies that arose when so many people were forced to conduct conversations and commerce within the friendly confines of their homes.
The disruption was driven by new processes and workflows, not technology and processor performance. Today, those disruptions are permanent. Reliance on “intelligent endpoints” was accelerated in the form of smartphones or smart speakers used for online shopping or …
Customer experience happens in the contact center. Is yours set up for success?
Customer loyalty hinges on the customer experience, and because of that, the contact center—where the customer experience is shaped—is now the proving ground for brand differentiation.
From account authentication to delivery notification; from customer service experiences to product and experience reviews, the contact center is the hub of trusted communications that engages customers throughout the customer lifecycle.
A younger workforce, process automation, and customer expectations are fundamentally shaping the future of enterprise contact centers. The next generation of contact center employees expect easy access to a 360º customer view. Chatbots and machine learning are allowing for 24/7 service that simultaneously frees up more time for agents. And customer expectations demand maximum flexibility to communicate with brands on the channel of their choice.
To suit every customer, your contact center needs to provide self-service and the option for a direct line of communication to live agents across SMS, email, …
How AI can help contact centers resolve issues faster during crisis
With the disruption caused by coronavirus comes new challenges for customer service and support. In times of crisis, it’s important to stay focused on best practices and reinforce the capabilities of your contact center—not necessarily rip-and-replace them. In addition to being prepared with business continuity plans and the right infrastructure, businesses can ensure their contact center agents are able to manage increased call volumes by leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to help scale support.
Traditionally, customer satisfaction (CSAT) has been regarded as the ultimate measure of customer loyalty. However, according to recent Gartner research, a more telling indicator of customer loyalty, especially amidst the stresses and sense of urgency surrounding COVID-19 and other times of crisis, is customer effort: the ease of customer interaction and resolution during a request. In fact, customer effort is 40 percent more …
Best practices for contact centers to manage customer service in the midst of a crisis
Amid the new reality of social distancing and ‘shelter-in-place’ orders brought on by the coronavirus, businesses worldwide are scrambling to adapt to change.
Nowhere is this more evident than in call and contact centers, who bear a massive burden of inbound calls and messages. Effective crisis communications, both within an organization as well as between a company and its customers, requires a delicate balance between providing relevant information in a timely manner without contributing to panic or already heightened states of stress.
Below is a list of practical steps we’ve seen Twilio customers implement to manage this unique time and circumstance we all find ourselves in:
1. Check-in with your team early and often: Run 15-minute stand up meetings with a different group/team of agents every day. Get a sense for how overwhelmed they possibly are –– not just from call volume, but from managing emotional conversations and their …
Call centers: Enabling a previously-impossible customer experience via the cloud, from Sheila McGee-Smith
I left business school in the early 1980s when two technologies under development for decades were about to become mainstream.
The first was the cell phone. Before 1973, mobile telephony was limited to phones installed in cars and other vehicles — devices that weighed a couple of pounds, delivered about 30 minutes of talk time, and took 10 hours to re-charge.
Being the daughter of a life-long Western Electric manager, I read with some skepticism articles in the company magazine discussing cellular technology that would eventually mean everyone would have a mobile phone in their pocket. The promise was of pocket-sized phones that would transparently know where you were—anywhere in the world.
The other technology was personal computing. In both college and business school, I used punch cards to feed data into mainframe computers to perform statistical analysis for research projects.
Even after I took my first job at AT&T …
Three factors shaping the future of enterprise contact centers
In today’s market, there are more channels than ever on which brands and companies can engage with their customers. At the same time, customers expect a seamless experience from one channel to the next and want to engage with their chosen brands and companies on the channels they want, when they want to.
Not ready to rip-and-replace? No problem. Read about powerful ways to augment your contact center.
That means the contact center of old, with locked-in phone trees, long wait times, and unclear menu options—among a lot of other disadvantages—just don’t cut it anymore. Building strong relationships relies on clear, consistent, trusted communications before, during, and after a purchase, and that means the contact center is the lifeblood of customer loyalty. To help inform how you approach improving customer interactions, here are three critical factors shaping the future of enterprise contact centers into 2020 and beyond: a changing workforce, …