E-commerce orgs need multi-channel models

Interactive Intelligence calls for adoption of multi-channel models in e-commerce sector

Tags: E-commerceInteractive Intelligence Inc (www.inin.com)United Arab Emirates
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E-commerce orgs need multi-channel models Shaheen Haque, territory manager, Middle East & Turkey at Interactive Intelligence.
By  Shaheen Haque Published  June 18, 2013

The Internet is fast changing the purchasing behaviours of consumers in the Middle East. Familiarity with technology, widely available high-speed Internet services and growing trust in online services has led to a boom in online shopping.

Figures show that roughly 33% of MENA consumers now make online purchases and industry analysts expect e-commerce in the region to reach an estimated $15bn in 2015. Even retail chains with established physical stores are looking to engage their customers through online channels giving them the ability to browse, select and purchase products of their choice from the convenience of their homes.

To achieve the difficult task of building customer loyalty when the primary means of interaction is no longer a physical location, companies must look at new ways to engage with customers. While the initial transaction may happen through a Web portal, a consumer should be able to quickly resolve any issues by contacting the call centre and receive a high level of service. The customer experience process can range from ordering a product on the website to calling for a refund.

Building loyalty though customer service excellence

The types of channels that e-commerce organisations, or for that matter all companies offer their customers have been changing over the past decade. While phone interactions remain the dominant method of issue resolution, industry research indicates that the adoption of email, chat, and Web interactions are now available in some form in over 90% of contact centres. However, the level of service being offered on these other channels varies widely across the contact centre landscape.

If organisations hope to build a market differentiating multi-channel customer service model, they must bring together processes, people, technology, culture, and information. In order to build such a service ecosystem, companies need to focus their efforts in certain areas. By applying some, if not all, of the suggestions listed below, companies can optimise the customer service experience.

Have a "data filter" for all channels

Social media is one of the key marketing tools employed by online retailers. At the same time, if it is not implemented as a two-way communication platform it can adversely affect brand image. This requirement is forcing companies to provide social customer service in the call centre. The problem with this is that, in order to have a multi-channel engagement, companies need to have a "data filter" strategy. Social media noise needs to be filtered by a distinct set of criteria - from influencers to sentiment, and from trends to categorisation of conversations. The increase of social conversations needs to be supplemented with workflow and business process so that conversations are managed with different channel options. However, not all Twitter or Facebook conversations need to end up in the call centre - doing so could significantly increase the cost of operation. Therefore, the "data filter" needs to happen not just with social media but also with all the other channels.

Improve website traffic and page views

Callback, co-browsing, chat, and email are key factors to increasing the number of page views on the company website and conversion rates. Companies must be mindful that the functionality needs to be interwoven with any site analytics and/or marketing automation tools being used, especially with its social media efforts.

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