Not so long ago, the art of conversation involved simply mastering your words and manners while in the same room as someone else. Then the contact centre arrived, and skills mastered in the face-to-face world transformed to rely on voice alone. Now, the digital age is driving us to even greater evolution.
Today, a conversation is borderless, timeless…and potentially not even a word is spoken. Five years ago, it would have seemed impossible that your customers would be able to contact you not just in person or by phone or email, but that they would be tweeting and sharing and pinning, demanding on-site web chat, and crowdsourcing their answers from a forum of informed strangers. But this is just the beginning of our new reality.
The explosion of new interaction technology over the last few years has unharnessed customer expectations, and shows no sign of abating. Customers are now able to ask what they want, where and when the question occurs to them. They can share their opinions with the world, rather than just their families. They can share experiences with strangers, and share ideas and tips on products and services. This new frontier of conversation is both exciting and challenging – how do we translate the skills of the old art, and turn our hand to the new?
The starting point is simple: discover what defines meaningful conversation to your customers. For each medium, what are they looking for? Low cost immediate service, bespoke service tailored to them as an individual, recognition of their previous interactions regardless of channel?
Just because a customer is online, don’t assume they want casual tone. Just because a customer calls, don’t assume they’ve got plenty of time. Find out what conversations they want to have with you, and how they want to have them. Technology doesn’t mean you have to throw away what you know – you just have to find out how to use it differently.