Do you need help?

Customer Service News
13 Jul 2010

Social media force German contact centres to rethink

Multiple channels drive blended agent system trend

Growing job complexity for contact agents

Classic service processes under scrutiny   
Social media spell radical change for German contact centres. Agents now have to field enquiries from even more channels and in less time than ever. Ninety per cent of contact centres today offer their customers three communication channels and more, not counting the additions of social media like Twitter and Facebook. One team for calls and one for non-calls is a model that’s fast becoming obsolete. The trend is now towards the so-called "blended agent system", in which one contact agent operates both asynchronous channels, such as e-mail and fax, and synchronous channels, like telephone and chat lines. These are the findings of a recent market survey conducted by novomind.

Pendulum swinging towards multichannel agents    
The significance of the phone is waning for the Internet generation. Thanks to the rise in communications via social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, customers are increasingly expecting round-the-clock service - on all channels. As service availability spreads toward 24 hours a day, staff planning is becoming a key focus for contact centre managers. More and more companies are now using the blended agent system (not only phone calls, but also non-calls, such as e-mails, for instance, are channelled to one and the same agent) in an attempt to reduce idle time and to ensure the necessary level of service on all channels.

User-friendly IT gains significance
At the same time, it is important to bear in mind that the complexity of workplaces increases with each new communication channel. "Switching to the blended agent system places new demands on existing processes and the information technology used," says Peter Samuelsen, CEO of novomind. New employees at contact centres need to be able to familiarise themselves fast with the job. In terms of communications IT, the future multiplicity of channels also calls for maximum integration of new channels into existing telephone and CRM systems. "In order to switch quickly between e-mail, fax, letter and text message as well as live chat and telephone, agents require an interface that lets them access all customer management IT applications as quickly and easily as possible," Samuelsen explains.

novomind AG:
innovative solutions for modern e-business systems and professional customer communications    Since 1999, Hamburg company novomind has been developing innovative e-business solutions for the modern Internet world in four e-business disciplines: e-commerce (e-shops and zoom server), ePDM (electronic product management), e-marketplace (marketplace integration) and e-communication (solutions for contact and service centres).

novomind is a European technology leader in every service segment and covers the whole digital value-adding chain in retail and electronic customer communication.

The Hamburg-based software house is the fastest growing company in the fields of electronic customer communication and mail management (e-communications). With the two product lines novomind iAGENT and novomind Self Service Solutions, businesses now have the opportunity to integrate all of their communication channels into one system.

novomind AG is currently assisting more than 80 companies including Targobank, Der Club Bertelsmann, Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund, Ernsting’s family, EnBW, gebrüder götz, OTTO and QVC.