E-shopping in the future: more self-service, more active customer care
Mail-order companies are generating almost 50% of this year’s turnover through online channels - and that figure is rising. It is a development which has consequences for customer communication. In future there will be a more precise distinction between consultants in customer centres and software-based self-service solutions. Nowadays, call centre staff answer almost a third of Internet shoppers’ queries by phone. But in future a large proportion of customer dialogue with shoppers will shift to the Internet itself. More and more users expect to find the information they need directly online. Dynamic FAQs and virtual consultants will therefore contribute considerably more in future to the quick and conclusive answering of customer queries. Staff in customer service centres, on the other hand, will become more involved in calling customers proactively so as to ensure that links with consumers are not lost. These are the findings of e-commerce and customer care experts at the 5th novomind Annual Self Service Conference & Services Day on 4 September in Hamburg.
Call centres with a change of focus
Around 100 delegates from all over Germany came to find out about the directions which customer communication and electronic mail order is taking. Christoph Pause, Editor-in-Chief of TeleTalk magazine, gave a keynote speech outlining the re-focused role of the call centre: "Efficient self-service systems will ensure that customer consultants can spend more time on customer relationships-by talking to them directly". Person-to-person communication is more in demand than ever before, including in fields such as claims management and customer recovery, where letters and e-mails often fail to persuade customers to stay.
Customer service as an experience
"Furthermore, the call centre of the future will employ new concepts to participate actively in mail-order companies’ brand-building processes. Mail-order brands also have an effect through the service experience," says Martin Groß-Albenhausen, publisher of mail-order industry magazine "Der Versandhausberater". One method of differentiating a brand is known as Sonic Branding. The agents’ tone of voice, queue music, sounds on the website and so on are carefully chosen so as to create a familiar atmosphere for customers every time they make contact.
novomind presents new Self Service Suite
As customer service centres strive to adjust to their new focus, the demands on electronic customer communications systems rise. Queries have to be checked more accurately for content, so as to automatically separate standard questions from serious complaints. Furthermore, customer data has to be collated at a central point so that customer consultants always have the latest details on the customer relationship. Electronic dialogue with customers will in future be conducted via just one platform, regardless of whether a consumer sends an enquiry by fax, e-mail, letter or SMS. novomind has adapted its Self Service Suite 6.0 continuously to future requirements. The latest version was shown for the first time at the event; it has been improved in 70 different ways. Among the most important updates have been the comprehensive analysis tools. For example, customer service centres can obtain an accurate overview of which queries in each category have been answered over which periods. This allows them to recognise bottlenecks earlier on, and to do something about them in good time. This in turn protects customers from unpleasant delays.
novomind AG: innovative software for professional customer communication
Hamburg-based software company novomind is the fastest-growing company in the fields of electronic customer communication and mail management. As a leading provider of innovative solutions for digital customer communication, novomind AG offers software for service-based, personalised interaction with customers. This achieves noticeable increases in the efficiency of customer administration, as well as a fast return on investment. The service portfolio of the Products Business Unit includes the novomind Self Service Suite. This software package contains all of the communication modules required for a customer service centre, which revolve around a central knowledge base: e-mail management, virtual customer consulting and systems for interactive real-time communication. In its Services Business Unit, novomind AG implements complex eBusiness applications. More than 40 big-name companies have already opted for novomind technology, including Citibank, Otto and the Deutsche Rentenversicherung Bund (German Pensions Association). Club Bertelsmann, EnBW and Mexx, as well as public sector institutions such as the German Bundestag and the Federal Ministry of Economics, are already using novomind systems successfully to back up their customer communication, increase their turnover and improve their public relations.