By Mayur Anadkat, VP of Product Marketing
There's no doubt the internet has completely changed the way today's modern consumer does business with a company. Before the internet, the only way a customer was able to reach a business was to pick up their landline phone, dial a 1-800 number, and wait their turn in line for an agent to pick up. What if there was no answer, or a busy signal? The customer had to try again on another day and hope an agent would pick up then. Whether the transaction was big or small, they all came through the same channel, a telephone.
Today many people don't even own a landline; I haven't one for 10 years. Needless to say, times have changed. Now, a customer can not only reach a company through numerous channels, but also publicly address their issues. With all the review sites that exist, along with social media, the company can no longer hold any control. Because of this visibility into each company, there has been a huge shift to consumers now holding the power. A consumer has the power to write about a bad experience on a review site, leave 1/5 stars for your product, or tweet something negative about your company. Consumers hold the power and it is time for companies to accept and respect this shift.
The old standard customer service process is a thing of the past. The modern consumer is expecting answers faster while on the channel of their choosing. For that reason, companies need to be omni-present. All generations of consumers have different channel preferences. According to Mary Meeker's Internet Trends of 2016, Generation Y (born 1981-1999) most popular contact center channel preference is the internet/web chat and social media. While Generation X (born 1961-1980), Baby Boomers (born 1945-1960), and Silent Generation (born before 1944) all prefer the telephone to other contact center channels. Companies are realizing the importance of being omni-present for the range of consumer's preferences. Some people want to talk to an agent over the phone, while others want to send an email, and then check back on their own time for the response.
Customers want to have the option to communicate with a company on their terms whether it is mobile, web chat, social, or video, and hop from channel to channel, with their history and context carried through each preference. Realizing this consumer power shift, Five9 has announced Summer Release, which allows agents to communicate with customers throughout various channels with the ability to switch from one channel to another, as the customer desires. The 2016 Summer Release will help companies modernize their contact centers. After all, the consumers now have the power.