Customer Portal Updates for a Better Customer Experience

A well designed customer portal improves your customers’ experience when they need to interact with you. And it helps take the load off of your support staff. Whether browsing the knowledge base for answers, asking a question through the builtin contact form, accessing interaction history, or updating contact information, users can do it all with the iService customer portals.  iService 8.6 includes enhancements to the builtin customer engagement centers that make this experience even better.  

Let’s take a look at some of the improvements to the customer portals in iService 8.6.

Option to Hide Login and Registration

The iService customer portals provide your customers the option to collaborate with you on every aspect of their interaction with your organization. For example, they can update mailing list subscriptions, view past interaction history, and control the customer data they provide you. 

But in some cases, you might want to limit access to these features that require customer login. For example, maybe you are only using the portal to publish basic support information and capture questions. Or, perhaps you have a separate login that customers use to manage their customer data or order history. In those scenarios, you might need to remove the option for registering or logging into the portal.

This is now supported through a simple configuration option. To suppress the login and sign up links, just add this code to your customization form.

var showLoginRegister = false;


Enhancements to the Builtin Contact Form

One of the primary uses of the customer portal is to streamline the process for accepting customer inquiries. While email is often the preferred method for interaction by customers, free form email sent to your support mailbox is very inefficient. Without any structure to the question, it’s common to get questions that are missing basic information. 

The builtin Ask a Question form in the customer portal solves many of those issues. The form will automatically request additional information, and can even make fields required before the customer submits their question. This information is not displayed in a user friendly format making it easier for customers to complete, and saving your agents time by getting everything they need to provide a great service experience.

The form also integrates your knowledge base content into the question submission process. This gives your customers a chance for self-service before submitting their question.

Learn more about the customer engagement centers in the iService User Guide.

Improvements to the Customer Information section

Your support portal allows customers to update their contact information and any custom properties you’ve created and designated as customer editable. This makes it easy for customers to ensure you can reach them, and puts them in control of the data they provide you. This section, Update Profile, was redesigned in 8.6 to provide a better user experience. 

Other V8.6 Release Highlights

Updates to the External Answer form

In addition to the tabs portal, major improvements were made to the External Answer form that allows you to get help answering questions. The External Answer form is a quick way to answer a specific question, and doesn’t require an iService agent license or login.  The form was updated to allow users to send updates without resolving the question. For example, to let the customer know you will be working on their request but it might take some time. 

You can now link to the External Answer form from iService Alerts. Alerts are automated actions that help you ensure questions get answered timely. Email notifications for unanswered questions can include a link for each interaction, so recipients can quickly review and answer any unresolved questions. 

Delete Interaction Button and Report

Something else that’s worth highlighting in 8.6 is the new Delete Interaction button that permits privileged users to remove interactions from the iService tenant database. Whether you need to remove confidential data, inappropriate content, or malware that slipped through your defenses, this button lets you do it in one click. To monitor the use of this feature, we suggest setting up a subscription to the new Deleted Interactions Report that will deliver a list of deletions to your inbox. 

You can read more about the new Delete Interaction button in the iService User Guide.

Delighting Consumers and Driving Efficiency With Omnichannel Support

In recent years, the customer engagement space has changed remarkably. As companies seek ways to improve customer experience, silo support channels are becoming a thing of the past. Most people are now shifting to omnichannel customer service to deliver a great support experience. According to a report by Digital Commerce, 86% of customers expect you to know them as they interact with your team across multiple channels, and that’s best achieved with an omnichannel support platform. Why? Because all communication channels are synchronized to deliver consistent customer service. 

Sounds like something you might want to implement? Well, it’s time you bring your omnichannel vision to action. But first, let’s understand what omnichannel support is all about and how it adds value to your business. 

What’s Omnichannel Support?

Omnichannel support entails providing a unified experience to customers across multiple channels such as live chat, email, phone, and social media. It means taking an integrated approach to deliver a high-value experience across all your customers’ touch points. With omnichannel support a customer can start a conversation on one channel whenever they want, and continue in any other channel integrated within the platform. Omnichannel platforms, like iService, allow you to store your customer conversations in a single integrated history so that your support team always has context for the next interaction. 

A properly implemented omnichannel strategy not only helps you to understand your customer journey but also their conversation history so that you deliver a personalized support experience every time they interact with your brand. Taking an omnichannel approach is essentially a win-win for both your customers and your support agents. 

How to Build Real-Time Omnichannel Customer Experience

Now that you know what omnichannel support is all about, how do you get started? 

It can take quite a lot of effort to integrate separate support channels into one unified experience. However, with the right omnichannel platform you should be able to implement your strategy in no time. Adopting a platform that integrates all your support channels in one place is the key to delivering consistent experience to your customers. 

Here’s what you should consider to deliver a winning omnichannel customer experience.

Map the Customer Journey

Mapping out the customer journey is the very first thing you should consider if you choose to take the omnichannel approach. It’s essential to understand the customer journey and identify the various touch points with your team and your brand. For instance, at what point do most customers tend to fall off the journey? Do they abandon your shopping cart? Do they research your space, and then return after submitting questions? With this type of information you’ll be able to determine the digital touchpoints required and the necessary actions to take to acquire new customers as well as retain existing ones. 

Go for Tools That Support Omnichannel Service

Before you even think of implementing an omnichannel strategy you should invest in the right tools for seamless integration. Having tools like live chat and an easy to navigate support center on your website ensures conversations are linear and customers are well connected. In that way, your customers or prospects can start a conversation with your brand on the channel they prefer. For instance, if an email response is taking too long, they might go for live chat support or make a call if that’s supported on your website. Or, they might find the answer quickly in your knowledge base and then move on to completing their purchase.

Build a Strong Customer Feedback Loop

As an entity, it’s essential to improve your product based on the feedback you receive from customers. Therefore, strengthening your feedback loop is a great way to enhance the omnichannel customer experience. Listening to your customers needs and complaints will help you refine your omnichannel strategy to offer a better experience across all communication channels. 

An omnichannel solution, like iService, provides opportunities to gather feedback on your interactions. Since the feedback is directly tied to agent responses, you can get a deep understanding of your customers’ expectations and your service levels.

Identify the Most Preferred Channels

Like every other business, you have a target audience and as you try to discover their needs, it’s essential to identify their preferred channels. As you do this, be sure to include both reactive and proactive channels so as to build a complete omnichannel support system that users find intuitive. If you already have an omnichannel system in place, it’s essential to review existing channels to find out which is the most preferred. In that way, you’ll keep up with the changing needs of your target audience.

Omnichannel Support Best Practices

As you plan to improve your customer experience by adopting the omnichannel support approach, it’s important to equip yourself with some of the best practices in this space to maximize your gains.  

Let’s dive deeper into this!

Provide More Self-Service Options

Nowadays, most customers prefer getting solutions for their issues without necessarily reaching out to your support team. Being able to search for the answer and fix the problem whenever they want saves them a lot of time. If anything, more than two-thirds of customers prefer searching answers from a well-built and reliable knowledge base to asking questions through other service channels. Therefore,  making your common answers accessible to customers in a knowledge base is a great way to educate them about your brand and answer their questions. 

Use Live Chat

Some customers might look for help just before buying an item, and live chat can be the fastest way to interact with them in such cases. Typically, live chat ensures less waiting time and offers the convenience of immediate assistance, which improves the customer experience. With live chat support, your agents can also personalize your customer’s buying experience at any point of their purchase journey. They can direct the customer to a specific page, and the customer has a written summary for future reference. 

Offer a Personalized Experience Through Emails

Email is still the preferred channel by most  customers, especially when the question is not urgent. By providing quick, personalized responses you build their trust in your brand. How do you do this? Addressing customers by their first name is a great way to connect with them. It makes them feel you understand their needs and they’ll be more than willing to interact with your brand. 

Would you like to build long-term customer relations? Adopting an omnichannel support strategy is the way to go. Let your agents access customer conversations across all channels in a centralized place for a customized experience. 

Preview Dialer: What You’re Missing

An automated dialer might come to mind as the most efficient process when you think of calling a list of contacts. But automated dialing (including predictive and progressive dialing) can be a risky endeavor. Auto-dialers can create an awkward delay when your customer or prospect answers the call. And their use can violate TSR and/or TCPA standards, which carry hefty fines and risks litigation from unhappy consumers.

Preview dialing, on the other hand, can give your prospects a better experience without compromising agent efficiency. If anything, a preview dialer ensures your agents deliver a personalized experience to customers without struggling to find contacts, numbers to call, and last contact information.

What is preview dialing?

Preview dialing uses a predetermined list of contacts that need to be reached, similar to an automated dialer. While an automated dialer takes control of the timing of the call, the preview dialer puts you in control. You have time to review the details about your contact, read the most recent call notes, and get your thoughts ready before the call is placed. If the contact isn’t available, you can leave a personal message and quickly document your voice mail in iService call notes.

Why should I consider preview dialing?

Here’s why you might consider preview dialer over an automated dialer.

1. Forget Abandoned Calls

The worst part of automated dialing is the potential for abandoned calls.  While the amount of downtime is increased when using a preview dialer, your agents can use that time to review call notes and ensure the customer experience is always top notch. 

2. Know The Customer Before a Call

When using a preview dialer, agents get to review information about the contact prior to the call. For instance, the iService preview dialer form offers a quick view of a contact’s profile as well as their recent interactions, giving agents valuable insights before a follow call. In that way, an agent gets into the call armed with information that’s useful to the contact. Essentially, you know exactly what’s needed to close each deal or reach a win-win solution. 

3. Take a Personalized Approach

As opposed to mass calling, preview dialing ensures you give personalized attention to every contact. The iService preview dialer form gives agents the tools they need for call notes, and includes direct access to the full contact page for each contact.  Taking such a personalized approach to reach out to your contacts compels them to work with you.

4. Selective Dialing

Although you try to reach all of your contacts during follow up, you might want to skip a few contacts on the list. This is only achievable with a preview dialer. At the end of every call an agent is able to see who’s next on the list and they can decide when to make the call or skip to the next contact on the list. For complex sales where a little research is needed between call sessions, a preview dialer comes in handy as agents have time to gather adequate information before making a call.

5. Avoid Delays

Nowadays most customers hang up when they realize the person calling is a telemarketer. Since automated dialers cause a delay in connecting the call, it’s easier for a customer to identify a telemarketer and drop the call. However, with a preview dialer, an agent starts speaking as soon as someone answers the call. The no-delay connection improves customer interaction thus making outbound calling campaigns more productive. And when the agent gets someone on the line, they know exactly what to say and have information at their fingertips.

If you’re out to make the most from your outbound calling campaigns, a preview dialer can be a critical part of your sales and marketing strategy.

Learn how to set up the preview dialer from our User Guide.