How Messaging Impacts Contact Center Staffing

You already have the agents with great attitudes, aptitude for learning, and passion for helping others. If you have these agents who are a great cultural fit with experience in the customer service field – you’ve hit the bonus round.

When it comes to messaging, you may be wondering which agents may be the best fit to staff your business messaging channel. In this article, we’ll discuss how Quiq’s clients have managed staffing for the messaging channel, and the surprises and lessons learned along the way.

Why Staffing For the Messaging Channel Is Different

The Skinny: The staff on your messaging channel will need to communicate a bit differently because customers have different expectations as compared to traditional channels.

  • The point of having a multi-channel strategy isn’t to force everybody to one channel, but to provide each customer with their preferred method to have a conversation with a company. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what your customer expectations are for each channel. Understanding where each customer is in terms of their product lifecycle, demographic, lifetime value or life event/status can help you determine where to focus the energy within your contact center.
  • For instance, if you’re a customer service center that provides complex and lengthy explanations of 401K options to Baby Boomers, you’re probably not hopping on Facebook and updating your Instagram stories too often. However, you still may want to use messaging to attract new generations of investors or to help those who may need some guidance on their first account. On the other hand, if you’re selling concert tickets, you’re customers are probably jumping on Facebook or trying to text you to buy the best seats.
  • Not only do your customers get to choose the channel they prefer, but multi-channel contact centers also allow you to align your personnel to their channel preference. This table will help you think through your customer’s preference for a particular channel and why it’s important that your agents are aligned appropriately:
    Channel Customer Motivators Agent Motivators
    Phone
    • Complex issue
    • May need to ask a lot of follow up questions
    • Wants someone to talk through the issue
    • Enjoys talking to people
    • Easily able to verbally relay the appropriate empathy
    • Finds the ebbs and flows of calls to be enjoyable
    Email
    • Has a non-urgent issue
    • Needs some form of documentation
    • Wants to share details
    • Likes to have more time to deal with issues
    • Believes that an email trail gives the customer more confidence
    • Likes to batch work and feels the influx of email is more predictable
    Chat
    • Doesn’t want or need to talk to anyone
    • Engages online regularly
    • Wants help right away
    • In a location not suitable for a phone call (i.e. too noisy, at work, etc.)
    • Comfortable using automation to reduce handle time
    • Able to communicate well with images and a few words
    • Capable of multi-tasking to keep multiple conversations moving
    • Enjoys a steady stream of work
    SMS
    • In a location not suitable for a phone call
    • Doesn’t want to be tied up in a phone tree or talking to someone
    • Busy, on-the-go

    While all of these channels may be available, once you implement messaging, you will see a decrease in phone and email volumes as customers shift to messaging. Most Quiq clients see 15-20% of calls deflected from the phone channel. Since the majority of your agents text message on a daily basis, it isn’t difficult to train them to handle messaging.

  • Next, let’s discuss three simple characteristics that make a messaging agent effective.

    Characteristics of an Ace Messaging Channel Agent

    Messaging is fun, agents like to do it, in fact, many of them will request to do it. Some Quiq clients even use messaging as a way to reward agents. You can use the messaging channel as a promotion from handling phone calls and emails.

    While most people text on a daily basis, including your agents and your customers, that doesn’t mean that every agent will be able to handle multiple messages within the desired time.

    Here are a few things to look for in a messaging agent:

    1. Great multi-tasker

    • Messaging requires agents to work concurrently on multiple conversations, so you have to be sure that your agents are comfortable with this kind of workflow. Just because some employees are mobile and social geniuses, they might not be the best agents for handling simultaneous activities, so you need to have the right training in place to ensure a consistent service experience.

    2. Clear and concise writer

    • There are reasons why you should limit your SMS and text messages to less than 160 characters. The core idea is that these messages should be short and to the point given customers are using a mobile device. If your customers want to read or send something longer, they’ll likely use email.

    3. Not afraid of cross-sell and upsell opportunities

    • Customers that use messaging are engaged and most likely to be happy with this channel, unlike a customer who has been sitting on hold or waiting for an email response. Messaging-enabled agents should not be afraid to offer additional value to these customers who are more approachable and receptive.

    The Productivity Hacking Tool

    Agents want to use Quiq Messaging because of the ease of use and productivity gains. Some Quiq clients even look back at their initial hesitation to add messaging as a channel and wonder why they didn’t adopt messaging sooner #SMH.

    Staffing and workload improvements have made messaging a home run for a more productive contact center:

    • Quiq clients have seen work time reductions by as much as 25 – 40% with text messaging versus other channels.
    • Messaging agents can handle 6-8 conversations at a time, as compared to 1 phone call.
    • Messages come in at a more steady rate since consumers are able to shoot off a quick message at any time during the day.
    • With Quiq, messages are prioritized based on the customers level of activity or interaction with the agent, so the agent never has to worry about who they should engage with next.
    • Quiq clients are realizing a 5-7 ppt increase in customer satisfaction rates over the messaging channel, higher than any other channel.

    Messaging is an easy, convenient channel that’s a real time-saver – and everyone wants to keep it that way. An agent who can blend speed and issue resolution, for both simple and complex cases, is perfect for the messaging channel and will help you fully realize efficiencies.

    Let Quiq get you started on messaging. Request a demo today.

    Quiq makes it easy for customers to contact a business via Messaging, the preferred channel already in use with our friends and family.  With Quiq, customers can now engage with companies via SMS/text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Web Chat, In-App, and Kik for help with their pre-sales and post-sales questions. Learn more about Quiq today at quiq.com.

  • Megan Weller can #codelikeagirl | Women’s Month 2018

    Megan Weller, a front-end software engineer at Quiq, is born and raised in Billings, Montana. When Megan isn’t crushing code, she’s working creative magic in other pursuits. This Women’s Month, get to know this talented developer who isn’t afraid to #codelikeagirl.

    Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, and when you discovered a love of tech.

    I discovered my love for tech at a young age. I was always naturally inclined to technology and soon became the go-to for tech support in my family. Although I did start my college career in graphic design, I took a web design class and discovered that I liked the coding part even more than the design part. The core reasons why I wanted a career in tech is that I enjoy problem-solving, design, and creating.

    I like to think that I have a pretty creative eye when it comes to design and structure. As side hobbies, I enjoy calligraphy, interior design, woodworking, and designing invitations for my friend’s weddings and bridal showers. I’m creating something out of nothing with these tools that I have.

    I think coding goes hand in hand with creativity. You have a blank slate and there are so many possibilities on what to create, how you’re going to do, and how it will be built. There will always be problem needed to solved and I do love a good puzzle. I never knew what I wanted to be when I was growing up, but when I realized that software engineering was a strong possibility, it felt like something just clicked and I knew it was right for me.

    Q: What do you love about technology and what developments are you most excited about?

    One thing I love about technology is that we are creating simple solutions to problems people didn’t know they had. Making applications and solutions to make life easier and convenient. Take Quiq for an example, I could call the customer service hotline at a company but then I’m on hold for maybe 30 minutes and transferred several times. But texting a customer service number, and conversing that way is more convenient for me because it’s on my time and makes whatever problem I have so much easier to resolve.

    Q: What are the skills or career paths that may be exciting prospects for women now and in the future?

    I think this year and the past few months have made this day more important than ever. Women are rising up in the workplace and demanding equality. While I was in school and now as an alumnus, I have attended events and groups dedicated to women in tech and engineering. I’ve heard speeches from trailblazing women like Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, Susan Wojcicki, CEO of Youtube and MSU alumni like Jean Sweeney, a VP at 3M, and many more. All women had one common advice, it was to work hard and have ambition. There are some gender obstacles in the way, but they will not be the deciding factor. A career in tech is extremely rewarding and I’m happy I made my decision to get a degree in Computer Science. I’m excited to see where my career takes me and the changes made in the tech industry, where we one day will have gender equality. As Sheryl Sandberg put it, “In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders”.

    Hospitality Technology: Ski Resort Uses Text Messaging to Interact with Guests

    Jackson Hole uses messaging to interact with guests.

    Hospitality Technology highlights how Jackson Hole Mountain Resorts uses messaging to interact with guests. Jackson Hole Mountain Resort has only been using messaging since February 2017 but has seen dramatic results.

    Jackson Hole rolled out Quiq’s messaging solution and live chat platform for its customers. This easy implementation expanded its customer service channels and gave customers more ways to reach the resort whenever and however they want.

    The implementation was fast and the results have been incredible. See how this resort is blazing new trails in the travel and hospitality industry with innovative new ways to serve their customers.

    Quiq Celebrates #womenthatcode for Women’s Month – Q&A with Gretchen Dickie

    Adjusting to growth can be challenging and change can be hard for some people, but Gretchen Dickie, Senior Quality Assurance Engineer makes it look easy. From major career moves to the frequent and fast-paced changes in technology, Gretchen has been able to identify and seize opportunities that have helped her move forward as a one of many #womenthatcode.

    As part of our International Women’s Day series, we invite you to get to know a bit more about the women at Quiq who are helping to move technology forward. We’re proud of the talent we have at Quiq and are excited to share the stories of the women that are helping to make this company a leading software for text messaging for business.

    Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, and when you discovered a love of tech

    The elegant logic of science and math has always fascinated me and led me to BS degrees in Medical Technology and Microbiology. It also led to a cross-country move from Wisconsin to a job as a Clinical Laboratory Scientist in a small hospital in the mountains of Montana. After being lucky enough to take some time away from my career to spend the early years of my son’s & daughter’s lives at home with them, I decided to return to school to pursue a new career path.

    Technology professions were barely on anyone’s radar the first time I was in college but now offered seemingly endless possibilities. An MS in Computer Science exposed me to a new world of software design, theory, programming and problem-solving, and bonus – I got to take more math classes! After finishing my Master’s I joined RightNow Technologies (later acquired by Oracle), and held positions of Support Specialist, Business Systems Analyst, and Quality Assurance Engineer.

    I’m now Sr. QA Engineer with Quiq, where I’m continuing to pursue my passion for contributing to the creation of software that can actually make people’s lives a little less frustrating.

    Q: What do you love about technology and what developments are you most excited about?

    What do I love about technology?  Each day brings new challenges & opportunities that allow me to continue learning – no matter what your age is, there’s something new to learn every day.  I enjoy everything that goes into releasing software – witnessing the innovation and ideas the team comes up with every day, contributing to design decisions, implementation, testing, and seeing the outcome of all the hard work in the product we release to our customers.  Things move fast here and are always changing – tech careers are never boring!

    #womenthatcode

    Q: What are the skills or career paths that may be exciting prospects for women now and in the future?

    My path to a technology career was a long journey with lots of turns, but it’s proof that the possibilities are endless if you decide to take that path – and the exciting thing is, even after you get to your destination, there may be surprises.  After getting a CS degree I fully expected to pursue a career as a software engineer, but along the way, I discovered that I loved other aspects of this profession more than coding.

    There are so many options available in this industry that no one should limit themselves to a narrow view of what technology professions look like.

    Credit Union Journal (Press Release): Quiq Adds Eight Major Credit Unions, Accelerating Financial Sector Momentum

    Quiq Adds Eight Major Credit Unions, Accelerating Financial Sector Momentum

    Offering Messaging Attracts Millennial Customers,
    Improves Customer Satisfaction, and Decreases Costs

    BOZEMAN, Mont., March 06, 2018 — Quiq, a leading provider of messaging for customer service software, today announced that the company has added eight credit unions to its customer base, which signals strong momentum in the financial sector for the fast-growing firm. Combined, the eight credit union clients now give more than 720,000 members a messaging option to handle customer service issues, which improves member satisfaction, increases response rates, and lowers costs.

    Quiq’s credit union clients include Alabama One Credit Union in Tuscaloosa, AL; the Educational Employees Credit Union (EECU) in Fort Worth, TX; Ent Credit Union in Colorado Springs, CO; GenFed Financial Credit Union in Akron, OH; Red Rocks Credit Union in Highlands Ranch, CO; Land of Lincoln Credit Union in Decatur, IL; Pima Federal Credit Union in Tucson, AZ, and Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union in Lakewood, NY. Shaa Moore, System Administrator at Southern Chautauqua Federal Credit Union, credits the addition of Quiq’s customer service messaging solution with an uptick in membership:

    “We’re attracting the younger generation with a modern communication channel,” Moore observed. “Members think it’s ‘cool’ and tell their friends about it. Our member response time has gone from 10 minutes or more by phone to 1 minute via inbound text messaging. Now, our members are more likely to contact us because we’ve made it easy. We’ve also used outbound messaging to remind members of past-due payments. On one day alone, we received 32 payments. Past-due collections calls typically generate a 1 to 5 percent response. Thanks to outbound text messaging with Quiq, our collections recoveries have increased over 75 percent. This was unexpected and amazing.”

    “We decided to add a messaging option because that’s how our members communicate with their friends and families, and we felt that many would want to use the same channel to talk to their credit union,” said Jason Halperin, Chief Lending Officer at Alabama One Credit Union, who is currently implementing Quiq. “Our goal is to increase digital engagement with our members across the board, while appealing to millennials, who clearly prefer to use messaging. Use of SMS is associated with higher response rates, which we hope will reduce delinquencies and aid in collections, and we’re also hoping to see an increase in loan pull-through rates and velocity.”

    Quiq’s messaging solution presents messaging conversations to agents and if an agent is handling multiple conversations simultaneously, Quiq automatically prioritizes the conversations based on the pace and responsiveness of the member, so the agent can ensure timely responses and high member satisfaction.  Quiq’s Messaging also offers more sophisticated features including inbound and outbound messaging, routing, queuing, transferring, and collaboration on a single, omni-channel platform that can handle SMS/text messaging, web chat, and Facebook Messenger. This eliminates the need to log into multiple platforms to manage member conversations, which enhances agent productivity. Finally, Quiq delivers comprehensive reporting and analytics from all the messaging channels to support continuous improvement of the member experience.

    “Members increasingly expect to be able to message financial institutions like they do companies in other industries,” said Mike Myer, CEO and founder of Quiq. “We’re excited to work with our credit union clients to help them improve response rates through digital engagement. With Quiq, credit unions work more efficiently on a single platform that encompasses multiple digital communication channels, while giving customers the messaging options they expect.”

    To learn more, please visit quiq.com or contact the company via text at (646) 887-8398.

    About Quiq

    Our mission is to improve the way customers communicate with companies. Quiq makes it easy for customers to contact a business via Messaging, the preferred channel already in use with friends and family.  With Quiq, customers can now engage customer service via SMS/text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Web Chat, and Kik, for help with their pre-sales questions and post-sales support. Find out more at https://quiq.com/.

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    Quiq Celebrates International Women’s Day – Q&A with CMO, Dani Wanderer

    Quiq is proud to support International Women’s Day by highlighting three of our own Quiqsters who are helping to move technology forward. Our first profile is our very own CMO, Dani Wanderer. Dani has been working for tech companies for over 25 years. She’s helping move technology forward by supporting and mentoring incredible women to pursue their dreams, fight for what they want, and provide opportunities to help them succeed.  Aside from being a mom of two and avid hiker, Dani is the only Bozeman-based board member for Make-A-Wish, and working to make lives better for critically ill children.

    Q: Tell us a bit about yourself, and when you discovered a love of tech

    I didn’t start off with a love of tech. I started off with a passion for languages and studied French, German, Spanish, and Latin in high school. At the time, I wanted a foreign language to be part of my job but knew that just majoring in a language in college was not going to result in a high paying job. I decided to add business to my degree and to pursue international business, and as I entered college, I selected German over the other languages I had studied. This was primarily due to the fact that the Berlin Wall was coming down during that time and I thought there would be a great opportunity to live abroad and work in a German business after graduation.

    “Sometimes the path you plan to take has some roadblocks and other paths open up.”

    Sometimes the path you plan to take has some roadblocks and other paths open up. I had planned to attend Thunderbird for my masters and thus had selected Arizona State University for my undergraduate school. My mom and I visited the ASU campus and after seeing the campus and meeting the counselor, that it was clearly not the place for me. Being a planner and hater of change, not to mention a teenager, I was devastated. My mom, bless her, decided to drive me down to Tucson to see the University of Arizona. Despite being a very reluctant and negative participant on this detour, the first person I met there actually asked me what I was interested in doing and where I saw myself after graduation. Those questions revealed a whole new opportunity that was just perfect for me. U of A had just launched what they called a 3/2 program, which was a 5-year program where participants would receive a liberal arts degree in 3 years and a masters in 2 years. I was one of the first people to take on that challenge – keep in mind it can take some undergraduates 5 years to get one degree and I was going to have to buckle down to get 2 degrees in 5 years. The upside benefits were that I could still get a degree in a language and also end up with a masters degree in finance, but also, as an out-of-state, working student, I could minimize the years of tuition and student loans.

    So, how did I discover my love for tech? It came when I was recruited out of the U of A for a job with Hewlett Packard. Growing up in Omaha, Nebraska did not afford me much exposure to tech, not to mention I grew up with more “blue-collar” than white. Hewlett Packard was under the leadership of John Young and then Lew Platt, so the HP Way was very alive and well. That is where I discovered and fell in love with tech.

    Q: What do you love about technology and what developments are you most excited about?

    What do I love about tech companies?
    – the speed at which they move
    – the constant change and continual innovation across every single team, not just product/engineering
    – addressing new and different challenges every day
    – the energy of the culture and people

    Q: What are the skills or career paths that may be exciting prospects for women now and in the future?

    I believe that we should continue to encourage women in business, supporting their path to senior leadership and to become a CEO is still a huge opportunity. There are still only 27 female CEOs in the Fortune 500–that is 5%!!! Encouraging women to go into business and work their way up through the ranks and grow their skills must still be a priority.

    How Messaging Fits Into The Call Center

    Are your customers antagonized by a complex IVR menu maze? Do they get frustrated and press zero to talk to a live person, shout “agent, agent, agent”, or hang up before they resolve their issue? You’re not alone. Although IVR has been viewed as a pillar of customer self-service for a long time, most people have a strong aversion to using them.

    IVR systems have received a lot of scrutiny as consumers, especially Millennials, have become increasingly more self-reliant and mobile. Advocates and critics have predicted the rise and fall of IVR for decades. Maybe it’s time we start to think of a different outcome – one that isn’t a total win or lose game for IVR.

    In this post, we’ll discuss how IVR must evolve in order to stay relevant in today’s mobile world. We’ve identified three things that must be brought into the IVR experience.

    Omni-Channel  

    Consumers live across many devices. Laptops, smartphones, and tablets are the screens that manage our lives day in and day out. Whether it’s staying in touch with our family or friends or staying on top of current news, we are digitally connected and dependent. From tracking our diets to tracking packages, there is an expectation of immediacy and availability of information and support that spans channels.

    These expectations don’t stop once a customer picks up the phone to call a company. In fact, this is where those expectations can turn into impatience and frustration.  In fact, 93% of customers using a call center channel want one call resolution (OCR).

    However, many customers hang up before they even speak to anyone.  Call abandonment rates can average anywhere from 10% – 15% depending on the industry. For those calls that do engage an agent, OCR is at a 72% industry average, which means 28% of customers have to call back one or many times to reach a resolution.

    These stats tell us that anywhere from 38% – 43% of customers picking up the phone for customer service are not getting the level of service they want and expect. We believe IVRs will have to present customers with channel options, other than just voice so customers can find more convenient paths to issue resolution.

    This is exactly the reason a lot of Quiq clients have looked at messaging as a way to honor the needs of the digitally connected customer. These clients are enabling asynchronous messaging over SMS, social, and the web. Quiq Messaging integrates directly into an existing IVR and enables existing landlines to send and receive text messages.

    Personal

    IVR’s are notoriously robotic, confusing, and impersonal. Future IVR’s may find ways to change that with advances in voice recognition and by making menu options more visual. The use of visual communications is on a rise throughout all media consumed because it helps relay information faster and with a more clear and consistent delivery.

    For instance, Quiq clients have found that customers are engaging heavily through mobile devices. The majority feel right at home attaching documents, emojis, gifs, videos, and photos to bring more context to their specific situation. Agents who use Quiq Messaging are often encouraged to use visual content such as emojis to make conversations with customers feel more like the conversations they have with friends and family.

    Quiq clients are also adopting messaging as a way to make conversations feel more human by adapting to the customer’s speed and pace of interaction. Quiq’s Adaptive Response Timer automatically prioritizes conversations for agents based on the customer’s engagement pace to give each customer a more tailored experience.

    Mobile

    Calls get missed or dropped. Customers get busy and have to abandon conversations. Future IVRs will have to be more accommodating to the lives of busy customers who don’t want to shout “representative” or “agent” repeatedly into the phone while in noisy environments or sit through confusing menus only to be put on hold.

    Instead of having customers wait on hold, Quiq clients are able to provide customers the option, within the IVR, to have the next available agent text them. By deflecting calls to messaging, our clients are able to give customers a more preferred option to engage. By deflecting calls to messaging, our clients are able to give customers a more preferred option to engage, while reducing workload ~25 to ~40%.

    Research shows that 71% of consumers find text messaging to be an extremely or very effective Consumer-to-Business (C2B) communications channel (Customer Preference for Messaging). Customers appreciate having the option to address their issue over the channel that is most convenient for them.

    With asynchronous communications such as text messaging, conversations can take place over the time period that fits the customer’s pace, so even if your customer has to walk away from a conversation or gets disconnected, conversations pick up right where they left off.

    IVR still remains one of the leading entry points for consumers to engage with companies. However, it’s also the costliest ways for companies to interact with their customers and the most inconvenient way for customers to engage. Quiq Messaging allows you to deliver a personal, mobile, omnichannel experience – easily integrating within your current IVR. If you’re ready to bring your IVR into the future, request a demo today.

    Quiq makes it easy for customers to contact a business via Messaging, the preferred channel already in use with our friends and family.  With Quiq, customers can now engage with companies via SMS/text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Web Chat, In-App,and Kik for help with their pre-sales and post-sales questions. Learn more about Quiq today at quiq.com.