The call center is a must in e-commerce, and in fact, the two are so familiar and closely intertwined as to have a familiar pattern of what e-commerce brands imagine and expect a call center to be.
This can be valuable: you know what to expect, and you know what you’re getting.
But in today’s market, the role of call centers for e-commerce needs to expand to meet rising customer expectations, increasing demand and modern technological advances. So what’s changing in 2023 and beyond?
Here’s how the role of e-commerce call centers is changing and how call centers are doing more to support e-commerce businesses.
Understanding the Traditional Role of E-Commerce Call Centers
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with the traditional role of e-commerce call centers. Traditionally, call centers have managed two basic operations: customer service and support and order processing and management.
These foundational areas focus on concrete tasks and tactics related to answering customer questions and supporting customers who have issues or concerns with your products. Both of these areas support customer satisfaction as well as retention, loyalty and demand. And in today’s world, these are still foundational areas of e-commerce call centers—in fact, the vast majority of call centers across all industries are responsible for customer service and/or support, and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon.
So what is changing?
Redefining the Role of E-Commerce Call Centers
Most significantly, the role of e-commerce call centers is expanding. Rather than just focusing on core customer service tasks like answering calls, responding to emails or taking orders over the phone, e-commerce call centers today are becoming an essential part of internal teams as well as the customer experience.
Here are four key ways the role of e-commerce call centers is changing—and what you should be looking for in current or future call center providers:
Becoming an integral part of the customer journey. Before, call centers were typically relegated to a specific area of customer service, whereas now, the scope of call centers is expanding to allow them to become an integrated and essential part of strengthening, managing, and supporting the entire customer journey. For example, call centers may offer inbound and outbound calling services, manage customer support and success teams, take care of multiple contact channels, aid in marketing and data analysis, loyalty programs, and more.
In short: they’re here to support you—and your customers—at every stage, from discovery and marketing to purchasing, retention and loyalty.
Leveraging data for personalized customer experiences. Previously, call centers typically handled calls (and perhaps other customer communications) in a silo. Customers called with a question, the agent answered as well as they could, and then the interaction was over. Today, the accessibility and importance of data and personalization has changed the game.
Modern call centers are doing more to collect data on the customer experience, both indirectly and directly, and to leverage data analytics to understand and implement the data effectively. This—alongside increased data throughout the process using CRM tools—allows call centers to create personalized experiences and rewards for customers generating increased loyalty and satisfaction.
Facilitating omnichannel customer engagement. Omnichannel customer support is not an expectation, especially in e-commerce—and customers will be frustrated if they don’t get it. Take a look at the data:
- Companies with omnichannel strategies retain, on average, 89% of their customers, compared to an average 33% retention rate for companies with a weak omnichannel strategy.
- 78% of customers feel that omnichannel support rarely or never happens.
- Companies who implement an omnichannel personalization strategy achieve 10-30% more efficient marketing and 5-10% higher revenues and retention rates.
In the modern world, and especially since the pandemic, the digital sphere has grown stronger than ever, and e-commerce is growing in market share. But customers expect to be able to have a consistent experience with your brand, whether they’re calling you, messaging on social media, or interacting with your website or in-store.
Modern call centers are reacting to and meeting this need by providing omnichannel strategy and solutions: providing omnichannel tools and CRM to keep all of your customer data accessible at every touchpoint, creating consistent brand experiences and delivering a truly personalized experience to your customers at every turn.
Stronger sales support. Modern call centers aren’t just focused on customer queries—they’re becoming increasingly focused on your business growth and goals. One way call centers are expanding to meet business needs is through increased sales support, often through cross-selling and upselling opportunities.
Previously, a phone call may have just been a phone call—but today, every customer communication is an opportunity to expand your sales and business and deepen customer convenience and loyalty. With increasing upselling and cross-selling services offered by call centers, you can grow your revenue while also improving customer loyalty and satisfaction. In addition, hybrid call centers that offer both inbound and outbound support can grow your marketing capabilities and efficiency while reducing marketing spend.
Implementing a Modern Call Center Strategy for Your E-Commerce Business
So, how can you implement a modern call center strategy? First, you need to clarify and define your own e-commerce needs and challenges. 66% of e-commerce leaders have cited the rise of omnichannel and digital shopping trends to be one of the biggest challenges facing the industry—but you may have other challenges top of mind as well.
After you’ve clarified where changing consumer expectations are impacting your business, the biggest key is finding the right call center to provide solutions to those challenges. Your ideal call center needs to offer the services you’re looking for, of course, but they should also have:
- modern technology to support current and future needs and expectations
- experience working with e-commerce brands, who have unique needs and challenges
- ability to scale up or down as seasonality or demand requires
- demonstrated results with omnichannel support and other key elements of a modern call center
You should also ensure that you can train your team adequately—or hire an experienced team—for the e-commerce landscape. In e-commerce, customers today want more and expect more compared to other industries, and your team needs to be able to deliver that top-notch, world-class experience that customers are looking for.
At ROI CX Solutions, we have decades of experience working with e-commerce brands and have watched, adapted to, and forecasted changes in the e-commerce landscape. We’ve helped our e-commerce clients achieve results like:
- achieving a 70% inbound sales rate
- successfully implementing omnichannel support and growing channels and service levels
- delivering 90% service level averages
- scaling teams quickly to meet seasonal demands
How do we achieve these results? We’ve adopted a modern mindset—instead of just focusing on a siloed customer service experience, we’re focused on the entire customer journey and your bigger business goals, helping clients manage everything from inbound sales to performance monitoring, loyalty programs to business intelligence and more.
Here it from one of our clients directly:
“ROI CX Solutions has been an invaluable partner in helping us tackle the challenge of overwhelming customer calls. Their dedicated team of agents, data-driven business intelligence, and technology recommendations have boosted our sales and customer satisfaction and solidified our partnership. We are excited about the additional business opportunities and look forward to continuing our successful partnership with ROI CX Solutions.”
E-commerce Client of ROI CX Solutions
Conclusion: Embracing the New Role of Call Centers in E-Commerce
In short: don’t let the expectations of yesterday’s call centers hold you back from big results. Modern call centers have the ability—and responsibility—to take on a new role in e-commerce, supporting everything from marketing to sales to customer service to loyalty and retention and more.
With a modern call center like ROI CX Solutions, you can provide your team with:
- increased staffing and support, with on-demand scalability
- improved business analytics and intelligence generating key insights
- increased customer satisfaction and loyalty
- greater customer lifetime value and purchase value
- more effective marketing and increased revenues
- and more!
Ready to see how a modern e-commerce call center can set your brand apart from the crowd? Contact an expert from ROI CX Solutions today to see the role we can play on your team.