Target and Toys R Us posted overall sales declines during the holidays.
The update also introduces a new way to monitor and prioritize conversations with customers.
Live chat software vendor Bold Software LLC says the next update to its customer-interaction management software will include a feature that enables retailers to respond to short messaging service texts sent by consumers. The update will also offer several features that aim to help retailers better manage conversations with customers—regardless of how those consumers communicate with the customer service agent. Bold plans to announce the update next week at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition 2011 in San Diego.
The SMS management feature enables a customer service or sales representative to exchange texts with a prospective customer, says Ross Haskell, Bold vice president of marketing. That’s particularly useful as many consumers increasingly prefer texting to sending an e-mail or engaging in a live chat. Bold’s software also manages live chats and e-mail exchanges.
The offering also allows retailers to use multiple phone numbers to receive incoming text messages. For example, a company can select one number to be used only if a consumer is requesting a coupon. A different number can be used for another purpose, such as checking an order status or communicating a problem with a product, Haskell says. That enables a retailer to route the incoming message to the appropriate employee for resolution.
To manage all of these communications, Bold revised its Workspace user interface so agents can see all of the messages, regardless of their form, in one window, Haskell says.
Workspace includes a small window that lists messages in order of priority Bold’s software grants text messages the top priority, followed by chats then e-mail messages, Haskell says. The prioritization criteria is complex and has to do with when the message was created, what action is currently required and other factors, Haskell says. Bold’s software manages the message queue and ranks the incoming messages, but the company using the software also can set its own criteria for ranking messages, Haskell says. An agent can either click on the top item to respond to it or click a Next Item button to retrieve it. A larger window within Workspace is the primary area for the agent to respond to inbound inquiries.
“This will increase an agent’s ability to handle more work with the same amount of time,” Haskell says. “It enables them to do more than one thing at a time.”