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How telephony technology can boost e-commerce businesses in 2023

By , CTO, Euphoria Telecom
South Africa , 12 Dec 2022
Nic Laschinger, CTO, Euphoria Telecom.
Nic Laschinger, CTO, Euphoria Telecom.

South Africans are embracing e-commerce in a big way, with PayFast reporting that Black Friday and Cyber Monday online transaction volumes surged by up to 30% this year.

While growing sales volumes are excellent news for e-commerce businesses, there are still hurdles to be overcome if online stores want to make the most of this growing opportunity.

A key challenge facing e-commerce businesses during peak sales times is customer support. World Wide Worx research found earlier this year that the single biggest challenge facing e-commerce businesses was managing customer queries and complaints at peak traffic times.

Since customer support is crucial for delivering a great customer experience (CX), online stores hoping to grow their revenues next year must focus on technologies that enable better CX.

Forrester reports that up to 91% of customers prefer using self-service, if it meets their needs. But this still leaves potentially hundreds of thousands of customers preferring a voice call, and the more complicated their query, the higher the chance they will want to speak to an agent.

Analogue desk phones are simply not good enough in the always-on digital age. Advanced telephony technology such as IP PBXs allow businesses to scale up their customer support in peak times, and handle calls from anywhere, across any channel. This means customer queries can be addressed 24/7, leading to better CX and better customer retention and sales.

Cloud-based PBXs allow businesses to route calls across a distributed work-from-home team, and quickly add more staff if they need to scale up for peak sales times such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday. With advanced routing, customers can also be automatically routed to the department or product specialist they need to speak to.

Cloud PBXs can also give businesses a digital receptionist to handle all calls, and can interface with CRMs and applications like FreshDesk, Microsoft Teams and Zendesk, to support seamless management of channels and business activities.

Integrating agent support tools, CRM and multiple channels is vital for improved CX. This is particularly true in online shopping, where time to respond is critical for driving sales and retaining customers.

It’s worth noting that advanced telephony tools also empower support staff, making them more efficient and better at delivering service excellence. Support staff who are supplied with comprehensive information about who the customer is, and their engagement with the business to date, are positioned to resolve the complaint or query far faster.

In addition to their flexibility and scalability, IP PBXs are also budget-friendly, offering savings of up to 70% over legacy landlines and 50% over on-site PBX systems.

There is also the significant advantage of redundancy in the event of power outages and load shedding.

No e-commerce business can afford its lines to go down for hours during load shedding.

Another important consideration is telephone management systems.

No e-commerce business can afford its lines to go down for hours during load shedding.

A smart and intuitive TMS will allow the ecommerce business to control, manage, automate, personalise and analyse your PBX’s operations. This is vital for monitoring agent performance and CX trends.

Trends analysis helps businesses track how well their agents are performing, and where they need to improve. It also indicates call patterns, helping identify where chatbots, self-service and automation can be deployed to reduce handling time and improve CX.

Now is the time for ecommerce businesses to move away from outdated connections, and start implementing telephony solutions that deliver all these benefits, to help them deliver better CX on 2023’s big shopping days.

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