Customer Experience

The 5 Latest Customer Service Trends You Need To Know In 2022

Contributed article by Wanda Lafond

Customer service has been changing rapidly in the past few years mostly due to the changing business landscape. This, of course, is the direct result of the global pandemic that forced some companies to shut down completely while others transitioned to hybrid or completely remote models of work.

Nevertheless, no matter what changes in the business world, companies need to keep up with these shifts in the industry and implement the necessary changes within their own organizations. Hence, here are the five latest customer service trends you need to know in 2022.

#1 Customer Support Delivered Through Social Media

With the rise of social media during the last decade, more and more companies started joining popular social media platforms to deliver content directly to their audiences. No doubt, social media makes it much easier to make important announcements, have product launches, and so on. Moreover, social media also provides many options for brands to go viral with their content while also establishing closer connections with dedicated customers.

Considering all of this, it was just a matter of time for social media platforms to become one of the primary channels for delivering customer support. Just a few years ago, there were still not that many businesses offering customer support on social media, but this has definitely changed. More and more businesses are offering customer support through multiple channels, both traditional and new ones such as social media.

The best part about offering customer support through social media is that it is clearly much easier to manage than some other channels. In fact, according to BrandWatch, the customer support offered through social media can be up to 12x cheaper than customer support via phone. It’s no wonder that more and more businesses are realizing that it’s a great opportunity to reduce their customer support costs and satisfy clients at the same time.

#2 Shorter Response Time and Round-The-Clock Availability

Nowadays, brands are increasingly focused on their customers. Many business decisions (including those related to customer support) directly depend on the data companies collect about their customers in an attempt to please customers in every way possible. This is probably why more and more customers now expect a much shorter response time when they send a request to customer support. On the other hand, businesses themselves are now prioritizing round-the-clock customer support availability to handle these requests.

For instance, according to Statista, 48% of consumers expect to get a response to their questions and complaints on social media within just 24 hours. This is probably why there are so many brands replying to tweets as fast as they can, especially if they see a customer complaining about something. It’s not just a way to handle the situation correctly when it’s already exposed to the public, but it’s also a way to show that they are proactive.

Another reason why round-the-clock availability is so important today is that globalization has expanded conventional notions of a target audience even for small businesses. Your customers could be located in a different time zone, so if their request needs to be processed quickly, your customer support will have to be available during irregular hours to do so. With 24/7 customer support, “irregular” hours are not even a thing because support can be delivered anytime.

#3 More Self-Service Options for Independent Customers

Even though customers have now become more demanding and expect businesses to deliver high-quality service to them, a lot of people are also quite independent in their own right and willing to take action themselves. This is why more businesses are now offering a wider variety of self-service options for customers who want to handle their own problems themselves.

On one hand, this is great for customers who want such autonomy. On the other hand, it’s also good for companies because they now have to handle fewer customer support requests with so many people doing the work themselves. For instance, one popular way to offer such self-service options is by having a knowledge base on your website rather than a simple FAQ section. A conventional FAQ section is quite limited in the amount of information it can provide, but a knowledge base with categories and good search and filtering features is perfect for customers who want to find questions to their answers themselves.

The only downside is that not every business has the time or resources to create a knowledge base like that. That’s why you can hire a professional writer from the custom writing reviews site Best Writers Online. This writer will create all the content for you after you provide them with all the necessary guidelines.

#4 Increased Personalization in Customer Interactions

As explained earlier, businesses are hyper-focused on their customers nowadays and always aim to deliver the best experiences no matter what. This is why most customers nowadays expect to see a fair amount of personalization in all the interactions they have with the brand. Not only does it show that the company values them, but it also makes the handling of requests faster.

Unfortunately, many businesses still don’t know how to create such personalized experiences which can result in customers leaving. In fact, according to Accenture, 33% of customers who cut short their relationship with a business in 2016 did so because personalization was lacking. Though this statistic is a few years old, many customers still stop purchasing from certain brands specifically for this reason even today.

So, how can businesses solve this problem? You can hire an expert writer from the writing services reviews site Writing Judge to create personalized content for your customers (e.g. emails). However, it’s your customer support team that needs to be trained to deliver better experiences to your customers when they make requests.

#5 An Automated Workflow with Increased Communication

Last but not least, one more trend evident in customer service is automation. Thanks to the newest technologies, businesses are able to use the newest digital tools to automate their workflows and increase communication with their customers. Chatbots can instantly respond to messages, automated emails can be triggered by certain customer actions, and the day-to-day activities of your customer support team can be done by programs entirely.

According to Microsoft, 30% of American consumers said chatbot interactions were “very effective” in dealing with customer support issues. That being said, chatbots still have a long way to go. Fortunately, the AI sector is rapidly developing which is why chatbots are being perfected every year and will likely be able to deliver high-quality customers support in the nearest future.

Final Thoughts  

To sum up, customer service is perhaps one of the most essential aspects of any business which is why paying attention to this department in your company is so important. Use the trends listed in this article to help you create your customer service strategy for the year and deliver high-quality experiences to your audience.

12 Best Tips for Effective Contact Center Management

Contibuted Article by Ravi Soni 

Top tips for effective contact center management 

Influential administrators in the call centre business must remain acquainted with every element of their industry, lead by example, and operate within confined budgets that can be overpowering. However, you can better manage your call centre with these effective tips below. 

So let’s get started, shall we?

1. Comprehensively onboard and train your agents

Even after hiring suitable agents, your job as a manager is never done. Rather it has just started. According to a report, around 87% of employees in a call center believe that training and development are important in the workplace. It begins with a comprehensive onboarding process, self-assessment, periodic training, and monitoring throughout their job span with the contact center.

In addition, both star agents and poor performers require comprehensive onboarding training. However, the only difference is how frequently you conduct your onboarding training and the strategic emphasis of the training. 

For instance, training for poor performers should always remain focused on negative client feedback and QA scorecard assessments. Furthermore, using performance data, you should concentrate your actions on which aptitudes need progress and provide them with training to fill those learning gaps

2. Employ the right agents 

Contact Center managers are only as effective as the workforce behind them. Therefore, it is imperative to employ suitable  agents who possess the required hard and soft aptitudes to accomplish their job. It demands the managers put much of their energy and time into the recruitment process when scanning resumes, checking references, and interviewing. 

Furthermore, managers should concentrate on employing a workforce that exemplifies client assistance soft skills such as initiative, adaptability, teamwork, compassion, virtue, problem-solving, communication aptitudes, and emotional intelligence. 

While these aptitudes are challenging to gauge, they are the most reasonable indicators of success within every call center. The key is to create the list of aptitudes most required within your workforce and then employ agents who maintain these required attributes.

3. Concentrate on Employee Engagement

An engaged workforce is a happy workforce. Such a workforce is more productive, innovative, motivated, and loyal and is more likely to remain associated with your contact center for a long time. For example, a successful call center management team always emphasizes employee attention as the core focus of their administration strategy, and they: 

  • Deliver exact expectations, including objectives and KPIs, so your agents understand what they are working toward in the organization.
  • Help their agents’ actions through onboarding, tools, and training.
  • Present routine feedback—both negative and positive.
  • Listen to the call center agents’ feedback, letting their opinions be heard during the decision-making process. 
Ravi image 2

4. Guarantee Appropriate Scheduling For Effective Management

Operating in a call center is challenging. That pressure can impact your employees. So the point they start to feel overworked, their ability to function at a high-level decreases. That’s where appropriate scheduling comes into the picture. Providing your employees adequate rest to refresh and refocus can guarantee that your clients obtain the best service.

However, planning a downtime can be challenging to schedule even for a small team. For instance, to ensure the maximum efficiency for your call center, it is prudent to factor in employee ability, peak and low hours, employee availability, and numerous others. It can assist you in turning the scheduling into a full-time job by using the most suitable tools available for time tracking.

5. Build a highly communicative call center

For effective management of your center, it is essential to maintain a holistic communication style. Also, as a manager, you must build ample opportunities to discuss your agent’s performance and objectives. By creating a communicative call center management approach, you provide your agents with an outlet to communicate their thoughts and allow you to share your thoughts and opinions on their work performance.

6. Regularly QA your agents’ calls 

Regularly QA your agents’ calls. Listening to the recordings of your agents’ calls will allow you to evaluate your workforce’s strengths and weaknesses to manage the call center better. 

By executing a QA (Quality Analysis) compliance, you can prioritize your calls based on agents’ performance. And with this, you can emphasize which client-centric actions accomplished favorable outcomes and which failed. So we can say that the definitive objective of listening to your agents’ calls is to assess if your client service agents are fulfilling client experience goals. 

7. Evaluate call center QA every day

If you aspire to understand how to handle a call center efficiently, you must initially comprehend how you function, which requires day-to-day quality assurance. This routine quality assurance helps you evaluate your leaders, agents, and clients’ performance at your call center.  

In this way, you can decide what changes are required and where. It offers you a beginning point for progress. You can evaluate every communication in real-time with the help of a streamlined internal quality validation process.

8. Regularly engage with customers, passives, promoters, and detractors

As a manager, you might incorrectly think you don’t have to engage with your clients unless something goes amiss and your intervention is required. Nevertheless, that’s not the point at all. One of the most crucial supervisor skills is replying to positive and negative customer feedback, and you must: 

  • Follow up with the promoters to thank them for their commitment and exhibit your company’s persistent dedication to their delight.
  • Get in touch with detractors and passives to understand how your call center workforce could enhance their efforts to better fulfill the customers’ requirements. 

9. Focus on the data and track KPIs

Reliable data must support decision-making. As a manager it  is imperative to remain familiar with your call center’s most crucial performance metrics based on KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and employ that data to understand your processes. The key is to estimate accurate information based on your company’s strategic goals and objectives. In addition, within your strategic call center information framework, you should use a tool that provides information on: 

  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) metrics
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSat) indicators
  • Call abandonment
  • Average handling time
  • Call resolution
  • Crucial KPIs as delineated by your QA strategy 

10. Give targeted feedback to your workforce

Periodic quality-of-service review is crucial for the prosperous working of any contact center. Take some time to give feedback on your employee performance and then remain ready to take some feedback for workplace improvement. 

11. Delegate duties to your workforce

 It is easy for call center managers to get caught up in the precise details of the job. Nevertheless, numerous small jobs need to get accomplished for a  center to operate efficiently.

There are a lot of high-level strategic decisions that you must take to keep your center running at its best. It is better to delegate some duties to your workforce so you can better concentrate on issues that demand urgent attention. 

12. Always remain on top of your managerial tasks

 As a call center manager, you strive hard to make your call center operate smoothly.Hence, it is equally important to take out time for things like calculating profit margin,  managing timesheets, training, and project planning as it will offer a solid foundation for your team to work on. 

The Bottom Line 

To sum up, we can say that with the right technology and tools and following some effective tips above, you can better manage your contact center to improve your customer service. By following these tips, you can provide your agents with everything they require to effectively and efficiently perform their tasks. If you are looking for cutting-edge call center management tools, there are many leading online platforms that offer comprehensive solutions that will help you offer exceptional client service, better agent satisfaction, and improved productivity.  For reference, start with the CrmXchange Vendor Directory.

Is Customer Experience The Ultimate Marketing Tool?

Contributed article by Frank Hamilton

Advertising surrounds us everywhere. Companies have to try hard to stand out from the crowd and prove that their product or service is trustworthy to customers. Improving marketing customer experience is one of the top opportunities to turn customers into brand ambassadors, win more clients, raise brand awareness and get a competitive edge. But is customer experience the ultimate marketing tool in 2022? Let’s find it out.

What Is Customer Experience?

To put it simply, customer experience in marketing is a general term that covers all the impressions the customers have when interacting with a brand. In response to digital marketing development, customer experience has become one of the strongest digital trends of recent years.

This marketing tool creates the conditions for interacting with customers to meet or exceed their expectations. Customers go through many points of interaction with a company. And it is very important that at each of these points your customer is satisfied.

Modern marketing is customer-centric so the customers are the only ones to decide what kind of products to buy, and what level of service to choose.  In a couple of clicks, customers can view product features, reviews, and ratings, and decide “To buy or not to buy?” They can quickly change brands without compromising themselves if a competitor offers a better product, or service or anticipates their desires.

In such an abundance of choice, when the customer experience is far from being enjoyable, 32% of modern users are willing to give up on their favorite brand. At the same time, one unsatisfied customer will tell about their negative experience to 16  friends and damage the company’s reputation with the word of mouth.

Why Is Customer Experience So Important?

Let’s be honest with each other – there is no perfect marketing tool that will fit every company and every brand. But improving customer experience day after day is a must-follow strategy for every company. Firstly, a positive customer experience is a confirmation that your core business processes are set up right. After all, if at any point of interaction your customer isn’t happy, you need to make adjustments to your team or your marketing strategy. What’s more, the customer experience is directly dependent on employees being competent, responsible, and proactive.

Here are a few more reasons why companies should care even more about a successful modern customer experience:

 1. Increase the Check

Modern customers will never be satisfied with little. Today, they want the most from brands and companies at every stage of interaction. Studies show that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for good service. This means that companies with a customer-centric marketing strategy will be able to earn even more and grow their company faster.

 2. Win More Customers

Customers want a personalized approach that will cater to personal wishes and requests. Targeted advertising, smart content marketing and blogging increase customer trust and loyalty, allowing you to stand out from other similar brands. And as a result, grow the number of leads and customers. Surveys show that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if a company offers a personalized approach.

 3. Stand Out From the Competition

Customers today have a wide range of services and products to choose from, so companies should try hard to stand out. A positive customer experience is one effective way to stand out from the competition, and most importantly, to build loyalty and retain customers for a long time.

 4. Lower the Cost per Lead

Word of mouth is free advertising for your company. And it’s worth noting that it’s very effective. According to studies, more than 92% of consumers use reviews to make a purchase decision. Therefore, every satisfied customer can become an ambassador for your brand in the future and help you attract new leads with the power of social proof. Here is how you won’t have to spend any extra money to acquire new customers.

 5. Create a Recognizable Brand

Loyal customers help take a brand to the next level. After all, globally popular brands have become popular because of the consistent digital consumer experience they delivered for years. One of the ways to create a recognizable brand is to tell your potential customers about it as much as possible through highly qualified content since to date, content importance for blog is growing. This is the tool to build loyalty and improve your SEO performance at once.

How To Improve Customer Experience? 

Customer experience is one of the most important marketing tools that determine how successful your company or brand will be. So here are some important tips that can help you stand out with the best customer experience.  

  • Develop an omnichannel strategy to enhance the customer experience. Always be accessible to your customers. For example, if the customer feels more comfortable contacting you through social media, you should be ready to support them via social channels. If the user likes to find information on their own, run a meaningful blog. If the customer wants to contact you after business hours, it would be nice to offer them a chatbot. It will stay in touch with your customers 24 hours a day, which will allow for a better customer experience. Look here for more insights into omnichannel customer experience and the benefits it drives.
  • Train your employees. At certain stages of interacting with the brand, your customers will work with your employees. Be sure that they correctly communicate the company’s values and culture, and have perfect knowledge of the product and the algorithm for dealing with various atypical situations. Regular training sessions can help your sales, customer support, and marketing teams provide impeccable assistance.
  • Provide feedback on time. Listen to and read feedback from your customers. Use this information wisely to improve your service and product. Once you have worked out the weaknesses, try to keep your customers informed about the work done, the troubleshooting, or the improvement of the service.
  • Optimize the customer journey. Identify all stages of the customer’s interaction with your company. Think about how you can make customers’ experience of choosing, buying, using, and committing to your brand stronger and more positive. Use analytics and Big Data to keep up to date with your customers’ preferences and desires.
  • Collect feedback and ratings. Monitor the feedback and ratings you get from customers. If some of these are negative, respond immediately and try to rectify the situation by offering an alternative, a discount, or a personal offer. This will help to retain the customer and save your reputation. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive feedback as well.
  • Implement loyalty programs. The main aim of a loyalty program is to build long-term relationships. Only sincere attention and a personalized approach will persuade customers to stay with you for the long term. A good loyalty program helps increase lifetime customer value (LTV), the loyalty index (NPS), and grow brand advocates, who are particularly useful in attracting new leads at no extra cost. 

Conclusion

Customer experience is the ultimate marketing tool. If consumers like you, they will happily spend money on your product and recommend it to others. In a world where competition between brands is huge, the one who manages to make more people fall in love with you wins.

Customer Loyalty Can Take Your Business to the Next Level: Here’s How to Get It

Business ownership can feel like a constant hustle, especially when you’re first starting off. Many self-employed people spend a huge portion of their time scraping together projects for the future in order to make sure they continue to have business down the line. Some of this is inevitable, but your long-term goal should include building up long-term security.

One great way to do this is by focusing on building up customer loyalty. You don’t have to scrape for more clients if you know the clients you currently have will keep using your services. There are several techniques you can use to make this happen. Here are a few tips from CrmXchange on how to nail it:

Make Time for Clients

Don’t let the basics fall to the wayside. When it comes to earning customer loyalty, your best tool is always quality time and personalized work. You need to make sure you get solid facetime (whether in person or via video) with your client in order to fully understand their needs and make the best possible product for them. Virtuallinda points out that continuous check-ins throughout the process can save you from the process going awry and lets the client know you truly care about their needs.

However, it can be hard to commit this kind of time to your clients when you’re still juggling other business tasks. If you or your staff are too hurried to feel like you can give customers the time and energy they deserve, there’s something missing elsewhere in your processes. Turn a critical eye to your everyday tasks to see if you can streamline things. If you’re stumped, you might need to hire more workers, or work on expanding your business acumen. Taking some classes can provide insights into better business practices, especially if you return to school for your MBA, which will provide deeper understanding of management, leadership and decision making.

Create Expandable Services

One major issue that might be standing in the way of customer loyalty is focusing on one-off projects. Self-contained work can be great when you’re first getting started, but it has inherent drawbacks. If you want to try to get a long-term client, try to think of ways you can offer to extend services past a project’s finish line.

For example, if you’re a graphic designer who has made a solid logo for a new business, you could allow that relationship to end once the logo’s complete. However, it may make more sense to offer social media graphic design services as ongoing work. After all, as Social Media Today notes, businesses tend to perform better on social media when they’re producing their own visual content — you can build your style into their brand and keep their business for the long run.

Remain Consistent and Professional

Customer loyalty can be challenging to build and easy to lose. It’s extremely important to remain consistent and professional, no matter how long you’ve been working with a client. It’s easy to take business relationships for granted, but doing so can backfire quickly.

For example, you might put a consistent client’s work on the back burner while tending to new leads. If you lack project management skills, this can ultimately end in neglecting your long-standing clients’ work, missing deadlines, or turning in lackluster products. Everyone has a bad day once in a while, but if you make this kind of mistake repeatedly, even long-standing clients will walk.

Customer loyalty can help you create secure and consistent income. However, it takes serious legwork to get it. These tools can help you build relationships that take your business further. And if you’re looking for services to make your business better, check out the contect from CrmXchange.

[2021 Data] 99 Customer Experience Stats & Trends Defining This Decade

The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the world economy in a variety of ways. For one, it has significantly accelerated the process of digital transformation. The number of online customer interactions went through the roof.

This has forced lots of businesses to channel their resources towards delivering better online experiences. The customer-centric approach, backed with customer data and customer satisfaction metrics, is now the new paradigm.

However, only 17% of customers believe that brands listen to their feedback. Almost one in ten customers rate their recent customer experience as poor. And, not surprisingly, poor customer service is the primary reason behind customer churn.

Tidio surveyed 1,000+ consumers to explore customer experience trends that will define this decade.

Here’s some of what they found out:

  • Delivery time – 78% of online shoppers mention fast shipping as the most critical aspect of the online shopping experience.
  • Fast customer service – 44% of shoppers expect that the average response time from customer service should be below 5 minutes.
  • 55% of online shoppers aged 18-24 won’t buy from poorly performing websites (poor product photos and slow website loading times).
  • 46% of Gen Z buyers are willing to pay more for the same product if they can shop in their favorite online store.

A complete study with a list of 99 Customer Experience Statistics & Interesting CX Trends: 99 Customer Experience Statistics & Interesting CX Trends [2021].

Prioritizing Customer Experience in Every Aspect of Your Business

“Who’s your boss?”

You might immediately think of your manager or the CEO. Or, if you own the company, you might proudly say, “Me!” However, there is someone else who is above you in the chain of command — your customers!

You might not think of your customers as the boss, but they are the reason you make money and are successful. So while you don’t necessarily have to cater to every customer’s whim, you do need to build your business around the customer experience (CX).

How do you prioritize customer experience in every aspect of your business? Let’s take a look.

Marketing

Marketing is the beginning of your relationship with any customer. The goal is to focus all of your marketing messages on the customer’s needs and how you can be the solution to those.

Donald Miller of StoryBrand takes it a step further. He says that every aspect of your marketing should be focused on telling the story of how your customer is the hero. Your business is the sidekick that will help them achieve their mission.

No matter how you go about it, it’s essential to ensure that your customers feel they are the center of your marketing message. Start with fully understanding your target market, and then speak directly to them. Otherwise, you won’t be able to connect with them and bring them into your circle of influence.

Your Website

Your website is part of your marketing, but we’re listing it separately because people often won’t come to your website unless you’ve already connected to them in another way.

Once your marketing brings someone to your website, what do they experience there? Having excellent UX design is an important part of not only keeping visitors engaged on your website but also ranking well in search results.

Google wants to deliver the most relevant, high-quality content available each time a user enters a query. When you have a great user experience on your website, your site will be in sync with what Google is trying to offer. As a result, you’ll rank more highly.

Review your website. Are the menus easy to read and understand? Can you navigate the website on a mobile device? Are your message and offer clear within the first few seconds? If so, you’re on the right track.

Product or Service Design

Every product or service should be designed to solve a specific problem that the customer has. The more precisely you target your product or service, the more successful you will be at selling it.

Unfortunately, some folks get tied up in what they want the design to be, rather than what the customer is looking for. They can add too many features, too little training, or create an unattractive behemoth.

Both services and products face another question. Should it be a subscription or a one-time delivery? Many businesses love subscription-based services for the consistent cash flow and retention rates. You can also offer a lower price point, which is attractive to many consumers.

However, some customers want to own what they pay for rather than feeling like they’re renting it. Only by doing the right market research will you know if your customers would prefer a subscription or ownership model.

Customer Service

You’d think that an excellent CX in customer service would be a no-brainer, but unfortunately, that’s not the case. In fact, so many consumers have a poor customer service experience that excellent service is a selling point and can retain customers for years.

Is your customer service department an afterthought or a focus for your business? How do you treat, train, and pay customer service staff? Is the culture of your company that customers calling in are “complainers,” or do your staff focus on delighting everyone?

A lot of major corporations handsomely reward salespeople but almost ignore customer service departments. But, as it has been said, “Sales without service is like stuffing money into a pocket full of holes.”

Don’t make that mistake. After the sale, your relationship with the customer has only just begun. Excellent customer service can retain them, turn them into customer advocates, and boost repeat sales.

Prioritize Employees

We’ve been talking about customer experience up until now, so why mention prioritizing your employees?

Very simply, the employees you have will define the customer experience you’re able to offer. Happy, satisfied, and engaged employees will work hard to delight customers and create a world-class experience. Disengaged, unhappy, and disgruntled employees will drive customers away.

You have a great deal of control over how your company culture and how employees experience work every day. Do you add meaning to daily tasks by explaining how they fit with the mission and make a difference in others’ lives? Do you pay appropriately and have benefits that employees look for? Do you encourage career advancement and continuing education?

The better you take care of your employees, the better they will take care of your customers. That’s why the employee experience is at the center of the customer experience.

Focus on Customer Experience Today

Making customer experience a priority in every aspect of your business doesn’t happen automatically. It takes research of relevant data, focus, and a commitment to your real boss — your target market!

If you want a truly successful business, it’s essential to focus on CX. Targeted marketing will bring in the right audience, and a website focused on your customers’ needs will convert them into buyers.

Of course, to sell well you need product or service design on par with what customers expect and enjoy. Finally, excellent customer service will turn buyers into repeat customers and brand advocates.

Which of these areas needs the most attention in your company? Today’s the day to make a difference.

Why the Customer Service Industry Needs to Embrace Virtual Reality

When it comes to customer service, the industry is in a major shift to more digital tools and features. While you can still hop on the phone and call someone for help, the customer service industry is embracing technology and new channels of enhanced experience unlike ever before.

One of the most promising areas of expansion for customer service companies is virtual reality. While the exciting technology might not sound like it’s a natural fit for the world of customer service, utilizing a VR app to provide an expanded customer service experience is proving to be a major boost for companies coming out of the pandemic and planning for the future. Here’s why the industry needs to embrace virtual reality as a new norm. 

The Future of Customer Service is Contactless

When we think of exceptional customer service, our minds tend to go to a begotten time of face-to-face specialized and personalized experiences. While the personal touch is certainly an influential aspect of customer service in 2021, the in-person experience is no longer a necessary element to a great interaction. Much of customer service is going contactless. Thanks to things like chat features and in-browser phone service, most of our experiences take place virtually nowadays. 

Still, the chat boxes and phone calls lack the certain personalized experience we still crave. This is where virtual reality fits in quite nicely for the needs of the customer service industry. A large number of industries that rely on customer service elements can benefit from embracing VR. By using virtual rooms to interact with customers, companies are able to build a more meaningful connection in these interactions and arrive at conclusions or solutions more quickly. 

WIth virtual spaces, we don’t feel like we’re missing out on anything as a consumer. You’re still able to get a face-to-face experience that is embedded in a digital environment that offers easy access to tools and resources that might be related to the inquiry or question at hand. Likewise, VR provides companies an option for proactive customer service that can enhance shopping and searching interactions in a big way.

Offering More Options to Users for Proactive Customer Service

Customer service in the digital world is more than just fielding complaints and questions. VR offers companies the option to enhance the customer experience as a means of providing better service. Everything from virtual reality spaces for digital showrooms to using VR to interact with products from home can help make customers feel more knowledgeable and prepared to make a purchase. 

Believe it or not, the brick and mortar experience we value for being a superior standard for customer interactions can be recreated to great effect in the virtual reality space. Customers love VR peripherals for shopping. New options like Walmart’s VR shopping experience can mimic the best parts of in-person interactions between customers and a business but provide the additional benefits of digital technology.

The best of both worlds is possible for customers thanks to VR customer enhancements. The same goes for employees who also play a vital role in the customer service process. 

Building a Better Customer Experience By Enhancing Employee Satisfaction with VR

Lastly, it’s worth noting that great customer service is only possible when employees are satisfied and fulfilled with their working experience. VR’s impact on employee satisfaction within customer service can be just as impactful as focusing on what the customer needs. 

When it comes to using VR to focus on employees, things like putting these advanced tools in their hands can increase their effectiveness. These resources help to give employees more solutions at their disposal to ensure they’re set up for success. By doing this, you’re not only taking advantage of the points listed above that focus on the customer experience. Employees that have access to VR for their roles in the customer engagement process are better suited to uphold a company’s values and vision for great service. 

Utilizing VR in customer service is a vital step in the evolution of what the industry is capable of accomplishing. Making steps now to embrace the technology means putting a new standard on the treatment and service of industries that spread across all of the working and professional world. 

Learn to Identify the Five Interaction Categories that are Most Effectively Handled by AI-Powered Virtual Agents

Just about everyone has an IVR horror story to share. Being forced to listen to repetitive menus. Getting stuck in an endless cycle of trying to navigate through options that don’t meet their needs. Wanting to throw the phone against the wall in frustration after hearing an automated voice announce, “I’m sorry, but I didn’t get your response.”

We all know the limitations of IVR systems. Yet too many companies still seem bound and determined to deploy antiquated, poorly designed call automation that not only doesn’t work well but is difficult to implement and expensive to maintain. This makes even less sense when there is a more time- and cost-efficient option available.

Over the past several years, the evolution of conversational AI and delivery over the cloud has enabled businesses to go far beyond the boundaries of traditional IVRs. Companies of all kinds are automating more conversations than ever before while maintaining…and often improving … the customer experience by adapting omnichannel solutions utilizing AI-powered virtual agents.

Even in the earliest stages of development, AI-powered virtual agents were able to handle many tasks that were formerly the sole province of live agents. Conversational AI enables virtual agents to automate the routine and repetitive call types that formerly took up much of a live rep’s day. The same type of simplified experience can be scaled to chat and text channels as a unified application. Virtual agents are powered by a centralized cloud-based AI “brain” that connects to a business’ customer data via APIs. With the broad variety of available tools to replicate the best live agent behavior, virtual agents exceed the capabilities of touchtone IVR, directed dialog, and simple chatbots for customer service.

Producing more productive conversational AI solutions is an ongoing process that requires constant monitoring and refinement. This involves machine learning, building out language models, customizing and weighting the acoustics to grammars on every single question to match the phrases companies think they heard versus what they know they are listening for to get the best possible speech recognition. Most suppliers start by focusing on the voice channel, which offers the greatest potential for rapid ROI. They then move onto scaling the application digitally to accommodate chat or text.

The most effective virtual agents can communicate at the real-time pace of a conversation, understand complex dialogue, and perform in a fashion that emulates a company’s top agents on all channels. While every contact center has a pool of live agents, whether in-house or remote, forward-thinking companies now have a pool of AI-powered virtual agents to handle the routine calls and chats that don’t require complex critical thinking or judgment. By doing so, these organizations are positioned to upskill their live front-line reps to handle only the interactions that genuinely require human intervention.

SmartAction, a recognized innovator of purpose-built AI-powered Virtual Agents for customer service, has found that in its experience of designing and deploying new AI-powered virtual agents for voice interactions, the self-service application consistently falls into one of five distinct categories. They have validated this formula with more than a hundred clients encompassing hundreds of use cases across 12 industries.

What are these categories? SmartAction will detail them in a complimentary live webcast, appropriately  entitled “The 5 Categories that Rule Virtual Agents”  on CrmXchange on Thursday, October 1st at 1:00 pm. They will show businesses how to understand and to broadly classify its interactions to ensure that a live human agent should never handle the ones that can be best addressed by AI-powered virtual agents. Among the areas to covered are:

  • Determining which specific categories are best suited for exclusive AI applicability
  • Comprehending the top use cases driving conversational AI adoption
  • Real-world examples from 6 leading companies

The presenters are industry veterans with proven expertise in helping organizations deliver frictionless customer experiences via conversational intelligence. Brian Morin, CMO, SmartAction has been instrumental in helping the company achieve its status as the top-rated Virtual Customer Assistant solution on Gartner Peer Insight and distinction as “The Leader in AI-Enhanced Self-Service” by Frost & Sullivan. Mark Landry, SmartAction’s VP of Product, began his career as a Lucasfilm intern  and become an award-winning screenwriter for Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel, and Amazon Studios. He is a CX designer who has designed human-to-AI interactions for more than 100 brands including DSW, AAA, Electrolux, Choice Hotels, and others. They will be joined by Marilyn Cassedy, Director of Customer Success, SmartAction who oversees the relationships with high-level clients to ensure they are receiving full value.

Register now for this eye-opening webcast. If you are unable to attend the live presentation, a link to the recording will be posted within 24 hours after the presentation.

Make Sure that Customers, Agents and Managers Can Navigate the New Normal… and Beyond

At first, it seemed like a sudden squall, roiling every channel in which companies do business. Customer service leaders hung on to the till for dear life to weather what they thought to be a temporary tempest that would soon take them to calmer waters. As time continues to go by, some elements have stabilized a bit, but it is clear we are dealing with a sea change in the way businesses of all sizes need to deliver a consistently superior customer experience.

While successful organizations will navigate the wave of transformation in the workplace, those that continue to do business as usual will flounder along the way. But what defines the demarcation line between simply treading water and charting an informed course? It involves leveraging strategies and CX solutions that enable their workforce to adapt, their customers to have their needs met, and their businesses to thrive.

It has become more critical than ever to listen more carefully to what customers are saying. Updating the contact center by taking advantage of AI and automation capabilities which provide a powerful resource to uncover insights and opportunities for optimizing customer service. Intelligent use of these technologies enables on-the-fly research to better comprehend changing dynamics and new pain points as well as determine innovative approaches to address them. CX leaders who effectively apply AI and automation will create value for consumers. Companies that can create seamless   interactions between assisted self-service and a hybrid workforce will have a distinct competitive   advantage in an environment where customers often struggle to reach businesses.

A study last year in the Harvard Business Review found that the average American consumer spends 13 hours a year stuck on hold trying to resolve problems. The study also revealed that disgruntled customers who need to make two or more calls to resolve their issue, often simply just give up. More than three-quarters of consumers come away “less than satisfied” with a company’s customer service. In many cases, companies set up their customer service operations to make it more difficult for irate customers to gain satisfaction.

One vital way to diminish growing frustration levels is to ensure that front-line personnel are fully engaged and empowered to effectively answer customer calls. This entails both giving them the right knowledge management tools to do their jobs as well as providing employees and supplemental remote workers the real-time assistance necessary to collaborate with each other from multiple locations.

Maintaining compliance in the face of rapidly changing regulations and diverse team locations is also an important element in staying afloat. But how can managers ensure the proper procedures are being followed in a time when they have far less oversight into the daily activities of their agents?

Improved capabilities to listen to customer conversations via AI and automation…engaging and empowering the workforce to optimize productivity and responsiveness…being vigilant about keeping compliance with a staff situated in diverse locations These are the three cornerstones of navigating the new normal and thriving in the time beyond the pandemic.  Customer engagement and cyber intelligence specialists Verint will present a series of three in-depth webcasts on these crucial areas spaced over a one-month period on CrmXchange.

Entitled “Modern Solutions and Best Practices to Make Life Easier for Agents, Managers, and Customers,” the series will kick off on Tuesday, September 29th at 1:00 PM ET with a session on “AI Powered Analytics Drive Exceptional CX with Human and Digital Channels” which will examine such vital issues as:

  • Determining what types of issues cause the most customer frustration, and how to fix them
  • How businesses can see a unified view of their customer service across channels
  • How can you understand your customer and user intents to drive a successful self-service strategy?

It will be presented by Daniel Ziv, VP, Speech and Text Analytics – Global Product Strategy, Verint and Tracy Malingo, SVP of Product Strategy, Verint.  Daniel has extensive expertise in helping companies achieve significant ROI by improving performance and quality, while enhancing customer engagement. Tracy has an extensive background in strategic and operational vision on conversational AI, having also served as president of NextAI, where she was instrumental in guiding the technology into the mainstream. Register now

The second presentation, “Empowering the Workforce and Maximizing Productivity” will take place on Tuesday, October 13 at 1:oo PM ET. It will focus on making sure that both remote and in-person representatives have everything they need to fulfill their roles as the face of an organization. Among the topics covered will be

  • How to keep employees engaged by giving them the right tools to effectively do their jobs
  • Ensuring that employees have the opportunity to collaborate with each other from multiple locations
  • Providing real-time assistance to help the growing number of work-from-home agents answer customer calls effectively.

The speakers are consummate professionals: John Chmaj, Sr. Practice Director, Knowledge Management, Verint Global Consulting Services, is a seasoned veteran in the KM field. He has worked in all phases of the customer support process, including telephone and online support, technical writing, applications development, and worldwide knowledge systems design. He will be joined by Jon Allen, VP & GM, Communities & Web Self-Service, Verint. Register now for this session.

The final webcast in the series “Ensuring Compliance in the New Normal” is set for Tuesday, October 27 at 1:00PM ET. It will examine the emerging disciplines involved in effectively maintaining compliance with teams now scattered across diverse locations where it is often more difficult to keep track of what agents are doing on a day-to-day basis. Attendees will learn how to:

  • Take a proactive approach by making it easy for a company’s agents to consistently follow the correct processes
  • Monitor employees’ activities and productivity even when they are working remotely
  • Ensure the company can capture, store, and analyze the interaction data necessary to prove compliance and investigate issues

This important how-to presentation will be delivered by Verint’s Directors of Content Marketing, Kelly Koellicker and Iain Dawes. Kelly’s focus on contact center workforce engagement solutions, coupled with Iain’s extensive expertise on compliance and ability to tell comprehensible, engaging stories covering a wider variety of subject matter will make for an entertaining and informative session. Register now for this session

Register for all three for this transformational webcast series. If you are unable to attend any of the live webcasts, a link to the recording will be posted within 24 hours after the presentation.

Unearthing the Most Important CX Initiatives for 2021 Requires Going Far Beneath the Surface

It’s always been a tried and true topic for seminars and webcasts to divine the most significant changes and new directions in a specific industry. Until now, when someone set out to predict what the major trends might be in the following year, they could often just look at what was being forecast in the previous year and update the syllabus of such educational offerings by integrating any new ideas that may have been introduced in the interim.

Of course, viewed through the prism of the world we are now living in, that notion seems like a quaint anachronism, as irrelevant as the Jetson’s 1960s vision of a future of flying cars that fold into briefcases. The clichés used to describe the current situation in the CX/contact center world are mounting …the world has been turned upside down, the way we do business has changed forever, we are living in a new normal, etc. But however tired we may be of seeing these aphorisms, they reflect an undeniable reality. Organizations of all types must find and implement innovative methods to address customers’ momentous needs today to build enduring relationships in the era when Covid-19 is just a jarring memory.

Simply stated, the pandemic has triggered a re-evaluation of the meaning and purpose of customer care. Over the past few months, the emphasis on complex examinations of customer journeys and satisfaction metrics have been supplanted by a focus on the gravity of ensuring that consumers can get the information they need when they need it. Consequently, businesses are now changing the way they will measure and deliver the customer experience in 2021. The sudden transition calls for a new perspective that extends beyond familiar metrics, existing processes, and technology silos.

With the disruption in the workforce due to the lockdowns and furloughs, can businesses be counted on to provide service which makes empathy, understanding and concern integral elements of every interaction? Can CX leaders rapidly reposition themselves to react to the likely long-term alterations in consumer behavior that will undoubtedly come about from this crisis? The challenge is to pivot, innovate and transform operations in a way that enables organizations to not only stand out from the competition, but create new standards of service that truly address the evolving needs of the customer.

In this environment, any educational program that attempts to identify the most critical developments in the next year of the customer experience universe must take a totally fresh approach. On Tuesday, August 11th at 1:00 PM ET, CrmXchange offers a complimentary Best Practices Roundtable discussion that will provide an in-depth examination of the elements that have now become front and center in importance. “CX Megatrends to Watch in 2021” will be presented jointly by experts from two solution providers with demonstrated expertise in revamping contact center operations. Steve Chirokas, Director, Product and Channel Marketing, CallMiner, and Laura Bassett, Senior Director, Product Marketing, NICE inContact, will team up and tap their extensive backgrounds in providing guidance and strategic direction to industry leaders.

The topics to be discussed include:

  • Why Work-from-Home affects the customers’ perception of a brand and the ways that getting it right can positively influence loyalty
  • How to manage remote workers for increases in productivity and enhanced CX
  • In what ways can customer insight, using emotional metrics combined with AI agility, aid agents in taking the next best compelling action
  • How to build momentum toward in-the-moment voice of your customer insight and ensure that responses make for dynamic personalization
  • How to recognize and prioritize digital strategy
  • Specific reasons why moving to the cloud decreases uncertainty during a pandemic

Register now for this enlightening roundtable discussion that will give you updated guidance on what lies ahead. If you can’t attend the live presentation, a link to the recorded webcast will be provided 24 hours after it has been completed.