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How is Customer Relationship Management Helpful For Business

Customer relationship management (CRM) involves all the strategies, activities, and technologies businesses use to manage their interactions with potential and current customers. With CRM, companies can build a strong relationship with customers, which leads to brand loyalty and increases customer retention. However, both are factors affecting a company’s revenue, making CRM a vital management strategy to help businesses maximize their profits. 

A CRM tool usually has a simple data collection user interface that helps businesses recognize their customers and communicate with them in a scalable manner. This proves how important CRM is for companies. Some other benefits of CRM for organizations are: 

  1. Create a reliable customer base

Businesses that use the outdated method of storing customer data in a spreadsheet make life harder for themselves. The spreadsheet may get lost or fall into the wrong hands, and the data can become compromised. This is why the switch to CRM software is essential for businesses. If you’re looking to keep an excellent overview of your customers, you need a CRM. You can also measure your growth, progress, financial gains and self-improvement over time. 

  1. Register your contacts and leads

A customer relationship management software helps you separate your contacts and leads into categories like customers, prospects, potential partners, influencers, and suppliers. This allows you to implement several strategies to make you more data-efficient and your product more effective. You’re also able to follow customer interactions and share the contact groups with Share Google Contacts solutions to ensure efficient and secure communication among the company’s employees. 

  1. Improve team productivity 

Your employees are the ones that use the CRM software mostly, and it has been challenging to handle since the software was introduced. However, since the creation of CRM mobile, there has been an increase in the use of CRMs. Therefore, mobile CRM increases the use of the software, but it also increases the productivity of your workforce. 

Expert research into the use of CRM found that there has been a massive improvement in the efficiency of business processes, and the productivity of companies using the CRM mobile app has increased significantly. Also, irrespective of the devices, every CRM software reduces the time necessary to input the data manually and search through confusing and untidy spreadsheets. Therefore, this helps save more time that can be invested in other activities required to improve overall productivity. 

  1. Personalize your marketing strategy

An important priority in marketing these days is the customer experience. Businesses, nowadays, spend a considerable chunk of their marketing budget on email marketing. Companies spend an approximate sum of $350 million on email campaigns alone in the US alone. With CRM software, it’s easier for companies to improve their communication with customers. They need to accumulate accurate data to get a clearer insight into the previous interactions and habits of their customers. 

  1. More leads and increased sales

The accurate data accumulated about customers through the CRM software can also be used to target other customers and put the appropriate effort in. Therefore, this increases the likelihood of making more sales. 

Additionally, the data collected can also be used to send personalized gifts and loyalty discounts, both aimed at ensuring customer retention. You can use web forms to increase the possibility of offering free products if they drop their email addresses. This is how you get more prospective customers. You can also use the software to analyze the level of customer satisfaction. This allows you to ask satisfied clients to refer the company to their friends, family, and acquaintances. 

  1. Integrating with other tools

It is possible to integrate your CRM with other marketing software to help you create a more coherent marketing strategy to get more prospective customers. Integrating it with other tools such as email will automate the entire process involved. This makes it easier to see your precise ROI status for your marketing strategy. The social media interaction of customers with your brand can also be integrated into your CRM strategy to help increase your reach to new customers and improve your relationship with the current ones. It’s ideal to use CRM software with messaging ability to send customer loyalty texts, free incentives, and product tracking alerts. Finally, you can integrate it with telephony so that it’s easier and faster to make outbound calls. 

  1. Achieve employee accountability

CRM allows you to distribute roles and responsibilities more appropriately among your employees and follow the direction they’re heading with their tasks. If one employee makes a mistake or falls behind, it’s easier to identify the problem and solve it quickly before harming the business. However, you must be careful not to use it to play the blame game. In contrast, the ability to identify the struggles of your employees and their problematic tasks should be used to ensure their growth. Since employees know what their weaknesses are, they can work through them better. 

Conclusion 

Customers are far more proactive these days than a few years ago. This is a reality that we must accept and get used to. They now research products and companies they want to patronize on different platforms before they arrive at the company’s website. They also have a wide range of choices in front of them. So, it’s essential that we also adapt our strategy to reach them better and be able to offer what they want. With CRM software, you have what you need to attract customers and retain them using a personalized and efficient service. As discussed in this article, there are several benefits of CRM for businesses and only a few were briefly explained in this article.

Author Bio

Thomas Jackson is a professional freelance content writer at an essay writing service and an active member of several writing clubs in New York, where he can provide help with research paper.

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.

Contact Center Transformation: The Next Act

The contact center world is in the early days of a true metamorphosis, one that is going to impact all aspects of these service departments: people, process and technology. Driven by elevated customer and employee expectations, technical innovation, increasing globalization and scale, operational opportunities and the cloud, contact center executives are rethinking their strategies and reimagining the future of these essential customer-facing departments. DMG expects contact centers to undergo wholesale changes that position them to deliver a proactive and personalized service experience to an increasingly demanding customer base. 

It’s Time to Transform

Contact centers need to undergo the following transformations to position themselves to enhance the brand they represent:

  1. From cost center to profit center – Sales and collections departments are profit centers, as their primary function is revenue generation. Customer service departments, even if they do not perform up-sell and cross-sell, should also be viewed as profit centers, as an essential aspect of their job is to build strong and “sticky” customer relationships. 
  2. From phone center to omni-channel contact center – While a surprisingly large number of contact centers continue to support only voice interactions (which means they are still call centers), the pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital channels (minimally, email and chat). Unfortunately, too many contact centers added new channels without integrating them with each other or the existing voice-based activities. This means each channel is independent, so an agent that helps a customer in one channel cannot see what was done in another channel, obscuring the visibility into the customer journey and overall brand relationship. This approach makes it difficult for customers who want to use their preferred channel and also pivot easily from one channel to another, if necessary (e.g., if they need to escalate to a live agent). It also makes it difficult, time consuming and costly for agents who must ask customers to repeat their entire story. Contact centers should be fully integrated omni-channel (voice and digital) servicing environments, where agents have a single desktop and customer relationship management (CRM) system to handle all inquiries and can pivot between channels as often as needed.
  3. From the title of agent to influencer or customer relationship advocate (CRA) – Agents perform an essential and often challenging function for their brand – they are the primary representatives of their company to the market. It’s a challenging job as customers are not always kind, and agents may not have access to all of the information they need due to system or operational limitations. Companies need to approach every contact as a “gift” when a customer or prospect reaches out to them. The customer-facing resources in contact centers need intelligent automation and tools to deliver an outstanding and personalized experience to every individual in every interaction, and they deserve a title that better reflects their importance and contribution to the brand. 
  4. From blame point to chief customer officer – Contact centers clean up mistakes and problems originating “upstream” and “downstream” in companies. Because they must resolve a wide variety of issues, contact center employees know more about a company than the staff in almost any other department. An outstanding contact center leader will spend a significant portion of their day working with other departments to address issues identified by customers or contact center analytics. As a result, these leaders know a great deal about what customers think about the company and what it will take to enhance their perception of the brand. For these reasons, a contact center leader is well positioned to become a chief customer officer in their company.
  5. From basic systems to artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled applications – Many contact centers are still using outdated servicing and CRM systems and applications as their primary information sources. Instead, contact center influencers need AI-enabled solutions that give them a view into each customer’s issue or predict the customer’s intention in contacting their brand. These solutions should proactively deliver all relevant data and next-best-action recommendations to resolve the current situation and “influence” the customer in a positive manner to enhance the relationship.

Final Thoughts

Contact centers have operated in similar ways for most of the 45+ years they have been in existence. Undoubtedly, there are major differences between companies, but the general approaches have been comparable. It’s well past time for change and transformation. Companies have to make enhancements and investments, at least as a starting point, or find themselves with unhappy (and fewer) customers and challenged to find the best candidates to staff their contact centers. While the required changes are significant and costly, they will position companies to fulfill their promise of delivering an outstanding customer experience, something most companies struggle to achieve today.

Guest Post from DMG Consulting

8 Best Yet Inexpensive Customer Appreciation Ideas

Most businesses consistently thank their customers for doing business with them. This simple act of demonstrating gratitude to consumers who support your business is not to be underestimated. Customers want to feel appreciated. And the more appreciated they feel, the more likely they are to become a return customer and recommend your business to others. If you want to show your customers your appreciation, here are eight great yet relatively cheap ideas to try.

Treat Them On Their Birthday

Many businesses offer some sort of birthday reward. To show your appreciation to a customer on their special day, you can offer them a free product or service. This can be something as small as a free beverage or free dessert on their birthday if you’re in the food industry.

Have A Customer Appreciation Sale

Sales are a great way to appreciate your customers and drive sale volumes. To express your gratitude for your most loyal customers, hold an exclusive sale just for them. The makeup retailer, Sephora, does an excellent job of rewarding their biggest spenders by granting them early access to sales and a higher discount than other customers.

Listen To Their Input

If customers have voiced concerns or made suggestions in the past, listen to their feedback. If their suggestions are a good idea or their concerns are valid, make the necessary change. The next time you see the customer, inform them of the changes you made and thank them for their feedback. This informs the customer that you value their opinion.

Connect With Customers

Taking the time to have a conversation with a customer can show them that you’re grateful for their business. It’s also a sure way to form a connection and convert them into a loyal customer. Perhaps, you have a shared interest or they shared details about their family with you. Make sure to remember these tidbits of information and ask about it the next time you talk to the customer.

Surprise Them With An Upgrade

Upgrading your customer’s product, service, or experience is a great way to show your appreciation. The costs of upgrading are typically cheaper than giving something away for free. If you manage a theatre or concert hall, you could surprise a customer by upgrading their seats to better ones at no cost on the day of the show. Those seats are going to be empty anyways. You might as well show a customer appreciation by improving their experience.

Give Them A Freebie

Delighting a customer with a free product or service is the ultimate way to show your appreciation. This is an amazing way to reward and encourage customer loyalty. If your products or services are quite expensive, this idea might not be as feasible. However, if you manage a business like a restaurant, you can show your appreciation by giving a regular customer their meal or dessert on the house once in a while.

Go Above And Beyond

While you might not always have the time to go out of your way for a customer when it’s busy, doing so when you have chance can show how much you appreciate them. For example, if an item the customer is looking for is out of stock, you could order it in specifically for them or help them track down the item at another location. On the other hand, if you know a customer orders the same thing every single day, you can have it prepared and ready for them as soon as they enter your store.

Provide Personalized Service

It takes little to no effort to provide personalized service to a customer, and yet, it can make their day. If you know your customer’s name, ensure you greet them by their name. If you conversed with the customer before about an interest or a hobby, ask them about it. Providing a customer with a personalized service can make them feel special. It also lets them know that you care enough to actually listen and remember facts about them.

Conclusion

As a business, customers are at the heart of what you do. Making your customers appreciated not only makes their day, but it can also greatly benefit your business. With so many ways to show your customers gratitude, there’s really no excuse not to.

Christina Lee is a business development manager at College paper and Essay help. She writes about business growth and customer engagement strategies for such services, as OX Essays, and others.

9 Easy Hacks To Increase Customer Engagement And Slash Your Bounce Rate

When it comes to getting people to your website and keeping them there, the key is engagement. If your visitors aren’t engaged with what you are offering them, they are highly likely to bounce onto the next website that is able to capture their engagement.

A customer is considered to be ‘bouncing’ from your website when they decide not to go further than the home page. What this typically means is that they weren’t interested enough to stay on your site, or found it too difficult to find what they were looking for. But, how can you optimize the level of customer engagement and prevent them from hopping off your site and onto another? Here are 9 easy ways to keep your customers interested and increase your sales:

  1. How User-Friendly Is Your Website?

When your customers enter your website, what does their experience look like? Is it easy to navigate and find the information, products or services they are looking for? Customers will get easily frustrated and quickly abandon your website if they encounter problems finding what they need. If customers are expressing frustration about navigating your website, listen! They are the ones who are using it, so their feedback matters.

  1. Add Calls To Action In The Right Spots

Inspiring your online visitors to act means you’ll have to prompt them to take action. Add calls to action where appropriate, so that your customers can easily be guided to where they need to go in order to complete the transaction they need. And, keep your call to action honest – if you are offering something for free, then asking for credit card information, it can cause many users to feel misled and bounce.

  1. Speed Up Your Site

In our fast-paced world, almost nothing will turn away a customer than a slow website. Ensuring that each page of your website is optimized for speed can help maintain a high level of customer engagement and prevent them from leaving. You would be shocked with how quickly someone will abandon your site if a page isn’t loading fast enough. In just a few seconds, customers will make their decision whether they are sticking with your site, or whether it’s too slow for them.

  1. Do Some A/B Testing

Test out the performance of your pages by creating A/B tests. Different landing pages and calls to action will yield different results, so you can see which one gains better traction and implement the ones with the best results.

  1. Include Engaging Videos

Videos can help explain a lot of information easily and quickly, and many users prefer to watch a short video than to read anything of length. Including short, informative videos can keep users engaged and moving through your website.

  1. Highlight Lots Of Great Images

Images are highly engaging, and including high quality images in all the right places can help drop your bounce rates. Large, quality images are eye-catching and are being more widely utilized by companies looking to bump up the engagement of their customers. Either create your own images by hiring a professional photographer or utilize free stock images.

  1. Let Others See What Your Customers Are Saying

One of the most effective ways to highlight what your potential customers can expect from you is by providing feedback from past customers. Customer feedback is an effective tool because it provides honest words from real people who have already utilized your products or services and found their experience so phenomenal that they needed to share with others.

  1. Readability Is Key

You may have a great deal of informative and useful information throughout your website, but if it’s not easily readable, your visitors will quickly tune out. The visual setup and overall look of your website includes ensuring that all text is easily readable, no matter what device you are viewing on. Take into consideration font size, as well as style and color, to ensure that it’s legible and clear enough.

  1. Demonstrate Yourself As A Credible Source

 Getting a new customer to put their trust in you can be asking quite a lot, so you’ve got to show them that you are trustworthy and capable of what you are proposing. Online customers are increasingly skeptical about trusting new companies with their business, so you will have to earn their trust as a credible source in order to hold their engagement.

Having your customers remain engaged while navigating your website is essential in growing your online success. Start implementing these 9 hacks, and start seeing the effects of higher customer engagement and lower bounce rates.

As an expert in boosting and growing customer engagement, Emily Henry shares her knowledge as a blogger at State Of Writing. She also contributes her expertise in the subject as an assignment writer at Essay Writing Service, where she hopes to help business owners optimize the success of their businesses.

If You Have to Fire an Employee

How to Address Moral Issues That Come with Firing an Employee

There’s a good probability you’ll have to fire an employee as a manager at some time in your career.

Regardless of the reasons why you’re letting someone go or who they are, the result is usually an awkward and emotional time afterwards, especially for the employees who are staying at your business. You could possibly be left with a bunch of disappointed, sorrowful employees who are concerned about their own job security once the individual bids his farewell.

A firing or mass layoff can have a big influence on the tone of the company, and current employee morale can suffer dramatically; and as a manager is vital that you take the steps necessary to boost morale and keep it high, but how do you do something like this? In this guide, we’re going to find out.

Describe why the firing happened (as much as you legally possible)

Firstly, it’s important to remember when giving an explanation for why an employee was fired; it’s best to be cautious for legal reasons. It may not be something that can or should be discussed publicly within an organisation in some instances.

You basically want to make sure that everyone on my team was on board Explain that a line was crossed and such red line guidelines need to be understood and respected by everyone on the team.”

“You may not be able to reveal too many details about the scenario because you must respect the privacy of the dismissed employee, but you can still give employees the opportunity to express their concerns, according to Hall. Ask open-ended questions to assist employees to identify what’s bothering them in one-on-one meetings, and focus on each employee’s contribution to the team,” shares Tina Marie, a project manager at Research papers UK.

Congratulate the remaining employees on their excellent performance

“This is also an excellent moment to express gratitude to people who are contributing significantly to the organisation—as long as you do so truly,” shares Jason Harper,  a business blogger at Draft Beyond and Writinity.

Give The Fired Or Laid-off Employee The Best Possible Treatment

Offer to submit a wonderful letter of recommendation and/or be a reference for an employee who was let go as part of a layoff—and they left the company through no fault of their own.

Treat them well not only because they deserve it but also because how you treat them will reverberate among your current staff. Being treated properly can lead to empathy for both the individual and the company. Existing employees will be enraged if individuals who were let go are treated badly.

Explore and Talk About the Next Steps

During a change like this, especially in a small business, the CEO’s role is not only to explain why the choice was made but also to build a picture of what will happen next—getting employees focused on the company’s future and how it will continue to grow despite the inevitable workforce changes.

Your staff need to understand the plan, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there—sometimes without the assistance of a former teammate. The worst thing you can do is remain silent and presume your employees share your viewpoint. Keeping morale high after a staffing turnover requires open and honest communication.

Put a Smile on Your Face

Finally, try to find a way to lighten the atmosphere quickly after a layoff. One morning, bring in breakfast or coffee. Organise a lunch for the team. Lunch should be pizza. Make plans for a pleasant hour. Relax. Regroup. Refocus.

This also means you need to show compassion to the employees that have left and those who have stayed. Remember, people have families, and they work to pay their bills. You shouldn’t avoid the subject, nor should you just blank everything that’s happening or bad mouth the person who has been released. It’s about making the experience as positive as possible, even if someone has done something wrong.

Treat it as a lesson learned.

Jenny Williams is a Business analyst and writer at Paper writing service and Lucky Assignments Liverpool. She also writes for Gum Essays service blog and helps businesses to become the best versions of themselves.

Getting Started With AI at Your Business

It seems like artificial intelligence is getting a lot of attention lately. You read articles about it, see presentations that cover AI and you hear about a range of products and services that now have “smart” features. 

For today’s businesses, there are a lot of options for ways AI can be used. If you are looking for the most beneficial applications, AI applied to business intelligence has a lot of potential. Using an AI-powered BI tool, businesses can streamline their analytics operations and get deeper insights.

With AI data analytics having so much to offer businesses of all sizes, more companies are looking to introduce this technology to their teams. However, many people still do now fully understand what AI can do for their data and what they might need to do to start using AI.

What can AI do for analytics?

You probably already know what AI is: it is the science of making smart machines. With powerful AI systems, machines can be taught or programmed to perform complex tasks that used to require the intelligence of a human. Data analysis happens to be one of the tasks that AI performs well at.

With enough data, an AI algorithm can find meaningful patterns and relationships in the data. In many cases, AI systems can even learn as it is exposed to more data. This means that it can get smarter and better at its job the more it works.

As it concerns business applications, you could feed all of your business data to the AI-powered analytics tool. With automated analysis, it can find insights that might benefit a business in a number of ways. It might find waste in your operation, a missed revenue opportunity, a trend in the market, a group of customers that could be valuable or any number of things.

Even beyond insights about the past and present, AI can work well for forecasting. Using predictive analytics, the AI builds models based on historical data. It then runs data about the current condition to predict what may happen in the future. Many of these systems can even run various solutions or actions a business could take to respond to the prediction through the model to help leaders find the right path forward.

In the past, all of these functions required the skills of a data scientist. Not only that, it would often take an analytics team weeks to perform these functions. With AI applied to analytics, it can make data science teams more efficient and it can also offer some of these insights to people who do not have the skills of a data scientist.

The Implementation of AI 

Introducing AI to your business is not as simple as buying an AI analytics platform and feeding it some data. You need to take some time to assess the needs of your business and determine the goals you are trying to achieve.

Depending on the type of business you run and the goals you have, different analytics tools might work better for helping you reach your goals. You will need to find the right analytics tools and determine the types of resources your business will need to support those tools. 

Once you have the tools, it is not as simple as turning them loose on your company and its data. You are going to need to train employees on using the tools and make sure they understand how you expect them to use the tools. Make sure employees have the training they need and brief them on the types of goals you want them to achieve when they use them.

You might also need to spend a little time promoting the use of the tools. Some employees might not take to the tools as quickly as others. Teach employees about the benefits of using analytics tools and the ways AI can help them perform better at their jobs. Employees will be more likely to embrace the use of AI when they understand the benefits and have the training they need.

AI can be a valuable tool when businesses implement it in the right way. Making data-driven decisions can be a way to put your business ahead of the competition, and with features like predictive analytics, your business can be prepared for the future. For many businesses, their ability to adopt AI and integrate it with their operations will be the difference between success and failure.

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. 

Top Takeaways from the 2nd Annual GigCX Report

By Megan Neale, COO & Co-founder, Limitless

For all the bad that it’s done, the pandemic has actually created a wave of digital transformation, and companies have been forced to explore innovative new ways they may not have done otherwise. This was certainly apparent in the findings from our second annual GigCX report, which was based on research from gig customer service (or ‘GigCX’) freelance experts in 34 countries, covering six continents and six languages. The report also features interviews from 15 global customer experience leaders from the likes of Microsoft, Genesys, Infosys, Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group and Sage.

The research revealed that COVID-19 is leading to increased volume in gig customer service demand, and that CX leaders feel embedding more flexible customer service models in today’s frameworks is absolutely essential. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and both the GigCX experts and CX leaders identified many other trends in customer service and experience, many of which have occurred as a result of the dramatically changed business landscape we’re seeing as we navigate the pandemic.

  1. Empathy is everything

During the pandemic in particular, we’ve seen just how much empathy matters in a customer experience situation, when speaking to people who have experienced times of extreme difficulty, or life changing circumstances. Connectedness is more important than ever, and throughout the research and interviews, the emphasis on empathy and the human connection was mentioned time and time again.

What was fascinating were the descriptors the leaders used in describing the evolving human connection we’re seeing today in the customer experience. ‘Enjoyability’, ‘Enthusiasm’, and ‘Grace’ were words they used frequently as they described the importance of humans relating to humans to build a better and more empathic customer experience.

  1. Digital dignity and the ‘GoodGig’ are on the agenda

Regardless of whether companies have in-house customer service call centers, outsourced call centers, or use GigCX or any other number of customer service channels, CX leaders were passionate about the fact that their companies value the humans providing customer service and a good customer experience for their brands. The phrase ‘digital dignity’ was used by one senior CX leader, and the idea of the ‘GoodGig’ was discussed in several conversations.

It’s a timely thought that should be at the forefront of mind as we see the dramatic rise of the gig over the last few years. CX leaders are monitoring the treatment of gig agents under the microscope both from the customers being served by them, and the governments responsible for protecting them.

Interestingly, the report research revealed that 85% of agents feel that GigCX has helped improve their mental wellbeing during the pandemic, and 76% felt that GigCX has introduced them to new skills that will help them in their career such as communication, problem solving, and time management.

  1. Peer to peer engagement is what matters the most

Again and again, CX leaders identified peer engagement and peer customer service as a top trend. Having like-minded peers putting their heads together to deliver honest answers surrounding products and services is a powerful combination.

Simply put, people, more often than not, want advice and answers from people who have hands-on experience. People who have been loyal customers, and who have used products and services for years.

  1. Asynchronous messaging is becoming more mainstream

One digital shift that many CX leaders mention was over the past year which is also driving asynchronous messaging. Forty per cent of the CX leaders interviewed said they saw an increase in customer service demand coming for async messaging tools. As one CX expert explained, asynchronous messaging may also see a boost from GigCX:

 “Asynchronous messaging will see a boost with GigCX as you could have an agent anywhere that works 15 minutes here, an hour there, two minutes an hour later, and still do their day job at the same time as serving the customer. Asynchronous works much better for someone who works eight hours in a row. And for the customer, it means they can do their entire journey with one person to maintain rapport and consistency.”

  1. There are new KPIs in town

While all CX experts agreed that traditional customer service KPIs surrounding quality and cost are still critical, there are new KPIs that are equally important.

Customer Success now means redesigning the CX journey so that customers see value at every step. It’s about proactively engaging with the customer before they need help, and making that engagement opportunity continual, so that it doesn’t just happen when it’s time to submit a customer service query.

Customer Lifetime Value is another.  It focuses on the personal connection and relationship with a customer, looking at how a long future relationship may transpire.

These are just a few of the takeaways in this year’s report. For further information, download the 2021 Annual Gig Customer Service Report is available for download here: https://www.limitlesstech.com/gig-customer-service-2021/

Call Center Training – What Do Agents Need?

Guest Blogger: Mark Pereira

When I started training over a decade ago, we had these colossal training binders filled with tons of technical material, most of which we didn’t even need to know, and several pages discussed features that our project didn’t even have. Trainees would come in, and after a few days, a class of eight or ten would turn into a class of two. And after a week or two, those trainees disappeared into thin air.

I took it on as a goal to not lose a single trainee during class – either through dropouts or failing the final exam.

I knew to stop overwhelming trainees before class could start, we had to put these training binders on an aggressive dose of Hydroxycut to get them lean.

My manager was very understanding. She gave me time off the phones to remove the 86-page user manual on our customer relationship management (CRM) system and convert it into a 40-slide instructional PowerPoint presentation. The presentation listed out the steps which trainees could use to make or change plan enrollments and, lastly, document calls.

The next thing was condensing the 30 to 40-page sections on the company’s history and health insurance. To this day, I’ve never had a caller ask an agent about the history of health insurance, so the module on the history of health insurance was reduced to two slides and the history of the company to three slides.

Further, instead of having lengthy manuals that discussed each program, we had four. I converted these into PowerPoint slides – providing the class precisely what they needed to be successful on the calls. Removing information that spoke about the history of the program, demographics, and so on, emphasizing details such as eligibility criteria, time durations for enrollments, health plan choices, etc.

Next question, was it worth it? Yes, I achieved my goal of successfully reducing the size of the training binder and engaging the class to the point that they were able to transition successfully onto the calls. I created several job aids and quick reference guides (QRGs), such as guidelines to ensure Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) practices were followed on every call before protected health information (PHI) or personal identifiable information (PII) could be released. By simplifying instructions, agents clearly understand the call center’s expectations, and we were, in turn, able to reduce HIPAA violations by 80%.

The time spent covering these lengthy manuals into PowerPoint slides, QRGs, and jobs was invested into practice sessions, role-playing, and mentoring, the elements that help to value a training class.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself before practicing a lean mindset while reviewing training:

  • What do we do in our call center? And do we need this?
  • Is this something that the trainee needs to know to understand what we do?
  • Is this understandable and as simple as it can get for the trainee to transfer to their job?
  • Can I make it even simpler for my class by adding examples or stories?

Suppose you have a hard time answering the above questions. Take a moment to get onto the call center floor, ask your agents and trainees questions such as the common types of calls you receive, etc. Identify how agents assist callers, what resources they find helpful, and what struggles they will face, and so on.

Call center training can sometimes be filled with information that we would like the class to know, but I’ve noticed that it should be retained or retained in small quantities only if it adds value to the educational objectives and ensures a smooth transition to what they need to know in order to be successful taking calls. 

The main goal to call center training is easy transferability from what is taught in the classroom to the agent being able to use the information on the phones. Further, introduce and educate agents on tools they can use to assist caller’s inquiries such as job aids, presentation slides, QRGs, intranet, chat, and so on. All of these steps and resources will help to reduce average handle time (AHT), hold time, agent frustration, and in turn, turnover.