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The origins of customer experience (CX) can be traced back as far as 1990, and arguably even further. Since then, its role in customer service and support has constantly evolved and strengthened as organizations of all industries see proof of how CX excellence improves the bottom line.
The goal of any customer service team should be to achieve digital CX excellence, but what does it really mean? What does it look like for your operations and team? And for those who wonder if that ambition is too lofty or unreachable given their current setup, how can you take the first steps on the path towards it? This blog will dig into all this and more, helping those organizations who have seen the benefits of excellent CX, and need guidance on how to get there.
The CX playing field has changed considerably for customer service teams in the past 5 years – but this hasn’t been driven by the organizations themselves. Instead, consumer expectation has pulled and pushed brands to raise their customer service game in order to match the experience they receive from other industries. Consumers enjoy instant, personalized and often 24/7 experiences – from takeaway services to same day delivery – and this level of support is now expected in customer service – and why shouldn’t it be?
Customer service technology has the ability to provide every customer with excellent CX, no matter the industry or team size. This improvement in CX was recorded by KPMG who found that:
“The quality of customer experiences is improving around the world. All countries researched have seen an uplift in their overall Customer Experience Excellence (CEE) score this year. The average increase of all markets together is 3%.”
As these organizations look to improve CX, the end goal is to achieve digital CX excellence. While the exact definition of this will differ depending on industry and goals, to achieve digital CX excellence you must always offer the following:
Today’s consumers will no longer be satisfied with one or even two available customer service channels. Satisfactory support now means offering customers a full range of channels to let customers decide how they want to reach out to you in that moment – and the only efficient and CX-improving way to do this is with digital omnichannel engagement platforms.
With omnichannel platforms, you can offer customers the choice to find the answer to their questions via live chat, chatbot, social media, email, SMS, and a knowledge base. Live chat is key to this offering – 73% of customers choose live chat as their preferred method for interacting with companies. On top of this, omnichannel platforms connect every single digital channel together into one platform so no matter what channel your customer reaches out on, the agent has every piece of information and conversation history at the fingertips.
To get on the path to digital CX excellence, customer support must be personalized. Customized support has become a major way for organizations to differentiate from their competition and win loyalty from customers. In fact, KPMG found that personalization is the strongest pillar driving customer loyalty in 19 out of 27 markets they looked at. In a study from Lucid asking consumers what customer service expectations they believe brands should meet, the desire to “feel heard, appreciated, and valued” came out on top.
To achieve digital CX excellence, automation must be embraced, and for a number of reasons. Firstly, 24/7 availability is crucial, and it can’t be achieved without huge resources – unless you adopt automation. Today’s consumers want to get help when it suits them, not when it suits you or your team’s work hours. And with today’s advanced technology and chatbots, there’s no excuse not to. With a chatbot at hand, organizations can provide support at all times of day without hiring additional agents at a cost that is too much for most companies.
With chatbot support, all your common and often simple questions can be resolved without any human agent involvement. This reduces wait times (so improve customer satisfaction), as well as allowing your agents to spend more time where it matters – on complex or high-value questions.
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Speed used to be a feature of customer support, but today it’s a necessity. In a consumer survey of over 1000 individuals, 69% said that they judge the quality of CX based on whether they receive a “quick resolution.” Millennials and Gen Z place even greater emphasis on instant gratification than previous generations as they grow up surrounded with technology that enables it – and the trend is only going to continue. While the importance of speed may be obvious, many organizations continue to rely on slow telephone support, IVR systems, and email. Even some using real-time live chat are not taking advantage of its many inbuilt tools to increase speed of response and resolution further such as:
Now that we’ve seen how customers expect digital CX excellence to look, it’s time to consider some of the steps necessary to get there. For some organizations, they may be still relying on traditional phone support and email and have the potential to make a lot of CX improvement. For others, they have already implemented a range of digital channels and are looking to take the next step with automation and AI chatbots.
Wherever you are at in your journey towards digital CX excellence, here are four key steps you must follow:
When striving for digital CX excellence, a good place to start is with a well-developed knowledge base. At its most basic, a knowledge base diverts requests from agents by allowing customers to find their own answers. When combined with an omnichannel platform, a knowledge base allows organizations to improve agent efficiency and speed.
When responding to live chat messages, agents can use knowledge base materials to stay on message and easily link to articles for faster response times. Combined with features like canned messages, agents can save the time of retyping common answers while still maintaining excellence service.
Part of providing excellent digital CX is understanding who your customers are and how they want to connect. While each organization’s customers are unique, what remains constant is customer demand for choice. No matter who your customers are, they’ll want a full range of channels to choose from.
Live chat is the most popular digital channel so it should always be a part of your operation, and so should email. Once you’ve implemented these channels however, you should look to add other digital channels into your omnichannel customer engagement platform such as social media and SMS.
Supporting customers across a variety of channels may seem a daunting prospect, but an omnichannel platform integrates all these channels into a single agent console so no matter how the customer reaches out, the request will funnel into the platform, attached with all their information, conversation history, and even past purchases.
While every customer interaction is important, not every interaction holds the same value for your organization or your customer. By understanding the value of these interactions, it becomes possible for you to better allocate resources to respond appropriately in each situation.
Low value interactions tend to be more repetitive and less complicated. In the digital space, a low value interaction could be a password reset request or a request for information that’s already available elsewhere. While these are both important services for customers, they aren’t demanding on a human level, and they can be easily automated.
High value interactions tend to be more complex and require a human touch for the best outcome. Depending on the services that your organization supports, a high value interaction could involve gaining a new customer or keeping an existing customer happy by solving a complicated problem.
With the proper platform in place, achieving this balance is easy. An omnichannel platform like Comm100 can determine whether an interaction is high or low value, and route messages automatically to chatbots or agents based on customer needs. For conversations that start simple and shift to high value topics, clients can be routed to a specific agent or team for more personalized service.
Another essential piece of the puzzle to achieve digital CX excellence is to offer 24/7 support, as we mentioned earlier. The only way to achieve this without the high costs of hiring more agents and increasing work hours is with a chatbot.
Building your first chatbot begins with pulling from your knowledge base to automate simple and low-value queries. With repetitive queries automated, support agents can be better utilized to support your high value interactions. As customers rate chatbot interactions, new responses to low confidence answers can be developed, and over time both the knowledge base and the abilities of the chatbot are improved.
With an AI chatbot, you can automate a significant portion of your frontline customer care without compromising on service quality. As well as answering repetitive questions, an AI bot can help customers accomplish their goals like booking meetings and making payments through seamless connections to other business systems. Conditional Logic can also be used to personalize every customer interaction based on a customer’s profile and relationship with your business.
Wherever you are on your journey towards digital CX excellence, Comm100 can help with our digital omnichannel customer engagement platform – so book a demo with us to learn what specific steps your organization needs to take to achieve digital CX excellence.