The challenge that exists for every company today is the need to extract more output from less input. Innovation is often promoted as a solution instead of an enabler which will build shareholder value, by improving customer experience (CX).
Business studies have identified that “CX is the clear differentiator and the most important indicator of strategic performance”. The impact of CX in driving innovation is currently being seen in the efforts to track the customer experience and / or follow the customer journey.
In order to enhance the customer experience in the contact centre, the tried and tested metrics still apply: can the first call resolve the issue (first call resolution, FCR), how long did the caller have to wait (waiting time), was the caller transferred (number of transfers). This might be where Einstein had a point - one should not do the same things and expect a different result or expect the cause of a problem to resolve the problem. So the challenge facing contact centres is the increase in the number of communication channels available/popular with customers, the expectation of mobile solutions, the increased dependancy on various forms of social media all compounding the expectation for near “real” time query resolution.
In fact, according to Dimension Data 82.5% of companies recognise CX as a competitive differentiator and 77.5% recognise CX as the most imortant strategic performance measure. Furthermore, a study from NewVoiceMedia indicates that companies lose more than $62 billion due to poor customer service. As a result, businesses are looking for ways to include and optimise the digitisation of the contact centre solution in order to achieve higher levels of CX via the integration between tested customer experience reality and evolving technology.
It is with this in mind that over the past few months we have seen the rise of the promotion of chat bots and intelligent agents that interact with clients via text based Instant Messaging platforms. Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and WeChat have provided the necessary interfaces for companies to integrate IM platforms into a call centre environment. This enables Facebook Messenger and other channels to be used by customers to instantly engage with support agents without requiring an additional app. This also empowers the agent with a richer set of tools including user history records and security validation to support a new level of customer experience (CX) that is becoming expected.
The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with social media enabled customer service enables service calls to be dealt with, within an agent assisted environment. The IM functionality provides more than just additional channels of communication. The richness of the data provided through these platforms means companies can analyse customer engagement better and adapt operations to support ongoing customer experience improvement. As service expectations evolve multi-media sharing between the customer and agent where the agent can send files, links, photos, movie clips and .pdf files seamlessly in a ‘drag & drop’ framework will enhance the ability of an agent to provide enhanced levels of customer experience.
The potential exists for automated chatbots, agent activated chatbots and agent customer responses to be integrated within chat conversations. This will allow for iterative analysis of all chats to recommend ‘best action’ resolution to agents while supporting the goal of continuous improvement.
So if digitalisation and social media are drivers of this competitive change, businesses will need to be able to operationalise solutions that can offer media rich mobile channels. The questions which will need to be addressed will include, what effect will the technology have on customer experience and will these changes optimise the capacity and accuracy of the agent.
So in essence, start with the customer and the acknowledgement that contact was made due to the need for a resolution, then and only then, consider how and IF innovation is going to make a difference. Your customers will feel the difference in approach.