The explosion of technology and tools aimed at the customer experience gives companies innumerable opportunities to better engage consumers and drive customer loyalty. In fact, 89 percent of marketers expect to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience by 2016, according to Gartner. As companies assess the tech landscape, here are some of the key technology tools that can help deepen customer service relationships.
Live Video Support
Trying to follow a technician’s instructions when neither party can see the same screen can be frustrating. Many repair issues could be resolved faster if the associate could see the same screen or broken device that the customer is seeing. Enter live video support. Amazon for instance, has equipped its Kindle Fire HDX tablets with a Mayday button that connects customers to a tech advisor. The tech advisor guides them through an issue by drawing on their screens, walking them through how to do something on their own, or temporarily taking control of their screens to diagnose the issue.
This experience makes the customer feel like the tech advisor is shoulder-to-shoulder with them and it personalizes the experience and makes communication a lot easier. Many industries, such as financial services, could benefit from live video support, and a few banks already offer video chat, as well as video tellers, as part of their online banking services. And, as more customers become accustomed to live video support, consumers can expect to see more companies offering these features.
Turning Contact Centers Into Expert Centers
Combined with sentiment analysis and natural language processing, artificial intelligence is playing an increasingly prominent role in customer service. Artificial intelligence has been one of the most disruptive technologies for contact centers. Intelligent self-service and IVRs powered by artificial intelligence are now able to handle a wide variety of customer service issues, which reduce the need for humans. But that doesn’t mean humans are obsolete.
Contact centers are becoming ‘expert centers.’ Even though companies are hiring fewer people to solve basic customer service issues, they still need people who can interpret and solve complicated issues that an algorithm hasn’t encountered yet. Customer service representatives need additional training and resources however, to provide high-touch, personalized services. But if companies truly intend to compete with excellent customer service, they’ll prioritize these investments. Companies would be taking a large risk by entrusting their entire service experience to algorithms or artificial intelligence. At the end of the day, customers still want someone who can provide that human touch when needed.
Acting Upon Data Insights
Data-driven analytics have become table stakes in customer service and other areas of a business. Businesses have access to myriad customer data points and they are turning to contact center analytics solutions to crunch the data and uncover patterns and insights into customer behavior. The challenge is implementing and acting upon those data insights.
Collecting data and insights isn’t the problem; applying those findings fast enough to have an impact is where it gets difficult. Predictive scoring and segmenting solutions are effective methods of turning data into actionable information. For example, returning customers and service associates can segment based on certain factors like past purchases, location, or even communication and personality scores (chatty, straightforward, sympathetic, etc.). When customers contact the company, a predictive behavioral routing application will match callers with representatives based on complementary communication styles. A customer being able to speak with someone who tends to communicate in the same way as him could make the experience even better. And there are solutions today that can do that automatically.
It’s unquestionable that digital technology can solve problems faster and do certain things better than any human could, but even technology has its limits. The savviest companies know how to balance both employees and technology solutions to best meet the customers’ needs. It’s always about putting your customers first.
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