A leading online consumer goods company that specialized in ethically-sourced merchandise prided itself on its innovative products. However, behind the scenes, the company struggled to provide a seamless, omnichannel experience. This was a significant disadvantage, especially when customer demands—and expectations for speed and convenience—dramatically increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Consumers expected seamless interactions with a brand, regardless of the channel or devices that they were using. Speed to market was also crucial; the pandemic accelerated the need for businesses to move faster in providing predominantly digital omnichannel services. Companies seeking to keep pace with consumers and rising channel complexity had to embark on an omnichannel transformation, one that viewed data not in isolation but as part of a seamless customer journey.
Case in point: the retailer’s key customer data was stuck in siloed systems, which prevented associates from obtaining a 360-degree view of the customer to provide the right answers and support. What’s more, the communication tools were unreliable and prone to glitches: outgoing emails were garbled, and chat conversations were not routed correctly.
The employee experience plays a vital role in shaping customer engagement. This was a suboptimal employee experience that was in turn negatively affecting the customer experience. The retailer needed a partner with the knowledge, expertise, and resources to quickly connect numerous disparate channels, databases, and applications in a unified system to deliver excellent employee and customer experiences across every touchpoint.
TTEC’s first step was to assess the current state of the infrastructure and employee/customer experience. A team of 35 associates were handling 17 customer journeys including processing returns, answering general inquiries, resetting passwords, updating accounts, extending credit, and more. From our review of the customer journeys across service channels (phone, web, chat), we found that the customer support team struggled to provide fast and thorough support because they were forced to navigate various applications and lacked a comprehensive view of the customer.
The channels were managed in dedicated channel-specific systems while the customer interaction data was captured in long essay-type notes stored in a custom database. Operating with a patchwork of channels contributed to overwork, errors, and frustration when associates attempted to support customers across more than one channel. Data fragmentation, however, impeded the aggregation and analysis of data-driven insights that were critical to continuous improvement efforts.
To resolve these issues, we implemented a centralized associate desktop that integrated the client’s service channels and external applications such as the webstore order management, subscription management, loyalty, and complaint management systems into a unified interface.
We also installed our Associate Assist Bot, a robotic desktop automation (RDA) tool built with Pega Robotics Systems, that automates repetitive tasks for associates such as form filling to reduce errors and help associates focus on their conversation with the customer. The Associate Assist Bot also provides prompts and retrieves data to help associates be even more productive and save time. Together, these solutions gave associates a streamlined platform for managing communication channels as well as easy access to key databases and information.
The TTEC digital team moved quickly to transform the client’s fragmented contact center system into a powerful omnichannel engine. The data migration and software integrations for managing the many customer journeys across all the channels, in addition to programming and implementing the Associate Assist Bot, were completed within 3 months and associates quickly adopted the new desktop application. By working closely with the client and key stakeholders in implementing the application, there was hardly any learning curve since associates already understood how to use it.
In fact, even though the company experienced a 300% increase in interaction volume YoY (customer inquiries alone increased by over 1,000%), associates were able to handle all of the interactions with ease using the new application. Part of their success was through the help of automation. For example, 7 of the service requests were handled entirely by the Associate Assist Bot.
The client was thrilled with the results; the omnichannel transformation of the contact center was instrumental in the company’s ability to handle the unexpected surge in customer volume without increasing staff. The employee experience also improved. Associates could now track all the channels in a customer’s journey, review past transactions, and respond quickly and efficiently via the centralized associate desktop and the Associate Assist Bot. The easy-to-use digital tools and expertise that we provided as a partner enabled the small customer support team for scale and improved EX and CX—a win-win situation for everyone.