Presented by LogMeIn
We are amid a customer experience revolution. Gartner predicts that by 2022, approximately 65 percent of all customer service interactions will be digital or text-based versus phone. With today’s customers being much more demanding and much less brand-loyal than they once were, companies across industries are beginning to recognize CX as a key competitive differentiator and are making sweeping changes to keep up.
The art of good customer service existed long before we were browsing the web until our hearts content. In many cases “old school” customer service set foundational practices that are proving difficult to change — explaining why consumers sometimes still opt for a phone call rather than leveraging newer forms of communication. Methods of engagement have certainly evolved over time, but at its core, good customer service is all about being where your customers are, engaging how and when they want to engage. And this is where many digital-first companies fall down. Instead of recognizing the need for foundational engagement methods, many push customers to use more modern channels because they are efficient, innovative, and allow them to remain relevant with digital natives. As these brands grow, however, it can lead customers to feel alienated and turned off from the company altogether.
As we look to the future of CX, it’s important for these digital-first companies to identify how customers want to connect, rather than deciding for them. It shows customers that a brand is listening to them — which builds trust and goes a long way when introducing new ways to communicate, whether that be with a chatbot, a new mobile app or, a virtual dressing room.
Don’t fall for the hype
You’ve probably heard talk about the increasing ability of AI-powered bots to replace customer service jobs over the next few years. While it’s an interesting idea, the real problem isn’t job loss — the goal, instead, is to use the technology in isolation. Relying fully on bot-based engagements often creates bigger challenges and can worsen the customer experience instead of making it better. Yet, we are inundated with hype about the transformational future of AI. And that’s what a lot of it is – hype. Instead of asking “Can bots replace my agents?” many business owners are actually asking “Is it possible to use AI in line with my current customer experience?” Businesses know they need both. The key to success with AI is to not boil the ocean and over-index without a net, but to focus and test on certain aspects of the customer experience so you can learn and understand scope and time to value.
Focus on personalization
With most of our lives moving online, the art of personalized service often gets lost. Regardless of the generational gaps of consumers, everyone likes to feel valued and appreciated. It can be easy to get wrapped up in efficiency, but consumers don’t want to feel like a commodity. It’s important — especially in a high-touch business like financial services — to work the kinds of personalized and intimate interactions customers are used to when they walk into a physical location. This comes down to leveraging data from both in-person and online interactions to build a 360-degree view of a customer — one that will help agents (consultants) identify preferences and anticipate needs. Armed with this information, customer service agents can dramatically change their customer conversations from textbook-style answers to a personal and tailored conversation with a customer (be it through a chatbot, email, or live chat). Creating a personal connection helps consumers feel more open and comfortable engaging through digital channels, builds trust, and creates new chances to delight customers and increase business opportunities.
Stay on top of customer roadblocks
As digital-first brands look to dominate the market, any roadblocks or challenges in one of the offered CX channels could be a nail in their coffin. The travel industry is a great example of this shift. Once an industry that was designed to reflect hospitality and service has now turned into a battle zone via Twitter. When looking to bring customers along a journey, brands need to consistently ensure that customers are being supported at every step along the way. When exploring new engagement channels like chatbots, for example, it’s important for there to always be an easy and elegant escalation path to a human agent should the issue need a higher-touch. Further, technologies like AI and data analytics can help monitor customer engagements to understand the regular roadblocks and frustrations experienced by users so they can be adjusted quickly.
With so many brands on the hook to revolutionize their CX strategy, it’s important for all companies — digital-first and otherwise — to understand who their customers are and how they want to engage and build their strategy around that foundation. Engaging with consumers in a way that makes them feel comfortable may not always optimize efficiency or be “innovative” — but it will help to build the kinds of brand loyalty and trust that are necessary to encourage your customers to evolve with your business and eventually, redefine the meaning of “good customer service.”
Dave Campbell is Vice President of Customer Engagement and Support Solutions at LogMeIn which includes LogMeIn Rescue, Bold360 and GoToAssist. Dave joined the LogMeIn team in 2010 and has managed and led product direction for multiple LogMeIn businesses including: remote access, IT management and customer engagement. Prior to joining LogMeIn, Dave was responsible product marketing at Symantec for its Information Management business including backup, archiving and E-Discovery.
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