However, the confidence of employees and customers in the experience delivery process and platform of their company remained low. In fact, a new report by Econsultancy, produced in partnership with Zone and Cognizant, has found that marketers’ technological infrastructure frequently falls short of the level required to enable a truly great customer experience. One of the most widely identified issues was disjointed tech platforms: a full two thirds (66%) of marketers agreed with the statement, “Our technology platforms are not sufficiently joined-up to deliver great customer experiences.”
With the year ending, it is now time to evaluate the shortcomings of 2018 and improve on them in 2019. We have here the 12 apostles that should transform your company’s customer service in the year ahead.
1. Customer relationship management
According to Gartner, businesses who fail to implement the right data management and customer interaction strategy will miss a 25% increase in potential new revenue. The CRM will give you a platform to centralize data of customers coming from different channels or sources. It will continue to aim to understand customers through extensive data collection and analysis. Getting a CRM will be necessary to have for a business in 2019 to deliver direct and personalize experience to customer on the channel they want.
2. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Nearly two fifths (39%) of marketers surveyed by Econsultancy said they are currently “harnessing artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve the customer experience”, and more than a third (36%) of marketers have plans to increase their level of investment in AI. Needless to say AI is going to be the future driving customer experience and it’s better to start early than being left behind. Innovations like AI Bots, Speech engine, Neural net and NLP can transform the CX space by observing and learning from customer behavior.
3. Self Service
Self-service functionalities like Visual IVR or knowledge base are already changing the game for users. With 70% users, expecting a company’s website to include a self-service application and 50% think it is important to solve the product or service issues themselves. Providing and bettering the self-service functionalities should be on every business’s agenda for 2019. With the emergence of smart speakers like Alexa and Google home we will be in the cusp of a radically new way of self service and customer experience.
Today customers are using different touchpoints during their customer journey and the trend is going to solidify in the near future. This makes it imperative for businesses to be Omni present, so that they can provide a consistent customer experience.
An Omnichannel strategy is thus going to be important in 2019. For those who are new to this concept, Omnichannel is the integration of multiple channels like telephony, SMS, email, chat, social and now WhatsApp on a single interface, unifying the interaction queue and adding features likes interaction timeline/ customer journey and customer details. Consistent customer experience is the promise delivered by Omnichannel.
5. WhatsApp for business
One of the most used platform sees more than 55 billion messages sent over it every day, making it the top messaging app in 55.6% of the world. With the newly introduced WhatsApp for Business API enterprises can now interact with their customers on WhatsApp and even send automated messages. Though it is currently in its early stage, WhatsApp For Business should be on the must have list for companies in 2019.
Every company collects data, sometimes even unknowingly but it is important to evaluate and identify the data you want to collect, the means and frequency of collecting it and measure performance based on the result. While most businesses measure the standard parameters like Turnaround Time (TAT), First Call Resolution (FCR) and other KPIs but that may not be enough to provide rich customer experience. In 2019 the focus should be to measure the subtle aspects of a call like the detection of silence or cross talk along with call quality like how many times did the agent have to repeat themselves etc.
The above six apostles covered the rational and directly measurable aspect of customer experience, the next six apostles focus on the human element of a call and the practices that should be introduced in 2019 to make every interaction a memorable one for the customer.
7.Reduce the long pauses
If there were a list of the most annoying experiences with a call center, long pauses or wait time would come second to agent not having an answer. It is important that agents keep a caller engaged during the call, they can do this by taking the caller through with the process. Example, I am now filling in your name please check for the spelling as I read it out to you, or your order number as I can see was xxxxx984, I am pulling out your transaction details as we speak etc. This certainly doesn’t mean to having your agents continuously speak but not have long uncanny pauses which makes the customer equally uncomfortable.
8.Humanize and contextualize technology
Understanding context is a major part of delivering personalized and accurate service to the customer. In 2019 the focus of every company should be to build a deeper understanding of their customers and target audience. To achieve this you should humanize technology by introducing speech recognition into the service delivery process and deep analytics to help your service delivery tools like IVR or chatbot to understand the context of what is being said. A unified interaction history can also empower your agents with an understanding of context and customer journey.
English is more of a universal language now. However, by giving the comfort of native language a business can form stronger ties with their customers. Providing multi lingual support to customer in 2019 therefore should be on your agenda. The multi lingual aspect can be incorporated with ease in IVR, agent interaction and in Chatbots with the help of APIs. Skill based agents who speak in the same language of customers and call routed to the agent based on the preference and dynamically transferring it, if required.
We had told you above how long pauses were the second most annoying element of a service call, the first most annoying element being the agent not having an answer. While there may be situations where an agent receives a curved ball, they must be trained well on how to manage it. It is important to train agents on how long is too long for them to go silent while working with the system to resolve an issue; they should also be trained to not interrupt a customer when they are narrating their experience. It is also important to train agents to take notes on the less obvious or the less transactional discussions, for example and agent should take a note if the caller says they are in a hurry for a doctor’s appointment and won’t be able to take the call. These notes can help the business to reach out to the customer with a more personalized message like how was the doctor appointment on x date when they call the customer next. For service agents, empathy is key to provide a very memorable customer experience.
11.Select the apt technology for your agents
A business can be a lot more productive if they keep in mind their agents operational flow before investing in a technology. For instance, agents can save a lot more time if they can get all the functionalities needed on a single screen. They will also save time if they are logged in to all the tools they need with a single sign on. What also makes their job more productive is a knowledge base technology which they can use to promptly answer callers or share information with them without wasting time.
12.Customer feedback and VOC
The final apostle that would guide the flow of customer service delivery in 2019 comes directly from the customers. Your business should be ready to take feedback and work on them to deliver the experience your customers want. A good feedback survey tool is therefore a must have for your business in 2019. Listening to the voice of customer will be important to spot the leakages in your service delivery process or your products and offerings.
Adopting these apostles will give your customer service a new direction. We can help you incorporate the best practices of customer experience in your operations. Reach us at Contact Us.
Author Bio: Akanksha is an IT enthusiast, having an experience of 7 years in marketing and promotion. She has experience in varied industries, in positions working across the line of marketing. She is a day dreamer, an avid reader and a crazy traveler when she is not working.