Keeping Up With The Connected Customer
Did you know a lot of your customers don’t want to speak to you? In fact, a 2018 Pega survey found that 57% actually dread it. Does this mean that once blooming relationship is over, and you’ve somehow offended your valuable audience beyond measure? Not in the slightest! It means your customer is evolving and it’s your job to evolve with them.
A Sharp Glimpse Of The Future
Gartner, amongst other experts, is predicting that by 2022 a staggering 70% share of your customer interactions will be through the use of technological advancement and multiple customer-led touchpoints. Peer to peer social networks and knowledge bases will continue to integrate smoothly alongside emerging artificial intelligence (AI) that will allow the customer to intelligently self serve.
This may sound like it’s a long way off, but it’s happening here and now. Most of this technology exists, changing the customer service landscape as we speak and in parallel, it’s changing the way your customers are choosing to interact with you.
The Personal Customer Superhighway
In the past, the customer service experience was organisation-centric. A customer would connect through a traditional channel defined by the company (call, email, etc) and wait. And wait. Sometimes get accidentally disconnected. And redial. And wait. And move departments. And wait.
The process could be frustrating and arduous, following a similar pattern of linear knowledge exchange and wasted time. For the customer service team, irate and stressed customers arrived at their door demanding answers in loud voices. For everyone concerned this meant a real lose-lose situation.
Let’s flip the thinking. What happens when we put the customer in the driving seat, open the door to their own personal customer superhighway and let them choose where, when and how they get off and on.
Along the superhighway, clear signposting presents the customer with a myriad of ways to solve their problems, allowing them to access service stations that provide solutions instantly and smartly.
If they want to ask other customers a question, simply turn off at the Community Service Stop, or a quick question can be asked at the Chatbot Service Stop for a quick answer.
Upgrading To A Smarter Highway
If this sounds like a big undertaking, rest assured technology is here again to help. A. connects every one of your customer touchpoints together and acts as the brain of the superhighway.
AI can help build a real-time, omnichannel view of each and every of your customer interactions, plugging into existing customer service channels and opening the door for highly customised touchpoints that may be unique to your customer’s needs.
It can also keep track of what the customer did to that point. Perhaps they got sidetracked in the real world, their internet connected briefly stopped or they are back to solve an additional problem.
Rather than have to wait in a queue to recount wholesale to your customer service rep the entire history of their experience to date, the customer simply picks up where they left off and continues to complete their service or transaction.
All this data and knowledge is being captured, processed and collated across every customer, every touchpoint in microseconds and is available to the organisation instantly.
Likewise, the AI brain goes beyond traditional notions of serving a specific channel which can traditionally develop siloed sets of rules, insight and data that, over time, often becomes incompatible with its peers. As www.pega.com says:
A channel-less strategy allows your business to leverage the capabilities of your digital brain and muscle centrally, by focusing on the customer outcomes you need to achieve, regardless of channel. The channel, in this sense, becomes irrelevant.
You’ve built the super smart customer service superhighway and your audience are now using intelligent self-service to access your services when it suits them defining their own personal journey. Now comes the really fun and exciting part – imagine offering them ways to get customer service they haven’t even considered.
Intelligent Virtual Assistants (IVAs) are not just chatbots, but as voice recognition evolves your customers could get the answers they need from Alexa or Google Home, all taken from exactly the same, up to date AI brain powering your customer service offering!
Apple themselves have just announced their own credit card to use in conjunction with Apple Pay. Not only is AI being used to help you understand your spending habits, but customer support is available 24/7 by simply sending a text from Messages.
The possibilities are endless.