Cloud Software

Top Customer Service Trends to Follow in 2023

Contributed Article by: Wanda Lafond 

There are a lot of changes happening in customer service, which often make you feel one step behind. To stay ahead of the curve, you should stay up to date on the latest customer service trends. This way, you will be able to resolve customer issues faster and avoid long wait times. So, what are the top customer service trends to watch out for in 2023? 

If you are working in the customer service industry, then you know that it is essential to keep up with the latest trends to keep your customers happy. By understanding the latest updates and integrating them into your business processes, you will be able to provide better service to your clients and keep them coming back. Let’s look at some of the top customer service trends that are going to be in play by 2023.

What Is the Future of Customer Service? 

Customer service has been around for a long time, and it is going to continue to be a vital part of the business world in the years to come. Let’s look at the key trends that will shape the future of this area:

1. Increasing Customer Satisfaction 

Customer satisfaction is important. It can have a big impact on company morale. To increase customer satisfaction, you need to focus on four key areas:  

  • Communication. Make sure that your team is well-versed in all the different channels they use to communicate with customers. It includes email, social media, phone calls, and live chat. Make sure that these channels are used effectively and filled with high-quality content so that your customers always have a positive experience when dealing with you. To ensure that your written material is of the highest quality, you can consult the Best Essays Education professionals;
  • Service delivery. If something goes wrong with your customer’s order or experience, make sure that you take care of them as quickly as possible. You should also offer discounts or other incentives in cases where service is delivered quickly and without any problems;
  • Product quality. It means ensuring that your products meet or exceed expectations in terms of quality, performance, and aesthetics. You should also inspect your products regularly for any potential defects so that you can address them immediately;
  • Satisfactoriness. If your customers are happy with what they have bought from you, then they are likely to come back again and again.  

2. Investing in Technology and Analytics to Help Manage Customer Interactions 

Technology can help you automate your processes, track and analyze customer interactions, and optimize your customer experience. Analytics can help you identify patterns and trends in your data so that you can make better decisions about how to serve your customers.

3. Focusing on the Emotional Well-Being of Customers 

Customers today are often hypersensitive to even the slightest hint of unhappiness or dissatisfaction. If you are not catering to their emotional needs, then you are losing a significant part of your potential customer base. Make sure your customer service policies and procedures reflect this by emphasizing emotional support and feedback.

4. Offering Customer Loyalty Rewards Programs 

Today, many customers are more likely to switch back and forth between different brands or providers, depending on the deal that’s available at the time. Make sure you offer customer loyalty rewards programs that keep them coming back to your business.

5. Responding Quickly to Complaints and Issues

Customers today are very quick to complain and issue complaints. Make sure your team is trained to handle customer complaints quickly and efficiently so that you can resolve any issues as soon as possible.

6. Increased Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Technologies 

AI has many advantages when it comes to providing customer service, such as being able to process large amounts of data quickly and accurately. Use AI technology to improve your overall customer experience by automatically detecting issues and suggesting solutions.

7. Supporting Customers Through Digital Channels 

Customers today have a wide range of channels through which they can interact with businesses. They are expecting these channels to be supportive and helpful.

Make sure your team is trained to use all available digital channels to communicate with your clients. Try to respond quickly to any inquiries or complaints they may have.

8. Prioritizing Mobile Customer Service 

More than half of all consumer interactions today take place through digital channels, including mobile devices. Therefore, your team must be ready to provide quality mobile customer service whenever and wherever customers need it most.

9. Implementing Bots to Improve Customer Interactions

Bots are computer programs that interact with people online. They can be used to improve customer interactions by automating simple tasks, such as responding to customer emails or issuing refunds. By using bots in your customer service strategy, you can save time and hassle for both you and your customers.

10. Building Trust with Sincere Data Privacy 

In today’s world, customers are increasingly wary of data privacy. Make sure you take measures to build trust with your customer base by being transparent about how and why you collect data. Doing so will help reassure customers that their information is safe and secure while also helping you improve your overall customer experience.

11. More Virtual Assistants and Video Content

As customer service becomes increasingly digital and automated, customers are looking for more virtual assistants and video content to help them with their interactions. Make sure you invest in technology that can provide this type of support so you can keep your customers happy and loyal.

12. Focus on Voice Biometrics 

Voice biometrics is a technology that uses voice recognition to identify individuals. It has the potential to improve customer experiences by automating tasks such as issuing refunds or responding to customer questions. By using voice biometrics, you can ensure that your customers are always greeted with a genuine and friendly tone.

13. Self-Service and Live Agent Deflection 

To keep customers happy and engaged, it is important to provide them with a self-service option and live agent deflection. Self-service allows customers to interact with your customer service team without the need for human interaction.

It can be especially helpful in cases where automated processes fail or when customers have complex questions. Live agent deflection enables you to redirect customer queries away from living agents and towards self-serve options, which will speed up the process and prevent delays.

Self-service also includes the ability to find the necessary information on your company’s website. It must be clear and concise. Visit writing services such as Trust My Paper for assistance in making your guides look professional.

Conclusion 

By now, you must have understood that customer service is going to be one of the most important things in your business operations. To stay ahead of the competition in your business niche, it is best if you keep track of emerging trends and where customer service stands today.

In 2023, expect a lot more personalized approaches toward improving customer satisfaction levels. Embrace these new trends and turn them into opportunities for growth!

It’s Time to Re-Frame Our Thinking Around Conversational AI

Contributed article by Stuart Dorman, Chief Innovation Officer, Sabio Group

It’s seven years since Amazon launched its Echo smart speaker, introducing us all to Alexa and taking the virtual assistant mainstream.

Since then, Amazon and Google have shipped over a hundred million speakers, and it’s estimated that there are now over 100,000 ‘skills’ available for Amazon’s Echo alone.

They represented the first idea of a computer whose entire interface was based on voice. Up until this point, our primary interactions with computers were controlled by keyboards, mice and eventually touch – with everything fed back to us through graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

They are clever pieces of technology – but the most basic form of computer; a voice browser with microphone and speakers with all intelligence behind it based on the cloud. Although basic, it was an ingenious way to capture data to train the machine learning algorithms to improve the performance of the speech recognition.

On launch, the ambitions of both Amazon and Google’s devices were absolutely huge. Initial visions were of Star Trek-style ‘all seeing, all knowing’ computers. Our very own Personal Assistant’s helping to organise our lives, controlling our homes and giving us access to whatever we wanted.

But in reality, they failed to reach their full potential – instead being used today to predominantly play music, check the weather, or turn on the odd compatible lightbulb…

So, what’s stopping us from using them to engage more widely? And does our experience of home devices impact how brands address the conversational AI opportunity?
The challenge Amazon and Google had was that they underestimated and understated the complex relationships and domain expertise that was required when interacting with brands; brands that were concerned in the likes of utilities, insurance, travel or any other services that the average person/household needs.

It was just too complicated – it’s a bit like calling my bank to book a holiday. The poor person on the other end of the phone wouldn’t have the knowledge or tools to fulfil my request. The idea that a universal voice assistant could run our homes and our lives was just too ambitious…

Instead of complexity, we want our brand engagement to be quick, easy to understand and simple to conduct. If we’re dealing with an insurance firm, for example, we expect any conversational AI solution to understand what it is that we’re trying to achieve and offer a self-service option when it’s the right thing to do.

Any solution should be able to capture why I’m calling, work out whether my request can be addressed through automation, or connect me with an advisor when the task needs a human touch. We engage with a bank on financial matters, or when we have issues with our power or water we turn to a utility. At no point would we expect an insurance company or a telco company to help us sort out our holidays… 

Technology is no longer a barrier for conversational AI  

The good news is that technology no longer needs to be a barrier when it comes to deploying conversational AI. Speech recognition keeps getting stronger and stronger, indeed we’re now at the stage where we can synthesise speech to sound almost indistinguishable from human. And with AI processing power now doubling every ten weeks, the computing power that’s assigned to training neural nets and AI engines is becoming more and more accessible. 

This is driving both performance increases and cost reductions, enabling organisations to broaden out their speech AI capabilities and making it possible for CX teams to capture conversations from voice, video and text – wherever they take place in the customer journey. Capturing all these conversations digitally allows brands to unlock new insights and extract value from the data, particularly in the customer service world where conversational AIs can now be trained to become real experts in their specific fields or sectors. 

Building conversational AI with deep, sector-specific context  

Instead of attempting to be a universal assistant, the goal for conversational AI solutions across customer journeys is for them to become real experts in their own field. Effective use of intent capture and analysis techniques will give your AI precise insight into just why your customers are getting in touch. Speech AI solutions can then be trained in detail, with further content and expertise added as new customer issues and topics are raised. 

This will see conversational AI move beyond the first wave of AI-powered voice and chatbot solutions. These tended to replace somewhat clunky IVR systems, and have generally been highly successful with many succeeding in automating between
30-40% of interactions. However, these solutions have often been standalone leading to silo-ed customer data that has been hard to integrate with other parts of the customer journey. 

Moving towards a second wave of conversational AI  

We expect the second wave of speech AI to be much more far-reaching, embedding natural language understanding and AI and automation capabilities across a broader range of applications. Conversational AI and voice recognition will increasingly be used to support CRM and mobile apps, as well as for contact centre advisor support where the AI can listen to conversations, advise on compliance, recommend relevant knowledge articles and give advisors help where it’s needed.

This kind of real-time guidance, backed up by powerful analytics tools and capabilities such as sentiment analysis will help conversational AI deliver consistent, high-quality experiences across extended customer journeys.

To learn more about conversational AI and how you can transform your customer journeys with Automation and AI, download our AI & Automation ebook.

About Sabio Group 

Sabio Group is a global digital customer experience (CX) transformation specialist with major operations in the UK (England and Scotland), Spain, France, Netherlands, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa and India. 

The Group, which includes ‘makepositive’, delivers solutions and services that seamlessly combine digital and human interactions to support outstanding customer experiences. 

Through its own technology, and that of world-class technology leaders such as Amazon Connect, Avaya, Genesys, Google Cloud, Salesforce, Twilio and Verint, Sabio helps organisations optimise their customer journeys by making better decisions across their multiple contact channels.  

The Group works with major brands worldwide, including Aegon, AXA Assistance, BBVA, BGL, Caixabank, DHL, loveholidays, Marks & Spencer, Rentokil, Essent, GovTech, HomeServe, Saga, Sainsbury’s Argos, Telefónica and Transcom Worldwide.  

Unearthing the Most Important CX Initiatives for 2021 Requires Going Far Beneath the Surface

It’s always been a tried and true topic for seminars and webcasts to divine the most significant changes and new directions in a specific industry. Until now, when someone set out to predict what the major trends might be in the following year, they could often just look at what was being forecast in the previous year and update the syllabus of such educational offerings by integrating any new ideas that may have been introduced in the interim.

Of course, viewed through the prism of the world we are now living in, that notion seems like a quaint anachronism, as irrelevant as the Jetson’s 1960s vision of a future of flying cars that fold into briefcases. The clichés used to describe the current situation in the CX/contact center world are mounting …the world has been turned upside down, the way we do business has changed forever, we are living in a new normal, etc. But however tired we may be of seeing these aphorisms, they reflect an undeniable reality. Organizations of all types must find and implement innovative methods to address customers’ momentous needs today to build enduring relationships in the era when Covid-19 is just a jarring memory.

Simply stated, the pandemic has triggered a re-evaluation of the meaning and purpose of customer care. Over the past few months, the emphasis on complex examinations of customer journeys and satisfaction metrics have been supplanted by a focus on the gravity of ensuring that consumers can get the information they need when they need it. Consequently, businesses are now changing the way they will measure and deliver the customer experience in 2021. The sudden transition calls for a new perspective that extends beyond familiar metrics, existing processes, and technology silos.

With the disruption in the workforce due to the lockdowns and furloughs, can businesses be counted on to provide service which makes empathy, understanding and concern integral elements of every interaction? Can CX leaders rapidly reposition themselves to react to the likely long-term alterations in consumer behavior that will undoubtedly come about from this crisis? The challenge is to pivot, innovate and transform operations in a way that enables organizations to not only stand out from the competition, but create new standards of service that truly address the evolving needs of the customer.

In this environment, any educational program that attempts to identify the most critical developments in the next year of the customer experience universe must take a totally fresh approach. On Tuesday, August 11th at 1:00 PM ET, CrmXchange offers a complimentary Best Practices Roundtable discussion that will provide an in-depth examination of the elements that have now become front and center in importance. “CX Megatrends to Watch in 2021” will be presented jointly by experts from two solution providers with demonstrated expertise in revamping contact center operations. Steve Chirokas, Director, Product and Channel Marketing, CallMiner, and Laura Bassett, Senior Director, Product Marketing, NICE inContact, will team up and tap their extensive backgrounds in providing guidance and strategic direction to industry leaders.

The topics to be discussed include:

  • Why Work-from-Home affects the customers’ perception of a brand and the ways that getting it right can positively influence loyalty
  • How to manage remote workers for increases in productivity and enhanced CX
  • In what ways can customer insight, using emotional metrics combined with AI agility, aid agents in taking the next best compelling action
  • How to build momentum toward in-the-moment voice of your customer insight and ensure that responses make for dynamic personalization
  • How to recognize and prioritize digital strategy
  • Specific reasons why moving to the cloud decreases uncertainty during a pandemic

Register now for this enlightening roundtable discussion that will give you updated guidance on what lies ahead. If you can’t attend the live presentation, a link to the recorded webcast will be provided 24 hours after it has been completed.

How Can Businesses Ensure They’ll Reach Customers When So Many Don’t Answer Their Phones?

It happens to nearly all of us every single day: the mobile phone buzzes and we encounter an   unrecognized number and simply don’t answer. It could be an 800 number, an out-of-state exchange or a spoofed number that seems recognizable but is often just one that has been created to seem as though it’s local.

Phone scams are far from a new phenomenon. They have plagued landline customers for years. But with the increase in smartphones, just about everybody has their device on them just about all the time — creating a plethora of opportunities for fraudsters to attempt to con them with false claims, bogus pleas for help, phony free vacations, and frightening assertions that the recipient is about to have their social security account cut off or is facing imminent arrest.

It’s widely assumed that it is exclusively the elderly who fall for these ploys. But these scams are growing more and more elaborate, and nearly anyone can be victimized. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s recent annual data summary of consumer complaints, 40% of Americans in their 20s reported frauds that cost them money, while 18% of fraud victims aged 70 or older reported they’d been fleeced our funds by a scam.

Another growing issue is the preponderance of robocalls. Over the past several years, the rise of these frustrating recorded pitches has been the focus of lawmakers and consumers alike. In 2017, the Federal Communications Commission prioritized their initiative to stem the spread of illegal robocalls, adopting a new set of rules designed to protect consumers from unwanted robocalls, allowing phone companies to proactively block calls that are likely fraudulent because they originate from certain types of phone numbers. But even with these updated regulations, robocalls continue to be a major problem. It is simply too easy and inexpensive for rogue overseas companies to use them as a tool to get their foot in the door without fear of prosecution.

With all of this going on, is it any wonder that more consumers than ever seldom swipe their mobile phones to answer? A 2019 Zipwhip survey and report (n=520 U.S. adults) found that 87% of respondents said they ignore phone calls from unknown numbers “often” or “very often.” However, this burgeoning rate of call avoidance can be a double-edged sword for consumers and legitimate businesses alike.

In this environment, people often ignore important calls for reasons such as confirming deliveries or medical appointments, miss out on receiving critical information from financial institutions, or learning about legitimate offers from companies with which they already have a relationship.

The problem has only grown worse since the onset of the pandemic. An April 2020 survey of 1000 U.S. mobile phone users by communications transparency provider First Orion revealed that 75% of people said they’d missed an urgent call; nearly a third of those reported they’re missing more important calls now than before the crisis. Eighty five percent tried to return crucial missed calls, only to find it challenging to get someone on the line. First Orion also found that 5% gave up altogether and went to the physical location to resolve their problem – ultimately putting them at a greater risk of contracting the virus.

Is there a way for businesses to verify their identity on each call and allow consumers to be confident that it is a legitimate communication? Learn about an elegantly simple solution in a complimentary webinar on CrmXchange. On Thursday, July 9 at 2:00 pm ET, First Orion will present The Empowered Caller – How to Build Contact Center Success with Call Enhancement, Matt Rateliff, VP of Sales Enablement for First Orion will host the webcast, accompanied by Chris Lindsey, Division VP, Marketing Information Systems, Globe Life Direct to Consumer. It will examine the real-world benefits experienced by Globe Life in using the Call Enhancement solution to make it clear there’s a trusted business on the other end of the line. Among the topics to be explored are:

  • How branding outgoing calls with the company’s business name and logo can increase answer rates and sales
  • How to build customer loyalty and trust with enhanced calls
  • How call enhancement helps call center agents complete more actions and drive revenue

Find out how easy it is to set up call centers for success from the moment the call is made. Register now: if you cannot attend the live webcast, a link will be sent to all registrants 24 hours after it is completed.

Meeting the New Challenges of Employee Training, Coaching and Engagement

Since the contact center agent is the face and voice that often defines a company in the eyes of existing and potential customers, workforce recruiting must focus on identifying vital traits, skills, and abilities in individuals. But even when those who meet the highest qualifications are put in place, they must be trained, continuously coached, and kept actively engaged to be successful.

Companies which can recruit and retain qualified and motivated front-line personnel are positioned to operate more efficiently while building customer loyalty. According to a McKinsey report, “Failure to keep talented employees can have significant repercussions… attrition can erode customer satisfaction while increasing operating costs. Each new agent hire is estimated to cost the contact center $10,000 to $20,000 in training, direct recruiting costs, and lost productivity during ramp up.”

Taking every step to keep top performers onboard is now more critical than ever. Although many consumers have become comfortable with online self-service tools, once they decide to call into the contact center the issues are almost always more complicated to resolve. Since people are already frustrated at being unable to find answers on other channels, they are on edge from the moment when an agent picks up the call.

This dilemma has only grown more acute during a crisis in which many customers are already panicked. According to a recent blog on CrmXchange by Uniphore, 60% of consumers said they were given different or conflicting information on current conditions from the news, leaving more questions than answers. Adding more fuel to the fire is that customers are often faced with longer wait times as companies adapt to a new wave of work-at-home agents. Nearly 40% who were put on hold with a company after calling about crisis-related issues stated that they were annoyed or frustrated.

Further McKinsey research suggests a need for companies to take a proactive stance when interacting with their contact-center employees by focusing on engagement and finding ways to increase their comfort and happiness wherever they are working. They found a startling difference in outcomes. Engaged and satisfied call-center employees are:

  • 8.5x more likely to stay than leave within a year
  • 4x more likely to stay than dissatisfied colleagues
  • 16x more likely to refer friends to their company
  • 3.3x more likely to feel extremely empowered to resolve customer issues

So how does a company ensure that these valuable assets are happier and more productive? Actions in three areas can have a major impact– targeted coaching, employment of updated training techniques and applying proven strategies to enhance employee engagement —and they are available for all contact centers to take.

A focused educational alternative now makes it possible for a business’s entire workforce planning team to benefit from the latest innovative thinking without ever having to take so much as a step away from their home offices.

CrmXchange is presenting a premier online virtual conference: Techniques for Training, Coaching and Employee Engagement, to be held from June 15-19. The event is being produced in conjunction with the Quality Assurance and Training Connection, (QATC), a membership association created specifically for quality assurance and training professionals in the contact center environment.

The web conference is structured to benefit contact center leaders at all levels – supervisors, managers, directors, and VPS. The fully interactive event enables attendees to meet with industry experts and colleagues who will answer questions in real time while providing updated strategies and techniques. The schedule is designed to provide direction to meet the changing needs of businesses transitioning to a greater percentage of work-at-home agents but will also provide guidance for companies still maintaining on-premise employees.

Among the topics to be covered in-depth are:

  • Learning how to work in a remote world
  • Best methods for coaching and training remote and on-premise agents
  • How to optimize agent performance in the new reality
  • Developing an effective instructor competency program

The event will kick off on Monday, June 15 with a focused keynote address entitled “Do Better Work – Finding Clarity and Camaraderie in a Remote World.” It will be presented by Max Yoder, CEO and Co-Founder, Lessonly who will offer stories of the best ways for businesses to navigate the path to working from home, providing specific examples of how to foster understanding, accountability, and progress from disparate teams.

Other areas to be explored in this targeted, complimentary virtual conference include:

  • How to Foster Agent Engagement and Human Connection Through Coaching Your Remote Contact Center Team in a Post-Pandemic World
  • Nurturing Employees to Become Ambassadors and High Performers
  • Agent Coaching and Engagement for Remote Service Excellence
  • Creating a Solid Gamification Strategy to Engage Employees Near and Far

In addition to the educational sessions, attendees can visit the booths of leading suppliers in the online exhibit hall. They can then download white papers, videos, product data sheets and other vital content from leading solution providers and organizations such as CallMiner, NICE inContact, Calabrio, NICE, Lessonly, C3 Software and Sharpen.

Register now at no cost for the complete four-day event: there is no limit on how many people a company can sign up. For those who cannot attend the live presentations or have the time to visit the exhibits during the event, links to all sessions and the exhibit hall will remain open for one full week after the event is completed.

2020 Customer Support Predictions

2020 Customer Support Predictions from UJET’s Anand Janefalkar, Founder and CEO, UJET

  1. Messaging Will Surpass Voice – “While voice will always remain an important channel for support, especially for urgent issues, in 2020, we will see messaging (SMS and chat) overtake voice as the most critical support channel. Woe to customer service organizations that cannot provide an omnichannel support experience that includes messaging, as this will most surely equal the success or demise of the overall customer experience (CX).”
  2. Multichannel Will Expand to Multimedia – “In 2020, expect to see customer service organizations turn their attention to optimizing each support pathway to meet the tech-savvy needs of many of their customers. Chief among enhanced capabilities will be multimedia. The ability to share screenshots, photos and even video between the customer and support professional will become commonplace during support interactions.”
  3. Data Will Break Down Silos Between Customer Support and Other Teams – “In 2020, the ‘digital transformation’ conversation that has become commonplace across IT, will extend into the customer service center. We will begin to see the impact and value of support data being shared across the enterprise. Customer feedback, sentiment, profile data and more will be securely shared across organizations helping teams such as marketing, sales and product development to make more strategic decisions. And as a result, the importance and value of customer support will be elevated as a whole.”
  4. Agent Specialization Will Be A Key Focus  – “In 2020, as the presence of technologies such as AI and Machine Learning within the contact center continue to grow, and more customers are directed towards bots and self-service options, support agents will become hyper-specialized. Agent specialization will not only be geared towards channels, but also centered around specific issues, situations and the urgency of incoming support interactions.”
  5. AI Will Improve the Customer Support Employee Experience (EX), as well as the Customer Experience (CX) – “In 2020, AI will dramatically improve the employee experience (EX). The ability to automatically and instantly collect data from across multiple channels, analyze it and provide actionable insight will enable support agents to more quickly, easily and accurately address customer inquiries and come to highly satisfactory issue resolution.”

What New Paths Will Companies Take to Shape the Customer Journey in the Years to Come?

As the time-honored adage puts it, ‘a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step.’ These days, the journey a customer takes when engaging with a company may be far more geographically limited but usually starts with a lot more steps. The ever-evolving customer journey incorporates varying interactions and experiences that take place on different touchpoints: a website visit for research, a call with a sales rep or chat with an agent, a conversation on social media or online review site, an inbound call, and even an in-store retail encounter.

It has become more important than ever for a business to take advantage of every possible resource to understand its customers: their wants, needs, and expectations, their thoughts and opinions and feedback and expectations. Building this knowledge will enable companies to deliver the highly personalized customer experiences that are becoming more crucial all the time in an increasingly competitive marketplace where consumers are offered a constantly growing array of options.

Given access to vast resources of data and technology, the customer journey today has morphed dramatically from where it was even five or ten years ago. And every company’s success depends upon combining the right technologies with the agility needed to effectively manage all the interactions that take place on every channel along the way.

Gazing into the future, which often-predicted developments will come to pass? Will the migration to the cloud finally encompass all businesses and make service more responsive? Will messaging ultimately surpass voice as the communication channel that is most compelling for businesses and consumers alike? Will digital transformation extend its reach deeper into the contact center environment to better leverage profile data, more closely examine customer feedback, and measure sentiment? Will customers expect greater availability of agent support that involves the use of screenshots, photos and video? And how will the growing use of AI-powered solutions progress, both in terms of those that provide more effective self-service options and those that support the development of more highly specialized agents?

Of course, no one can foresee every possible path the customer journey will take in the coming years, but CX and contact center executives and managers have an opportunity to get a cogent vision of many of the most important changes in an upcoming complimentary roundtable webcast on CrmXchange. On Thursday, December 5, at 1:00PM ET, NICE Nexidia and RingCentral will team up to explore “Smooth Customer Journey- Predictions for 2020 and Beyond.

Ken Brisco, Senior Product Marketing Manager, NICE Nexidia, who is responsible for establishing the scope and message as well as the competitive advantages of NICE’s Customer Journey Optimization Solutions within the CX space will be joined by RingCentral’s John Finch, AVP PMM, Customer Engagement, an executive with an extensive background in developing strategy for global customer engagement. Among the topics they will cover are:

  • How AI-driven analytics can boost customer loyalty and retention
  • The importance of measuring quality across all channels
  • In what ways bots are best able to collaborate with humans
  • How macro to micro-level journey analysis drives deeper insights into customer engagement

Register now for this insightful look into which near-future developments may change the way your organization helps to orchestrate the customer experience. If you are unable to attend on December 5, you can access the recorded version approximately 24 hours after the live presentation.

 

Melding AI and Virtual Assistants with Humans: The Right Formula for a Superior Customer Experience

By now, just about all of us have encountered an automated system when reaching out to a contact center. According to research cited in a 2017 IBM Watson blog, by 2020, 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent. Sometimes, such systems work flawlessly: the bot or virtual assistant (VA) understands customers responses easily and the conversation progresses smoothly as they either get the information they expected or complete the process they hoped to finish. In some cases, customers may not even be sure they are interacting with an automated entity.

But while AI continues to provide increasingly beneficial results in the contact center environment and to grow in its capabilities to emulate human behavior, it is not yet the be-all, end-all technology that can resolve every issue. In some instances, the AI system simply can’t process the information that customers supply, leaving them ensnared in a loop of repetitive responses….and the resultant frustration can have immediate and serious consequences. NICE inContact’s 2018 CX Transformation Benchmark, revealed that only 33% of consumers found that chatbots and VAs consistently made it easier to get their issues resolved.

This is precisely why it’s critical to ensure that empathetic human intervention is readily available.

When the human touch is needed, it must be prompt, proactive, professional and above all, responsive to the customer’s needs. While many contact centers are increasing their reliance on AI solutions to reduce headcount and deliver rapid ROI on their technology expenditure, they are also learning that not having enough caring flesh-and-blood agents ready to complement their electronic counterparts can result in diminished loyalty and customer churn. Establishing the right balance between an effective, continuously updated AI program and humans who can seamlessly step in at just the right moment is a necessity in an environment where customer satisfaction has become the most significant business differentiator.

Having the capacity to train an AI system to determine the exact point in a conversation on any touch point where the customer needs to be handed off to a live agent is the most important factor in the process. Analytics plays a key role: data gathered within each individual interaction can provide a treasure trove of relevant information enabling managers to better understand what sets a customer on edge, what makes them feel more comfortable in a conversation that is not going well and what can ultimately drive them to take their business elsewhere. Having the right intelligence readily available also enables management to also pinpoint necessary adjustments in policy, procedure or verbiage.

Of course, as AI increases in intelligence through machine learning, it can also provide additional value-added suggestions such as which department is best equipped to assist customers based on analysis of their specific needs. Leading-edge AI solutions can pair such customers with an individual agent with the right skill set to guide them to successful resolution of their issue.

Companies investigating either implementing or upgrading an AI customer service solution need to develop a strategy that offers optimal potential to enhance customer relationships and improve the quality of interactions on all touch points. In addition, they must explore ways to strengthen collaboration between self-service entities and live agents.

On Thursday, October 3rd at 1:00 PM ET, CrmXchange will present a Best Practices Roundtable on Seamless Customer Experience: Combining AI VA with Live Agents, featuring experts from leading solution providers NICE inContact and Verint. Among the topics discussed will be:

  • Current AI adoption trends: how to get the most of early AI investments
  • How is AI impacting customer service today and what’s ahead in the future?
  • Where AI can add the greatest benefits
  • How to define and implement the right mix of automation and human touch—without damaging consumer trust and undermining relationships in the process of digitization.

This informative roundtable webcast is complimentary and those unable to attend it live can download it approximately 24 hours after it is completed. Register now

How Will Contact Center Channels Change in 2019?

Customer-centric businesses are working harder than ever to support all of the channels that their customers want to use. That’s why 84% of companies who consider themselves to be customer-centric have a heavy focus on supporting mobile channels for a greater customer experience. COPC reported that mobile care increases by 41% in 2018 alone.

The results from the 2018-2019 ContactBabel Report, as shown, illustrate that as mobile becomes more widely used by end users, channels like email, telephone, letter, and fax are expected to decrease in interactions. The channel with the largest expected increase in interactions for 2019 is web chat, with 56% of survey respondents believing there will be an increase. Social media customer service and SMS followed with 46% and 36% expecting an increase in interactions.

Both the need to retain strong CX strategies around traditional channels like email, voice, and IVR, and the need to add new channels has companies wondering how to create and run a true omnichannel contact center that empowers agents and delights customers. The ContactBabel Omnichannel Report walks though more stats from their survey, which could help you in your omnichannel journey.

With traditional channels like voice, email, and chat, as well as channels like SMS/text, video, in-app, social messengers, and bots, Bright Pattern is the only true omnichannel provider that can be turned on in just days!

4 Contact Center Technology Trends to Pay Attention To

Knowing the tech trends that have been overtaking the market is different from actually making moves to adopt those trends. Don’t be like so many other contact centers out there that lag behind when it comes to customer expectations and contact center trends. Instead, stay on top of the newest technologies and solutions to improve the customer experience now and in the future.

Here are 4 contact center trends to know now and as you move into the new year.

  1. Migration to the cloud.

The cloud itself isn’t a new technology, but more and more contact centers are realizing the importance of migrating their system to the cloud. If you stick with your on-premise contact center system, you’ll limit your ability to manage several locations and to add more communication channels.

  1. Full adoption of omnichannel.

Just like with the cloud, omnichannel isn’t exactly a new idea, but now contact centers are actually taking the steps to make it a reality (instead of just educating themselves about its benefits). The silos that exist between billing, customer service and support have to be broken down, as do the separations between your assisted service and self-service channels. Slowly rolling out omnichannel solutions only keeps data siloed (and customers annoyed) for longer; instead, find the right technology that will let you marry all of your channels at the same time.

  1. Smarter IVR solutions.

IVR is one of those technologies that’s always seeing new innovations and improvements. These include:

  • Better personalization based on context to resolve more issues within the IVR
  • Identifying customers from caller ID to reduce the number of necessary identification steps
  • Speech recognition to determine level of stress beyond curse word cues
  1. Better testing methods for chat bots.

Chat bots are now being used by contact centers for first line interactions, which means you also need more advanced ways of measuring outcomes. A/B testing, which has traditionally been used just with digital marketing, is now used to optimize chat bots so they can continue to offer more advanced support.

By combining a willingness to be adaptable with a culture of constant improvement, your contact center can continue to keep up with technology changes, now and in the future. You’ll also set yourself up as a strong competitor in the industry while retaining both your workforce and your customer base.