This is part II of our Customer 2020 two-part series. Text has been previously published by SOCAP.
By Lauren Kindzierski, VP of Solutions & Capabilities at HGS
Our Customer Experience 2020 series aims to highlight digital disruption that has brought our CX industry to a tipping point. In part I of this blog series, we covered the changes and trends that have affected the service industry. With this final analysis of this series, we showcase those trends that will help move our organizations into the age of digital transformation.
- Reorganizing teams to optimize and integrate digital touchpoints: Right now, the formal process of digital transformation is still in its early beginnings. With the explosion of digital, organizations are in the process of realigning themselves, which affects the roles and objectives of marketing, PR, sales, social media, website development, mobile, as well as customer service. These siloed teams must come together and work in synergy in order to undergo a successful digital transformation. In addition, brands will be making additional investments in technology, people, and new business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint throughout the customer journey. Some of these investments will include data analytics to learn about their digital customers’ behaviors, preferences, emotions and expectations so that they can better service them. Other investments will include outsourced partnerships with BPOs that have the people, process, and technology needed to service their digital customers and who charge on an outcome basis, or per conversation. One of the biggest benefits to this variable pricing model is no heavy upfront capital investments are needed for technology and tools that may become outdated in a few years. Once these investments are made, expect the Customer Experience of 2020 to be effortless and personalized.
- Get ready, the bots are coming: By now you have probably heard the term “chatbot” short for “chat robot.” They have suddenly become the hottest thing in tech. A chatbot is a computer program that simulates human conversation, or chat, through artificial intelligence. These chatbots will be able to respond to a customer with structured messages that include text, images, links, and call to action buttons. The bots allow a customer to make a reservation, pay a bill, find the nearest store, review an e-commerce order, and more, all without having to interact with a human. They unlock the ability to provide personalized, conversational communication similar to talking to a human customer service or sales rep, but at a scale far less expensive than a traditional call center.
- Creating Contextual Knowledge Bases for Personalization & Prediction: Customer engagement is fueled by customer data. Understanding what customers have done, what channels they’ve used, what products they’ve purchased, and what service interactions they’ve had, are all important data sources that can be used to build predictive models for issue resolution. As companies gain a deeper understanding of customers through research and predictive analytics, they will use that information to develop more individualized customer experiences. Delivering the Customer Experience of 2020 will require more than a knowledge base. Instead, it will leverage a contextual knowledge base that can be used by both agents and customers, which will predict the right answer based on that particular customer’s data, situation, location, and needs. The end result is faster responses, increased issue resolution, reduced customer effort, and happier customers.
- Customer Intelligence: The Customer Experience 2020 will include real-time dashboards for service professionals to keep a pulse on the voice of the customer. This single dashboard will capture all relevant data points in real-time and use text analytics to decode what’s being said and the sentiment towards each topic through channels such as: phone call transcripts (voice-to-text), social media conversations, product rating and reviews, chat logs, idea portals, and customer online community discussions. This customer intelligence will help customer care centers identify a PR crisis waiting to happen, capture new ideas, and uncover quality or warranty issues, spot trends, fix problems, and most importantly personalize the engagement with a customer.
- Anticipatory Customer Service – Proactive Text & Mobile Communication: Historically, customer service has always been viewed as being very reactive to customer needs. For example, if the customer has a problem, they have to call customer service. Rarely is it the other way around where customer service proactively reaches out to the customer. Micah Solomon, the author of High-tech, High touch Customer Service describes the concept of “anticipatory customer service” where companies predict customer needs and proactively address them, even before the customer realizes that they have a need. Anticipating a customer’s needs gives companies an opportunity to provide a WOW experience or fix a problem before it amplifies. The Customer Experience 2020 will have more proactive SMS alerts and mobile app push notifications to customers in situations such as credit card expiration, fraud alerts, order status updates, unusual bill charges, or subscriptions due to expire.
- Strategic Self Service: The mobile revolution has consumers placing high demands on customer service to evolve their support models so they can resolve their issues on the go, via their mobile or tablet device, and in between text messages. The trend towards self-service is growing significantly, especially due to the cost savings benefits to be experienced. There are many different forms of self-service including FAQs on a website, how to videos, peer-to-peer communities, idea portals, top tip guides, and more. The goal is to resolve issues quickly without having to go through the hassle of picking up a phone to speak to an agent. However, it’s not enough to just have these self-service channels available to customers. The 2020 Customer Experience will take a “strategic self-service” approach. For example, organizations will know and understand what the current issue resolution rate is on the help center. Brands will leverage interaction analytics to understand the top contact drivers and top searched for questions by customer location. Lastly, self-service will become much more than a simple FAQ page, instead they will become dynamic help centers that present the best channel for resolution to customers based on the questions being asked.
With technology emerging and changing so fast, organizations have no choice but to innovate and transform, or else risk becoming obsolete. Digital transformation represents the next big thing in the customer service industry. Those companies that embrace it early on, and make investments in it will hold a significant competitive advantage over those that figure it out later.