This week we feature an article by Tim Houlne who writes about the importance of integrating technology into your business to provide the optimum customer experience. – Shep Hyken
It’s that time of year again. Time to start planning for your 2019 customer experience initiatives. Given the current state of technology, your strategic goals must now go beyond improving metrics. Customer Experience will be the primary focus for successful operations in 2019 but is that “unwavering commitment to better CX” controlled by smaller metrics that don’t have a big effect on the experience as a whole? How committed are you to creating a better experience for consumers if your strategic goals aren’t truly strategic?
The proliferation of AI and automation into our work and personal lives means that the nature of work is changing. This rings especially true in the contact center, where many of the simpler, repetitive tasks are still performed by humans. We see numerous instances of contact center operators focusing more on improving the tactical side of operations like reducing average handle time or getting more surveys filled out while ignoring the more strategic goal of improving efficiency and eliminating the redundant. It’d be like getting on an airline that’s committed to a great in-flight experience, but the pilot’s messages can only be 30 seconds in length, flight attendant interactions are limited, and you have a brief survey at the end asking how your peanuts were. Would you consider that a great customer experience? Would you believe they actually cared about how the experience was? Would you ever use that airline again?
Let’s say that you find that although each support interaction is handled by a human, the wait times for the customers are higher than they should be, which is negatively affecting your retention rates. You also find that a large percentage of interactions deal with simple copy and pastes from your knowledge base. The frustration of the delay outweighs the benefit of the human touch in this instance.
By deploying an intelligent virtual assistant in this scenario, these simple transactions can be automated by processing each inquiry and delivering the correct responses in the same time it would take an agent to search your knowledge base. This would eliminate the labor costs of Tier 1 agents while also improving the overall experience, as customers would now be receiving the attention they need in a timely manner. However, automation will not be able to handle every interaction, which is why human agents will still be needed for escalations. These agents will be more skilled and will function more as account managers than reps. The human component doesn’t disappear, but changes to accommodate the more complex interactions. Empathy will be crucial in these scenarios, and while this means that the agent handle times might go up since the interactions are more complex, the satisfaction, retention, and revenue metrics will increase dramatically as the higher touch service will happen when it’s needed most.
Technology is on your side. It’s a crucial part of the contact center and the longer you wait to deploy it the further behind your competition you fall. The old way of thinking about customer engagement is no longer satisfactory in a marketplace where customers demand instant gratification. The possibilities are limitless once you understand the best places in the customer lifecycle to deploy technology and change how you think about customer experience. By blending humans and machines, you can strive to reduce labor, increase revenue and overall customer experience, and control the market share in your industry.
To read the full Guide to CX Success, please click here.
Tim Houlne is the CEO of Humach, as well as a seasoned entrepreneur and former FORTUNE 500 leader. His vision at Humach is to help companies engage, acquire, and support customers by combining the creativity of humans with the computational power of machines. You can learn more about them here and you cant connect with Tim here.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Representative … Representative … Representative!