This week we feature an article from Josh Snider, Product Marketing Manager at Khoros. He explains how and why expanding customer care operations to include online chat and brand communities can elevate both self-service and customer care. “Hi, how can I help you?” That little chat box in the bottom right corner of the screen […]
This week we feature an article from Josh Snider, Product Marketing Manager at Khoros. He explains how and why expanding customer care operations to include online chat and brand communities can elevate both self-service and customer care.
“Hi, how can I help you?” That little chat box in the bottom right corner of the screen promises to answer every customer question — but will it? The emergence of digital care has introduced a new category of challenges to brands: volume spikes on a wide variety of channels, public shaming on social, and perhaps intimidating to brands, the consumers’ I want it now attitude. Meeting customer expectations for “now” can seem impossible without the proper tools.
From iPhones to Wikipedia to Amazon, we as consumers have the world at our fingertips. According to PWC, “Nearly 80% of American consumers say that speed, [and] convenience…are the most important elements of a positive customer experience.” In fact, customers are willing to spend up to 10x more money on a brand that consistently responds quickly (HBR).
But while speed is intuitive, convenience means something different for different consumers. This is why offering asynchronous chat has become a non-negotiable for brands. Consumers want the ability to engage when and how they choose. If they have the time to chat in real-time they will, but if they have to take a 10-minute break and come back to the conversation, they expect that option as well. Even if they’re taking intermittent breaks from the conversation, consumers often expect immediate responses when they return.
The diversity of digital channels that consumers are using adds another layer of complexity. Brands struggle to deliver “now” on multiple channels. It’s no secret that 800 numbers are waning in popularity. The notion of a phone call for support immediately conjures thoughts of waiting on hold, being transferred to different agents, potential disconnection, and simply the inconvenience of being tied to a session-based experience. So, consumers are flocking to digital and interacting via email, SMS text, web chat, or review sites. With so many options, brands must treat all digital channels with the same priorities: speed and convenience.
Poor response times and communication can lead to low loyalty, bad CSAT ratings, and low average order value. Additionally, a consumer who doesn’t receive the response they want may spam multiple channels until they receive an answer, creating duplicate conversations that increase the brand’s operational costs and decrease internal efficiencies. But a fast response isn’t always the right response. Implementing a chatbot to assist with fast response time can lead to pitfalls if not properly configured. Check out this example from AT&T, where a customer’s internet went out and the brand responded with a funny gif and a “you’re welcome” type sentiment. While AT&T’s automated response for “thank you’s” is not a terrible idea, the bot’s intent detection clearly couldn’t account for irritated sarcasm.
With all of these nuances, achieving high customer satisfaction on digital channels can seem daunting. That’s where Khoros comes in. Our solution is a unified engagement manager spanning all digital channels, with simplified workflows. Brands can deliver high-quality experiences and cutting edge service regardless of channel. Plus, with an integrated tool, bot automation shouldn’t be shied away from. In fact, it makes it possible to manage conversation volume spikes at scale. According to a Khoros study, 53% of customers don’t have a preference between human or bot interaction, as long as they receive the answers that they need1. When a brand’s customers are willing to engage in efficient self-service and bot conversations, hiring additional support agents is an unnecessary additional cost. Lastly, brands can leverage their most engaged customers — industry experts, employees, and superfans — to create quality, self-service content in brand-owned, digital support communities. Consumers are able to quickly find answers in FAQ posts, review threads, or “how-to” pages, thereby deflecting calls and chat inquiries.
To put it simply, the importance of digital customer service is rising faster than ever, and consumer expectation for “now” is at an all-time high. Fast, high-quality service is the weathervane of overall customer experience, and CX professionals need the right channels, tools, and AI to keep those winds blowing in the right direction. For consumers that demand excellence, and brands that crave efficient tools — it’s now, or never.
1Khoros conducted a survey of 1,108 US-based consumers who had interacted with a brand in the last year.
Josh Snider is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at Khoros. He specializes in how brands can use messaging channels and AI-powered chatbots to deliver world-class customer experiences. Prior to Khoros, Josh built sales automation tools for LivePerson and led public relations for 3D printing company MakerBot.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes article: Don’t Blame The Bot, Blame The Brand
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