In my last article on virtual assistants and bots improving CSAT by cutting down on boredom (https://www.blueworx.com/do-you-hate-waiting-in-line/ ), one thing I didn’t address was how to add automation to the contact center without it being perceived as just an extension of the IVR. Because, let’s face it, most people don’t like IVR, and few of them understand that without IVR, product costs would increase. So, how do you use chatbots and virtual assistants without adding to the frustration of the customer?
With the increase in technology making competition for customers more fierce than ever, banks have a huge incentive to improve their customer experience. But just how important is the customers experience to a bank’s bottom line?
According to Forrester Research, the overall monetary impact of customer experience (CX) on a business, defined by how customers perceive their interaction with your company, is measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Poor customer experiences are a huge source of wasted money for businesses, which can be quantified in terms of tens of millions of dollars for a typical financial company. Combined with spikes in dissatisfaction due to the changing structure of banking fees, failure to implement and modify top-notch customer service solutions will have devastating consequences. In fact, among all businesses, banks have the highest correlation between customer experience and the likelihood of switching businesses.
Customer expectations when it comes to convenience is higher than ever. Without having to look up from your screen or even leave the house, life is happening right at your fingertips. Swipe here, touch there, within seconds groceries can be delivered, appointments can be scheduled, and reservations can be made. Convenience has been raised to an art form and more and more consumers are becoming accustomed to a smooth customer experience.
We all know that big banks have cashed in on technology. Customers can make deposits from their phones and get real time information round the clock. But what about credit unions? How can they maintain their traditional business models that emphasize community focus and still meet the growing needs of today’s member?
No longer is the phrase “customer service” being used, or even challenged. Instead, consumers everywhere have upped their game and demanded something even better – a “customer experience”. What does that even mean? Well, it’s like customer service but on a mai-tai-sipping-tropical vacation. Substantiated by research and behaviors, companies are giving these vacation-loving consumers exactly what they’re asking for. Out with the old, in with the new. But what exactly is the difference between customer service and customer experience? Let’s take a look.
Artificial intelligence, also known as AI, is woven throughout the economy. It’s used to provide investment advice, test vehicle autopilot systems, and to create the can’t-live-without virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri. AI is also being used to predict future sales. The potential of AI to increase economic growth is being explored all over the world.
The heaviest advances in AI are stemming from a data-intensive technique known as machine learning. With machine learning, a ton of data is required to test, create, and train the AI… so as AI is becoming more important, so is data. Needing data about customers as well as the ability to program AI to analyze that data have become some of the most important tools businesses use to compete against each other. But what happens if a business lacks access to good data? How much control over data is there? If access to data is too complex and difficult, business may not enter the arena, there may no longer be competitive pressure, and ultimately innovation could suffer.
By now you have heard the hype about IBM’s Watson and its platform for artificial intelligence integration into a variety of business applications. You have also likely heard the commotion from Facebook about chatbots and the many ways to capitalize on these bot companies. Revamping voice as a new user interface, Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Echo have both brought intelligence into everyday life bringing a new family member into many households.
With the explosion of artificial intelligence, we have really only begun to see the beginning of it’s capabilities and one specific area AI can make more than a spark of a difference is in customer experience.
We write a lot about customer service but we think it’s pretty essential to the success of any business and we also know that companies not meeting these ever so changing customer demands will be left out to shrivel up and die a slow and painful death. Ok maybe not that bad, but you get the point. We have tried to instill the value of actively listening to customers across a range of platforms, implementing lightning speed responses, and providing agents with the super human resources they need to succeed. But among all of these uber important survival skills, we have yet to discuss two crucial elements of customer experience: effort and emotion.
Effort and emotion is an almighty and powerful duo – think Batman and Robin. Both have the power to make or break the customer experience and yet it’s rarely brought up…until now. It’s time to expose the ways we engage with customers and maintain longevity in these relationships.
The Millennial generation is the largest in US history and they’re already having a considerable impact on the economy. A strong brand for your company isn’t enough to be successful any longer. With product information, reviews and price comparisons all available via a device that goes with them everywhere, Millennials are making choices that can offer maximum convenience at the lowest cost.
So it’s more important than ever to be sure that your customer service practices and customer experience design are ready to serve these young clients the way they want to be served. The time to get this right is now.
Think about the last time you walked into a store and felt welcomed, like they were excited that you were there. The sales person wanted to help you and worked to understand your needs to assist you in your shopping journey. What about the last time you had a dinner party? Did you just know that your guests felt welcomed and enjoyed being with you? These moments are what you call a “personal experience.” How can businesses translate these personal kinds of feelings into a process which creates a customer experience that is memorable?
Imagine this for a moment. You call into your local bank or financial institution outfitted with an interactive voice response application that is set up to quickly and properly direct your call. This scenario could possibly go in a couple of directions – good or bad.
Your call flow then offers what seems to be a list of generic options – none of which are really what you are looking for. You repeat the menu again, only to be frustrated when nothing matches what you are calling about. The next and seemingly only option left is to just press zero, hoping to get to a live agent. This process translates to lost opportunity and lost money, not to mention an unhappy customer and agent.
What if that experience could be significantly different – even enjoyable? Imagine you call into your bank and are greeted in a more natural conversational manner. You hear something like “Thank you for calling. Please tell me how I can help you today. Say: check account balances, verify deposits, speak to a banker, or something else.” You are able to talk in a more natural fluid manner to ask for what you need – and most likely you’ll get somewhere. As always, you can opt out for an agent, but you are more likely to hang on the line and be routed properly.
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