AI Makes It Possible (Blog Series)

Access the On-Demand Webinar Playback of  “How AI-Enabled Super-Agents Improve CX” with Kate Legget, Vice President and Principal Analyst Service Application Development and Delivery, Forrester Research, with Steve Nattress, Director, R&D and Jacki Tessmer, Vice President – Product Marketing, Enghouse Interactive.

Blog #1 of 3: The Customer Experience.

Remember: A Customer’s Perception is their Reality

What exactly is the “customer experience” (CX) that you are delivering to your customers? How do you even find out? How is this evaluated by your customers?

There’s no way you can be sure of delivering the CX your customers expect unless you can answer these questions.

Source: PWC/Bains and Co.

A critical reality is that your customers’ experience encompasses every engagement or interaction with your organisation, not just isolated events.  At each interaction, customers are consciously assessing the experience and determining if there is value in continuing to do business with you. Each engagement must be a positive experience: quick, seamless, and painless, regardless of the channel or channels selected – voice, SMS, video, email, social media, or a combination of these.

Just as McDonald’s changed the expectations of customers over 60 years ago, Netflix and Apple have drastically changed the game for all businesses today, triggering ever-changing and ever-increasing customer expectations that ultimately affect us all.

Looking from the outside, inwards

Typically, Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) ratings, NPS scores, or customer survey data are viewed as discrete touchpoints, measured with each customer interaction.

While some organisations have certainly tried to implement customer feedback processes to help them understand their customers’ expectations and how they feel they’ve been met, just be aware of two cautions in this feedback:

  • Firstly, by surveying customers at specific touchpoints only, organisations risk distorting the perspective both of their customers and of the feedback.
  • Secondly, surveys and similar tools typically only take random samples. Results will depend on several factors including demographic of your responders, how much time they have on their hands, and even their personality type (not everyone is willing to give time to a survey).

For these reasons, organisations will enjoy greater success if they can analyse reactions across the entire customer journey – and even do it without overt customer input.

Understanding what works and what doesn’t infallibly helps the business to identify areas for improvement. However, keep in mind that this is not a “one and done” scenario. With today’s dynamic expectations, everything must be continuously monitored and fine-tuned… As soon as you make an improvement, that now becomes your customer’s new reference standard – and delivering anything less in future may lead to instant dissatisfaction and increase the risk of customer churn. Your standards are also inevitably driven by the standards of your competitors – so as they raise theirs, so must you raise your own. Your customers’ changing expectations will be one of the indicators that the benchmark has moved again, so you need to keep monitoring!

Source: PWC/Bains and Co.

So, how best to improve the customer experience and ultimately the business outcomes?

Start by using Automated Conversations – as discussed in our recent self-service blog series, an organisation has many options to improve the overall experience. Offering customers a choice of communication channel (or the use of multiple channels simultaneously) immediately improves the possibility of a positive experience. Customers could already be dissatisfied with a product or service and may be engaging you because of something that is not working; in retail, they have learned to have a high expectation of a streamlined process; whatever their needs, increasingly they are expecting to self-serve so are often not best pleased to have to spend more time than they thought they should need in pursuing their goal. Do NOT add to their frustration by limiting their communications options or in any way making it difficult for them to engage with you.

By using professionally recorded messaging with your organisation’s IVRs, optimising your chatbots, and providing unobtrusive ID Authentication systems, along with the integration of your CRM system, you will be able to capture, record and assess what, why and how they have engaged with you. This wealth of information can then be used to improve your organisation’s customer service capabilities and reserving your more costly live agents for value-add interactions.

Once that is implemented and optimised, you will need to focus on the other, more complex aspects of your customer experience delivery system.

Add Augmented Conversations – this is where Artificial Intelligence (AI) adds value. By complementing the information already captured with additional conversational data – whether audio or digital, or an interplay of both combined – and assessing and analysing the context and keywords used in real-time, organisations can provide increasingly more complex support capabilities directly to the customer, or to the live agent to whom the customer has been transferred.

[Click Image to access the full infographic]

There are limitations to consider – most AI-enabled chatbots or Robotic Process Automation (RPA) enabled platforms will try to mimic human interactions, frustrating customers when a misunderstanding arises. A properly configured and implemented conversational AI solution will “know” when to trigger a Knowledge Base (KB) search or when to ask the customer for clarification, and will determine when best to route customers to a human agent, with enough context to know if a generalist or a specific subject matter expert (SME) would be best.

For these more complex situations, multi-channel conversational AI which leverages Natural Language Processing (NLP), semantic analysis, and industry-specific linguistics, terminologies, phraseologies and other processing, can propose a range of possible solution scenarios to deal with unique or unusual situations and needs.

In summary, viewing the customer journey more holistically ensures that the organisation can better understand what meets the customer’s expectations and more importantly what isn’t, enabling the organisation to better align their entire enterprise to deliver value to both customers and the business.

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Watch for our next Blog: “Recommendations”

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Help make sure your organisation delivers the customer experience that exceeds their expectations. Doing so, will transform your contact centre from a cost-centre into a revenue generator.

Access the On-Demand Webinar Playback of  “How AI-Enabled Super-Agents Improve CX” with Kate Legget, Vice President and Principal Analyst Service Application Development and Delivery, Forrester Research, with Steve Nattress, Director, R&D and Jacki Tessmer, Vice President – Product Marketing, Enghouse Interactive.

See how your organisation can benefit from Super-Agents

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