Category Archives: Customer Experience

How an investment in CX can help your bottom line

If you ask me, I’d say that currently, COVID-19 is ruling the entire business world. Every move and every strategy played by organizations is heavily influenced and structured by the pandemic. Though the graph of different departments and sectors in a business has declined, the customer service graph continues to soar high on improvement and effectiveness and I’m not surprised. Many businesses have realized that an investment in CX is one that pays major dividends in the long run.

I’ve shortlisted here some websites that you can use as great references to improve your CX. With this new year, I’ve seen considerable changes in the CX industry and I can say without a shred of doubt that the future of customer service seems to be very successful.

1.   What returns should you expect on your investment in CX?

Forrester has been one of our loyal partners throughout this series of reviewing top CX blog posts. And it didn’t fail to educate us again about the significance of transforming CX and investing our resources in it.

Principal Analyst Maxie Schmidt discusses the benefits of CX transformation in her post and capitalizes on the fact that they contribute towards a positive ROI.

The following numbers were reckoned via the analysis of data (benefits of investing in customer experience) obtained through the Customer Experience Index (CX Index) consumer survey:

  • Customers are 10 times more likely to recommend your company and be your ambassadors if customer service employees present in physical location vigilantly answer all customer queries.
  • Customers are 2.4 times more inclined towards staying in business with companies when their problems are resolved quickly.
  • Customers are 2.7 times more likely to invest and spend more in companies that communicate well with them.

All the data obtained was highly reliable and was an accurate representation of what customers felt as the survey was conducted on a large-scale. Such researches help companies in improving their CX and compel them to invest more in perfecting the customer experience.

Maxie also comes up with a few real-life examples that companies can incorporate into their own customer service sector. She stated that investing in training employees, upgrading technology, and improving professional services can prove to be a game-changer. We should learn from the behavior of Lloyds Banking Group, Target, Ping An, and Scottish Power.

2.   How to use data to create an impeccable customer experience?

Throughout this entire journey, I have seldom recommended a podcast to you or an interview; our favorite picks for blog posts have always been different reads. But this incredible piece written by Gabe Larsen summarizes his podcast where he talks to Steven Maskell and entertains his views on perfecting the customer experience.

In this riveting post, the main theme of discussion is how a personalized customer experience can be created and how it guarantees a customer service win for the company. The gist of the entire post is boiled down into three major points:

  • Using data to your advantage – Steven Maskell has been leading customer service teams for 30 years and he condensed his wisdom into a key pointer; creating a data-driven customer experience. In this post, Steven’s insights about how data must be integrated and analyzed allow us to better understand what customer wants. Steven’s emphasis on collecting data and fusing it with our knowledge allows us to shape the ideal customer experience that caters to every need of a customer.
  • Ripples together create a wave – After the data has been obtained, it is essential to determine the best way of storing and organizing it. Steven empathized with different companies and suggested that they should start somewhere small. One should learn about different relational databases and other tools so that the data is structured, right into the systems.
  • Bring in the big guns – I am referring to Artificial Intelligence (AI) here. It is like a godsend for every CX expert. AI has been normalized to a great extent and almost all organizations’ customer service departments benefit from it. But even with this miracle of technology, one must set up realistic expectations.

3.   Predicting CX Trends for 2021

Steve Davies captures our attention through this post about what the future of 2021 holds for Customer Experience. After a lot of meticulous research and comparisons with 2020 trends, Steve was able to come up with a compelling piece of writing.

In this post, five major trends in messaging are listed and explicitly discussed. These trends are expected to be seen in the CX world for the year 2021.

  • Widening Messaging Channels – It goes without saying that one of the most effective CX strategies is to improve the communication channels between customers and customer service employees. And the best way to do so is to offer a convenient solution, like messaging. It was deduced through research that more than 68% of customers preferred communicating to brands via private messages.
  • Customer Experience will outweigh price and quality – Through a study, it was found that customers valued Customer experience at 25%, which was nearly as important as the quality of product and service, which was valued at 29%. The price was below both factors, valued at 22%.  
  • Automate the Interactions – A study proved that around 67% of customers were more satisfied with the AI and automated interactions as compared to engaging with human customer service representatives.
  • Digitalize Interaction – Steve has talked about how the customer experiences can retain the personalized touch even if all interactions are shifted to digital forums. Though he covered all perspectives by stating that not everyone approves of digital customer relationships as personalized, but after months of the pandemic, it is the most effective and convenient option.
  • Only a few CX interactions are Proactive – Steve encouraged the brand to reach out more as only a handful of customer experiences are proactive and lead to something fruitful.

4.   What should you steer clear of when it comes to good customer service?

By now, we must have read a hundred articles, all talking about different strategies that a company must incorporate in order to perfect their customer experiences. However, this engrossing blog post by ASTUTE helps us identify the five practices that businesses should instantly give up as they are harming their customer service.

This post begins by highlighting the determining factor of an excellent customer experience: time. No one likes to wait, certainly not customers. And they measure the effectiveness of customer service and regard it as a great one based on the length of time taken to resolve the customer’s issue.

Next, this post outlines the benefits of providing efficient customer support. These were as follows:

  • Highly cost-effective as it reduces cost-per-contact
  • Contributes greatly towards a higher profit and revenue
  • Ensures customer utility and satisfaction
  • It builds customer loyalty

Then the main crux of the post revolves around the 5 major things that hinder the execution of efficient customer service. These five pointers were:

  • Avoid using key metrics and failing to measure customer service efficiency
  • Having human representatives handling every stage of customer service and not maximizing efficiency by automating customer service.
  • Having disconnected tools which waste a lot of time in keeping all platforms updated separately.
  • Having customer service agents work hard to find answers and not giving them complete knowledge about the arising of all possible issues.
  • Using tools that are in no way useful or related to the contact center.

5.   Co-Creating Customer Experiences with Customers

How could have we forgotten Annette Franz? Her posts have always been my favorite; they are so informative and refreshing that they always offer a new, bright perspective on improving the customer experience.  

The main focus of Annette throughout this post is to introduce a modern and more effective relationship between customers and organizations; she defines it as participative. She formed a connection between her previous posts and her recent ones to make the concept clearer. However, if you aren’t as big of a fan of her as I am, and you haven’t followed her posts, that is completely okay too. You will catch on to her perspective very easily.

Annette focuses largely on including customers in building a customer experience. She mentions that customers too are looking for a participative role in the relationship. Like all other relationships, this one too is two-way. Though companies are in the business of nurturing customers, but they are fulfilling the needs of customers through their services and products. And customers too want to include their input; so, the control should be shifted to co-creating.

Annette also mentioned a few co-creation tools that will lubricate the process of establishing a participative customer relationship:

  • Collecting customer feedback and data to understand them
  • Involve the customer in journey mapping
  • Ideation: gathering ideas from customers and prioritizing them based on customer votes
  • Form online communities to keep customers engaged
  • Build prototypes and test ideas with customers
  • Try crowdsource ideas

Conclusion

These were the top 5 CX blog posts from recent months, though I have to be completely honest, it was quite challenging to choose just the top 5 because, with the new year, the trends in CX transformation have also changed rapidly.

But it is truly commendable to see how smartly our CX experts are battling all issues put forward by the pandemic. I’ve come across hundreds of stories where customers are praising the customer service for empathizing with them and creating personalized experiences via digital platforms.

Comment below if you would like to share your insights. We can also feature a post written by you; just share the link below. I will meet you all next month with some new, exciting posts!

These are the Top 5 CX Posts of December 2020

I have to apologize for the lateness of this post. Suffice it to say that the challenges of a new job impacted my free time for January. However, let us pick from where we left off last; reviewing the top customer experience posts of November 2020. I have picked up the top CX posts of December 2020 for you, but it was quite challenging as I came across a compelling and interesting pool of CX posts. After studying all those posts, I realized that the CX experts out there continue to amaze us even as this unpredictable year wraps up.

Like all the previous posts, I will offer a detailed analysis of the gist of the top five posts and share with you the CX journey of companies worldwide. I will not be following a particular theme, so you can expect to be bedazzled by different stories. But one focal point will be the deliverance of impeccable and unprecedented customer experiences online. I will be attaching the link to each post so you can individually check them out. Let us get started!

Can you measure CX in dollars?

Forrester has been our top consistent partner in these blog posts. I don’t remember a single month where we didn’t quote a remarkable post from this site. This month too, Maxie Schmidt, a Principal Analyst, shared her insights on Forrester’s platform. In this post, she defines the dollar value of improving customer experience.

She reckoned the relationship between business growth and improvement in CX. A numeric value was assigned to this association so the significance of improving CX could be known. 14 industries were studied under the Customer Experience Index Survey.

The condensed version of the results is:

  • The benefits associated with improving CX are massive. It was deduced for mass-market auto manufacturers, that by improving CX by 1 point, more than $1B can be generated in revenue.
  • The advantages of improving CX rise exponentially when happy customers are made happier. So, the focus must be shifted here rather than from making unhappy customers less unhappy.
  • The impact of recommendations on the business upside of CX is small and nearly negligible. Gaining new customers through recommendations makes up for less than 7% of the total business benefit gained from the improved customer experience.

Here is how you can calculate and measure the impact of improving CX and relate it to your company:

  • Assess the business impact of every individual customer’s loyalty. Study the intentions of customers who stay, who buy more, and those who eventually recommend you.
  • Build models that display how CX is stimulating growth. Make sure these models are specific to the market and industry.

Use the model to calculate the benefit of improving CX by 1 point and its consequent impact on business growth.

Is great customer experience your intention?

What’s the secret to a great customer experience? Isn’t that a million-dollar question that we have been looking for the answer to? Anette Franz has made it easier for us to understand how we can nearly perfect the customer experience.

In this post, she talks about the famous quote of Bob Farell, the founder of Farell’s ice cream parlors, “Give em’ a pickle!”. Bob said this after he received a disappointing letter from a customer who complained about his services. Bob makes this golden rule that serving others should be the top priority of businesses.

One must not be opportunistic, rather one should look for delivering a personal and good experience to customers. Business is not all about earning an extra dollar or a few dimes, but it is connecting with customers and fulfilling their needs and wants.

Even in her book, she dedicated a large portion of it to why brands fail to retain customers or keep customers satisfied and happy. One of the major reasons is that shareholders are more focused on filling their pockets rather than nurturing customers and creating customer value. So the magical rule that one shall abide by is: Do what’s right for and by the customer. This is how Anette describes the secret to delivering a memorable customer experience. This is a short and brief post, but it teaches us so much about delivering customer value.

Trends to follow to reshape CX in 2021

We now know that there is no going back to the normal, brands must reshape their vision of how they imagine and execute a strong customer experience. John Aves shares his wisdom in this post and introduces the 6 major trends that will shape the CX redesign in 2021. Let us review them:

  • You must not look back – Companies that believe that everything will return to the old normal will not survive in the coming times. They will collapse and will be unable to thrive. Leaders would have to be bold and daring so they can impose changes required to revitalize the customer experience.
  • You would have to take a stand – Customers will look to side with businesses that care about prevailing issues and take a stand. They will offer their loyalty to businesses who assess their brand purpose and align it with customer values.
  • No more consumerism – Consumers are no longer looking for meaningless connections. After a month of being quarantined, they’ll covet social connection. And businesses should offer meaningful customer experiences.
  • Customers want to be in the driving seat – For far too long, customers have been anxious because they are no longer in control. To make sure that they feel secure, CX leaders should make customers feel in control of their experience.
  • Digital Balance – This is a tough time for all and as we move on next year, CX leaders have to be more empathetic and kinder towards customers. They must take their hand and together travel on key digital journeys.
  • Consistency is the Key – CX consistency is the holy grail. No matter where employees or customers are if the vaccination is introduced or not, a consistent customer experience must be delivered.

How can you improve your companies CX strategies?

The expert panel of Forbes drafted this post and they educate businesses about how they can improve their CX strategies. The top CX leaders at Forbes each shared a piece of advice that will help businesses grow and develop a remarkable customer experience.

  1. Focus more on customer journey mapping: the most crucial source of data is search, as it can help marketers to map their customers’ decision journey. This results in more touchpoints and hence, increased sales.
  2. A well-planned execution process: Incorporate feedback and suggestions from your customer and draft a well written CX plan.
  3. Extend the customer experience and adapt to the changes to reach a wider range of customers.
  4. Build a client-centric culture: be more focused on what your clients want and what their needs are.
  5. Make your customer experience informative and delightful.
  6. Make effective use of key metrics and keep on checking them to assess the growth.
  7. Leverage the surveys conducted and record the reviews and study them meticulously.
  8. Make sure that you respond efficiently and take minimum time.
  9. Make sure you deliver the perfect blend of human expertise and complex technology.
  10. You cannot and must not define customer success on your terms
  11. You must deliver a personal experience by being relatable and human.
  12. Incorporate conversational AI as customers tend to leave the brand after one or two bad customer experiences.
  13. Focus greatly on digital experience and try to perfect it.
  14. A personalized experience is the best one.
  15. Have an effective and strong customer retention program where you can receive customer feedback and reviews.

The year of CX Data

If you enjoy a little bit of wit with tons of resourceful and informative posts, then you are going to love this piece eloquently written by Jim Tincher. In this post, he talks about digital hygiene and how crucial it is for us to clean the bad data.

We can view 2020 as the year of digital transformation. And though for many years, CX leaders were thriving to make customer experiences digital, this year transformed this desire into a need of the time. And we had to amplify our works to make sure that seamless customer experiences are delivered online.

The one limitation that held us back and continues to limit our growth is bad data. It limits the organizations’ abilities to meet customers’ needs and satiate them. The dirty, disconnected, and unmatched data makes it almost impossible for organizations to implement digital transformation and get the operating systems running. Lack of clean and good data results in the wrong and incorrect information being delivered to customers and that can put your whole organization and business in jeopardy.

It is safe to assume that bad data is the underlying cause that triggers bad customer experience. There is no time for organizations to waste. We must make sure that we clean the data often and regularly. So, our predictions for 2020 are, that this year will be the year of empathy, technology, and executive engagement.

Conclusion

This is a wrap for us. As we’ve bid adieu to the year 2020, we hope and pray for positive news in the upcoming year and though the previous year brought a lot of pain, it also showed how resilient and adaptive our companies are.

Let’s hope this global crisis soon ends and we all adjust to the new normal. Comment below and share with us your views and thoughts. If you want to get featured on our blog, share the link of your post in the comment section and we’ll share it with our audience. Will meet you next time with some more new and exciting CX posts!

Top CX Posts November 2020

Let’s pick up from where we left off last month in our list of Top CX posts for October.

Over the course of this month, I’ve spent a lot of time reading and compiling a post of top cx blog posts for November 2020 that I wanted to share with you.

I read some very interesting blog posts that showed me how so many companies are thriving even though the COVID-19 has limited them physically.

I am sharing my favorite picks and attaching a link along so that you can explore them further. They do not follow a specific theme, but I believe they merit applaud and acknowledgment. So, let’s get started.

1. Customer Empowerment Amid a Global Pandemic

This post by Blake Morgan was an unusual one and riveted my interest right at the beginning. If you ask yourself which aspect influenced the market dynamics the most. Without hesitation, you will answer the highly feared and prevalent, COVID-19.

NICE inContact CEO Paul Jarman shares his insights in this post and changes our perspective about the outbreak of the global pandemic and its ramifications. He mentioned how the pandemic paved a way for customers where they can share their voices and opinions.

He emphasized the key takeaways that we should learn from to shape our customer experiences in 2021. Because of the democratization of opinion, customers have more power than ever. They are sharing their experiences overtly and are utilizing the online platforms excessively.

The following four major takeaways are discussed explicitly in this post:

  • Shifting to the Cloud – A survey revealed that around 66% of contact decision-makers were moving their data and activities to the cloud. There will be more agility and room for innovation in the cloud. This will ensure seamless and uniform customer service all across.
  • Increased Use of Digital Channels – Since the COVID-19 outbreak, more than 62% of contact centers have gone digital and used online platforms to communicate. Considering the situation doesn’t diffuse, customers will seek a digital customer experience. So, improvements and amendments shall be made accordingly.
  • More Mobile Applications – Companies using mobile apps grew from 8% to 56% since the pandemic. People are relying heavily on apps and so effective mobile apps must be developed to keep up with the demand.
  • Improving Chatbots – Many marketers believe that the future of customer experience relies greatly on the use of chatbots. In a study, it was deduced that around 90% of CX practitioners have claimed that the chatbots need to be more user-friendly and digitally smart. The incorporation of modern features will help enhance its use.

2. Trust is everything

The Senior Analyst at Forrester, Anjali Lai, eloquently describes the unmatched significance of building trust in the relationship with consumers in her post.

She defined consumer trust as “Trust is confidence in the high probability that a person or organization will spark a certain outcome in a relationship.”.

She described how humans are inherently trusting and how we can track the logical and chemical stimulants that trigger trust and similar feelings. She also explains a few key points that are:

  • Trust is Confidence – The trust you pour in your kids that they will clean up after you is solely based on hope and optimism. Just like that, you have to instill this level of trust in consumers so that they become your loyal customers.
  • Trust is About a Particular Outcome – Marketers are always scratching their heads because they are in the race of earning the “most-trusted brand” title. The ranking is not a defining determinant for the consumers. They constantly assess the outcomes in relation to their expectation.
  • A Relationship is Structured on Trust – Like every other relationship in this world, a relationship between an employee and consumer is also based on trust. If consumers fail to trust these services, products, and the company, you will not be able to achieve customer value or deliver an exceptional customer experience.

3. How to Make Fans for Your Business?

If you think that tons of customers will get out of their way to engage in a business with you just because you are delivering exceptional customer service, then you are mistaken. The price of earning true customer loyalty goes beyond fashioning just an experience.

Jim Tincher makes a point in his post that just creating an effortless experience for the customers wouldn’t suffice to make them your loyal and most valued customers. He is also aware that his stance is wildly unpopular, but he supports his reasoning with compelling arguments.

He perfectly encapsulates his theory that loyalty can’t be built by resolving issues, rather it just prevents disloyalty. Loyalty is when customers are swimming in a pool of options, but they willingly choose you. And the culminating point is when the customers have a cheaper and more convenient alternative, yet they continue to choose you; that is the real determinant of loyalty.

So, this proves that it’s not the ease of engaging in business but the emotional connection that compels customers to stay connected with you. That is what customer experience is all about; building emotional and meaningful relationships with the customers.

Though this is a short piece of writing, it caught my eye because it was eccentric and was centered around an unpopular opinion. This post overtly talks about the fallacy that customers need to be wowed. However, they just want to be done.

4. Efficiency and Empathy in Harmony

The aftermath of the pandemic is still unknown and inexplicable. The prevailing uncertainty has put the analysts and company leaders in a conundrum as they cannot assess which strategy, they must opt for to survive in the post-pandemic world. We all are suffering through the adverse effects of COVID-19 and these times have not just been challenging for the companies but also for customers.

Blair Pleasant talks openly in this post about how we have to cope up with the long-term changes of the pandemic and make our place in the virtual world. She capitalized on how the increasing dependence on online working or work from home has led people to come up with creative and innovative solutions to deliver exceptional customer service. She also mentions the new strategies that companies have come up with to meet the growing customer demands and expectations.

The best thing to come out of the lockdown is the newfound respect for the concept of empathy. People locked up at home and having the crippling fear of the pandemic has made everyone empathetic and consequently humanized customer experiences. People are more invested in offering a personal experience to the customers.

Agents are trained to listen to the issues of customers and address them willingly, with utmost concern. It is now a challenge for companies to find the right balance between efficiency and empathy because, in these tough times, businesses should prioritize solving customer complaints rather than generating profits.

She also laid great emphasis on how video interactions and visual connections can add a personalized touch and help in creating a stronger employee-customer relationship.

5. Timeless Customer Experience Trends

The fast-changing environment of the world always keeps us in uncertainty. There are many obvious challenges and very few opportunities that await us. But after decades of learning the trends and patterns, analysts have deduced a set of standard rules that significantly affect the customer experience.

Though COVID-19 has greatly changed the market dynamics, there is a set of trends that remains timeless and is even applicable in these unprecedented times. Michael Hinshaw discusses these trends in this post and guides companies about the direction they shall pursue to deliver impeccable customer service.

  • Advancement in Digital Transformation – With the outbreak of a global pandemic, the shift to digital platforms and media has been at its peak. And from here the curve will rise as dependence on digital channels is increasing substantially.
  • Determining the ROI of CX – More accurate and precise metric modes, analytical tools, and decision frameworks are employed so that customers’ experiences could be understood better. These tools are constantly improving as they help in delivering a memorable customer experience.
  • Customer Understanding – It is always important to know how customers truly feel and what do they genuinely desire. Without understanding the underlying needs of customers, it becomes nearly impossible to deliver a great customer experience.
  • An Adaptive and Agile Approach – Linear approaches become redundant quickly and do not match the changing market flow. However, a more agile approach helps the companies to resonate with the changing trends. With better data and customer understanding attained via an adaptive approach, customer value is achieved.
  • Prioritizing Employee Experience – A great customer experience cannot be delivered without creating a good employee experience. The workplace environment and relationship between the company and employees are improving greatly. Leaders are bridging the professional gap, refining systems, and are encouraging collaboration. Companies are redefining the employee experience as the organization’s success depends greatly on it.

Conclusion

It was quite difficult to find my picks for this month. All articles I came across were so fascinating and riveting. Isn’t it amazing to see how businesses are not just surviving but flourishing in these times?

Though the initial months of the pandemic outbreak were challenging but just as the companies have adapted to the new conditions, they are coming up with innovative ways to avail opportunities and perform optimally.

Comment below and share your thoughts and reviews. If you want to share your posts with us, you can share the link in the comments, and we will feature your post in the next session. This was all for November 2020!

Why B2B Customer Support Matters

Not all businesses are about the delivery of products directly to consumers. Often, companies create products and services that are used by other businesses as a means of delivering services. While you might be determined to surpass your customers’ expectations by offering a feature-rich and loaded product, it is just as imperative that you deliver exceptional customer service too. That is the real “money-maker”!

Great customer service can really put your product in an elevated position in the eyes of your client. This added benefit optimizes the performance of the business and enhances the product use. Customers will be drawn to you like a moth to the flame if you build strong relationships with them. Remember this golden rule:

Productive B2B customer support helps to create a long-term healthy relationship with your customers.

Existing Customers Matter

Research stated that a huge fraction of technology companies generate more than 70% of their total revenue from their existing customers. This more then demonstrates the value of repeat business on the bottom line.

A key point to note is that if a customer does not fully use the product, they are much less likely to consider renewal. Keeping this in mind, the sooner they use and employ your product, the faster they’ll put in an order for another one. And you can generate sales from their use or need to renew their subscription.

Understand Product Usage

Circling the above-discussed analogy, your aim after delivering a suitable and flawless product should be to encourage users to deploy your product faster so they can invest in purchasing it again. And let the cycle continue from there. This way you will establish a wide, loyal, and satisfied customer base.

But the million-dollar question arises: how do you make customers deploy the product?

If everyone knew the answer to it, there wouldn’t be just a handful of successfully run and appreciated businesses worldwide. But the companies who have figured the answer to it are in luck because it has greatly helped their businesses.

Where are your B2B Customer Support calls coming from?

You will observe that a major chunk of your B2B customer requests is related to the “how-to” questions and queries. They will usually have an ambiguity regarding operating the technology, product or will ask how to avail of the service or explore all the aspects of it.

You have to train your agents or your managers to answer this “how-to” question well. By offering the right support you’ll help customers deploy the product sooner and invest more into obtaining the product or service again.

Your post-sale customer interactions will mainly revolve around such questions. So, if you answer these questions for the customers and lend support to the operations and functionality of your tech, you’ll be making them self-sufficient and will be encouraging them to increase the use of the product.

Though you must make sure that your customer support team is aware of opportunities and advantages that could be unlocked by helping customers reach the full potential of deploying the product. While this sounds like a sales function it isn’t. By making sure that clients know how to use the product to its fullest, you’re actually helping create advocates of your technology within your client base. This helps to increase overall loyalty and if you ever create a customer community, improves the perception of all of your clients.

Improving your tools helps make you more efficient

Improving customer support tools is just as important. You must invest in opportunities for automation and self-help so that the customer service system’s working could be made optimal.

Such opportunities can be a major deciding factor that transforms one-to-one sales transactions into one-to-many sales transactions. Customers will be satisfied and satiated. They will adopt more of your product and will engage in a long-term relationship with your company.

Automated Response

Many people are using a chatbot and other software to schedule sessions with respective agents. This way precious resources are saved and customers can easily contact that concerned party that can resolve their query or processes their request.

These responses either solve the customer complaint completely or shift them to the most qualified person. This helps in expediting the case’s resolution.

Self-Help

First meticulously and thoroughly review the support requests and queries launched by the customers. Look at the problem areas and the departments where the issues are recurring. This way you can identify which problems occur more and where you need to invest.

Form this study as a basis to update your FAQs and other blogs and reviews. Shoot tutorial or document training videos and offer knowledge base tools that your clients can access themselves. This can help customers figure out a solution on their own. This way they could avoid the hassle of contacting you or dragging the resolution time.

Routing and Workflow

You must establish ground rules and concrete workflow regulations that can direct the customer issue or request to the related person or the concerned department. This will save a lot of response time. And the customer wouldn’t have to waste time and effort by engaging with unauthorized or unrelated professionals.
The most qualified agents and resources will be directed towards resolving the issue and this will accelerate the rate at which the query is resolved.

No matter how fast your initial response time is, how high your resolution rate is or how low the number of queries or requests you receive is, none of these can define success for your business if these don’t translate into an increase in your sales or customer base. All these efforts must offer some unmatched benefit to your company, otherwise, all this is vain.

No matter what triggered the support, either it is customer retention, improving operational functionality, widening customer base, delivering customer satisfaction, or just because of financial reasons, the important factor is to define your goals and achieve high business results. Your aim to offer exceptional support shall be to attain positive business results. And this will only be possible when you would align your support operation strategies to observable and calculatable customer support metrics.

Top 5 Customer Experience Blog Posts from October 2020

I solemnly welcome you all back again to our quarantine edition of the best Customer Experience (CX) blog posts. Though it is deeply saddening to see how rampant the pandemic is around the world, you will certainly be amazed at the strategic planning of organizations that continue to focus on offering exceptional customer service.

If you remember the amazing CX posts batch from September that I shared previously, you would know that you are in for a treat this month too. I have gathered the top five CX posts for October 2020. As the world is impacted by the ramifications of the COVID-19 outbreak, a shift in the pattern of customer support service was discovered. So, let’s see how major businesses surmounted these obstacles and what pearls of wisdom they have shared.

As I’ll be discussing the gist and the condensed version of each blog post, if you want to read the post in its entirety, just follow the link.

1) Now Customer Support Entails Being a Mind-Reader

Adrian Swinscoe interviewed the well-reputed Paul Adams, the SVP of Product at Intercom. In his blog post, he discussed the crux of the interview and jotted it in pointers. This unconventional blog post highlighted an integral aspect of customer support: proactive service.  He mentioned how this term may be perceived as ambiguous, but it captures the essence of impeccable customer support service.

Paul outlined the proactive approach as anticipating the questions of customers before they even ask them. This predictive behavior is the holy grail of customer support. Paul also stated the statistics of a study that claimed that 78% of support managers wanted to incorporate the proactive approach and remove reactive service. But, only 26% of such leaders carried the knowledge, skills, and equipment to do so.

Paul categorized proactive support into the following three major types:

  • Planned: this refers to supporting customers based on their usage history, behavioral patterns, and other data. In this approach, predictive analysis is conducted.
  • Situational: the support team opts for this approach when they are aware of a fault or an issue in either the product or service, but they appraise the customers beforehand. This way they avoid an influx of complaints and calls.
  • V.I.P Proactive Support: this approach is slightly complex and not so common. In this approach, the clients’ needs are under constant spotlight and undisturbed attention is granted. Their behavior is seen and even minor changes in their usage or behavioral patterns are noted and then meticulously analyzed.

2) Don’t Let the Pandemic Stop You

Francine Johnson shared her insights in this educative blog post that guides the audience about how they can fashion a congenial customer experience. She termed CX as an essential part of the customer’s end-to-end journey with the product.

She used the F5, a B2B cyber-security company, as a reference and explained how businesses can continue to deliver exemplary customer service despite the hindrances posited by COVID-19.

Francine discussed how crucial it is to support leaders to identify the friction points and then address them by making improvements and amends accordingly. A fruitful CX program is structured on customer engagements, smooth communication, effective advocacy, and prudent insights. She explicitly talked about three essential ways in which an organization could build a successful customer experience. These ways are:

  • Finding the Right Balance – Striking the balance refers to communicating a particular kind of information to customers. For the F5 company, Francine talks about creating a balance between notifying customers of threats and creating cherished memories. Such a balance can only be achieved through effective communication.
  • Profits are Secondary – Francine recommended that as employees we should empathize with the customers as their lives to are gravely affected by the pandemic. So, instead of focusing on the money-making strategies, the support team should genuinely be concerned for the customers. It is important to lead with a human-first mindset.
  • The Internal Strength – It is imperative to build a customer-first mindset that not only prevails in the support team but is backed up by the executive leadership. Francine claimed that a team of professionals and experts is not enough to execute productive customer support. It would require executive support and assistance too.

3) Does Losing a Customer Sting? Now no more!

This post is written by Jim Tincher and it truly encapsulates the raw emotions felts by a B2B company when they lose a sale, they worked hard for. But it also shows them a light at the end of the tunnel so that they can improve their customer service and avoid any such loss in the future. He introduces us to the Voice of the Last Lost Customer. Then he signifies how businesses can manage the VoLLC. The guidelines were:

  • Frequently talk to salespeople – As a CX leader make sure that you take the feedback of salespeople under review. If the salespeople don’t feel safe sharing their opinion, you may expect trouble. It will become difficult for you to manage and improve your customer service.
  • Go on account calls – You can obtain a holistic view of what your customers need as salespeople talk directly to customer executives and VoC channels are majorly concerned with the users.
  • It can be a blessing in disguise – Though sometimes the sales’ VoLLC is not on the mark. They may not target your major customers but the sales they bring in can be considered significant.

As a CX leader, most people would target customer loyalty. But it is beneficial to focus on VoLLC too.

4) Can You Measure Value for Customers?

In her post, Maxie Schmidt talks about her latest report, “How to measure value for customers?”. She starts by stating that most organizations fail to determine whether customers gain value from engaging in business with them or not.

She explains that customers acquire value from a business when they get more than what they are giving up. Value for customers does not stay constant, rather it changes frequently like needs. Maxie however, encircled the value for customers in the following four major dimensions:

  • Functional: defines the purpose
  • Experiential: takes into account the interactions
  • Symbolic: refers to the meaning
  • Economic: discusses the financial aspect
(Image Source)

She capitalizes on the major incompetence of businesses and how they fail to measure value for customers. This usually happens because they are either making use of unreliable and inaccurate metrics, or they have limited knowledge about how customers gain value and which value drivers are most important.

Then she suggests effective ways in which businesses can overcome the factors that inhibit the measuring of value for customers. These tips are:

  • Integrate quantitative research and locate the key drivers of value: She explains how the feedback and data alone cannot determine customer value. We need to make use of research tools and understanding the four dimensions.
  • Define a practical measurement per value driver: In this approach, the CX professional either needs to come up with new data sources and metrics or they can make use of existing data sources. Their aim should be to not pose a burden on customers.
  • Reckoning a competitive value gap: By acquiring competitive data CX analysts can focus on the key drivers and draw a comparison of their performance and their competitor’s performance.

5) Customers are Humans, not Consumers

Jim Tincher shares his unique and compelling perspective regarding the prevailing customer experience strategies opted by businesses. He begins his blog post with a riveting quote that read: “A consumer is a statistic. A customer is a person.” This quotation inspires his entire post as he staunchly believes that businesses should offer a more personalized experience rather than focusing on the profits.

In his blog post, he shares some insightful tips on how businesses can please their customers. These are as follows:

  • Being specific is not always the smartest option
    Sometimes choosing a highly specific term or label can get you in great trouble. So, maybe sometimes sits prudent to generalize.
  • Treat customers as normal people
    Customers are not some consumers who prey on your product. Treat them with empathy and be genuinely concerned for them.
  • Perspective is important
    It is very important to change the perspective of the audience based on the strategies we incorporate and the labels we choose.
  • Look out for unintentional bias
    Under this heading, Jim mentioned an example of how the term producer was replaced with a financial professional based on the connotation associated with the two.
  • Choose your words wisely
    Jim laid great emphasis on how we label, and term things, and people can change the entire narrative of the situation.

Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed my favorite picks of Top CX Blog Posts for October 2020. For me, all of these posts were very fascinating and riveting. To see businesses, stay headstrong, and continuously improve to offer impeccable customer service and experience is truly amazing. Mostly all companies are being customer-centric and are trying to stay tenacious in these difficult times.

If you have a story or an experience to share with our audience, please feel free to contact us. Comment below or just the link of your blog post and we will feature you in our upcoming sessions.

Will meet you all next month with another enthralling batch of top CX posts. Till then stay healthy and safe!

Top CX Blog Posts August 2020

The whole COVOD-19 situation has really impacted people’s businesses and their personal lives. It has been months now that we have been talking about the paradigm shift that was experienced by the customer services in terms of conforming to the protocols of surviving in a global pandemic. But it is awe-inspiring to witness how amazingly organizations have dealt with the implications COVID-19 imposed on business activities and kept making their customer experiences a focus.

So, let’s pick up from where we left off last; in this post, we will review the best cx blog posts of August 2020. There won’t be one focal theme so we will assess articles structured on diverse themes and we will see how they best relate to current circumstances.

1. How to Please Your Customers?

If you would have researched the nature of customers years ago, you would be shocked by the disparity that stands between customer interests and knowledge of products then and now. Customers now are more engaging and interactive with the firm. They have a depth of knowledge today that was simply unavailable in years gone by. With access to the internet and social media, they ask cogent and relevant questions and companies need to ensure that the information they make public is useful and informative. They want to know more about a product and provide helpful feedback that widens the prospect of the company. They want more than a mere transaction; they are looking for personalized solutions and guidance. An obliging attitude will make customers our brand advocates but if we play our cards wrong, they will shift to our competitors.

Beth Worthy, in her blog post, explicitly discusses the importance of providing remarkable customer experiences. She also proposes the following six strategies that can make the customers experience seamless:

Survey Customers and Acquire Feedback

Garnering the comments of customers can do wonders for your business. Their input and feedback can help you locate where you are doing wrong. And if you rectify your mistakes on the suggestion of customers, they will feel respected, which should be your sole aim.

Build Brand Trust

Global Consumer Insights Survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers stated that 35% of customers purchase the products from a certain brand because they trust the name. Work hard to build an honest relationship with them.

Create Personalized Videos

Nothing sells better than a captivating advertisement or a compelling video. Create videos that concern particular selling points or issues faced by the customers. And make it seem like it is directed towards a particular group and a handful of customers; don’t generalize the videos.

Live Chat and Online Support

In this time of a global pandemic, contact customers through live chat and converse with them amicably and resolve their problems over a video chat. This way they will feel connected and cherished. Chat is a fast and effective way of connecting with customers and can often mitigate the filing of cases and tickets. In addition, chat can also be used for sales activities helping drive new revenue into a business.

Localize Brand Messaging

If you want to pave your way in the international market, do so by resonating with the local community. Learn about their culture and community and then incorporate it into your product and marketing techniques.

Customized Offers and Personalized Content

As customers, you won’t appreciate receiving a standard email that by the looks of it is a send-to-all email with the names changed. A Salesforce study concluded that 59% of customers believe that brands that engage with customers via personalized offers are more likely to win their loyalty. You want to feel valued and this can only happen if brands propose customized offers special for each customer.

2. Evolution or Revolution of Customer Experience

We may never know if COVID-19 reached its culmination or when the next peak will arrive. However, the whole outbreak led to a considerable change in the dynamics of customer relations. Maybe this will be the new normal for us now.

Tom Mouhsian and Riccardo Pasto, correctly pointed out in their blog post that in this dire time of need, customers are expecting the trust and support of companies they are in business with. This pandemic is steering the business activities and is manifesting a new way of conducting business. But Forrester has meticulously analyzed the patterns and prudently predicted the prospects and has identified 5 key shifts that concern the impact of:

  • Hybrid experiences created because of digitalization
  • Future of work and governmental policies
  • Coping with technological disturbances
  • The tenacity of businesses in competitive markets
  • Expectations of customers concerning safety

It is no secret that many firms are struggling to conform to the new normal; the challenges of a second COVID-19 outbreak have really put many businesses in jeopardy. Many failed CX experiences are coming into the limelight but companies should stay hopeful and resilient. To rectify this, the authors laid great emphasis on how to incorporate the expert advice of CX professionals and marketers. It is vital to infuse their insights so we can establish a healthy relationship with customers.

3. The CX Power Team

This blog post includes the interview of Anastasia Zdoroviak, a senior manager of the customer experience team at Door Dash, conducted by Angelina Gennis. In this interview, Anastasia Zdoroviak shares her experience with customer services and the issues she confronted. She talks about how the root causes are communication, merchant behavior, and the attitude of delivery professionals. But she can’t go against the Dahser’s as they engage directly with customers and getting into a conflict with them could compromise the whole customer experience.

She also revealed her strategy of using the qualitative data and incorporating it with the works of the analytical team and then devising an apt solution with the engineering and product team. She also shared the example of Dasher onboard experience and elicited how she and her team tackled that issue; she reviewed customer feedback, analyzed the issue, identified the root cause, and corrected it. She also encapsulated her insights into 5 major recommendations:

  • Efficiently analyze the data; review customers’ feedback on all platforms
  • Assess the quality and sources of data
  • Make use of an omnichannel analytical tool
  • Study qualitative feedback with quantitative data collected
  • Engage with customers personally

4. Need for Customer Experience More Than Ever

We have seen more innovation and creativity circulating in the field of customer experience in the past few months than we have witnessed in decades. Mohanbir Sawhney talks about how the customer experience model has completely changed, and it will probably remain the same for the next generation at the least. He explains how companies have adapted to the new normal and how they are making amends to make sure that the customer’s experience remains seamless and memorable.

The author takes into account the work ethics of Jio, India’s largest digital services company, and the second-largest mobile services operator in the world. Right after the retailer sector shut down. Jio began perfecting their customer experiences to make sure the consumers didn’t feel left out or too affected due to the adverse effects of the pandemic.

The workers worked diligently from home, the employees at call centers were on their toes to serve customers and shifted their customer care operations on mobile so the employees could easily resolve customer issues from anywhere. Jio’s zero-touch customer experience was inspired by the precautions taken for the global pandemic and was highly appreciated globally. The goal set by this company and achieved in this lockdown without compromising performance and reliability is really inspiring. At this time customers need the support of brands to accommodate their needs optimally and Jio has really given us all something to think about.

5. A Statement Defining Your Promised Customer Experience

In his blog post, Annette Franz talks about devising a customer experience intent statement. Don’t confuse this with the vision statement of your organization as that only pertains to the corporate vision. But the customer experience intent statement talks about designing personalized and engaging customer interactions and relationships.

This statement helps firms fashion a decision and then perfect its execution. These actions and decisions are strictly related to making customer experience amicable and significant. This statement is worth a lot as it will show customers what your intentions and promises are. This may seem like a mundane task and another statement in your brochure or marketing platforms, but the magnitude of impact this statement will impose is measurable. Customers do not need elaborate stories or fancy ads to convince them to engage in business with you. They need an abridged version of what you intend to deliver them. And a succinct statement will do that. So, review the guidelines mentioned by Annette Franz to come up with a catchy and compelling customer experience intent statement.

If you are struggling to deliver a consistent customer experience, formulate this reference and take into consideration the limitations of your organization, cooperation of the employees, and dedication of the customer services team. Don’t lead on the customers based on hollow promises and inaccurate statements.

Conclusion

So, we have wrapped up the top CX blog posts for August 2020. Hope you enjoyed reading about how companies are coping with the global pandemic and adjusting their strategies to make sure that the customer experience remains undisturbed. I would like to praise the companies who are going beyond their ways and our imaginations to make sure that customers remain satisfied. Comment below and let us know about an interesting customer experience that you were a part of. If you want to share something with our audience, please feel free to reach out to us. We’ll get back to you guys with a fresh batch of amazing CX blog posts next month.

 

How Angry Customers Can Help Your Business

A successfully run business and unhappy clients are inherently indivisible. This may shock you but if there are several complaints piled up at your customer services’ desks, then this may just be a fortunate stroke of serendipity for you! Everything has its pros and cons and angry customers can help your business if you are willing to see the other side of the picture.

No matter how dutiful and dedicated you are, negative responses will always exceed the positive feedback you and your teams receive. Customers are more inclined towards highlighting your minor incompetencies than admiring and praising your stellar services. Inbox inundated with emails, voice mail flooded with customer complaints, and even face to face disapproval and objection on your services are a few aspects that come as a package deal with your business. It may seem chaotic and disadvantageous to the optimum functionality of your business, but angry customers can actually help you a lot.

Don’t Want Angry Customers?

Avoiding unhappy customers is not really a possibility, but reducing their number is quite likely if you act rationally and strategically.

If you are available for your customers and can give them your undivided attention and uninterrupted time, then it will do wonders for your customer service and business’s marketing. This will be worth the dollars that they are expending on your business.  

Reach out to your customers regularly and develop an amicable relationship with, but don’t compromise in professionalism. Try to resolve their issues at your earliest convenience and assure them that you will devote yourself to their service.

Utilize tools like social media platforms to connect with customers outside the boundaries of business and take an interest in their likes and dislikes. This will minimize the disparity between the customer’s expectations and what you are delivering and offering.

Make sure you maintain a balance in this critical relationship. Just to please the customers you cannot make unachievable promises that will disappoint the customers greatly when not fulfilled. It is always smarter to over-deliver than to over-promise.

How Should You Handle and Respond to Customer Complaints?

Let’s explore how you can effectively deal with angry customers and please them:

Keep Calm:

If the customer starts yelling or transcends the boundaries of professionalism and respect, make sure you remain calm and don’t respond in a similar attitude. Your aim should be to eliminate the element of hostility and animosity amongst each other.

Emphasize on Why:

As a worker, your initial instinct would be to get defensive and delve into a realm of denial. You probably wouldn’t digest the fact that there is an issue or inadequacy on your part. But this is the defining moment of the whole process that can either salvage your relationship with the customer of completely dissolve it.

Make sure you identify the root cause and investigate why there was an issue in the first place. This overarching question will solve half of your problem and you can begin taking indispensable actions.

Sympathize and Listen Keenly:

The basic skill of active listening can save you a lot of trouble in this challenging time. The reflective listening approach can also be very beneficial if exercised in this regard. This practice urges you to closely understand the context of what the customer is conveying and interpret his words to derive a meaning out of them. Then you must respond by reflecting on what you have garnered and felt through all that customers mentioned and complained about.

Don’t Take it to Heart:

Make a mental note that anger is natural and kind of inevitable in this case. Not all customers are going to be completely satisfied with your product and services. Some might find them obnoxious to have genuine complaints. The customers don’t bear any malice against you, they are just displeased, so, don’t take it personally.

Acknowledge the Issue and Take Required Actions:

Take sufficient time to probe the issue and then think of ways how can you rectify the mistake or issue faced by the customer. Correct the situation yourself, if you believe it falls under your expertise, otherwise consult someone proficient in this discipline. Make sure you consult the customer and consider their opinion. 

Apologize When Needed:

Whether you believe that the complaint is legitimate or a bogus claim, you have to treat it with utmost concern and respect. You must apologize decently and show that you genuinely care about them.

Are Unhappy Customers Really Beneficial For Your Business?

If a customer took time out to express their disappointment or anger towards your products or services, then it means that you matter to them and they want to continue to engage in business with you. So, this is good news for you!

If you ignore the complaint or provide weak and subpar customer service, then you are opening the door for customers and are compelling them to leave. So, this is a major NO for you.

Make sure that the customer feels heard and acknowledged. If you provide attention and grant special treatment to customers, they will feel valued and respected. This will keep them riveted to your business and they will remain your loyal customers.

Encourage customers to share their feedback and mention if they felt like the issue was dealt with concern and competence. Keep a documented record of the feedback and ensure that the customers are satisfied after their issue has been resolved.

The best business isn’t the one with the least number of unhappy clients; it is the business with the greatest number of clients who were angry at first but their complaints were resolved efficiently and they were satisfied.

Conclusion:

All of this may seem like a lot of tedious work and effort but once you get a hold of this strategy you will turn all the frowns into smiling faces in no time. They are your customers and a complaint means that they had expectations from you.

Turn this trust to your benefit and prove to the customers that they matter to you. If you play your cards right and incorporate the above-discussed tips and tools to build a strong customer relationship, you will grow into a family from a business!

 

Top 5 CX Blog Posts from July 2020

So here we are again; in the middle of a new month, ready to evaluate the best customer service blog posts available on the internet. In the quarantine edition of this article, I will entertain you with successful customer experiences stories and the strategies appointed by major companies to modernize and overhaul their online customer service.

Like June’s post for the series, I have garnered the top five articles and provided a succinct edition of them so you can get a clear concept of what those blog posts pertain to. As July was another month that descended into a quarantine timeline, the patterns of customer service had its ups and downs. Let’s move forward to gander at the brief analysis of the top 5 CX blog posts in July 2020!

If you want to check out the whole version, click on the links and you will be directed to the official post.

1.   How Can You Resolve Customer Complaints?

Gregory Ciotti rightly pointed out in his blog post how we can establish a stronger relationship with the customers after we have resolved their issues or complaints. This ignites their faith in the employees and they can assess the employees’ attitude towards addressing their respective concerns.

Complaints usually arise because the customer’s expectations are not met by what you deliver. Sometimes, their inaccurate assumptions supersede their opinion of you and they are not satiated by your work performance. You may also leave room for accepting any mistake or inadvertent display of incompetence at your part.

However, Gregory explicitly discussed ways in which you could handle such customer complaints and optimize your work performance and feedback to maximize the customer’s utility. The task may seem debilitating but if you follow his guidelines, you are good to go!

Engage in a detailed conversation to find out where the problem stemmed from and ask inquisitive questions to learn more about the issue. It is imperative to identify the kind of customer you are handling, as this will give you a lucid insight into how to proceed with the matter.

He also laid great emphasis on how you should resolve the matter at your earliest convenience, rather than make it a priority. He explained how you can deal with any negative feedback and criticism regarding your response by remaining steadfast and polite.

This post guides you and educates you regarding handling customer complaints, so if any bad customer experience is hovering over you, make sure your read this post and find a way to salvage your relationship with the customer. Good Luck!

2.   Are you Oblivious to Terrible Customer Experience as an Executive?

Faith Adams is a senior analyst who spoke the heart out of customers who believed that the executives and workers would never relate to bad customer experiences. The focal concept of her post was the disconnect witnessed between the customer’s expectations and the ineptness of employees.

She explained her terrible experience with online appliance purchases. It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has shaken the market dynamics globally and it will take time to adjust with this “first-time” experience. However, corporations should make a sincere effort to cater to the customer’s needs.

She illustrated how her items were never shipped and delivered, she did not receive a refund and the customer service proved to be inadequate and incompetent. She responded to many surveys and questionnaires; however, her efforts and struggles were all vain.

This experience instigated a desire in her; to change the customer service system. She questioned the thinking of executives and their perspective if they ever had to witness such an awful experience. And then she was determined to empower the customers and hold employees accountable for any negligence on their behalf.

She invited executives from all companies and recorded their responses to such customer service and their terrible experiences with CX. She believes it is time to evolve now and rise beyond the meaningless laurels of appreciation. I completely agree with her and suggest you all treat your customers with the utmost respect and regard.

3.   Rescuers at Your Doorsteps!

The prevailing global pandemic has halted many markets’ functionality and has compelled workers to shut themselves in their houses. The scare of COVID-19 has been surpassed by difficulties in continuing to work from home and earning a decent living just by a sitting confined in a room with hours eyes fixated on a laptop, hours on end.

Vasupradha Srinivasan brought the efforts and dedication of service providers to light. She praised their struggle to go out of the way and ensure the maximum satisfaction of their customers. They lubricated the process of working from home without any major inconvenience.

The service providers accommodated their agents, provided sufficient equipment, and granted their customers access to secure internet connections.

Head over to the official post to read more about the generosity and devotion to the work of these superstars!

4.   Can You as a Marketer, Read Customer’s Mind?

Have you noticed how the digital age of marketing has completely altered the way a marketer accesses information regarding their customers? Have you kept yourself updated with modern marketeering tactics that ensure the services you provide remain remarkable by following the digital traces that their customers leave behind? If no, then this blog post is a must-read for you!

Ultimately, it all comes down to the Customer Experience; whether you’ve kept them satisfied with your product upgrades or not, or whether they have had unsatisfactory experiences with other of their purchases.

To cater to such complications, Annette Franz encapsulated her insights on three vital components:

 Customers

Contrary to the popular belief, customer experience extends way beyond the negotiations between the brand organizations and the customers and just their professional relationship. To understand the perspective of your customers you must comprehend their type and develop a personalized relationship with them.

Technology

The new media age and advanced technology have made it easier for marketers to engage in a fruitful relationship with customers. The technology makes it effortless for the marketers to approach the right customers and the analytical tools can help you to make informed decisions regarding investing in customer service.

Data

To earn customers respect you must keep their expectations high and fulfill them. Make sure you have collected all essential statistical data that is obtained through thorough research, questionnaires, and surveys to deliver a personalized experience that cannot be matched by any of your rivals.

In today’s digital world, you are deprived of the live interaction with the customers but you can compensate for this by providing engaging and consistent customer service.

5.   Where Does CX Fall on Your Priority List?

If you can’t master the art of prioritization, you will probably fail at making any vital decision that pertains to the functioning and future of your company. If you want to play it safe and make fruitful bets on your customer service, make sure you are equipped with the apt skills. But all of this is futile if you don’t prioritize giving customers the best experience of their lives. Judy Weader has explicitly talked about this in her blog post.

She proposed three approaches to prioritize and improve the customer experience, which are:

Base decisions on facts and statistical pieces of evidence

Judy described how customer service’s relevant decisions are of grave concern and hold great importance in altering the paradigms of business activities. They have the power to change hefty amounts of revenue, provide job security to workers, and anticipate the future growth of the company. Wouldn’t executives and analysts like to have quantified data and research statistics to make an informed decision?

Two-by-Two Matrix

This concept illustrates the customer’s importance and importance to the business as two individual dimensions. She classified customer importance as pivotal drivers of customer experience, the number of customers facing a similar issue, and the impact of a common complaint affecting the use of product and service. This was positioned against importance to a business that referred to corporate decisions and strategies to improve revenue and minimize risks.

Unanimous Decisions

Judy raises an excellent point about how prioritization doesn’t happen to occur in a business rather it should be a set of choices made and conscious actions performed by the business team collectively. She shed light on how we need to prioritize aspects that are consistent and mutually agreed upon by the whole enterprise.

Conclusion

So, these were my favorite picks from the July’s pots regarding Customer Services and Customer Experience. I found all of these posts to be quite interesting and compelling. It is truly amazing how companies remain undeterred and resilient in these difficult times as we are caught unprepared by this Global Crisis. Comment below and share with us your favorite customer experiences. We would love to hear from you! Also, if you want your next post shared with our audience, just share the link below, in the comment section and we will feature you in our next session! Will meet you next month with some more amazing posts. Till then stay safe!

Top 5 CX Blog Posts in June 2020

Let’s continue where we left off from the last time; appraising the best customer service posts available on the web. In this series, I will share with you my Top 5 CX Blog Posts which include all the best customer service, customer success, and customer experiences stories I can find. I will not be following a particular theme so the focal topic of discussion will be reviews of the revamping of customer experiences online.

Like the previous session of the blog post series, I will provide an abridged edition and analysis of the articles that I uncovered in the previous month, June 2020. The following articles are those which I deemed the best for further exploration. If you want to assess these articles in detail, I will be adding their link and you can go check them out. So, let’s begin!

Which Customer Advocacy Type Suits You the Best?

Forrester conducted research that proved that 92% of the marketers claimed that when they interacted with customers after the sale, this improved marketing’s cachet and displayed marketer’s integrity to the customer. 79% of the customers, who were transformed into the marketer’s exponent showed a boost in upselling, cross-sell and it enhanced the value of the product. 

We must develop a credible relationship with the customers to make them feel valued. Laura emphasized on how beneficial it is for us to engage with customers and reciprocate well. It was fascinating how she also identified the perspective of customers and how they perceive the value granted to them. They may become advocates for the marketers but in their specific way.

In her blog post, Laura Ramos classifies the four different types of customer advocates and attributes them based on what they value:

  • Educators: These are the type of customers that tell about their personal experiences and share the best practices that they believe markets should adopt. Marketers usually tend to exploit this trait as they can extract some useful tips from and then turn them into an audience-appealing educational content.
  • Validators:  These customers are engaging, and they provide helpful input in terms of suggestions and feedbacks. They enjoy being included in your customer advisory group and would even publish reviews applauding your work.
  • Status Seekers: This group tends to be aspiring and determined to brand the companies. They thrive under the limelight provide by marketers.
  • Collaborators: This is a popular type. This type looks at those rare opportunities around them and takes joy in experimenting and unraveling new ideas. They might be inclined to invest their resources, but it is not recommended to attain their feedback on your future ventures.

You must define the customer’s advocacy that will optimize your marketing strategy and then you shall determine which type is best suited for you. The more interesting advice from Forrester’s study was “deliver value first and trust that customer references, referrals and other benefits will follow”. Make this your motto and you will succeed undoubtedly.

Is your Business Practice Ideal in the Time of Coronavirus?

Shervin Talieh’s blog post was so emotionally appealing and it highlighted the lack of empathy prevailing in these difficult times. He made compelling points through his post on this amazing site, Help Scout, and convinced people how we need to alter our motives from monetary gains to benefitting humanity. He even added these cogent examples that were desensitized acts of companies that made a solid case for his topic.

As customers, we may often feel that the ‘helpful’ customer service is condescending and offensive and this would be infuriating. For those incorporated in CX, the customer service usually appears to be an obvious aspect. So, as a customer, I can profoundly relate to all of the parts of the post.

For example, Ticketmaster’s response to Covid-19 was so disturbing and inhuman. How they refused to refund the tickets people spent hefty amounts on and revert this decision only after massive scrutiny. He emphasized frequently the significance of prioritizing small acts of humanity in this time of global pandemic and even illustrated many ways that people could easily follow.

I liked how Shervin connected with the human side of individuals through his post and educated us about how we can salvage our business by being honest with customers and sharing the state of business with them. Also, we should make our customers feel valued, appreciated, heard, and respected. Along with these, he shared some of his wonderful insights that will help you to maintain a healthy relationship with the customer.

I completely agree with Shervin and his understanding of acquired business practices in these tough times. He advised all of us to re-examine our KPIs and the metrics we value along with much other rightful guidance to be followed.

Tough Times for Tough Measures!

 spoke the heart out of customers when he said, “Nothing else will matter to your customers if their basic need to feel safe is not fulfilled by the experience you are delivering”. He is correct! In this global crisis, we can only gain the trust of customers if we make them feel safe and protected. So, in this post on People Metrics, Sean condensed his knowledge into five effective recommendations will you to re-establish your VoC program.

You have to make sure that you prioritize customer’s safety and you show them that you have taken all the essential precautions. Before everything, YOU MUST mention the safety question. Ask the customer if they felt safe during this visit and this will show your utmost concern. It was a brilliant suggestion to add an open-ended question after it. I mean the customer would fall in love with how much concerned you are for their safety and well-being. If someone replies that they did not feel safe, you must confide in them and ask how you could have improved. Investigate the root cause; this will be gold. Customers will see how devoted you are to make everything safe.

For any customer experience expert or VoC professional out there, make it your utmost priority to respond to the feedback and act on it. Credit the customers’ remarks as a holy mantra that you shall abide by as these tough times call for tough measures too!

Employees are the new priority!

I agree with Anette that no one was prepared for the imposed adversities of Covid-19 and it has been challenging for the employees to adjust with the temporarily altered work laws. As a worker, imagine no 100% motivation or encouragement for you as you won’t be physically present in the workplace.

This set of ways that Anette drafted and publicized through her blog post on CX Journey helps us to engage the workforce from home and create a virtual work environment that is closely related to the actual setting.

  • Maintain the organization’s culture and operate with correspondence to core values
  • Effective communication to share updates and keep the employees’ morale high
  • Providing feedback to improve the productivity of workers
  • Correct allocation of tools and resources
  • Rightful autonomy and empowerment as you have to trust the employees; you cannot monitor all their actions

Do not be discouraged by the setbacks as it is a difficult time for everyone so not all things will go according to your plan. I know up until now we have focused greatly on how important it is to establish a healthy relationship with the customer but think how can you create an effective relationship if your own company is broken? So, make sure your employees are satisfied and you have a good connection with them. Anette’s long-term customer experiences make her words credible and influential.

The Digital Takeover in Covid-19

Covid-19 crisis has taken a massive hit on the retail market and companies have suffered significant losses due to it. Jonathan Wharrad, through his blog post on Essential Retail, shared his insights about the incorporation of digital facilities in the businesses. He explained how companies all over are recovering by revamping their business models and adapting to modern techniques.

As you know in these challenging times, customers require assurance that all health and safety regulations are being followed. So, the companies are utilizing devices like cameras to monitor crowds and robots to kill the germs on food packaging and other surfaces. I mean how cool is that!

The popularity that contactless has garnered is amazing and its use is so beneficial for people. The most important constant through all of this hassle has been a connection with customers. Customers are prudent that the brands will engage with them and maintain their utility by developing a digital relationship with them and keeping track of their needs and suggestions.

Interestingly, this will redefine personalized marketing on a greater scale. But Jonathan has rightfully predicted that our reliance on technology will grow and he has warned the retailers to boost digital marketing so that brands can keep up will the shopping patterns of the customers and not lose them!

Conclusion

So, this is a wrap for my favorite Customer Experience and Customer Services blog posts for June 2020. To be honest, these articles were quite fascinating, and it is amazing how all companies are dealing with this massive global crisis for the first time and still managing to win customers’ hearts and validations. Comment below and share your thoughts and reviews. Also, if want to share your post with our audience then feel free to share the link in the comments and we will feature it in the next session! We will be back with the next batch of articles soon!

 

How do you measure First Call Resolution?

Before we discuss the best method to measure First Call Resolution (FCR), it is probably important to understand what it actually is and why it matters.

What is First Call Resolution?  

First Call Resolution in its simplest form it is a measurement used by most technical call centers to determine how often a customer’s call is resolved at the first interaction. FCR makes a difference for two different reasons.

  • Customers that call back, add additional volume to the queue on top of the volume already there. This impacts all consumers and depending on how you prioritize calls can significantly impact some callers.
  • Customers that have to call back for the same problem time after time tend to have a very negative customer experience overall and transitioning them to an advocate of the company is quite difficult.

Measuring FCR 

Now while it’s fairly easy to state that measuring FCR is simply a calculation of how often a call is resolved at the first interaction, measuring it gets a bit difficult as you can well imagine.  Depending on the CRM you are using you might be able to set different intervals. If you do not have a CRM at all, check out my guide on the best CRM for 2020 to get started.

Depending on how you are tracking customer issues – if you are able to correlate the customers to their issues you should be able to pull reports that inform you if/when a customer issue is re-opened and that metric would apply as a negative value. 

    In addition, you must account for the time of reports and the potential of customers re-opening closed issues incorrectly. As I’ve mentioned, you need to determine an appropriate time frame as customers will often utilize the same (fixed) issue when reporting a new issue regardless of if the issue has re-occurred or not. 

    If you do not have such a tool available or in house, measurement gets significantly more difficult.  In this case, I’d recommend that you at the very least get a simple and free CRM like HubSpot. The benefits you’ll see from this tool will make the investment of time well worth it.

    As a starting point, you should aim for 5-10 days as your target time frame for FCR.  Any reports after this period in time would count as a new issue. If you are unable to correlate customer reports by a CRM system, you might be able to pull information from your phone system or ACD/IVR system although this does get a little bit more difficult and complicated. 

    Customer Surveys 

    Now in addition to measuring from a customer report perspective, you can also utilize Customer Survey’s to determine what the first call resolution is from a customer perspective.  However, this is a very “subjective” measurement as it is very dependent on the customer’s mindset and viewpoint and might be unrelated to the question being asked. It’s important to realize and understand that tools like Customer Satisfaction Surveys and company NPS scores are backward-looking.

    Basically they consider something that has already happened. Companies and organizations interested in improving customer experience need to look at customer roadmaps and understand the pain-points/touchpoints for customers at each step. Once this understanding is in place throughout an organization, plans can be made to rectify problem issues and areas.

    Can FCR be Improved?

    There are ways to improve FCR and one of them might be a bit surprising. Simply put – remove the consumer from the phone. By using Omnichannel tools like LiveChat, clients have different ways to reach you and your team. It does not solve the problem of providing the wrong answer from the start – that is something only training can really address & that applies to employees as well as customer training.

    Chat however gives your consumers an alternative channel or path to your team. This is a benefit for several reasons:

    • If they are contacting you again for a follow up on an existing issue, by using chat, they can get quick answers to specific information and areas without impacting the overall phone queue.
    • Chatbots can also help in other ways. By using AI learning and knowledge, it is possible to provide consumers with answers to not just the question they are asking now, but also the question they will ask next!

    What is FCR Good for? 

    Is First Call Resolution a useful metric?  By itself, it probably isn’t.  FCR is dependent on historical data and trending.  The goal at all times should be to improve the FCR that you are providing to your customer as that ensures they are getting a speedy and useful resolution to all of their issues at their first call.

    So if your initial measurement of FCR is 80% (i.e. 80% of issues resolved at the first call) your goal should be to aim for 85% in a reasonable time frame, and so on as time progresses.  In addition to the goal of improving the FCR %’ age, you also need to determine and this is where your reports come in useful – why are your customers calling? 

    More than likely you will find that the 80/20 rule applies here – i.e. 80% of your contacts are due to 20 issues.  If you can focus on those 20 issues, you will drive down your overall quantity of issues quite significantly.

    The 7 Benefits of AI in Customer Service

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been around for a while in the realm of SciFi. However, we are seeing it more and more in the world of business. Shown as a negative in the Terminator franchise, it does also have some very positive connotations.

    As we keep adding more and more features to AI technology, its benefits become more visible and spreadable. Customer service is one of the areas that can rely heavily on AI if set up correctly. As customer service feeds into the entire organization, the benefits of AI can quickly be realized by the entire organization.

    With businesses moving online to an ever greater degree, customer service plays an even larger role. Currently, due to the impact of COVID-19 around the world, companies are looking for tools that can help them. This could be due to being forced to furlough employees, but also an even greater demand for online infrastructure. Systems and companies that previously required manual intervention, need AI to move forward.

    The following benefits are some of the most important for AI in customer service. However, limiting them to just a few of them would not reflect the huge effect that AI is having in this area. In addition, every day, we can see how new ways to use it emerge.

    1. Handling Large Volumes of Data

    As the interaction with customers grows, so does the generation of data about them. But obtaining such huge amounts of data would be useless without AI. Humans can’t process endless amounts of data. Due to that, AI is an invaluable tool.

    By processing data with AI, it is possible to obtain powerful insights and predictions about customers’ behaviors. This allows creating targeted marketing campaigns and solving the most complicated issues about their inquiries and complaints. It is important to have a powerful and robust CRM in your corner for the data that you are gathering as Excel sheets will simply not cut it.

    2. Reduce Average Handling Time (AHT)

    This is one of the most remarkable benefits of AI in customer service. Such importance comes from the customers themselves who used to complain about the time they had to wait to obtain service and support.

    Nowadays, chatbots answer basic inquiries and requests immediately. Customers also get reminders and notifications in advance. They can receive their products in 24 hours or less and can track them easily through delivery systems and programs. Some services and intangibles products are delivered online, and clients can enjoy them almost immediately too.

    3. Customize Products Offerings to Drive Up Sales

    Customization is the new frontier of customer service. As customers already know they can get it, they demand it more and more.

    What looks even more promising is the fact that customization can reach many levels of service. For instance, it may start with personalized emails that consider preferences, tastes, geo-localization, previous purchases, and more. Then, chatbots and customer support agents can use it to improve the interaction with them.

    4. Effective Omnichannel Presence

    The presence of multiple channels that allow interacting with customers in many ways brought many positive changes. Firstly, customers seem to be always reachable in one way or another. Secondly, most of those channels are friendly networks that encourage customers to keep in touch with many sources.

    But multiple channels also brought new challenges as they represent a lot of data and channels to cover. In this sense, AI became the ideal way to handle them all. Firstly, AI can rapidly collect and process data from multiple sources.

    Secondly, AI allows centralizing files about each client and their interactions through different channels. With this information, it is possible to provide superb customer service that takes into consideration all the communications from the customer.

    By having a single CRM at the backend that can gather all of the information needed, all of your agents will have access. In addition to this, CRMs like Hubspot provide powerful reporting and dashboards. This lets you better manage your customers and their expectations regardless of the channel.

    5. Positive and Seamless Experience with a Company

    As companies implement AI tools through their operations, customers have the opportunity to improve their interaction. This is to say that when every touchpoint includes an AI, the entire process becomes easier to handle.

    For instance, one customer can receive personalized emails with recommendations that target his unique preferences. Then, the customer tracks its reception by using AI platforms that allow him to verify when he will receive the products.

    After that, the customer can provide feedback and reach customer support through chatbots. In the end, the customer obtains all the services he needed to buy, receive, and use the products in a very positive and seamless way.

    Leading companies like Amazon cover the entire process in this way. And every day, more and more businesses implement more steps to cover the same processes.

    6. Optimize Resources

    When businesses use AI in customer service areas, their resources automatically reach an optimal balance. Such optimization comes in many ways. For instance, if a company installs chatbots, a customer support agent can be more efficient in handling complicated inquiries, requests, and complaints.

    Another example comes from the data that some retailers collect to fulfill their stores. They can select what they predict and base their decisions on the data they collect from customers.

    In the customer service sector, there has long been a fear of AI and ML removing jobs. While this is true to some extent, it must be realized that in reality, it’s not about job removal but rather job creation. AI at the current time is not intelligent enough to be left fully unbridled. It will require human intervention. What is much more likely to happen is that AI will replace simple, menial tasks and jobs, letting human operators focus on more complex tasks.

    7. 24/7 Availability

    Offering 24/7 availability is particularly important for global companies as they have customers from all over the world in different time zones. Moreover, customers have new patterns of behavior because they use different schedules to sleep and work. Consequently, they need different ways to communicate and interact with customer service areas.

    AI is the solution because this technology can be connected and interacting 24/7 during the entire year. By allowing AI to respond first either through chatbots or self-directed knowledgebase queries, customers continue to receive service, while staff are offline.

    Conclusion

    AI is coming. It’s somewhat inevitable. While the impact will be felt in many industries and businesses, from a customer perspective it is almost entirely positive. This technology is included in almost anything we handle now. And customer service is one of the most benefitted. After all, the goal of its development and evolution was to improve people’s life.

    If we had to choose the most remarkable benefit we would definitively go for the collection and handle of data. This is definitively making a substantial change in the way we do business. Every other AI development relies in one way or another on the use of the data.

    The benefits that we mention here are among the most visible. Certainly, they also affect many other areas too because success in customer service implies benefits for the entire business.

    How Chatbots Improve Customer Experience

    With businesses around the world adjusting their teams and ways of servicing customers, new technologies and tools need to be embraced. Social distancing and isolation are phrases we’d not really heard in our regular parlance. Now they are the only things we hear on a daily basis which can be quite difficult to rationalize. However, while at times it feels like the world is ending individually, there is some comfort in knowing that you are not alone.

    For businesses, remote working is something that needs to be embraced & when we eventually come out of this, the way we live and work will change. Technology changes and enhancements are leading the charge here. In fact, as early as ten years ago, this capability would not have existed. One way that businesses can be more efficient now and in the future is through the use of chatbots.

    Chatbots are conversational interfaces that are revolutionizing customer service. Little by little, they started to show up through different areas, and customers are successfully engaging with them. But a chatbots’ success also relies on the development of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning technologies.

    Although chatbots are still in their infancy, predictions and their effective use are proving they will do nothing but keep growing. In fact, market trends are pointing to a compounded annual growth rate of close to 30%. Currently, big and medium-size enterprises are their main users. Small businesses are going slow but they also are growing due to the sophistication of the technology and the price to implement it.

    By checking how businesses are using chatbots, we can see how they are improving the customer experience.

    How do Chatbots work?

    Chatbots substitute regular communication channels with humans. They do it through computer programs that simulate human conversations. A computer programmer powers them with Artificial Intelligence to collect and interpret human phrases and words to give answers.

    Just as human conversations may include any topic, chatbots can include any topic too. Hence, they have multiple uses. They speed up the communication cycle because they can process the information faster than humans. However, as they are machines, they can´t show the same empathy and ability to relate new terms.

    Businesses found a way to leverage their use by using them to improve the customer experience. Primarily this is through the alignment of a chatbot to a knowledge base. This helps provide customers with a speedier resolution to their most commonly asked questions. In addition, it removes the onus of monotonous work from technical staff. As computer programmers find better ways to include new functions, their use is also expanding to more CX areas.

    One useful way to determine how chatbots improve CX is by taking a look at their different uses as follows.

    Customer Support

    Currently, this is one of the most popular areas to use CX chatbots. You can find them in chat windows on websites. Sometimes they activate automatically to offer help. Other times they offer the first response when you try to reach a customer support agent. And, the most advanced versions can give you full support to solve inquiries and complaints.

    As the problems become more complex in scope they can also help refer the customer to more senior staff. Chatbots are great in this area as they dramatically improve first call resolution (FCR) and help improve customer satisfaction.

    LiveChat is a simple and beautifully designed tool for online communication between a company and its customers. Now your clients can contact you faster and easier than ever before.

    LiveChat offers a built-in ticketing system, offline messages, canned responses, customer message preview, exportable reports and SSL encryption.

    It’s possible to fully customize LiveChat widget with CSS styles. The customization can differ for domains and pages. It comes with many native integrations like WordPress, Shopify, AdWords, Mailchimp or Facebook. It also allows you to build your own integrations, as you get access to powerful API.

    LiveChat support is available 24/7 so you can reach them at any time you need to.

    Sign up for a free, 14-day trial to test out all the features!

    Reminder

    People interact with businesses for many reasons. Whilst they have to complete payments, send information, and more. Those activities have to be completed on different days and times, and chatbots can act as very effective reminder services.

    Service Provider

    Some chatbots can provide a complete set of services. They may offer advice, initial therapy, and more. The limit of the chatbots depends on the amount of information that you can include and the type of service you can provide. Ultimately, customers have the last word to decide if they like it or not. So, we still have a lot more to see and try.

    Selling/Buying assistant

    When people are trying to decide what to buy, they face many options and try to solve any doubts. In such cases, chatbots prove to be very useful as they can offer information to compare products, prices, and features.

    On the other hand, chatbots can provide help to sales agents and the entire sales department to provide information and guide a customer through the sales funnel.

    LiveChat is an online customer service tool for ecommerce. It opens up a new sales and support channel that can complement your email and phone use. With features like visitor monitoring, built-in ticketing system and many integrations, you’re ready to serve your customers from one place.

    You can use LiveChat from your favorite browser or via desktop apps for OSX and Windows. When you’re on the go, you can simply turn the mobile app on and talk to customer from any place and at any time. You can also place LiveChat on your Facebook page and reply to messages and comments directly from the app.

    Ready to go? Sign up for a free 14-day trial to test out all the features!

    Specific Improvements from Chatbots

    Overall, when chatbots can solve customers’ inquiries and help them to satisfy their needs, we can say they improve the CX. So, this is how chatbots improve CX.

    Significant reduction in response times

    Whenever some people get in touch with chatbots, they obtain a fast answer or acknowledgment of receipt to their requests. This is the most outstanding feature of chatbots. Even if there are many customers connected at the same time, chatbots can respond simultaneously to many requests at high speed.

    This speed comes as a result of using Artificial Intelligence and other last generation technology that speed up all the processes. ChatBot gives you the flexibility you need. Just create a chatbot scenario and let the bot handle customer service 24/7/365.

    Sign up for a free, 14-day trial to test out all the features!

    Chatbots can be connected 24/7 without human support. Once they get installed, they start working automatically. This availability allows customers to reach the business at any time of the day and get satisfactory answers to their requests.

    In these trying times, this is even more important than normal as staff around the world are impacted. While chatbots cannot and will not take the place of humans, they can provide simple solutions quickly and easily.

    Knowledge Base Integration

    Chatbots have a huge capacity to store knowledge by integrating with other internal systems. This capacity will definitely allow them to provide answers to commonly asked questions and as a result, they can offer more answers to customers.

    ChatBot provides the best bot platform for designing, building and deploying conversational chatbots to talk to customers and to provide information to users. With support for one-click integrations with Facebook Messenger and a range of other services, you can run powerful and intelligent bots in no time. ChatBot allows using entities, creating conversational scenarios, and it leverages both Natural Learning Processing and Machine Learning to develop a human-like experience for customers.

    Sign up for a free, 14-day trial to test out all the features!

    When chatbots work, they can collect all the data from customers and process it to provide useful stats. As they are fast to obtain and process the data, you can obtain benefits from such data in a short time.

    Reduction in Costs of Operation

    Programing and installment of chatbots require an initial investment. Then, they also need some costs for maintenance. However, it needs less investment than human agents due to the following:

    • They don’t quit or need replacement by other agents.
    • They don’t need time to learn and get training either.
    • Chatbots don’t occupy physical space

    ChatBot is a one-in-all solution that lets you create fully operating chatbots. The scenario tree structure and drag and drop interface are very intuitive. Quick Academy lessons can guide you through more complex topics such as capturing user data, using filters and training your bot. You can publish your bot in seconds using one-click integrations with popular messaging apps, and live chat services or just use a Chat Widget.

    Sign up for a free, 14-day trial to test out all the features!

    Control of Bad mood and Bad temper

    Due that chatbots are machines, they neither have emotional reactions nor are affected by emotional bursts. Therefore, your agents are safe and don´t have to handle these types of difficult situations.

    When it occurs before getting in touch with a customer agent, they can be prepared by checking the communication history between the chatbot and the user to prevent any issue. This is critical as sadly situations with irate customers are at times bound to happen. If you can get a bit of a heads up, it cannot hurt.

    CONCLUSION

    Chatbots are gaining relevance due to all the advantages they provide to improve CX. They also add value to businesses by easing many companies´ processes. Although we still have to see more of what they can offer, they already proved many of their benefits.

    With time, many more businesses’ lines will be able to implement a chatbot as part of their CX strategies. Therefore, an important part of the future belongs to them.

    8 Trends that will Drive the Future of Digital Customer Experience in 2020

    Products and services are simply commodities now. There are probably hundreds of companies around the world that can offer what you are offering. I’m sorry to surprise you, but in this, you are not that unique. However, the way you service your customers can change how they perceive you. This is where customer experience matters.

    The introduction of new technologies in the equation of customer experience changed forever the way that customers and businesses interact. Every year, new tech rises, and businesses try to adapt their internal processes to adopt it. On the other hand, it molds the way that humans handle the CX too.

    This year is no exception, and it includes a new set of tech-related trends that are already shaping the customer experience. As technology tools take the lead this year again, there is a growing need for balancing them with human abilities. In this sense, we could affirm that seeking that balance is a trend too.

    This text will show some of the hottest trends to interact with customers and some effective ways to handle them. After all, digital tools always need humans behind them.

    1. Voice Search

    Without a doubt, this is one of the hottest trends for 2020. Although this technology became available in the past, platforms like Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa turned it more friendly. Also, these types of platforms improved significantly the quality of the results.

    Overall, there is a clear pattern of users increasing their preference for voice technology. That includes other methods like WhatsApp messaging and similar. Little by little voice searches are gaining terrain, and customers also want the chance to talk at some point with representatives. Therefore, implementing this trend will also become one of the most challenging options for many businesses.

    2. Local over Global

    Despite the presence of many global brands all around the world, many people try to obtain a local experience from them. That might include the same language, nearby stores, local menus, and more. It means that businesses need to adapt their Customer Experience strategies to satisfy local demands.

    Currently, there are many apps and programs to allow businesses to find their place in local markets. Among them, you can find listings in local directories, positioning brand names in local markets through digital strategies, just to name a few.

    Moreover, some businesses try to open office branches in more cities to get closer to their customers. And customers welcome them by choosing their proposals. Companies that need help with this should contact a developer to help them build a suitable application to service their needs.

    3. Chatbots and Customer Experience

    This year, this is the tool that best represents the rise of Artificial Intelligence for CX in 2020. It allows businesses to offer 24/7 support and speed up the relationship with customers. However, it is still limited to solve basic problems.

    In this sense, the biggest challenge will be to include as many solutions as possible using chatbots. Customers are already engaged with chatbots, and they only need to get more benefits to keep going ahead with them.

    On the other hand, human customer support will have to prepare for more challenging requests. That´s because basics stuff will be handled by chatbots, and when customers effectively reach an agent, it would be for important issues.

    4. Segmentation

    In previous years, omnichannel strategies took a privileged position. But now segmentation is the new rule. Customers only want to receive the information and attention that is relevant to their lifestyle and tastes. And they want to get it from specific channels. For many of them, the omnichannel contact seemed to be overwhelming.

    Fortunately, businesses can collect much data from many different sources. The challenge will be to be able to organize it well to obtain accurate profiles. Besides traditional segmentation, the business will have to dig into new behavioral patterns. It will require using the data more effectively.
    Also, businesses will try to expand the use of segmentation to handle their relationships with their employees, providers, and partners. After all, they have a direct influence on customers.

    5. Self-Help in Customer Experience

    DIY is ruling the world now. It seems that everyone can learn from YouTube videos and education platforms. Due to this, all types of businesses have the opportunity to show their customers how to use their products and services. And customers are actively using such platforms.

    To be successful in attracting clients, businesses will have to produce high-quality videos, guides, and texts. Currently, many websites offer blogs with a lot of information. But that is not enough. Companies will have to evolve to help their customers to learn.

    6. Multisensory Experiences

    As virtual reality and augmented reality become widely available, brands will start offering them to expand the way they engage with their clients. Nowadays, businesses are already trying to implement them. But it might take more time before it becomes more popular.

    To increase the number of customers who can use these methods, there will have to be more equipment and devices available. Those businesses that use them first will obtain the best engagement.

    7. Internet of Things (IoT)

    This is a major trend that will go even further this year. It has two sides. Firstly, the data it can collect from the constant use of multiple devices. Businesses can use this data to personalize even more their products services. Secondly, is the development of all kinds of programs and software that ease people´s life.

    In any case, the 5G network is already on its way. Although the USA-China tensions to decide who leads the network, it is ready to go and implement.

    8. Clean and Accurate Data

    Businesses offer a lot of information to satisfy customers’ needs. Trends to consume such information are already in use. But customers are demanding more quality when it comes to accuracy. In this sense, these are some areas where businesses will have to improve this strategy, and some examples include:

    • Accurate and clean data about phones and addresses in directory listings
    • Direct answers to customer´s questions.
    • Relevant information about the business´ operations
    • Updates about offers and promotions

    To sum up, 2020 is bringing new challenges in digital customer experience. Fortunately, customers know well how to figure out what they want and need. And businesses just need to follow their path. When a digital trend appears is because customers show clear preferences toward them.

    Unlike previous years, now everybody is familiar with digital interactions to develop customer experiences. And that is especially good if we consider how far the new solutions are going. From all the above trends, some are going very strongly, such as the chatbots and local experiences.

    Others, like multisensory experiences, will need more time to go massive. However, those that are already implementing them are showing huge success.

    Do the Grammys Epitomize True Customer Experience?

    I’m not a huge fan of modern music to be 100% honest. I’m still stuck in the 80’s and 90’s when it comes to my favorite songs. So you’d probably be surprised that I’m commenting on the “The Grammys – the biggest show in music!” Well, let’s just say that I have a daughter who’s probably one of the biggest Jonas Bros fans so I was forced to watch the show. Now, I’d not normally be commenting on a music show on Customer Experience website. However, right from the start Alicia Keyes did some stuff that stuck out as perfect and lessons we could all learn from.

    Don’t Hide From the Truth

    Sadly, today is the day that Kobe Bryant and his daughter died in a helicopter crash. Now, I’m not a huge basketball fan. As a proud Canadian from Toronto, I followed the Raptor’s run for the title with rapt attention. But I’m not ashamed to admit that I was a latecomer to the party. Despite my lack of basketball experience or knowledge, I had heard of Kobe Bryant. I cannot recite his stats from memory, but I knew that he had a significant impact on the game.

    With his death I really wondered what they would do on the show and if they would acknowledge it or just gloss over it. I expected that they would simply state that he’d died and then briefly mention him. After all, these shows are planned out weeks and months before they are filmed and I was not expecting any major changes.

    I was, however, very pleasantly surprised. At the Grammys, Alicia Keyes not only spoke about Kobe, but she also went one step further. With Boyz II Men, Alicia gave an extremely moving tribute to him, his impact and the impact his loss would have on others. It was done well and it was done with respect.

    Treat Your Clients Well

    Now, since we’re talking about award shows, let’s continue that topic. The Golden Globes was hosted by Ricky Gervais. This show was actually something I was interested in as it’s about TV and movies. The contrast between Ricky and Alicia could not be more pronounced though. It is almost like night and day.

    Alicia at the Grammys epitomizes talent with her introduction and launch of the show. Her skill on the piano and ability to riff on the fly is astounding. Ricky Gervais, however, went with a completely different tack. His focus was not on building up, but rather tearing down. While I don’t necessarily disagree with everything he said. In fact, in some ways, I agree with his statements. It is more how he said it & who he said it to. His “targets” were definitely the self-centred actors which is fair. Unfortunately, as a host, his clients were us. His attitude and treatment of the actors was disrespectful at a minimum. Worse, his ongoing attitude throughout the show continued that trend.

    It was disappointing and demeaning. It actually devalued Ricky Gervais in my eyes as he is capable of so much more. He could have delivered the same message in a much more professional manner. I can only imagine how he would have acted or treated the death of Kobe in his monologue. If he would have received a mention at all, it would probably have not been anything worth remembering.

    Empathize With Your Clients

    One of the tenants of good customer experience is the ability to empathize with your clients. Alicia and the Grammys have demonstrated this throughout the show. Aside from a frequent mention of the importance of family and community, they have emphasized the importance Kobe played on the people of LA. This was well done and something I can get behind.

    I don’t know if my music tastes have changed. I do know that I will watch the Grammy’s next year without being forced to by my daughter. I’m curious to see if they can surpass this show and improve their customer experience even further. Well done Alicia. Well done, Grammy’s.

    STOP PLACING THE BURDEN FOR GOOD CX ON YOUR CUSTOMERS

    This post was originally published on CX Expert. It has been updated to reflect current market trends and new research.

    What do you understand by customer experience?

    My understanding of customer experience is the customer’s cumulative attitude and feelings towards the interactions and quality of services provided by the supplier or the supplier’s employees.

    Customer care determines how a customer perceives the brand. To create a good customer experience, a business owner should ask themselves, “What do my customers want?” All successful companies and business owners ask themselves this question.

    A business owner should take the following points into consideration to improve their customer experience:-

    Observe

    Customers go through a system of mini-experiences that add up together to form what they refer to as customer experience of a given company or business during their interactions with a company or business. Companies need to observe and view the world as their customers. This helps companies to reorganize themselves around the needs of the customers.

    Shape

    Customer experience has to be designed by shaping all the interactions into desired sequences. This will involve creating and establishing the company cultures and the introduction of new approaches that of course blend well with modern technological advancement. 

    Perform

    The first two points involve establishing a system of customer care. They basically are writing the customer care constitution of the company in question. Now, sometimes just writing the constitution is not the hardest part, implementing it is. Getting your employees to provide the good customer experience that you intend for your customers is not something you wake up and do but takes time, probably years, to get cemented and becomes a culture in your business.

    Let’s take an example so you see what I’m talking about.

    I have a friend that bought a laptop. The laptop came installed with the Windows 8 operating system. He didn’t want Windows 8 though, he wanted Windows 10. He didn’t think it was a big deal though, he would get Windows 10 and install it himself, so he thought.

    Unfortunately, when he tried installing windows 8 on the laptop, he got an error message. It turns out the laptop wasn’t compatible with windows 10. He tried contacting the store and every time they presented him with a series of emails explaining to him on how he should go about it and every time, it didn’t work.

    He personally took the laptop to the store and the response was exactly the same. Nobody at the store was willing to take it upon themselves and install the OS for him instead, they just kept telling him what he should do.

    He was so frustrated and really felt the customer experience of the store was of very poor quality. Meanwhile, the employees at the store felt they were offering the best customer experience considering how eager they were at asking him to submit his reviews on customer satisfaction.

    Their attitude was that the customer should bear the burden of ensuring the product they bought was working properly and to their satisfaction. The store was losing customers for placing the burden of customer satisfaction and good results on the customer instead of considering the three points I stated initially to rewire their company and create a good customer experience culture.

    Good customer experience is supposed to make it easier for a customer to purchase your product, not harder. In the modern world, almost every product you offer is being offered by many other businesses and companies and individuals. The competition is high. Customers are looking for the slightest hurdles, and that will justify their moving from you to another supplier. The options are too many. Don’t let a basic thing like Customer experience keep customers away from your business. Master the three points or customer experience, observe, shape, perform.

    The customer is always right, and any change that needs to happen should be done by the businessperson.

    What the Business Should Do To Improve CX

    Now that I have explained that the burden of a good CX lies with the business owner and not the customer, so what should the business owner do to improve their CX?

    Be Likeable to Your Customers.

    This involves making it easier for the customer and not easier for you. Don’t come up with terms and conditions that are favorable to you at the expense of the customer. Observe and shape the areas where you receive complaints from the customers. It is important that in your observe phase, you involve the customer. You can get their views through having suggestion boxes and giving them voluntary questionnaires to fill after interaction with them.

    Develop a Fan Culture

    An important part of CX is the culture of the business.

    A customer buys your product at their own convenience, but a fan will go through hurdles and obstacles just to buy your product. Fans will keep you afloat even in the hard times.

    Getting fans is not an easy task though.  This could result in a complete overhaul of your business. The overhaul should be done with the customer as the centerpiece – the transformation should be such that everything else revolves around the customer. Your research should ask the right questions – especially those whose answers you don’t like to hear – they are normally the most transformative. Focus on what the customer wants and feels other than the quantitative “how many ………….. how much ……… .” Type of questions.

    Conclusion

    The customer is always right – even when s/he is wrong.

    In the modern era of social media, this is not just a buzzword to get business owners to do better. This is actually a do or die thing – you only need a few dissatisfied customers on social media complaining about your poor handling of customers and boom! Your business is in shatters.

    However, a good CX can save you from this. Having the majority of your customers happy about not just your product but also how they were handled by you or your employees could earn you more than you bargained for. Customers are not going to be so happy if you insist on having them cater for themselves during interactions with your business. This burden shouldn’t be born by your customers but you.

    Customer Care Cheat Sheet

    May 2019 was the time I last vented my frustration online about a horrible Hard Disk replacement experience I had been through. I also promised a follow-up if something related happens again. It didn’t take much longer to happen. Another hard drive of mine failed last month, and I had to submit an RMA request for it. The hard drive that failed this time was from a different company, Western Digital. These two replacement experiences fell in stark contrast to each other and became a perfect example to understand how to deal with customers.

    Well, if you want to be that ‘be different’ company and for some particular reason and want to drive your customers away, then sure, head over to this hilarious article. But if you are in for the long haul, then just see what these guys at WD did right. It turns out; they carefully implemented all the to-dos for excellent customer experience displaying a stellar example of how things need to be done.

    Less Waiting Time

    After being welcomed with a much-needed breeze of AC on a sunny day, their office felt like heaven. A well-organized stack of numerous hard drives was on my left, and few guys dressed in the company’s shirt were standing on my right, strangely smiling as if they were waiting just for me. The soothing fragrance of a freshly mopped floor was one of those unnecessary details that added up to the experience which I am so excited to share.

    The three replacement counters in front of me had a short queue each. One of these smiling guys approached me and asked me to join the line, as I was waiting in the queue, he verified my documents. The waiting time was brief, and I successfully submitted my HDD for replacement. This whole experience was the complete opposite of what I had in May, where I had to wait in queue for almost an hour and wasn’t given any satisfactory service. I agree the staff might be the problem, but it spoiled my impression of them anyway.

    Verifying my documents beforehand saved the time of the executive behind the counter and also prevented me from wasting my time in the queue if my documents were incomplete. Fortunately, this time, they weren’t.

    There were two things that you can learn from this; Firstly, if possible, reduce the waiting time of customers by dividing the waiting queue into several small queues. Secondly, allowing other employees to assist each other, which in turn makes your organization’s operation much smoother and efficient.

    Connect

    It was very simple for him to come and approach me with a smile, but that small action etched a great first impression in my mind about him and the staff. Those friendly initial greetings established the tone we had for the rest of our conversation. The thing that pulled my attention the most was his concern to help me solve my problem. He genuinely listened to my concerns and happily answered everything I inquired about.

    In the end, he also made a comment about my phone, “Nice phone, man! I’m saving up to buy this one too.” Even though that was completely unnecessary it helped me in getting more comfortable with him.

    I would ask you to recall your last poor customer service experience where the attendant hearing your queries actually showed interest in them. I bet you can’t remember anything like that. The point here is that, customer personnel who actually tries to understand the concerns by making the conversation customized and breathable eventually sets a personal connection with the customer. Which, if not always, could solve the most difficult of situations.

    Utilize your Expertise

    This time, I also wanted to buy a new Hard Disk. Considering my budget and type of requirement, the salesperson picked five different drives for me to choose from. If I was given a choice to look myself from that overwhelmingly big rack of drives, I’m sure I’d have ended up with a Decision Paralysis. Even though I consider myself a techie to some extent, but my knowledge stands nowhere near the expertise of these guys. Getting a second opinion is very advisable. This surely helped me in making the right decision and helped them in making a sale.

    The reason customers seek support during a purchase is that having an expert’s recommendation removes the ‘what if’ factor from their mind and helps them in decision making. Compare this to what I experienced when I went to purchase a Computer Monitor a couple of years back. I went into the shop, and the salesperson simply placed several monitors in front of me to choose from, that’s it. He didn’t tell me much about them, and as expected, I was dumbfounded. I left the shop shortly due to indecisiveness. I was ready for a purchase, but it felt like he wasn’t interested in selling. That’s a missed opportunity, I must say.

    Be Quick

    The whole replacement process of the earlier mentioned company was an absolute mess. I was first required to drop an email to their customer care in which I had to prove that my HDD was indeed failing. After wasting time there, they asked me to fill up an RMA request form, print it out and paste it on the inside of the box which I was supposed to pack my hard drive in. Even after all that I was supposed to drop this HDD to their hostile office myself.

    I do understand these customs are made to prevent forgery, and WD did the same thing, but the difference was in the time I spent in the process. With WD, it took me less than a week to get my drive replaced with brilliant customer service both online and offline. Whereas, I wasted a whole month getting the replacement from the other company. Me getting my drives replaced with this company shows that I’m already a committed customer but the pace at which WD solved my issues ensured that I’d buy from them again. Which I shortly did.

    Make Waiting Pleasurable

    While waiting for a brief amount in the queue, I was offered water and even coffee. The AC’s were at full blast, and the whole office had a peaceful environment, in contrast to what I experienced earlier, where only one counter had the luxury of a working fan. I was sweating while waiting in the queue, and the loud noise of packaging was banging my ears like anything. WD understood, if the customers are going to spend some time waiting, then it should be a pleasant experience.

    Stay True to Your Word

    WD promised me that replacement drive would be delivered within two days and it actually did. A simple thing to do, right? The other company made the same duration of promise, but the delivery took nine days. In the end, they even stopped responding to my emails. If your company sets an expectation and doesn’t adhere to it, there will be problems.

    Even though the WD hard drives are a bit costlier in comparison to that company, it didn’t hurt me much. I’m already assuming they’ve taken this extra premium to serve their customers better. For me, it was worth it.

    It is just a simple thing to understand. If you make it easy for your customers to do business with you, your business would not only prosper, but your customer’s experience will improve as well.

    A Blueprint for Getting and Keeping Customers

    Last year I had a pretty horrible experience that I never shared with you. However, the experience I had has impacted my decisions this year. In Canada when winter hits, everyone scrambles to get winter tires for their vehicles. It’s something that happens every year and you’d think that people would be prepared but in this, I find that I am as fallible as everyone else.

    Well, last year the company that I shopped at for my tires really left me disappointed. This company is quite good normally and they are one of the most popular and well-known stores in Canada, however, their automotive department (specifically tires) is really subpar. They provided little to no information on the differences between different brands, nor did they help me choose, which would be the best option for my vehicle. I was left to my own devices to conduct all of the research. Fortunately, a friend suggested an alternative.

    Related: Customer experience and feedback are two major aspects for successful business

    The following points are the most important to keep your customers with yourself according to my experience:

    Minimize Wait Time

    At the new place, I went to, when I entered the store, there was just one person in front of me in the line, and they were being helped. A lady who was wearing numerous different hats in the office stood up from her desk and approached me with a smiling face.

    While I didn’t ask anything, it gave me the impression that the employees in the store were basically focused on responding to any customer who enters. Give it a thought, that you are standing in a long queue in a store and only one person is behind the counter who was helping the customers, while the others were just there doing god-knows-what behind the counter, not making even a single bit of effort to directly help the customers? How would that make you feel?

    Well, there are two lessons here. First, don’t ever make your customers wait excessively. And second, there will be times when the staff addressing the line won’t be able to help each customer without a long wait. The one thing to do in that situation would be to help or empower other staff to help.

    It would be not fair if I didn’t mention that if you’re drowned with long wait times, then a good outsourcing partner won’t just throw more oil to the problem but will also holistically help you to optimize your staffing and help your entire operation run more smoothly.

    Making Connection

    The first impression I got was when I was helped with a smile. The “Welcome! How may I assist you?” was said with a welcoming tone. The first welcome greeting sets the mood for the rest of the interaction to come. Later on, the salesperson addressed my jacket, which I was sporting. He noticed it was a souvenir from a past location I had visited in and he then talked about that city. This made me think, “Wow, this guy is good!”.

    I want you to recall poor customer service. The service staff serving you showed the least interest as a person. A compassionate customer service professional who gives a personal touch to the interaction is different. They make a connection with the customer and can easily sort out issues easily with disappointed customers.

    Sharing Your Expertise

    A few weeks back, I visited another tire shop (its winter again and my wife’s car needs tires also!). The sales staff showed me no less than ten different types of tires and asked me to choose according to my needs, but he didn’t even explain to me about any difference in the features of the models.

    I ended up walking out of the shop and going to another shop. Comparing this experience to what I’d received earlier was very different. Here the salesperson presented me a few options which were suitable for my vehicle and explained each of them very well along with the prices and their features; then he helped me to choose the tires with the best features that fit within my budget.

    A huge reason why customers contact support is because they want an expert to guide them. My unpleasant tire buying experience in 2018, the salesperson simply said, “We don’t have any tires for your vehicle. You need to go order online. Next customer.” Seemingly helping me, select tires was not part of his job. The big joke was they seemed to have had more tires than the company I chose did. Regardless, as a customer, I was ready to hand him my money, and he essentially communicated that he didn’t want to sell the tires to me. That is a serious loss of customer base.

    Solve the Problem Already

    The experience which I shared, I actually had to go home and order the tires, then impatiently wait for another week before I could have them installed in my vehicle. In comparison to this, my chosen vendor had five different types of tires in stock and installed them within an hour. It’s crucial to note that once my car is in the garage, I’m already committed as a customer. There’s no turning back. By such a nice experience in just an hour, they ensured that they would get my repeat business.

    Related: The impact of customer experience

    Make the Wait Pleasant

    My son was with me during this session, and he was so thrilled by the free popcorn and the activities that were there for the kids while we waited. I was happy with the abundance of available seating and of course, free Wi-Fi. Clearly, this dealer understands that the time customers spend waiting can be more pleasant and have taken adequate measures.

    Keep Your Promises

    They also promised me that they would call when my car will be ready, and they did. It is a simple task from their side, but this is the most important step to keep your customers. Look onto a condition when the company never calls or even picks up their phone, ridiculous right. Setting a standard expectation is one thing. Exceeding those expectations with great customer service is another thing. If you don’t meet or exceed expectations, then your business will soon be in the dust.

    If you follow closely, my tire buying experience in 2018 was painfully long and not very fruitful. My experience with the new company took a little over an hour. While I may have paid slightly more, they’ve obviously taken that small premium and ensured that I get a better experience. But I’d say it was worth it.

    I have stated this earlier, but it is worth repeating. When you enable the customers to do business with you, they’ll not only be with you but will also reassure others about your service, and the network goes on.

    The Growing Usage of Artificial Intelligence in Customer Service

    The rapid advancement of AI technology has led to benefits in numerous business sectors. We have previously talked about their growing popularity in contact centers, but an even more increasingly popular usage for AI is in customer service. It is no wonder that – within three years – 55% of retailers are planning to employ artificial intelligence to improve customer service, according to the 2018 Customer Experience/Unified Commerce Survey.

    To find out why, it is essential to examine how AI works in the field of customer service and the advantages it brings to the table.

    What Artificial Intelligence Can Do

    Scientists are striving to make consumer-to-producer (C2P) communication AI-based and indistinguishable to manual communication. This is far from perfect, but through using complex learning algorithms and studying consumer behavior, AI technology is advancing to an extent that it can replicate most manual interaction.

    Firstly, AI aids in strategic decision-making by tracking trends in consumer behavior through the analysis of readily-available transaction and browsing data. The conduction of this analysis allows digital retailers to refine their product recommendations and personalize their purchase suggestion for each user.

    This does not come off as a surprise as we have formerly discussed how using consumer data can significantly improve customer experience. Most, if not all, large-scale digital retailers employ this feature of AI to attract more demand. For instance, Amazon uses AI to detect a pattern in customers’ browsing and transaction history on the website to make purchase suggestions.

     Secondly, an ever-increasing number of digital service providers are using AI augmented messages. This usage may occasionally be difficult as customers often feel frustrated when they are dealing with a pure bot in live chat support. However, this technology has experienced rapid development within these few years to an extent that – as LivePerson claims- “Half of all customer service interactions are currently highly suitable for bots.”

    LivePerson is one company which is currently working with IBM Watson to transform customer care through the usage of AI augmented messaging. The same augmentation can be adapted to customer care phone calls. As a matter of fact, IBM claims that “customers make more than 270 billion phone calls to customer support lines each year.” Such a high load cannot be adequately handled by manual customer support workers and AI helps relieve the pressure.

    The advancement of voice recognition software and the development of faster self-learning AI will improve the sustainability of using technology to improve customer care. In addition, bots and humans can work hand-in-hand to provide the most sufficient service in customer support. This is possible in both: phone calls and live text support – as seen below.

    Thirdly, AI comes in very handy in streamlining responses to email inquiries. This brings forth numerous advantages. Most importantly, using artificial intelligence can reduce the average handling time (AHT) as it is able to classify the inquiries into different categories so they can be deal with faster and easier. Based on that, the AI can either automatically respond to the inquiry if it classified as a FAQ or it can forward it for human assistance.

    The reduced AHT lead to increased customer satisfaction while the automation of responses leads to reduced consumption of human resources. As such, the usage of AI technology in handling emails provides a win-win situation and leaves no side at loss.

    The Long-term Benefits of AI

    AI provides services which are useful for all types of business, so we can see their usage continuing to grow in the future. This trend is reinforced by the self-learning nature of AI. Self-learning, or deep learning, refers to the phenomena where machines can learn by experience and acquire skills without human involvement. This allows them to improve over time and adapt more effortlessly to the market and consumer behavior.

    Every single day, 2.6 quintillion bytes of data are generated. That number seems incomprehensible to human beings, but AI actively use the data for their improvement through deep learning. This can be directly observed in AI which is fixated on improving customer experience. Most notably, Netflix uses deep-learning AI to analyze patterns in what users watch and personalize movie recommendations accordingly.

    We have spoken earlier about the numerous benefits of Continual Service Improvement (CSI), and the deep-learning aspect of AI provides just that. The implementation of AI in the customer service sector of one’s business will allow it to continually improve in accordance with the ITIL model since the bots will be adopting more over time. Thus, the employment of AI has as many long-term advantages as it has short-term advantages, making it perfect for almost every business model.

    The Growing Prevalence of AI

    In light of all those benefits, one question arises: Will AI ever completely replace humans in the field of customer service? To date, the answer remains a mystery. However, most people do not think so. It is true that AI is able to outperform humans in numerous areas, but one must consider that they are dependent on the first-hand human experience at the end of the day.

    Smart technology such as deep-learning AI LivePerson independently improve but it still lacks many of the qualities which humans uniquely possess, most remarkably human empathy. From the phrasing of sentences to the tone of voice, human empathy plays a crucial role when assisting customers as it paves the road for healthier communication and improved satisfaction. Bots may be able to deal with a situation adequately, but true customer comfort lies in being understood. Such a feeling cannot be replicated by AI, which reinforces the need for a human-bot synergy in customer assistance.

    Nonetheless, scientists are working on enriching bots in this sector by adding different voices and styles of writing. This can be observed in the improvement of chatbots. Using deep-learning, chatbots are becoming more emotionally in tune to the extent that they are even able to help humans overcome fears.

    It is only a matter of time until we see these features used in customer service, further increasing its popularity. Hence, it is never the wrong choice to look into ways of implementing AI technology to improve customer experience.

    The Difference Between Customer Experience and Customer Feedback

    In every business, the most important factor to satisfy to be able to become successful is the customer.  They are the very reason why businesses are willing to spend millions, just to get the attention of the customers.  The purpose here is to convince the customer to patronize their products or services.  And to achieve that, businesses strive to provide good or excellent customer experience and harvest good customer feedback.

    What is Customer Experience?

    Customer experience to me is the interaction, between the customers and the business itself, through its people, logistic, system, and management.  This is the result of all the collective efforts of the whole team, against the experience of their customers.  This includes:

    • How the staff welcomes the customers.  This is a very important factor in business.  The first time a customer step in your establishment/office, they already think of getting something from you.  They already expect that they will be treated with kindness and that the business put value in their presence.  So, if the staff was so welcoming to them, they will be sure of a good customer experience in your resort.
    • How the staff addressed their concerns.  Another way to be able to provide a good experience is being able to address all your customers concerns. Such complaint as leaking, not cold AC, no hot water, etc.  If you are able to address their concerns fast, they will have a good experience.
    • How the staff provides support. Support from staff is a welcome gesture from the new guests.  Supporting your customers in many little things will give your business a good start.

    Providing Excellent Customer Experience

    Since customer experience is important, here are a few tips, on how to make sure your customers will have one good experience:

    • Familiarity with your products/services. This first step is the most important.  Customers will always appreciate when the staffs answer their questions about the products.  Sometimes, a customer’s doesn’t know the location of some items. 
    • Be friendly. Be friendly to anyone that enters your establishment.  A simple smile and greetings will make a difference.  You need to do that to get good feedback as well.  Do not be judgmental towards anybody’s looks.  Treat everyone as equal being as they are the same customers and paid the same amount of money.
    • Training. Training is equally important to provide your customers with good customer experience.  If your staff is trained on standard customer service, there is no reason your customers will not have a good customer experience.
    • Respect.  Respect your customers, and you will also get respect.  And the respect you showed your customers, will then convert into profit.  Customers when you show them respect, they will not forget it.  This will remind them of your resort/hotel when they plan to visit your place again.
    • Be responsive. Some staffs in many businesses are not so responsive when customers are asking for any details.  But, being able to respond accordingly to their queries will make them feel important.

    What is Customer Feedback?

    Customer feedback in my own opinion is the result of the customer’s interaction with your business.  It is written by customers, to be able to show their gratitude for the service offered or they provided feedback to allow customers, to get share their experience of a certain product or services.  They also bring this customer feedback to give businesses to work for improvement.

    The importance of customer feedback on the business

    • It improves products and services. Customer feedback will result in improvement in products and services, because, through it, you will know, the defects of the product. You will have time to make improvements and adjustments regarding their services.
    • Helps to know how customers react.  This will also help you to know how your customers reacted to their experiences in your business.  Getting their feedback, positive or negative, is still beneficial to your business.
    • Shows that you value their opinions.  This signifies that you value what is important to them.  This will change their impression on your business.  This will give them the impression, that they are valued in your business.
    • It makes you aware of the capability of your staff, in dealing with your customers.  Most often, the problem lies in your staff.  They cannot promote your products and services that lead to poor customer feedback.
    • It helps you make adjustments in the operation and management of your business.  Once you get negative feedback, you just have to look at the entire system.  If you need to re-design the system, do it.  If you only need to put some adjustments, then be it.  Then, try to get more customer feedbacks until you have perfected the system.
    • It will be a factor in future business strategies.  Running a business is done in stages.   Getting feedback from customers will make you decide to proceed to the next stage or fixed the current stage before going to the next level.

    Poor customer experience will always result in poor customer feedback.  The best way to give your customer the best experience in your business is to make him at home and comfortable, while they are in your establishment. 

    Giving them the importance and being attentive, to their every need’s, will always result, to their satisfaction.  Once they are satisfied, they will always want to provide customers feedback.

    The success of every business lies in the execution and the customer’s satisfaction.  Failure on this regard will affect the profitability of a business. Unless it is fixed, and customer service is given utmost importance, business is destined to fail.

    A customer’s feedback is just the mirror of how you deal with your customers. Don’t be afraid to get customers feedback, as it will help you redefine your business. 

    10 First Steps to Improve Customer Experience

    A business cannot grow without their customers; therefore, companies work hard to win new customers as well as keep their existing customers. Customer experience is the complete perception of a brand for the customers through several interactions with the company during the journey. It is more feeling orientated than problem orientated. Providing overall good customer experience by a company can lead to building long term relationship with its customers while being good only in one area but struggling in other areas can result in an overall poor experience.

    Customer experience is different from customer service as customer service is only one aspect of the whole customer experience. It can often be about one single point, specific department or individual. A company provides support to customers who are having problems while purchasing its products or services. It plays a significant role because the whole customer experience can be strongly affected by customer service interaction. So, businesses should improve their customer experience if they want to scale.

    Build a customer-focused Culture:

    Building a customer-focused culture purely means making the customer experience a central part of the company’s goals and values. According to seohosting, it is 5 times costlier to get a new customer than to keep an existing one. So, the main goal of the company should be customer satisfaction rather than growth and profits. They should be in constant interaction with their customers at every phase of the journey. Without a customer-focused culture, companies can not really reach strong customer satisfaction levels.

    Every employee has an impact on customers not only the customer-facing employees who interact with the customers so often. The key to a culture change is to Involve all employees. Each person in the company needs to understand how their role can influence customers.

    For example, Zappos uses a customer-centric approach which has been established into their culture to deliver the best customer service and improve customer experience.

    Know who your customers are:

    It is obvious that if you don’t know who your customers are, you will never know what they want, and how you can help them achieve it. All customers do not have the same needs and you can discover several different types of customers with different requirements and expectations.

    To know who your customers are, employees should recognize the targeted customers and think of the services from their viewpoint. Having a complete understanding of the customers through customer engagement data plays a great role in achieving fundamental business goals. It also empowers delivering improved customer experiences across the board. As said by Teradata, only 41% of companies use customer engagement data to update their marketing strategy.

    Mobile customer support:

    As an average user spends more than three hours daily, browsing and using their smartphone. So, the biggest brands offer mobile apps and mobile-friendly websites for their users to capture their attention and engage them. Customers can get their queries resolved on their smartphones that really improve customer satisfaction level. Some of the companies don’t focus on their mobile support so resulting in poor customer experience.

    In the U.S, 63% of people use their smartphones to search for products and customer support every month.

    Live chat support:

    Customers had to wait in a long queue while contacting the company through phone calls so, live chat is now the fastest way for customers to contact a company directly from its website in real time. In the beginning, it was available only in retail websites online but nowadays, this is not limited to eCommerce websites. All well-known brands offer live chat support to improve customer experience.

    Gartner predicts that about 85 percent of businesses will provide a live chat facility on their websites by 2022.

    Social media support:

    Social media support can be an influential communication way for a company to develop strong relationships with the customers, earn trust and build brand awareness. It is not only used for finding more followers or increasing sales, but it is also used for customer experience improvement.

    Younger customers, who normally do not check emails will particularly expect social messaging to be their way to get in touch with companies, brands, and artists. So, it is important for companies to focus deeply on social media support and manage it well. Facebook has more than 2 billion users and Twitter has more than 330 million users. It shows how people are involved in social media.

    An understanding of what other channels are suitable for your customer base:

    Earlier, there used to be only one way to contact a company but now the businesses must provide the most suitable communication channels to make it easy for the customers to get in touch. Customers can use text, message, email, forums and any other way easier for them to contact. Some old age people prefer phone calls to contact while younger people use social media. It is believed that no single communication medium fits for all and depends on the customers.

    Self serve tools:

    Self-service helps the customers to get answers to their questions without the assistance of a representative from the customer service team. The commonly used self-serve tools include FAQs and online discussion forums. Self-serve tools are faster, hence ideal for saving customers’ time. It allows customers to take control of the way they use the service. Self-serve tools are no more a “nice to have” in the website. It is required to provide a positive customer experience.

    Customer self-serve tools also help in reducing the load on customer support representatives and earn enhanced customer loyalty and experience. The study conducted by Dimension Data shows that 73 percent of the customers choose to use self-serve tools provided in the company’s website, instead of using phone calls, live chat, and social media for support.

    Someone to be responsible for customer experience:

    Nearly all the departments of a company do really influence the customer experience. It is not the job of one individual or department. therefore, everyone uses their efforts and enhance things in their own area.

    In most companies, the marketing department helps in improving customer experience as a whole. In some cases, the top management work for it. But there is a customer experience manager that makes a connection between the company and the customer. And this person helps in managing customer experience job across all different departments.

    The ability to research and gather data:

    A survey conducted by Salesforce shows that 57% of the total customers share their personal data with companies to get special offers and discounts. Businesses collect a huge amount of data through many activities. It is important to analyze this data and utilize it for providing personalized services to customers and enhancing the customer experience. This helps a company keep a loyal customer base.

    A report published by ICMI said that 69% of customers pay additional money if they are getting great customer service.

    Ability to benchmark and evaluate:

    The company should be able to collect and gather data trying out different things. Which support service is effective and which one is not. To know answers to all these questions there must be feedback giving the option for the customers. This will help the company to measure the effectiveness of each customer support method.

    Conclusion:

    In today’s technological world and constant access to the internet, every customer wants 24/7 exemplary customer services from a company. So, every company must now try to make better customer service their top priority. It helps the company to take an edge over its competitors.

    How Help Desk Software Increases Your Customer Support ROI

    If you want to invest in customer support software such as Freshdesk, you may be wondering if the cost of the software will pay off. It can be tricky to calculate the return on investment (ROI) of your new tools.

    One of the things you need to consider is if it will bring in revenue. Most help desks are cost centers, but if the software reduces the cost of doing business it is still a benefit. This is one of the most important questions that you must get answers before you start using the software. The software can be effective in measuring the impact of your actions on the business metrics. It is possible to make customer support into a revenue generator and not just a cost center.

    Nowadays, things are changing, and more customer support teams are focusing on driving growth in businesses and proving their worth to the business. Using the right software can make your customer care more effective in generating revenue. Freshdesk, for example, can help you streamline your customer conversations, automate your repetitive work and collaborate with other teams to solve problems faster. Software for help desks should save money and bring money into the business in order to create a return on investment.

    How to Measure Your Investment in Software

    If you are at the stage of putting processes into place to support your business’ customer of if you want to fix some gaps in your system, the right help desk package will ensure that you get back to all clients in a timely manner.

    This is an important baseline to meet. If you miss one email just once, you can cause your customers to stop doing business with you. 86% of customers quit doing business with companies because of poor customer service. 51% of customers quit doing business with a company for one poor customer experience. All the lost customers lead to lost revenue. Read on to understand different ways of investing in help desk software, save revenue in your business, and increase your customer service team’s ROI.

    Move to a Streamlined Queue

    Help desks were originally made around the idea of tickets. This can still be seen at the butcher. You take a ticket number and get services in the order that you came in. Nowadays; your businesses shouldn’t treat customers like tickets anymore.

    It is important to adopt a nuanced approach to organizing questions from customers. You can become adept at managing messages from customers by using modern help desks. You can achieve this by prioritizing customers who seem to be more upset or customers who have a high opportunity of converting to paid customers. Businesses should invest in help desks that offer better management of queue. This will make customer support teams to more effective.

    Self-service Should be Part of Your Customer Service

    Businesses should have the ability to offer content in the form of FAQs and knowledge base articles to help customers be able to help themselves. Businesses should understand that self-service is another form of customer service. Self-service carries the highest ROI for different reasons.

    Customers like being able to help themselves. 70% of customers like to see an option on your website where they can help themselves. If you don’t offer this service, your customers will be frustrated and will need to contact you. On the other hand, 73% of customers prefer researching for answers on their own instead of talking to a human over social media and live chat. 81% of customers also try to help themselves before contacting human support.

    Investing in software that allows self-service keeps the customers happy. Customers will keep coming back when they find it easy and convenient to do business with you. Apart from customers helping themselves, self-service also benefit you as a business owner or manager. Self-service is a cost-effective way of helping customers to resolve issues versus other business help channels. When you get self-service right, it is a cost-effective way of making your customers happy.

    Personalize Each Transaction

    You can build your customer loyalty by investing in your customers. You can focus on building good relationships with your customers beyond transactions. We should form holistic relationships with customers instead of treating the problems of our customers as a series of events that don’t relate to each other.

    You should, first of all, know who your customers are before you think beyond the transaction. If all your customer service team can see is the question at hand, they won’t have a nuanced and personalized conversation about their customers’ needs.

    Your help desk can provide additional context with different conversations. For instance, they might show you the last four conversations the customer initiated. If you have integrated your help desk with your CRM, you can see when the renewal date is coming up. You will also see how many users they are paying for. When the context revolves around the history of the customers, you can tailor your approach. You can easily see what your customers need and offer it.

    Provision of valuable data

    The return of investment of customer support is not always tied to sales . Businesses can also use customer support for research on users. This includes knowing what customers think of your product and how they use the product. You can also know what your customers think of your competition. You need help desk reporting that will capture trends for you to get all the information you need from your conversations.

    You can use important data from your customers to enhance the efficiency of service delivery and improve the quality of your products to suit your customers’ needs.

    Investing in Helpdesk Software – Money Well spent

    Calculating the customer experience return on investment is a critical requirement for frontline teams. It is important to know how our actions affect the business. When we connect our customer support goals to the business goals, we move from making our customers happy to the value we create.

    A Help desk plays a crucial part in the journey of connecting customer interactions and making money. This can be through increasing the power of your support team, improving the loyalty of your customers or uncovering important data. With all these, a help desks can deliver a huge ROI.

    The Top 3 CRM Software Packages You Need to Consider if You Want to be Successful

    For the success of a business, managing the customer relationship is essential. For any company, the client is seen as a potential resource. Therefore, it is essential to stand out from the competition while responding to your client in a timely and effective manner. As a company, we must not forget that the criteria for choosing a client are not always financial, even in times of crisis.

    Whether it is to acquire a product or a service, the client also requires account recognition, responsiveness, and listening. With customer relationship management system, the company must be able to handle difficult customers and claims, to be responsive and communicative, to be satisfied by meeting their needs.

    Here is where the role of CRM comes in! Now if you’re not in the support and operations industry, you might not be familiar with CRMs so perhaps we’ll start with an introduction first.

    Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

    The Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is the set of tools and techniques for capturing, processing, analyzing information on customers and prospects, with the aim of creating loyalty by offering services.

    With regard to a computer application, these include software packages that allow you to deal directly with the customer, whether in terms of sales, marketing or service.

    Why Use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software?

    Customer relationship management software (CRM) is considered to be a modern version of the “client file”. It is a tool that allows the updating and storage of prospects or contact lists as well as associated customers or target companies. It is possible to use an Excel file and a simple database to maintain your customer records, however, modern CRM software goes further. Here are some examples of its features:

    Increase the Satisfaction of Your Customers

    Be more efficient in business processes (by better managing your after-sales service, being more responsive and intervening at an opportune moment),

    Have a closer relationship with the customer by developing a privileged relationship with them (by registering their preferences, birthday for example, etc.),

    Develop competitiveness by providing more services and personalized advice.

    Increase the Profitability of the Company

    Increase sales through targeted actions on defined segments of your customers and prospects (Example: retain your customers through specific offers based on each customer population),

    Optimize the profitability of commercial investments, marketing, and customer service thanks to a better calculation of the return on investment,

    Have a clear vision of the commercial activity to optimize the processes (report on the sales, the follow-up of the appointments of the salesmen, the advancement of the objectives, etc.),

    Save time by automating recurring tasks (automatic results tracking, automatic client recovery).

    Improve the Internal Organization

    Calendar shared between the collaborators (tasks to do, events),

    Centralization and sharing of all customer data (all important customer information is sorted in the same place and easily accessible),

    Structuring information and business processes. You have a structured customer file with relevant information that can be used for marketing purposes (Example: paper mailing, e-mailing, phoning, etc.),

    Keep the history of your customer data.

    Top CRM Solutions Available In the Market

    Your relationships with your customers are sometimes complex, but the tools you use to manage them must remain simple. Created with the needs of customers in mind there are many CRM solution software available in the market. Some of them are mentioned below:

    Freshdesk

    Freshdesk is the only cloud-based support center software that offers you a feature-rich package that’s easy to use and affordable. Freshdesk is a full set of features including social networking capabilities with   Facebook and Twitter support. The list of integrations includes services like Capsule CRM, Google Contacts, Google Analytics, Freshbooks, Harvest, and JIRA.

    All this combined with the exceptional support of Freshdesk gives you an unbeatable, reliable and incredibly affordable customer support experience.

    1. Advantages:

    • Setting up Freshdesk is easy
    • The support team is available to help you
    • No hidden clauses, no hidden fees
    • Freshdesk is the only support center that allows you to chat with your team directly from the ticket thanks to Team Huddle
    • Customize your workflows to fit your needs

    Disadvantages:

    • Limited data transfer
    • Premium Package is expensive

    2. Zendesk

    Zendesk is one of the best customer service software packages in the market. With its ticketing system, live chat, telephone support and intelligent knowledge base in one solution, providing effective customer service have never been easier.

    Advantages:

    • Reduces the total number of views that agents must view
    • Allows you to see the total number of open tickets at a glance
    • Very easy to configure

    Disadvantages:

    • Agents need special training to respond to tickets on a brand
    • Difficult interface

    3. Salesforce

    Salesforce is your sales order center that takes the form of a Customer Relationship Platform (CRM). The solutions work together to help you manage your sales, marketing, and customer service from one central location. It is intuitive, personalized and designed to support your growth.

    With Salesforce CRM, treat each of your customers as if they were the only one. By managing your customers’ information and their interactions with your business on a single platform that is accessible anywhere, anytime, you can understand their needs, solve their problems, and identify areas for which they need help.

    Advantages:

    • More than 150,000 companies are on the road to success with Salesforce
    • Ensure the satisfaction of all your customers
    • Manage your business from a mobile device

    Disadvantages:

    • Salesforce is the most expensive option in our list! You will need to pay consultants to customize the CRM for you, the interface and the applications
    • As Salesforce does everything, it has many – too many – views and its reporting and dashboards are clunky.

    Final Verdict – Freshdesk Wins!

    Out of the three discussed CRM solutions; Freshdesk is my and useful option available. Freshdesk is SaaS-based customer support software used by more than 100,000 companies worldwide. It is a comprehensive helpdesk that provides excellent customer support thanks to its many features and integrations.

    Freshdesk is positioned primarily as a hub that centralizes all customer requests whether they come from the ticketing platform, incoming phone calls, chats, emails or social networks. This hub allows you to be present at each place where your customers are and it also allows assigning the tickets automatically or manually to the agents who will take care of them.

    Freshdesk’s Strengths against Salesforce and Zendesk

    In view of the exceptional functional coverage of Freshdesk and its ergonomics, the creator offers an ultra-competitive rate.

    The tool is also very well connected to social networks. Freshdesk allows you to master all incoming and outgoing channels without leaving the tool.

    Finally, Freshdesk offers you the opportunity to purchase one or more phone numbers and manage calls from this online software.

    Conclusion

    The use of good customer relationship management technique within a company gives you the opportunity to boost the marketing strategy by targeting and segmenting your contacts. These efforts will enable the company to evolve by conducting targeted marketing campaigns, with the sole purpose of raising the awareness of customers according to fairly precise criteria.

    What is Customer Journey Mapping and Why is it Important?

    Most people have the wrong view of customer journey mapping, and that is why they get intimidated by it. They think that it has to be an accurate representation of every degree of customer’s experience. This is impossible.   

    It is better to think of it as a persona. Customer maps are like personas. The only difference is that they focus more on the questions and tasks. They express the experience of customers over time and not as a snapshot. This means that they work together. A customer journey map focuses on the customer experience while a persona focuses on people or the person.  

    The Meaning of Customer Journey Mapping

    According to Forbes, customer journey mapping can be defined as a way of visualizing the experience of customers and how the customers interact with your business. The primary goal of mapping the journey is to remove any obstacles and improve efficiency while also making the process intuitive. The customer experience will improve if you create a seamless experience. Laterally, it is mapping out the best way for the typical journey of the customer.   We can refer to it as an archetype representing the underlying complexity and nature of a real journey. There is no way a customer journey map can be 100% accurate. This can leave a lot of people wondering about the importance of customer journey mapping.

    Importance of Customer Journey Mapping

    It is not easy to create a customer journey because it requires a lot of effort to create. For this reason, you will create fewer of them. People often create customer journey maps for each of their primary audience. Rather than digging into too many details, they focus on the overview of the whole journey. You can polish out the journeys over time. You can also think of customer journey map as a story designed to give insights into the journey of the customer.   

    Companies Can Refocus With an Inbound Perspective

    Customers can discover your company with the aid of inbound marketing rather than using outbound marketing to discover your customers. Using outbound marketing is not effective because it involves using tactics that are poorly targeted at uninterested audiences and it can interrupt customers from their activities.  

      You can spend a lot of money on outbound marketing and achieve undesirable results. This can annoy customers and deter them. On the other hand, inbound marketing involves creating interesting content that potential customers are already looking for. This can grab the attention of the customers at first and focus on sales later.   By mapping out the journey of the customers, you can understand the helpful and interesting things to your customers about your website and company. You can also understand things that are turning your customers away. You can also create vital content to attract the customers to your company and improve customer trust.

    The New Target Customer Base

    You won’t be able to know the psychographics and demographics of your customers if you don’t understand the customer journey. This can be dangerous and can waste a lot of resources to target an audience that is too broad repeatedly. It is important to target people who are likely to be interested in your content, products, and services.   You will get a good picture of the types of people trying to achieve a goal or get services and products from your company if you research the needs of your customers and map out their journey.

    Creation of a Customer-Focused Culture 

    It can be difficult to coordinate different departments in your company as it gets large. This will make it difficult to be customer-focused. Your company will, therefore, have marketing and sales goals that are not based on what the customers want.    You can share a clear customer journey map with everyone in your department. The maps will help you understand every step of your customer’s journey from the first time they interacted with your company to the post-purchase support. You cannot deny the importance of customer journey mapping based on this rationale. 

    Timing

    Timing is an essential factor for businesses to focus on when looking at the customer journey mapping. Businesses can use the maps to observe the time it takes customers to complete specific actions.

    Identifying gaps in Communications and Service

    Businesses can use customer journey maps to reveal gaps in customer service. This can enable business managers to make the necessary adjustments and improve service delivery. For example, one department may prove to be understaffed, and this can cause frustration to customers who interact with that department. Problems in communication between departments and among employees may be revealed and solved accordingly.

    Reduced Costs

    Businesses that use customer journey maps reduce costs. Research done by the Aberdeen group indicated that brands that use customer journey maps improve in the cost of customer service more than ten times. The research also found out that brands that use customer journey mapping grow by 21% within a year while those that don’t use customer journey maps experience a yearly decline of 2.2%. Customer journey mapping also increases referral marketing, and this reduces the costs of marketing.

    An Example of Customer Journey Mapping

    This is an example of a customer journey map, and it clearly shows the steps that dapper apps believe customers go through as they interact with them. The company goes beyond the purchasing phase and incorporates the post-purchase needs and initial research.   

      The map helps employees to get into customer’s mind and understand the questions they have and their emotions. This makes the map effective. The dapper apps take incremental actions in response to the customers’ questions and feelings, and this helps it to solve the current problems that customers have.

    Reasons why Customer Journey Maps Fail

    There are many different reasons for failure when it comes to customer journey mapping. Here are some of the most common ones that you need to be aware of.

    Speaking to Like-Minded Colleagues Alone

    When employees are expressing their views on customer journey, they can gravitate towards views that only reflect their own opinions and common wisdom. This can lead to employees expressing their opinions, and not views backed up with concrete evidence.    This can be very dangerous if the opinions of the employees are taken and accepted as facts. It is therefore important to seek out a wide range of opinions from different groups of employees.

    Lack of Clear Governance

    Customer journeys cut across different organizational structures. This makes it useful to form a functional group that cuts across all the structures to reflect different departments’ experiences of the customer journey. It is important to have proper governance in place for this to be successful.

    Failure to Involve Stakeholders

    It is important to involve all parts of the business to participate in the creation of the map. Strong support should come from the senior leadership to ensure that customer journey mapping is successful. An initiative such as customer journey mapping will fail without executive sponsorship.

    Not Speaking to Customers

    During customer journey mapping, it is important to take the opinions of your employees. But as we had earlier seen, some employees will only give you their opinions and not hard facts. To solve this problem, it is crucial to validate the views of your customers by talking to the customers and not relying on your employees to give you information.

    Spending too Much Time on Research

    It is important to do enough research, but this doesn’t mean that you should spend too much time on research. You can result in a lot of problems if you do too much research. Researching for too long can make the project too be too expensive and complex. You only need research to create a detailed and helpful map and not to improve functions.

    Conclusion

    The process of customer journey mapping creates an overview of customer experience. It also maps how your customers navigate through the sales funnel. Customer journey mapping is useful across both refinement process and iteration as new elements get designed while the old ones get refined or discarded. You can use customer journey mapping to identify opportunities and enhance the overall experience of your customers.   Customer journey mapping can help content creators create the best way to approach the creation of their content. For the designer folks, customer journey mapping can help them to identify the missing connections in the navigation and help to eliminate various customer frustrations.   With customer journey mapping, you will be able to put your customers at the center of everything you do. You won’t only look at your needs and priorities and make assumptions about ways you can motivate your customers to meet your business goals. It gives you a reason to consider the customers first.   To get started with customer journey mapping, you will first need to choose the processes you want to analyze and deconstruct each step taken to complete each process. This sounds easy but you there are some challenges. Nevertheless, every business needs customer journey mapping, and you need to make a decision now because there are numerous benefits that you will enjoy later.

    How to Maintain A Good Customer Experience

    We often talk about how we should create a satisfactory customer service experience in order to impress first-time comers and regulars to any company. However, once you’ve established a good customer service, one that impresses anyone who comes across your business and manages to keep them hooked to your products and/or services, what’re you going to do then?




    This is a question that baffles many business owners. No one wants their business to have a peak season, wherein the beginning you’re doing a lot of business because you’ve successfully created a good customer service, and then have no customers later because, well, there was a decline in your customer experience standards which drove customers elsewhere.


    Everyone wants a stable business- one with a good number of customers coming in and using the services you have to offer, and all the while attracting a steady number of people as well. If this sounds like you- and it probably does because everyone wants a business plan like that- then you have come to the right place. In this blog post, we will talk about the maintenance of a satisfactory customer experience. But before we move on, let’s address the following:


    Good vs. Satisfactory customer service

    This is a key difference which may lead to customers coming into your business well after you’ve established the accommodating customer service you envisioned for your business. It’s actually not that hard to differentiate between these two terms. In a previous blog post, we’ve covered the key difference between Happy Customers vs. Satisfied Customers.


    This is exactly what happens with customer service. If you’re providing your customers with satisfactory service, it means that they’re fine with it. They won’t necessarily complain about anything but they will not recommend your customer service (and by extension, your business) to anyone else. However, if you’re providing your customers with good customer service than that means that they’re happy with your service. In fact, you should try to have a good customer service so that more and more of your customers will be happy with your service and recommend you to their friends and family members. It is very important to remember that while advertising is great, the word of mouth is still a very powerful way of attracting new customers.


    What Next- Guide to Maintaining your Customer Service

    Now, after establishing a good customer service, the next step is quite obvious. How do you maintain it? There are many ways to do so but in this article, we’re aiming for the maintenance of a good customer experience so while there are plenty of tips out there, we’re going to focus on the ones that will not only maintain the bar but also makes sure that your customer experience is renowned for being great for everyone.


    #1: Customer Trust 

    We’ve talked about consumer trust multiple times here but we cannot stress the importance of it enough. In order to maintain your customer service and make sure that it’s a good one, you need to have complete trust from your customers. This is particularly important in the event that you face some kind of emergency. Maybe a disaster or a fire burned down your warehouse or shop where you keep your goods, maybe your office is being moved- if your consumers trust that even though there’s been a delay, that you will deliver your services to them- that’s automatically great for your business. In such situations when you’re getting bad attention from some third party, your customers will come to your defense. Similarly, if your customers are going to be recommending you to someone then they must have complete faith in you that you will deliver a product or service as good as the one you’ve provided to them. This is extremely important. In past blogs, we’ve talked about how consumer trust is at an all-time low and one of the causes of this is poor customer service experience.


    #2: Engage With Your Customers

    You need to make sure that your customers are happy- not satisfied; happy- with your business each time they use your product. This can be something simple like a quick chat at the door (if you own a store), asking them about their day, or maybe a handwritten thank you note if you have an e-commerce store. This is particularly important in the retail business. You need to engage with your customer in such a way that they feel appreciated- which is important because the success of your business depends on your customers. Make sure that your staff does the same. Don’t leave customers hanging on the phone for too long, try to solve their problems as best as you can, make compromises- the list goes on. A good service brings an element of personalization to your customer’s experience with your company, and people love to support friends as opposed to strangers.


    #3: Value Your Regulars

    Any successful business owner will tell you that their business expanded because of their regular customers. These are the people who’ve been there for the business since the beginning. One way to maintain the standard of your customer service is by making sure that you value your old ones. It is easy to get scores of one-time customers by advertising or having a discount or mid-season sale. However, do remember that these customers might not come back; in fact, a large number of them will probably not come back to your business. Therefore, it is important that you value your regular customers. There are many strategies as to how you can do that but some great ideas include giving them special discounts or maybe create a loyalty card. This is also a great advertisement for your business itself as people will hear about these special cuts and will definitely be wanting to give your business a try.


    Conclusion


    As you can see, there are a lot of tips available- online and offline- on how to maintain your customer experience. However, there’s a fine line that turns your customer service from satisfactory to good. In order to be known as the business with good customer experience, you need to make sure that your clients are happy and more than willing to support your business. There are many ways to do this but by establishing a trusting relationship, engaging with and providing your customers with a personalized experience where they feel valued for supporting you, you can definitely maintain your customer service and become known for being a great service!

    Understanding NPS, How It Works & Whether it’s a Measurement that Makes Sense

    Improving customer experience is one sure-fire way of expanding your business and establishing a credible brand name for yourself. After all, who doesn’t want their brand to be known for a great customer experience?! Great customer experience is essentially the key to a successful business. So why not use tools to help you improve your customer experience? There’s an abundance of tools available both online and offline that are designed to help you achieve the ideal you’ve envisioned for your clients. However, few can boast the power and usefulness that the NPS can provide you with.

    So, What Is This “NPS”?

    NPS stands for Net Promoter Score and it was developed by Fred Reichheld. It helps to create a clear and understandable customer satisfaction score which can then be used as a comparison between various businesses over even a single business across an extended period of time. This is done through surveys (we’ll get to that in a bit), and sometimes questionnaires, which are directly given to consumers so that accurate data can be collected. Of course, you’re probably wondering where this happens.

    Well, think about any random time you ever got a pop up on your screen while you were visiting a website. Often times you will get questions like “would you recommend this product (or service) to a family or friend?”. Considering how little time it takes, you will probably answer and then continue your search. Well, that is the kind of surveys used to determine the NPS. They’re short, to-the-point and strategically placed by companies so that you answer them as honestly as you can as you’re doing your search.

    Calculation


    The NPS question given to the customer will generally include an 11 point scale from 0 to 10. Think of it as a rating with 0 meaning that you are not likely to recommend it at all to 10 meaning that you are extremely likely to.

    According to the NPS guidelines, consumers can be broken down into three categories:

    Category #1: Promoters


    These are the people who will be giving your recommendation question a 9 or a 10. We call them promoters because they are very likely to spread the word about your product

    These are the people who loved your customer service and will probably be advertising your brand to others through the word of mouth; never underestimate the power of word of mouth! It is a great, genuine and free advertisement for your business and as such makes promoters very valuable.

    Category #2: Passives


    Next up are the “passives”. These are the people who will give a score between 7 and 8. These are the most vulnerable of your clientele. Why? 

    Because, unlike the promoters, they aren’t spreading the word about how great your brand is. They’re just there because. 

    They don’t love your brand; they don’t hate it either, but they can be easily diverted elsewhere if the competition is offering the right price tag.


    Category #3: Detractors


    Detractors are the unhappy customers who’re giving you’re a score of 0 to 6. These are the people who can cause some serious damage to your brand. Like the promoters, they’re going to be spreading the word…of how bad your brand is. 

    You need to make sure that you do not have a lot of detractors because they can seriously hinder the growth of your business.

    In order to calculate your Net Promoter Score, you subtract the percentage of detractors from the promoters. The NPS is not expressed in terms of percentage. It needs to be an absolute number between -100 and +100. Generally, a positive NPS is considered good for businesses. In fact, many businesses aim to make sure that their NPS does not fall to zero or negative as zero shows that your business is stagnant while a negative NPS will show that your business’s customer experience is bad and that there are more detractors than promoters. This will, in turn, lead to a series of losses for you, so it is vital to make sure that your NPS is always positive.

    By using this data, you can begin to plan a business strategy that improves your NPS.

    Why Is It Important?


    The biggest advantage of NPS is that it is able to provide a simple, yet holistic, understanding of your customer experience. This coupled with the fact that your customers are the ones directly answering questions without any filter, provides you with accurate data. 

    The NPS is able to give you the real picture of how your clients perceive your business. Similarly, by comparing the NPS of other businesses, you can determine how well you’re doing. In some sectors, the NPS score rarely comes out to be more than +50 and even though this may not look good, if held up against the rest of the market, you will find that the NPS of +50 might actually be the score of the highest performing company in that industry. 

    It’s relative yet it does not generalize or marginalize any competitor. You get a clear picture of what’s happening and that is great for business. There are many other benefits to the NPS which you can find here.

    Does It Make Sense?


    While it might initially take some time to wrap your head around it, once you get it you’ll realize the NPS is actually really easy to use and understand. While other tools can be very complicated, the NPS is simple, and its effectiveness lies in its simplicity. 

    The results are pretty clear: the promoters are your loyal customers, the passives may be deterred away and the detractors are leaving. As we’ve already said before, you can use this to your advantage and establish an order that helps to grow your business. It accurately shows how your client feels.

    The Voice of the Customer

    There are many ways of learning what is essential in your business.  However probably the most powerful and least practiced is that of Customer Feedback.  Having the greatest widget in the world is useless if your customers don’t want to buy it and if it doesn’t resolve a perceived need.  Getting that information from your customers can be accomplished in a variety of ways though and it pays to ensure that you are doing as many of them as possible.  (One point to note – conducting a survey is important, but if you don’t actually do anything with those results, then you shouldn’t have wasted the time or the money in gathering that information!)

    Customer Feedback Is Critical

    In order to drive continual customer service improvements, companies need to focus on obtaining the information from their clients, analyzing that information and acting on that information.  Remember, as stated earlier … if no action is taken – don’t bother!

    Capturing Customer F

    Capturing what your customers want can be done via a variety of different means now a days.  Web and surveys are common as are physical surveys that are mailed out to customers.  Depending on the size of your business and your customer base, there are many large organizations that can assist in gathering, collating and analyzing this information for you, but if you are just starting out a simple spreadsheet with the feedback that you’ve received from your customers is a great starting point! 

    Listen to them NOT just in your surveys but also in your daily interactions with them via your support and customer service teams.

    Another great way to get information from customers is via focus groups.  Often used at the beginning of a product stage to determine WHAT customers want, it is just as effective afterwards to determine HOW you are performing and if you are meeting or exceeding expectations.

    Another point to note – DO NOT over survey your customers.  It is quite common for different parts of the same company to send out different surveys to the SAME customer.  While it is obviously important to that division, the information that is returned will not be as useful as the customer will NOT be providing an unbiased response. 

    It is best if all survey’s are done via a centralized team or department and then the results of that survey shared among the company as a whole. Customer feedback collected through surveys, e-mails, phone calls, online chat and other channels can be combined into a single instance, integrating both structured and unstructured data into a central platform and enabling companies to extract maximum insight from the information collected in a cost-effective and timely manner.

    Analyzing the Data

    Customer feedback is subjective.  It always will be and this needs to be understood by the group running the survey and appropriate steps taken.  Another very significant point is that when survey’s are sent out it, it is essential that steps are taken to “tie” the response to a specific issue so that you are able to make the most use of this information.  In addition, decisions via survey should never be taken unless the sample size is large enough.

    Solving the Issues

    Once you’ve determined what your customers want, prioritize those issues based on the 80/20 rule (Pareto principle) and let your clients know what you are doing to resolve the issues.  What your plan is, how soon you expect to have the issue resolved and what the benefits to them would be.  There is no harm in sharing a commonly perceived error with your existing users … THEY ALREADY KNOW IT’S THERE! … and if they see that you are going to take steps to resolve the problems they will understand that their best interests are in remaining with you.  Remember that these are already your customers – you just want to treat them the right way and sharing information with them is a simple and effective way of doing this.

    Do you know what they are thinking?

    Ensuring that you measure your customers expectations of your business as well as acting to meet and exceed those expectations is a key step in ensuring that you are running a successful and profitable business.  Gaining valuable insightful customer feedback is key to ensuring that your business continues to address consumers’ needs.

    Current data shows that over 80% of businesses currently make this effort, however that same research shows that the quality of these surveys and the data gathered from them was poor, with a significant percentage of people surveyed admitting that they had never undertaken the exercise at all!

    However on the positive side, some companies that utilized automated technologies to assist them in their surveying had shown a significant increase in Customer Satisfaction and Revenue and a decrease in overall customer churn.  By utilizing these sorts of tools and conducting a thorough analysis of the results provided, companies have been able to utilize the 80/20 methodology to assist them in targeting the pressure points that are most painful to their customers and removing them!

    The key point to take from this is that the best person to determine what is and isn’t working with your company is your customer and the only way that they will tell you what’s wrong is if you ask them!

    The “Right” Customer

    Lets assume that you have the perfect product. One that everyone needs. You’ve priced it right and everyone in the world can afford it. It works without errors and flaws and doesn’t break and is extremely simple to use (while a smartphone is simple to use – its not necessarily cheap so finding that magic “widget” is probably a dream that will never come true!).
    How much would you like to bet that you would still have customers complaining about it? Hard is it might be to believe the phrase –

    “you can please most of the people some of the time and some of the people most of the time, but you can NEVER please all of the people all of the time!”

    – is unfortunately way too accurate.

    What you will see and notice however is that the 80/20 rule (remember that? I mentioned it earlier here) applies in this like it does in most things. If you haven’t read my post, allow me to paraphrase – the 80/20 rule (also known as the Pareto Principle) states that 80% of “x” comes from 20% of “y”. You could state it like 80% of your customer interactions come from 20% of your issues. Or perhaps another way – 80% of your sales come from 20% of your clients.
    Now obviously the percentages might not always line up to exactly 80/20 but you will find that this is accurate and close more often than not.
    So how does this apply to you and the miracle product? Well it might not , to be honest – not if you have one single price point across the board. However if you’ve priced it based on income, you might potentially be charging more for this product in some regions than in others. The 80/20 rule would tell you to concentrate on the 20 sectors that are actually generating the most revenue for you – if you do the math, you’ll see that the other sectors don’t amount to the same value and your efforts are best spent where they are most fruitful.

    So if we take our example of the miracle product you might find that the following applies –

    • Region 1 (Affluent and Developed Economies) – product priced at $100/unit 
    • Region 2 (Developing and Growing Economies) – product priced at $50/unit 
    • Region 3 (Growing and Restructuring Economies) – product priced at $10/unit 

    Region 1 will probably account for the highest percentage of your sales and also the lowest cost with regards to support as they have the infrastructure in place to utilize the product fully and also to understand what it can and cannot do.

    Region 2 & 3 will together account for a significant portion of your revenue but will also have the largest volume of support issues as they do not have the understanding of the products limitations and while this is a “miracle” product unfortunately it cannot in itself do miracles!

    The unfortunate fact of human nature is that generally the lower paying clients have a much higher level of demand to those at a higher price point.

    From a real world perspective I previously had a job at a large Internet company that was experiencing severe growing pains (to put it mildly!) and as the Manager I was frequently on the short end of the stick. More often than not, during the course of an outage I would be speaking to businesses with 5-10 impacted users on a conference call and have to explain what we were doing to everyone in the company … by contrast I would have an hourly update call with the Senior Network Analyst at a business that was on a similar service but that had thousands of customers impacted!

    I’m sure you’ve all heard the story about the contractor charging $100/day for a job and not getting any business but that same contractor choosing to charge $200/day getting inundated with work. The perception in the market place is that the person charging more is also WORTH MORE. Be careful with this though as if you cannot “back up” your requested salary with a corresponding skill-set, you are not going to get far at all!
    Now please do not take this post to imply in any way that the customer isn’t right. That Region 3 customer buying your $10/unit product could eventually turn into your monster customer that IS your business. If you are able to “upsell” your customers from one product to another, based on value and worth it is easily done. 

    It is always worth the effort to nurture your customers as the hardest part of growing any business is getting new customers in the door. However you do need to do some careful analysis and tracking to ensure that the revenue you are earning from your customers is not actually COSTING you more in the long run – and remember – if you do not have that miracle product, you can only imagine that your complaints are going to be higher!

    The 80/20 Rule

    If you’ve been in Tech Support or Help Desks for any length of time – especially from a management perspective you’ll be extremely familiar with something called the 80/20 rule.  
     
    Put simply it implies that 80% of your calls/contacts are generated from 20% of your issues.  If you are able to focus efforts on clearing up some of that 20% you would have a significant impact on the overall volume that is coming into your center (note, once you’ve fixed the 1st 20% – then you can do a similar analysis on the next batch and so on!).  
     
    Now, while this is true from an “on the floor” perspective there has actually been a study done on this and this “rule” is actually known as the Pareto principle (sometimes also called the “law of the vital few” or the “principle of factor sparsity ).  While these names all sound really fancy – I think the 80/20 Rule is most descriptive of what it is.
     
    The principle was actually suggested by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto.  Vilfredo observed that in 1906, 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.  Surprisingly for Vilfredo Pareto, he observed a similar distribution among other countries and as such developed this guideline.
    • More recently, this was seen in a 1992 UN Report that showed that 20% of the world’s population actually controlled 82.7% of the world’s income!
    • Microsoft also noted that by fixing the top 20% of the most reported bugs, 80% of the errors and crashes would be eliminated.
    • The Pareto principle was a prominent part of the 2007 bestseller The 4 Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss which I have mentioned in a previous post As Tim Ferriss recommended, by focusing your attention on those (20%) factors that have the greatest impact to your income (80%) you will obtain and receive a greater “bang for your buck!”
    So as you can see, some significant analysis has gone into determining whether or not this “rule of thumb” actually applies and while it’s not always 80% on the dot, it is close enough for you to use in determining what you should be looking at from a management perspective.

    You can really think about the 80/20 rule from two different directions. 
    1. What are the negative impacts that you need to address?  As I’ve mentioned earlier, 20% of your issues are probably causing close to 80% of your interactions with your customers.
    2. 20% of your customers are also probably spending the most (80%) with you!  
    3. 20% of your employees are also probably the most (80%) productive! etc…

    Dealing with the first option is reasonably easy – hopefully, you can categorize your interactions with your clients utilizing any halfway decent CRM system like Freshdesk for example
    Once you know why you are being contacted, sort it out to see how many of each type (you should be doing this anyway!) and start with the top 20 types of problems.  
    Measuring & Dealing with the second should be even easier … if you do not know who your top 20 biggest customers are … SHAME ON YOU! … they are your bread and butter and you should ensure that you are on extremely good terms with them.  

    The same applies to your #3 of course – your staff themselves.  Reward your high performers with raises/bonuses and other perks.  These are the people that keep the ball rolling and I’ve mentioned previously the impact of losing highly trained staff have on a business.


    Best of luck using the 80/20 rule in your business … it’s a good one – keep it close to heart!

    Continue reading The 80/20 Rule

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