We’ve been hearing for a long time about the importance of customer experience, and that the notion of customer service is expanding to encompass pre-purchase informational decision support, onboarding (supporting customers with product utilization), and post-purchase support (break fix, usage optimization and account support).
What I enjoyed about this conference was that the majority of speakers were from companies who are actually deploying technology to improve their customer experience. It’s one thing to learn about CX from “theorists” (consultants, product managers and sales people, for example), but it’s quite another to hear from major corporations on how they’ve deployed solutions to acquire and/or retain customers, increase efficiencies and improve their customer experience.
I thought the advice from Brian Curran, Oracle’s VP of Customer Experience Strategy and Design, was relevant: "The need for positive experiences will never change, that’s human nature. But the way we make those experiences happen will change. Companies focused on next generation service need to make sure their service strategy is elastic."
Here are four trends that we’re likely to see more of:
Knowledge at the Core of Service – The concept of knowledge has been around for a while. But effective knowledge management should be the cornerstone of every next generation service strategy. Searching for answers online is second nature for most people, and delivering effective self-help for both internal and external users is key to maximizing the customer experience. The future will be knowledge supported and knowledge driven.
Policy Automation – Policy Automation was a popular topic. Regardless of whether you’re in the public or private sector, regardless of the services you offer, all companies face common problems: stiff competition, cost constraints, frequently changing legislation, a skills shortage, and demanding customers. Policy Automation provides a set of policy automation tools that enable companies to automate lengthy and costly processes. Better yet, these processes can be tailored to suit a company’s unique governing regulations and organizational policies. The flexibility of Policy Automation can simplify processes in many industries, from insurance, government agencies, financial services to healthcare. Policy Automation dramatically improves customer experience by enabling organizations to deliver dynamic, consistent, compliant and personalized decision making across all channels.
Video Chat – I’ve been hearing about this one for a while, and admit that because I personally don’t like to use video, I assumed it would be something that would face some real hurdles with regard to widespread adoption. The use cases presented were:
- Relationship building – in a high touch environment, allowing your customers to see the agent can help build trust. You do not have to make it two way video, if the customer prefers not to appear on video.
- Diagnose/Problem solving – this is a great use case for hardware and software support.
Before implementing video chat for your contact center, there are a few things to consider:
- Are your customers ready for video? Understand your customer demographics.
- Are your agents ready for video? Consider their workspace, lighting, physical representation of your brand and training requirements.
- What is the video adoption rate in your industry?
My takeaway: there are some good opportunities for video in the contact center, but it will require some preparation.
Internet of Things (IoT) and the contact center – IoT can best be described as the connection of physical objects to the internet, rendering them “smart objects”, with the ability to sensor, process, and act upon data. “Smart Things” can self-solve, escalate to an agent, and request a field service visit. The topic that was widely discussed was how to equip the contact center to handle interactions from smart devices.
Companies must make the right investments for their specific service strategy, and the time is now. According to Brian Curran, contact centers have 12-18 months to modernize their service experience before being left behind.
What are you doing to modernize customer service in your contact center? We'd love to hear from you. Please share in the comment section below.
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