Be where your customers are and use the channels they use - this should be at the heart of every customer service strategy in 2020! Customers expect to be able to connect with your business through the same channels they use daily to communicate with their friends and family. As such, messaging apps have become fundamental channels for businesses looking to provide instant, personalised, and engaging customer support.
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other major "holidays" can make any customer service agent sweat. Who can blame them though, as the service lines and chat windows pop up one after another.
The popularity of Live Chat has been growing amongst all ages but it’s quickly becoming the most desired method of contact especially (and unsurprisingly) for millennials. They are more likely to prefer chat over other generations, with two top reasons being limited wait time and convenience. And as the popularity of Black Friday and it's online equivalent Cyber Monday grows all over the world, customer service agents manning live chat services have had to up their game!
AI has not yet reached the point of being a mainstream phenomenon and still needs a fair bit of elaboration, but it's certainly getting there. When that time comes, companies will need to be ready to compete in a digital environment where adaptation to AI is a prerequisite for all. For that exact reason, we compiled a list of the upcoming AI trends to give you a head-start, provide you with insight into the AI industry and prepare you for what's to come in the world of AI not only for 2019 but beyond.
[Derived and updated from our previous blog by Petri Vilpponen]
With Halloween coming up, we have started thinking about the horror stories we face as businesses - Disappointed customers, high returns, low sales, cart abandonment...
And as we learnt from Game of Thrones, the night is dark and full of terrors, we wake up in the morning thinking things at work are as we left them, but that may not always be the case. With so much going on outside working hours, the experiences you deliver then can really make or break your brand in the eyes of your customer. Why? Because if something goes wrong, you need to be able to come to the rescue and deliver in the same way as you would during the day.
So how can you maintain your service quality and capture leads after hours, even with Michael Myers creeping on you?
In an initial implementation meeting with a customer, clear goals and KPIs for a chat service are always planned. The most common early stage goals often include characteristics like:
- Sales orientation
- Involvement to a multichannel customer service solution
- Supporting role in other functions like helpdesk, recruiting, online store, booking etc.
We have been doing a lot of research around customer experience recently, really delving into into all things CX, not only defining concepts such as customer journey and touchpoints, but also figuring out ways for companies to deliver real and tangible experience improvements to their customers. We have also taken a long, hard look at how and why customers and their needs have evolved, and dared to make some predictions of where we think customer experience is heading.
Chatbots are your first line of customer service and a crucial part of your virtual assistance solution. As exciting it might be to have a face to face conversation with a robot, the technology still doesn’t live up to online users’ expectations.
[A summary of a presentation titled 'Tavoitteellinen Chat osa 2: Kohdentaminen, mittaaminen ja tekoäly` at a seminar event on the 27 of April 2018 in Helsinki by Otto Nyberg.]
Is AI better at decision-making than people? Maybe…it’s logical, it doesn’t complain, it can sift vast amounts of data and make automated, information-driven decisions and it doesn’t get tired. AI is an automated assistant that does the work of a small army of analysts, and does it better. So how does it work, how does AI help us making those difficult decisions?
Finnish Centre for Pensions (FCP) is a statutory co-operation body whose responsibilities include research, expertise and service related to the Finnish pension system. FCP’s key values are looking courageously into the future, heeding customers and furthering competence and our strategy emphasises public familiarity with the earnings-related pension provision.
To gain customer insight into eServices development, we conducted a customer survey one year ago. The data collected clearly suggested that a group of our customers would prefer self-service in an online environment over to some of the more traditional service channels. When weighing our options, we came to believe that live chat could help us better engage with this customer group. As an organisation, we like to learn by doing. That is why we decided to start a trial period with giosg in September 2017 with two goals in our mind; one was to see how customers would receive the channel and the other one was to test how customer service employees can adapt to live chat and how they feel about using this new channel.
The hype around AI applications that is about to swipe through industries and the customer service function, in particular, is enormous, but so far we've seen little real-life experiences how the chatbots function, how's it like to implement one and what the results are. That's why we put together an interview with one of the early adopters of chatbots, If Insurance.
These days, most house hunters browse for properties online, and they expect to get a response from property companies around the clock, not just during office hours. We work with some of the real estate companies in the UK, including Knight Frank, Connells and Savills, so we were keen to get a greater understanding of the current state of online engagement in the British property sector.
To achieve this, we set out to analyse data from eight of those UK real estate clients, focusing our attention on the website visits of 2,710,592 individuals during a one-month period (May 2017).
The infographic below highlights some of the top findings and conclusions of this exercise. Whilst the data suggests that property companies are off to a good start, it also clearly shows that there is a lot more that they can do to be in sync with the needs and demands of their online visitors.
In the digital age providing customers with omnichannel customer service has become more of a rule than an exception. Reliable, receptive and timely responses are the most important characteristics that come to mind when thinking about what is important to the customer, regarding service. Still, from the business point of view, there is a big difference in how these objectives are achieved.
Although customers today expect to receive the same level of service regardless of the channel they use, the fact still is that some support channels are more cost-efficient than others. As mentioned in our previous blogs (here and here), the biggest shortcomings of the phone support compared to live chat are higher operating costs and the mere impossibility to have more than one conversation at the same time. Live chat, on the other hand, changes the work of the customer service agents from one-at-a-time processing rate to taking care of 3 to 7 tickets simultaneously. That enables customer service to solve tickets quicker and, also cuts costs as fewer callbacks are required.
Even though self-service is certainly an essential part of digital customer experience, it is much better for both the customer and the company to get the necessary information right in the first time. Handling forms with incorrectly filled in or missing information takes a lot of customer service agents time whereas forms filled correctly can be processed and solved almost automatically. With CoBrowse technology the agent can provide hands-on assistance online so that all sections of the form can be filled the first time correctly.
It is good to make sure you have the best practices in use to direct customers toward the most efficient customer service channels to generate the right value for both your customer and your business. A client of ours, If Insurance (If), provides an excellent example of how a company can enable efficient and smart handling of customer requests in an online environment.
Customer service is usually the first place we contact if we need more information, want to make a complaint etc. This means that customer service is the main opportunity for service recovery: turning a scratch in Customer Experience into something great. So that the customer ends up feeling more satisfied after the company has solved the problem than if everything had gone as planned in the first place.
With that kind of responsibility, customer service needs to take ownership of every step of the customer experience formulation, starting from the first touchpoint. Otherwise, the opportunity for service recovery is lost in the process. For example, when I recently needed to call customer service of a big insurance company, I spent the first 50s dealing with automated menu making choices and then another 50s listening to elevator music before I was connected to customer service.
By contrast, many of our client companies continue to reach under 10s response times in live chat. From customer’s point of view, this means that with live chat there is basically no waiting time. Plus there is no need to switch to another device as you can just type the question while browsing on service provider’s website. So, like this online technology reviews firm points out, it’s no wonder that millennials prefer live chat over other channels in their day-to-day communication.
Live chat has several business benefits, for example, it has proved to be more cost-efficient than other service channels (like the phone). Still, none of this is possible without the necessary human resources to provide customers with personal, timely and accurate support. That is why one of the most critical considerations when implementing live chat is resourcing.
When trying to make sure they can utilise the full potential of live chat as a service channel, companies usually have at least three alternatives. The 1) is to use the same customer support and sales resources they use with phone and email. The 2) is to outsource the chat personnel to a resource company, and the 3) is to adopt an model that combines internal and outsourced resources.
Different alternatives have all their advantages and disadvantages which is why it is good to take time to review each option carefully before making a move.
It’s dusk and your customer service is closing the chat service for the day. They are tired after handling up to 7 messages at a time for the whole day (like Finnair’s agents do).
They’ve been there when your visitor has felt lost. They’ve been there when your visitor needed details. And while helping, they’ve been collecting leads for the sales peeps, maybe in the dozens (like YIT does).
In 2014, Finnair faced the same problem many customer oriented companies face: customer service costs a lot. Customer service is important and engagement with the customer is directly linked to upselling, but the costs associated with traditional customer service channels are sometimes unbearable. Each call takes several minutes out of a service agent’s workday and each minute costs.
Companies need to act fast and efficiently to meet the expectations of today’s consumers. The moment an issue with a product or service arises is also the very same moment when the race against time to resolve it begins.
CoBrowse is a technology that allows a company and a customer to be literally "on the same page" . More precisely, sales and customer support can interact with the customer using the customer's web browser to show them something in real-time.CoBrowse can be used for many objectives including support, sales, product selection, and account management. When implemented at the right time and place, CoBrowse can be an effective approach to escalated and personal support.
Live chat has great potential for it meets the customer at the point of the buying cycle where they're going to have questions. Meaning that agents can connect with customers at the point of sale and gently nudge browsing customers into the checkout line.
Besides increasing sales (if that wasn't enough), live chat can help you gain also other type of competitive edge; excellent customer experience. For let's not forget that customers actually like it. A survey conducted by Forrester research says that 44% of online consumers indicate that having live chat available while making an online purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer. And other surveys also state that more than half of customers are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat.