There’s an old but popular saying – you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink. Similarly, you can’t lead in the customer experience revolution without considering where your customers are, what they need, and how to give it to them.
The vast majority of your buying audience is online, where they’ve become accustomed to finding answers to their questions or items they are looking for nearly instantly. So it’s only natural that consumers have the same expectations of simplicity and speed when it comes to resolving issues that they encounter with a product or service.
Previous models of customer relationship management focused on the internet as an addendum; a bookend; somewhere individuals could find details to call you for customer resolution. That is no longer enough.
Responsively intelligent machine learning algorithms have all but replaced the traditional storefront of yesteryear, and that same intelligence is powering the future of customer service.
Have you tried Googling it? Make solutions easy, fast, and convenient
Having what you need at your fingertips so that you don’t have to waste precious time tracking down solutions is highly valued in the experience economy.
“What most customers do as a first port of call is to google their problem and attempt to find a solution. What we can do is make it super easy for customers. You need them to be able to connect efficiently to relevant systems whether it’s a knowledge-base or account management system. Quicker, easier, and convenient are the principles of customer experience success to live by.” said Volker Hilderbrand of SAP Customer Experience.
Hilderbrand is a firm believer that the trend towards self-service shows no sign of stopping.
Why self-service is critical to the future of CX
So why has self-service taken off? Volker believes the ability to automate certain processes, such as banking transactions or saving shopping lists has been a game changer in the customer’s mindset as they move towards independence.
The use of intelligent chatbots to guide the customer through the resolution process means that users can navigate by themselves, with prompts towards a live-chat if initial resolution doesn’t meet their needs.
Digital channels are now being developed with a clear move towards users helping themselves. Self-service done right will allow the customer to take charge of the buying journey, saving them time, and improve their overall experience.
The genius of an intelligent enterprise, powered by the heart of humanity
Volker stresses the human element will always be needed within customer success strategies, “Do I believe in the seamless integration of artificial intelligence with customer relationship management? Of course. However, there will always be situations that require further resolution and a human touch. Nothing can replace that, and there are still customers who prefer to pick up the phone.”
Because of customer preferences, Volker believes that digital channels will overtake traditional channels, arguing that the phone is no longer the preferred channel. Research appears to support this, with Gartner predicting that by 2020 around 25% of customer service operations will integrate chatbot technology.
According to Gartner’s research, around 70% of organizations find customers call or email less once virtual chat assistants or VCA’s are implemented. The study also reports increased customer satisfaction and a 33% cost-saving per voice engagement.
As more and more organizations choose to adopt self-service as a model of customer resolution, so too will technologies and customer success strategies develop.