Hinduja Global Solutions Ltd. - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
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Posted by Subramanya C, Chief Technology Officer, HGS
Cloud technology is revolutionizing the way today’s companies do business. From easy, real-time data accessibility, productivity improvements and cost reduction to business communication and supply chain management efficiencies, the cloud is a game changer.
How does cloud technology drive breakthrough CX transformation?:
- The cloud can better prepare companies to provide optimized CX, across channels.
Companies can employ cloud solutions for internal conferencing, presentations, meetings, and video to drive more coordinated internal communication and productivity. Using cloud apps, companies can connect with customers across geos, sharing presentations and content. With the globalization of business, constant communication and knowledge sharing is essential to maintain growth, productivity levels, and consistency internationally.
- Cloud-based CRMs can integrate data
.Companies can undertake better inventory management with wider sales access to inventory. Additionally, customers are provided faster information about product availability. Hosting data on cloud infrastructure can lead to better customer experiences, with faster and more accurate updates about product availability.
.For customer complaints, cloud data storage enables immediate and accurate product tracking, right down to the store a product was sold from, the shipment it came in, and the factory where it was manufactured.
.Similarly, when a customer makes a purchase in one country but lodges a complaint from another country, hosting data on the cloud means that your customer care representatives have all the data they need at their fingertips despite not working in the place of purchase.
- Cloud technology is an ideal collaboration suite for companies.
Cloud technology has done away with the need for VPN because all company information and emails are hosted on the cloud. Today businesses can access emails and content from anywhere, enhancing productivity with easier data access and better communication. For example, sales executives can access proposals from the cloud and customize them on the spot to improve sales. Customer contracts can be handled better by cloud hosting contract templates, for access and customization of a contract template. For human resources, employee onboarding and the complete employee lifecycle, the cloud (the selection process, offer rollout, and references) ensures better access and processing. For your purchase department, you can use cloud to source vendors for purchasing and implement bidding on the cloud with transparency and an open process while choosing the price and vendor.
To unlock these cloud transformations, many of today’s companies are turning to the experts. The global cloud-based BPO market is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 11.39% from 2014-19, according to ResearchMoz. Today’s business process management (BPM) partners can build the cloud infrastructure that is most cost-effective and advantageous.
Publish Date: August 3, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Madhusudan Vasudevan
Insurance organizations that deal with workers’ compensation claims must leverage effective strategies for managing financial challenges inherent to the provision, including increased competition, staffing requirements, and new state regulations.
Claims operations leadership struggles to effectively transform operations to perform at the highest level of compliance and quality standards while also focusing on cost-containment. According to the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), medical costs for workers’ compensation have increased an average of 6% every year since 2002, and are typically higher than comparable non-job injuries.
An aging workforce, the prevalence of chronic and co-morbid illnesses, and emerging state rules and regulations also have a significant impact on claim costs. The Council also predicted that medical costs will represent 70% of all workers’ compensation losses this year.
Outsourcing for Increased Efficiency
Optimal cost effectiveness and flexible deployment of resources, particularly in the management of workers compensation claims, sometimes means partnering with an organization with proven record of managing workers’ compensation clients. It is proven that outsourcing claims management functions increases the productivity of business line managers and those in related functions, as they are not paper shuffling or spending hours trying to resolve side issues associated with claims. This is the most effective way to minimize administrative costs and increase revenue and market share, by keeping premiums lower, managing risk, and achieving organizational budget and growth goals.
Many organizations are turning to business process outsourcing (BPO) as an option that brings cost-containment, improved turnaround time (TAT), and service level excellence to these insurers. Effective BPO vendors will bring expertise and a competitive advantage to a myriad of functions and services, including medical bill review, reconsiderations, code and nurse review, provider data management and contact center solutions. Also, they bring in value added services through process reengineering and application of robotic process automation (RPA) to improve process efficiency
Rework is one of the top drivers of additional costs for workers’ comp insurers. It’s is all about getting it right the first time and having the right intellect and resources focused on the final objective. The ultimate goal is to take the most effective path to payment and return to work, via effective project management and skilled resources.
Medical cost containment is an area in which a BPO partner can make a critical difference in time, energy, and resources. Bill review and coding are other areas where a BPO partner can help streamline efficiencies. A BPO partner can review each treatment code (CPT code) to ensure it is related to a specific claim/injury, confirm compensability, appropriateness, eliminate duplicates, and ensure accurate coding.
Most organizations are now outsourcing complex functions like clinical and coding processes, due to a large talent pool with relevant certifications like NCLEX and CPC, which is an add on to their clinical/coding background.
Case management is another area of opportunity where case nurses’ and adjusters’ work can be categorized decoupled into core and administrative functions. This enables them to focus on their core strengths improving productivity and focus toward faster employee return to work, while their administrative tasks can be performed by offshore agent or nurse.
Automation as a Cost-Containment Strategy
A vendor partner can also ensure the right level of RPA deployment to automate redundant steps, which is critical to ensuring that claims are turned around in time to adhere to state-regulated bill payments and avoid costly penalties. Automation reduces the manual effort required for each activity or even totally eliminates the manual effort required for some tasks. Significant capacity optimization can be achieved by connecting and building business rules on multiple applications. This saves the valuable agent effort of toggling between systems enabling them to handle more and more complex transactions.
Robotic automation, a non-invasive technology, doesn’t require back-office integration through APIs and seamlessly works with end-user interfaces and enterprise applications. The technologically agnostic solutions work well with data-intensive processes, across multiple domains and industry verticals. It offers various functionalities including responding to external stimuli and deciding when to execute functions; acting autonomously to use and orchestrate any application; bringing inherent data protections, transactional integrity across systems; and providing clear audit trails and other system management functions.
The Bottom Line
A good business process outsourcing (BPO) partner that works with workers’ compensation as a specialty will have the knowledge and procedures in place to ensure every statute is met, every contingency is covered, every report is submitted correctly and on time, and everything is exactly as it needs to be, removing the bottlenecks to reduce costs and improve revenue flow.
BPO gives health insurance organizations the skills and synergy they need to improve internal policy and process maps, and ensure the highest levels of compliance in an increasingly complex statutory environment. A successful BPO/CCO partnership returns value beyond the terms of the Statement of Work between the payer and vendor; the partnership should enable payers to focus on their core mission and service to the community.
Publish Date: July 27, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Mandeep Singh Kwatra, VP of Solutions and Capabilities and CX Strategy Services Leader
Today’s customers evaluate a company on the experience that they receive. The entire sales cycle (pre-sales, purchase, and post-purchase) experience is as important to them as the actual product or service. Today’s multi-tasking customers are juggling multiple channels at one time, often on multiple devices. Servicing these customers requires companies to be always alert, frequent the same channels as customers, and be consistent is their customer service across channels.
Due to this influence of digital channels and shifting customer loyalties, more and more companies are becoming “customer obsessed.” There is a continuous strategizing about how to woo the customer, how to deliver a wow experience every time, and how to win trust to gain a larger wallet share.
So, what are the typical traits “customer obsessed” companies possess?
- They reserve a seat at the boardroom table for a resident expert of customer intelligence
Many companies are bringing a customer experience leadership executive into their C-suite: either a chief customer officer (CCO) or customer experience officer (CXO). These team members will have the requisite knowledge and expertise to make use of customer data and lead transformational CX strategy. Many companies talk about how important customer service is to them and are diligent about collecting data, however, the data is often meaningless without a sound strategy for interpretation and reporting.
- They focus on customer retention over acquisition.
According to Bain & Company research, increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%. Most companies are single-mindedly focused on acquiring more customers and draw up their marketing plans specifically to attract more new customers. What’s the cost of customer acquisition compared to retention? There’s no definitive answer; however, most sources cite acquisition costs as between 4 and 10 times more than retention. It’s often less expensive to market to existing customers, and that means providing Unified Customer Engagement®, with a consistent, unified customer experience, across channels.
- They blend multiple sources of customer data.
Today your customers don’t reach you just by the phone. They prefer to use digital channels like social media, text, chat, and apps, and that is only the beginning. This spectrum is only going to grow, with new Internet of Things solutions coming out every year. With so many different communication channels, there are numerous sources where valuable customer information is available. Customer preferences vary with each channel, so it’s essential to study and understand data from all sources before making changes. Using data from multiple sources helps you make better predictions about customer needs, predict purchase behavior, and above all personalize customer experience.
- They develop post-transaction interactions with customers.
In today’s digital, customer-centric world, companies often forget to reach out to the customer after a successful sale is complete. It is very important for a customer-centric organization to engage with their customers even after they make a purchase and continue to communicate over the longer term. Ongoing communication helps companies to continuously gather customer feedback and learn about changing customer preferences.
- They make room for customer needs.
Often companies try to solve problems of the past. In fact, the focus should be on how the future will shape tomorrow’s optimized CX: how will customers communicate, engage, buy, and live. Customer-obsessed companies keep a futuristic outlook to managing their customers not just today but with a view to maintaining the same standard or higher service in the future too. They are always flexible in accommodating customer needs in their marketing and customer service plans. These companies understand that customer needs do not always align with their own goals. So they factor in room for customer needs when formulating their customer service plans. This may mean bringing in CX experts, such as business process management (BPM) companies, to provide digital roadmaps and customer journey maps, supported by technology implementation expertise.
Ultimately, delighted customers are your greatest marketing, with the best ROI. Refine your CX approach, for a customer obsession that delivers.
Publish Date: July 13, 2016 5:00 AM
By Chris Lord, Global Head of Growth, Strategy and Marketing
This article was previously published in CMSWire.
Companies face major challenges when trying to effectively scale customer service. Successfully responding to customer interactions across an expanding range of channels puts even the most customer-centric organizations to the test.
Customers want seamless service in the form of fast responses on their channel of choice (or convenience) — whether that’s chat, phone, website, text, or social media. Providing answers in a cost-effective way while still delivering an exceptional customer experience is not easy, which is where artificial intelligence (AI) comes in. AI can make an immediate and impactful difference in the short-term for companies looking to streamline the relationship with consumers.
That said, a 2014 report by Forrester (registration required) shows understanding customer emotion and empathy are critical components of a successful customer experience. Clearly the human touch is needed at the heart of customer service.
How can organizations create customer experiences that deliver efficient service and actually help build empathy, at the same time? By deploying self-learning, automated AI helps customers better serve themselves at a low cost.
Customer Desire for Speed and Convenience Fueling Self-Service
Customers are increasingly knowledgeable and tech-savvy — we all know that. A report by Gartner (pdf) predicts that by 2020, customers will manage 85 percent of their relationships with organizations without interacting with a human.
But despite that growing preference for self-service, there are still times when customers prefer human interaction.
Businesses ultimately help themselves when they offer customers the best approach — whatever format that takes — to get the right answer fast. Not only do they improve customer satisfaction, they reduce the effort and cost to provide that satisfaction. The net result is a higher likelihood that the customer will repeat purchase and become a loyal promoter, sharing their great experience by word-of-mouth and social media.
Blend Human and Robot Interactions for Better Customer Experiences
Recent technological breakthroughs combine the best of personal and automated services to create a new model of customer engagement.
The core of AI in customer service is self-learning powered by analytics. Self-learning allows computers and automated systems to monitor human agents’ reactions and responses to questions and process inquiries. They can teach themselves how to complete basic tasks and respond to simple questions without having to escalate it to a live agent.
And, they learn from what happens if a problem is escalated to a live agent, so over time fewer and fewer inquiries require the human touch.
These automated systems don’t require a major upheaval of IT, and companies won’t have to ditch expensive legacy systems. Most importantly, AI in customer service can actually drive revenue over time with improved customer satisfaction and repeat purchases — eventually paying for itself.
Where to Start
What does that mean for you, as you look to build a more efficient and empathetic customer service model that marries human and artificial intelligence?
Customer Journey Mapping: Anticipate possible friction points in the sales or service cycle and plan proactive online popups to guide customers toward a solution.
Analytics for Front-End Research: Big data and analytic tools can help you determine the most appropriate channels for problem resolution based on the complexity of the issue, availability of support, and lifetime value of the customer relationship.
Personalization: Understand your customers and personalize their interactions based on what you know of their demographic and preferences. Think about a dynamic website experience automatically customized to past consumer purchase behavior or a chat interaction incorporating previous text or web interactions so the consumer doesn’t need to repeat information.
Consistent Brand Experience: Content, particularly FAQs, should be dynamic but consistent across all channels. Use automation and intelligence to contextualize, anticipate, learn, and continually improve.
Simplicity: Pick a single queue, product, brand, etc. to start and launch digital projects that can be stood up in 60–90 days, allowing you to quickly gain value and learn.
It’s All About Balance
Artificial intelligence represents a huge step forward in delivering a better experience for customers. However, if it is to succeed, technology needs to be combined with traditional human skills in order to deliver a seamless customer journey that balances self-service with empathy, ultimately providing a tailored experience for every individual’s needs.
Publish Date: June 29, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Lauren Kindzierski
HGS recently released a white paper on this year’s 10 customer experience disrupters—those that are sure to alter the CX landscape this year. Over the next few months, we’ll dedicate a blog to each of these CX game changers. Here we dissect Disrupter No. 1, Reducing Customer Effort, highlighting five strategies designed to reduce the burden on the customer for an improved and more frictionless CX to ultimately drive a higher CSAT and NPS score for your business.
Leading to Low Effort
What do customers really want? It’s an efficient, satisfactory solution to their queries, according to a recent study conducted by the Corporate Executive Board and published by the Harvard Business Review. The study demonstrated that reducing customer effort increases the likelihood that the customer will return, increases the amount they will spend and increases their propensity to speak positively about the company – in other words they will become more loyal. The research also states that low effort scores led to a 94% likelihood to repurchase and an 88% chance to increase spend. All the more reason to initiate these five strategies for a better CX:
- Ensure self-assessment of customer service processes. Self-assessment is a great way of understanding the effectiveness of the customer experience process. A customer journey map will determine where you are at in your digital transformation. At each customer touchpoint, how much effort are customers putting forth? The right map will cover all digital channels: text, chat, web, and social, as well as voice. Review the entire customer journey for an apt understanding of processes that push customers to invest too much effort. Only then will your digital transformation strategy address your greatest CX weaknesses—those processes and pain points that exact the most customer effort.
- Analyze the voice of your customer. Gather, act, and analyze customer feedback to ensure your understanding of high- effort touchpoints. This analysis should reach all levels of CX—beyond customer surveys, for the most comprehensive, detailed feedback (that also reflects your digital delivery). Compile customer chat transcripts, text messages, and emails, as well as customer surveys, to decode customer input with analytics.
- Take a more strategic approach to self-service. Self-service should be the foundation for future customer interactions, with agent assistance integrated in seamlessly when it adds value to the consumer’s interaction. Keeping up means focusing on outcomes, like measuring the effectiveness of FAQs in terms of resolving customer issues and applying interaction analytics to top contact driver analysis. Aim for a smart, seamless user experience that drives automation first. For example, FAQ resolution measurement can reveal important structural challenges to predictive resolution to customer queries, such as pushing out how-to videos. At HGS, we’ve measured and rebuilt self-service for one client to design a device-agnostic platform, for a resulting 97% query resolution rate online, in just 90 days. Comprising knowledge management, CRM, and analytics capabilities, this DNA tool empower self-service and addresses customer queries at the earliest touchpoint, for optimized customer experience. These types of strategic tools and innovation will streamline and simplify your customer experience to help customers find the information they need quickly and efficiently.
- Get ready: The bots are coming. It’s important to embrace the disruption—those innovative tools that add automation to your self-service delivery. Today more third-party providers are focused on automation for more efficient and cost-effective workflows. This means bots—the delivery method of robotic automation. And bots bring real outcomes—cost benefits and improved efficiency over manual process handling and ability to leverage application software without integration. In the front office, automation is improving experiences for customers by getting them the right answer, fast. In fact, HGS has been able to employ bots to unlock for our clients results like reduced processing time by about 75% in some of the processes. And you aren’t losing out on tone of CX delivery—today’s bots use natural language so customers never know there isn’t a live agent behind delivery. Autotext, autochat, autosocial: Add this innovation to your self-service delivery, for CX that meets today’s demand.
- Employ digital for proactive, optimized CX. Digital tools are breaking barriers in terms of redefining the customer experience. For example, with SMS service delivery, businesses can make transformational improvements in customer experience, with alerts and prompts, such as bill payment reminders, order status updates, and warranty expiration notices. Today’s innovation is geared toward this level of proactive service, which ultimately boosts CX and also drives significant operational performance improvement.
These five straightforward strategies will help your customers get the right answer, fast, for optimize customer experience. Reducing your customers’ effort will allow your company to focus more on your core business and aim for higher quality work with relative ease.
Publish Date: June 15, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Anand Natampalli
Health insurance is no longer primarily a business-to-business transaction between payer organizations and employers. Today, payers must be prepared to holistically meet the needs of millions of individual consumers—from onboarding and first appointments to billing and wellness and retention.
Cost management has always been a core focus area for health insurers, but in a value-based world, costs that previously had been absorbed by large group plans now need to be identified as medical or administrative costs in order to meet the medical loss ratio requirements outlined in the Affordable Care Act.
Payers are dedicating more resources, technology, and money to network management, claims accuracy, and medical cost management in order to lower costs, improve provider and member satisfaction, and make healthcare more accessible. Realizing these goals will require health plans to rethink their business workflows in the key areas of automation, business process outsourcing, and technology integration.
Automation reduces or eliminates manual processes for many tasks with data-intensive processes, across multiple domains and verticals. It acts autonomously to use and run multiple applications, bringing inherent data protections and transactional integrity across systems and providing clear audit trails.
Effective automation relies on good business process design and can have significant return on investment. According to the BPO analyst NelsonHall, automation can reduce organizational costs by up to 30 percent within three months of implementation.
Business Process Outsourcing
According to Black Book research, as many of 74 percent of payers are looking to business process management experts that have the necessary expertise to blend front office and back office processes to eliminate downstream impacts of transactions that can result in process gaps and clerical errors, so they can focus more internal efforts on managing risk and delivering an outstanding customer experience.
This approach makes sense as the number of individuals seeking health plans continues to rise. The ability to manage processes efficiently will quickly become a lower-value contribution to the bottom line. In addition, BPO organizations that work across multiple verticals are able to bring the best practices from each, improving the level of quality and service overall.
Digital transformation has changed the paradigm by which goods and services are delivered to consumers in retail, financial services, telecommunications and entertainment, to name just a few sectors. With the aggregation of member data, insurers gain the ability to evaluate and re-evaluate the customer lifecycle and the likelihood that members are in need of and will subscribe to additional services. Without the technology to integrate member health data and preferences, insurers will fail to meet consumers’ rising expectations for a seamless and satisfying experience, leaving members frustrated and difficult to retain.
Therefore, it is critical to create opportunities to engage with members and build affinity whenever a touchpoint occurs—from enrollment, onboarding and health plan education to appointment reminders and change-of-life events. Tailoring member specific service based on these unique circumstances and preferences is dependent on a robust data analytics platform within the insurer organization.
Regardless of the engagement methods used, the goal is to amass integrated member data to identify individually-appropriate interventions to best manage their health. To achieve this shift, insurers will require a cloud-based platform integrated into business process outsourcing (BPO) services. The total solution must go beyond the member-facing channels to also provide integration with enterprise customer relationship management (CRM) platforms.
Health insurance plans that embrace digital transformation of this magnitude stand to achieve substantial efficiency improvements in acquiring new members and providing services over the course of the customer lifecycle.
Anand Natampalli, MBA, is Senior Vice President, Global Sales & Business Development, for HGS, a provider of end-to-end business process services for numerous Fortune 100 health insurance companies and large provider organizations. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publish Date: May 18, 2016 5:00 AM
At our May 6 webinar, “Your Customers Are Chatting, Are You Still Talking?,” HGS VP of Solutions and Capabilities Mandeep Kwatra dispelled some myths about chat and provided details on how to pivot to this platform from other service channels. Alon Waks, Global Head of Marketing at LivePerson also shared some insights on chat as a CX must-have.
A record number of attendees took part in our webinar polls, sharing their chat benchmarks. Our first poll asked, “What is the status of your brand or company in providing chat as a channel for interacting with customers?” Responses were evenly split among “Implemented as a standalone” (30) and Implemented as an integrated channel of service (39), with 0 attendees responding that “Chat doesn’t offer much benefit.”
Per poll two, we also found that 49% of our attendees provide between 2–5 channels for their agents to access for service, with 33% of respondents providing more than 5 channels. “This isn’t a new scenario,” Kwatra noted. “As organizations grow, different systems come in and customer information is sitting in different places. So a lot of companies fall into the two to three systems category leading up to five or more.”
As part of our Q-and-A session post-webinar, our experts shared more insights:
Q1: When is it okay to use auto chat with customers?
Mandeep A: Automated chat is typically useable in low-value interactions, where you can have more straightforward answers to queries. For example, “I want to know where your nearest store is,” or “I want to know about your return policy.” These scenarios are fairly standard in their process, and you need limited customer information to create a trouble ticket to complete the transaction. These are some of the scenarios where you can deploy automated chat.
Q2: Would you say that having chat services available helps decrease call volume and how can you measure this?
Alon A: First of all, the natural tendency of people today is to seek sales and service on digital. In fact, 58–60% of journeys start on digital. When you enable the channel to be effective and responsive and personalized, you will significantly reduce the amount of call volume, possibly by 40%. When you use chat analytics to gain voice of the customer insight, you can reduce repeatable chats. If you know that certain questions are commonly asked or certain interaction patterns repeated, you can provide significant content information on the website that addresses these questions or repeatable patterns. For example, if you saw that a question such as “ “Will this family plan also give me mobile replacements every year?” is asked with some frequency, you can add it as an FAQ that automatically pops up at the right point in the customer journey. When you go digital, you can respond more effectively to inquiries, some of which can be addressed through chat or self-service.
Q3: Should chat only be in English or can it be multi-lingual?
Mandeep A: Chat can be multi-lingual, as well. A lot of companies have adopted chat more as an English language platform. But there is a demand that is building up to make it multi-lingual and there are several platforms that provide very accurate automated translations. My recommendation is start with English, get it right and then add more languages to it.
Publish Date: May 11, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Subramanya C
In recent years, there’s been a shift in the way customers shop, highlighting an increased need to focus on unified customer engagement. Today, brands and customers are invariably using more than one channel when interacting with each other. A recent study surveying 7,000 consumers found that in the past 6 months, 67 percent of online shoppers made purchases that involved multiple channels. Consider this simple example as an everyday scenario:
Bill is considering buying a lawn mower. A colleague recommends Brand X. Bill immediately picks up his smartphone and starts researching lawn mowers from Brand X. Because Brand X’s website is not optimized for the mobile experience, he finds it difficult to see the photos and abandons his search for the moment. Once he’s back at his computer a couple of hours later, he continues his search for Brand X to get more information about the product his colleague recommended. Specifically, Bill wants to know what type of battery the lawn mower has. When he’s unable to find the answer to his question on the brand’s website FAQ section he gives up researching the recommendation and begins looking at a competing retailer’s site.
Today, prospective customers employ multiple channels before zeroing in on a purchase. Consequently, today’s brands have to be prepared and consistent across their service delivery channels.
If you’re looking to implement unified customer engagement, here are four must-haves:
- Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Readiness: Your CRM application should be ready to support a complex strategy like omni-channel customer service. It has to have an open Application Processing Interface (API) that allows developers to build the CRM to link and share gathered data and provide for integration with all channels. This feature is crucial for a CRM to be ready to support omni-channel customer experience.
This readiness means that the CRM must be capable of studying and learning from your customer history and spotting and predicting patterns. Such an intelligent CRM can use this learning to help offer better, seamless customer experience by sharing and using this learning across all the channels in the omni-channel plan. The CRM should also be web-enabled and hosted on the cloud for better seamless integration, rather than being hosted on a server.
The CRM also has to be mobile app friendly. Why? In 2019 there will be 9.4 billion mobile subscriptions around the world, and 5.6 billion of them, or 60 percent, will be linked to a smartphone, according to new study by mobile network vendor Ericsson. The CRM must allow developers to integrate the apps for different operating systems (such as, Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows) for simulation, testing, and integrated CRM testing.
- Supporting Technology: Ensure you have the right computer systems with High Definition (HD) video, audio, and premium Internet bandwidth that can help your customer service agents support customers easily across channels. Along with all these front-end technology solutions, you also need to have powerful back-end technology infrastructure including Internet Protocol (IP).
Optimum quality, fast omni-channel customer support requires high capacity back-end technology that can enable the front-end technology to run efficiently.
- Robust, Integrated Knowledge Base: Preparing a strong and perceptive customer knowledge base is essential to a well-performing omni-channel customer support service. The knowledge base should be capable of addressing the information requests that come from different channels and furnish this information to customer service agents through the CRM.
The knowledge base should include information in different formats and lengths. For example, when answering a customer on Twitter, there is a character limit so the knowledge base needs to provide the agent with short, informative answers; if email is the platform, the knowledge base has to have descriptive answers.
- Synchronization and Personalization Capabilities: Link between devices is essential. Your CRM needs to be able to allow and support information exchange and learning to happen across devices. This can help each channel learn from the activities on other channels and understand customer interests and browsing history better to offer a more personalized customer experience. For example, if a customer has browsed books from a certain genre on your mobile app, this browsing and preferences history is shared by the app, through the CRM, with the company website. When the customer switches to the website from the app, the website can provide the best product recommendations based on the browsing history on the app.
It’s important to use the learning gained on every channel. This is possible with a web-enabled, open API CRM and knowledge base that shares data. If your service on the first few channels is lacking, you can use the learning that’s happened on these channels to improve on the next/ other channels.
Unified customer engagement comprises a complex system that involves near-constant learning from which companies that implement it need to evolve continuously to stay ahead of the game. BPM vendors can assist in launching and ensuring a successful omni-channel strategy. It’s a key focus of today’s optimized customer experience delivery.
Publish Date: May 4, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Rawool Sahu
Today’s businesses are increasingly focused on how to please and appease millennials—more specifically, those 16-to-36-year-olds among us. As the largest generation in U.S. history, my generation holds significant purchasing power, of an estimated $200 billion annually. That figure is projected to double by 2020, according to Bloomberg Research. Undeniably, millennials are redefining customer experience, with our digitally savvy and self-reliant buying behavior. To meet the evolving customer service expectations of our demographic, brands need to do a lot of groundwork and preparation. Here are four simple truths about our expectations:
- Millennials prefer a digital journey.
It’s a well-known fact, by now: my peer group prefers digital self-serve channels as opposed to traditional customer service channels such as the phone.
Digital channels of service are not limited to only the self-help or email channel. Chat has been, and continues to be, one of the significant channels in managing customer service and helping customers get the right answer fast. It’s my favorite mode of customer service, as it’s for me an easier method of conversation that allows time between interactions. Unlike traditional voice, there’s no set response time. In fact, I find faster agent response and resolution with chat. And I also have a documented history of my conversation with the agent.
- Millennials are self-reliant.
As the most educated generation in history, we don’t want to be pushed through a process, we want to be empowered to self-serve. Essentially, millennials grew up with Google search at our fingertips. We know how to get to the information and background we need to make purchasing decisions. We’re independent thinkers. When we do have a concern, we like to go to an FAQ page, a troubleshooting guide, or community forum where customers can ask or answer questions, or receive any sort of walk through, either an article or video, where we can discover answers to our problems. And then, when its helpful to getting the right answer fast, we want intelligent and educated assistance that adds value to our interaction with a brand.
- Millennials want multi-channel choice.
We’re changing platforms—from smartphones to laptops, multiple times an hour. And we want you to meet us there. Our expectation is that we can get the right answer fast – consistently, regardless of channel, device, or location. This means a unified customer experience strategy for all relevant channels. Millennial customers today switch channels based on convenience, and they expect the next channel they choose to get them started where they stopped on the previous channel. Another expectation is responsive design to ensure that a brand’s website renders properly on every device irrespective of screen size.
- Millennials want authentic engagement with brands.
While millennials often prefer digital communication over voice, we still want relationships with our brands – or rather, we want brands to value us and give us personalized treatment. But we value authenticity, which comes with a true understanding of the company—from vision and mission to values and corporate social responsibility focus. Social media engagement is key here, in terms of developing personalized customer service. This requires businesses to ensure supporting technology and a robust customer database that includes details on customer name, contact preferences, and shopping/ spending patterns. We expect that from our brands, as we want to know them as well as they know us. For example, I participate in as many customer response surveys as I can (if they are of the short 5- to 7-question variety), so my voice is heard, and I can actually effect outcomes.
So, what can we glean from these insights about my peers? Simply put, businesses should be prepared to meet their needs with self-service channels that help them get the right answer, fast. They need multiple channels with cross-channel integration, including self-service. Millenials expect service to be
- Proactive, guided by preferences
- Present on multiple channels and cross-channel integrated
- Focused on optimized CX
Publish Date: April 27, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Dan Schulte
This blog is the first of a two-part series covering the ever-evolving workers’ comp landscape for both providers and payers. This blog represents the provider perspective, and Part Two will focus on the service scope from a payer point of view.
One of the staples of reality TV over the last few years has been shows about people who do difficult, dangerous, and dirty jobs that most of us wouldn’t dream of doing. “Dirty Jobs,” “Deadliest Catch,” “Ice Road Truckers,” and others make most of us glad that someone else is doing it.
If they ever add “World’s Most Aggravating Jobs” to the mix, one that you can bet will be on the list is working with workers’ compensation claims. Just ask anyone who has to do it on a semi-regular basis.
Make no mistake: workers’ comp is a wonderful safety net for employees and employers. Prior to its introduction between the two Roosevelts (Teddy and Franklin) if workers got hurt on the job and required expensive medical care, their primary option for compensation was to sue their employers. No explanation is needed on why that wasn’t good for anyone. Workers’ comp avoids that unpleasantness.
Yet while it sounds simple and straightforward in theory, in practice workers’ comp is anything but. Instead it presents a Byzantine set of rules, regulations, and requirements that appear to be designed to ensure claims are rejected and providers are penalized for not performing up to standards.
For providers , however, it can be a nightmare, with so many rules and processes that must be followed to the letter, and so many resources required to manage the program, that by the time it’s all said and done, providers might end up actually losing money on the claims. It is why more and more providers are beginning to turn over all of their workers’ comp business processing to outside organizations that focus on this very specialized area of insurance.
Here are some of the many reasons you may want to consider doing the same.
- No single set of rules. With commercial health insurance, while there may be minor variances here and there, you’re basically working with the same processes, procedures, and rule sets. Not so with workers’ comp. Each state sets its own complex statutes and fee schedules, which must be adhered to exactly or the claim will likely be rejected.
- Completely separate from standard health insurance. Workers’ comp is very specialized. Health plans that offer it don’t sell commercial health insurance, and commercial plans don’t offer workers’ comp (with rare exceptions). Failure to understand this could lead to a workers’ comp claim being submitted to the wrong payer or third party administrator (TPA), delaying reimbursement and risking a violation of state filing requirements.
- Initial authorization must be verified. Before a provider can file a claim under workers’ comp, it must obtain an employer’s letter of protection or first report of injury. Not obtaining this pre-authorization confirming the employer believes the employee’s injury occurred on the job could severely impact the entire claims and reimbursement process down the road.
- Combination of high expertise and low volume. Workers’ comp is very difficult to manage, requiring a high level of expertise. Yet it typically accounts for only 3–5 percent of a hospital’s accounts receivable (A/R). Despite the risks, most organizations find it makes little financial sense to hire an internal expert, relying instead on personnel with minimal training in workers’ comp. It’s no wonder there are frequent problems.
- Still a paper-based process. While there are a few exceptions, for the most part, workers’ comp claims must be filled out on paper and mailed to the insurance carrier. That is a slow, labor-intensive process that takes internal personnel away from higher-value work. It is also more costly than electronic filing since every line must be filled in every time. And, if just one piece of paper is submitted out of order, the entire claim can be sent back, starting the process all over again and delaying reimbursement.
- Intricate fee schedules must be followed. State statutes lay out intricate fee schedules that explain exactly what will and will not be covered by workers’ comp for a given type of injury. Failure to understand what is allowable could lead the provider to deliver services that will not be reimbursed, either in part or in full.
- State reporting requirements. Providers are required to submit regular reports to the state in a timely manner documenting initial treatment, follow-up treatments, and any discussions between the provider and payer regarding the treatment and other issues. These reports are not standardized, however, as each state has its own specific reporting requirements. Again, failure to deliver exactly what is needed, in exactly the format specified, or within the timeframe allotted, creates more headaches and delays.
- Incessant follow-up needed. Even when everything is submitted properly and on-time, it does not guarantee reimbursement will be prompt. Providers often must follow up frequently to ensure claims are being processed and that there are no issues holding them up. Again, this is a specialized area. Untrained account representatives may not know how to make these calls and spur action. If claims are rejected, more follow-up is required to determine the cause and potentially file an appeal, taking up even more staff time.
- Reimbursements must be verified for accuracy. Even after reimbursement is received, the work isn’t over. Providers must check each one to ensure there is no under-payment or over-payment. That includes checking that the workers’ comp payer is basing payments on the current fee schedule for that state. If not, an appeal must be filed, again on a timely basis.
The bottom line is that there is a lot of work (and expertise) required to ensure impediments to reimbursement from workers’ comp claims are removed and no money is left on the table. The ratio of volume to value makes it difficult to justify attempting to manage it all internally.
A good business process outsourcing (BPO) partner that works with workers’ comp all day, every day, will have the knowledge and procedures in place to ensure every statute is met, every contingency is covered, and everything is exactly as it needs to be, removing the bottlenecks to reduce the costs and improve revenue flow.
Even the most aggravating of jobs must be done. But they don’t have to be done internally. By moving workers’ comp claims and collections to a BPO partner, you can minimize problems for the organization as well as free up internal resources for more meaningful work.
Publish Date: April 20, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Joanne Morrison
HGS was a proud sponsor of this year’s Customer Experience Strategies Summit in Toronto, April 5–6. At this interactive forum, we were inspired by a talented group of CX thought leaders and forward-thinking brands that are challenging what it means to provide a great customer experience. Strong customer relationships mean customers are three times more likely to stay loyal, six times more likely to recommend the brand, and five times more likely to repurchase. With studies showing that 31% of customers leave because they received a better offer from a competitor, optimizing customer experience has never been more crucial to business growth and survival.
Bruce Temkin, CX Transformist and Managing Partner, Temkin Group, kicked off the first session with his keynote address titled, “Win Customers by Moving from Fluff to Tough.” He began the session by posing a single question to the audience, “What is a great customer experience?” While audience members called out words such as “memorable,” “consistent,” and “effortless,” Temkin challenged us by proclaiming that all the answers were wrong. He countered with the notion that a great CX is whatever the customer thinks it is. To illustrate this point, he used examples of customer experience from 10 years ago, when we were thrilled to receive DVDs in the mail to view the latest movie, use paper maps to get driving directions, and throw ourselves in front of taxis to access transportation. All of this was before anyone had conceived of the notion of streaming entertainment content, GPS devices that provide real-time traffic updates, and Uber. The key takeaway? It’s that if we set our goals on achieving what exceptional customer experience is today, we’ll ultimately fail. What we need to do is anticipate what customers will want tomorrow.
HGS’s own Lauren Kindzierski closed the sessions on Day 1 with her presentation titled “Rewire the Digital Customer Experience to Connect Emotionally with Customers.” Part of the challenge in providing a great CX is that experiences aren’t logical, they’re emotional. However, more than 35% of all interactions are digital and research projects that the digital will overtake the phone channel as the primary method of communication within two years. With this trend in mind, the question then becomes, “How do you focus on emotions to create memorable digital customer interactions?” Customers want brands to know me, engage me, make my life simple, anticipate my needs, feel what I feel, and reward me.
On Day 2 of the conference, Marc Eaman, Director, Marketing Cloud, Adobe, described “The Power of Great Experiences.” At this session,he talked about the disruption happening in the enterprise. He contends that 20 years ago, during the back-office wave,companies prioritized enterprise resource planning (ERP), and now that has become table stakes. Ten years ago, priorities shifted to the front-office wave, and more investment was made in CRMs to automate sales. Again, this strategy has also become table stakes. Today, we’re entering the experience wave. To succeed in this wave, customers’ demand that brands:
- Know me and respect me. For example, if a brand knows that the customer is interested in surfing, they should not be bombarded with offers related to skiing.
- Speak in one voice. Empower employees so they can say, “Yes, I can solve that for you.”
- Make technology transparent. Customers don’t care how your back-end systems work. They just want an experience that is seamless and works.
- Delight me at every turn. Mantras that will ensure success are “Be consistent,” “Be continuous,” and “Be compelling.”
Terry Gardiner, VP, Customer Experience Enablement, TELUS, provided an interactive session on “Best Practices to create Customer Value with High-Impact Omni-channel Experiences.” At this session, he emphasized the importance of moving from transactions to the outcomes that customers want. For example, when customers want to sit in their living rooms and watch TV, they don’t care what time the repair truck arrives, they just want the outcome to match their need. Brands need to recognize that each outcome has a different value for the customer. As CX practitioners, we need to understand what’s important in the hearts and minds of customers. Gardiner also emphasized the importance of culture. He contends that you can have the right technology; however, if employees don’t care, your CX efforts will fail. Gardiner also emphasized that key performance indicators (KPIs) can get in the way of culture. For example, if a salesperson on the phone is incented to sell, that sales person won’t encourage customers to make their purchases in store, even though that may be the better option for the customer. Similarly, average handle time (AHT) can be another problematic metric, as customer service reps may rush customers off the phone without optimally solving the issue. TELUS experimented with eliminating AHT as a metric, and while AHT rose in the immediate short term, it leveled off, and, in the longer term, it did not increase.
Driving the right culture is imperative, and the beauty of culture is that it doesn’t cost anything to drive culture change, nor does it require executive approval. It does, however, have a huge impact on delivering successful CX.
Publish Date: April 13, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Lauren Kindzierski
Unified Engagement, Digital Transformation, Click to Text, Channel Pivoting, and First Touch Resolution, In our March 31 blog, we shared all of these terms and why they are essential components of today’s optimized digital CX. With our Part Two of our Terms Every Digital CX Professional Must Know series, we share the Digital Disruption-related terminology that will guide optimized experience.
- Internet of Things—Digital Disruption and emerging innovative technologies are forcing businesses to rethink their business models and go to market strategies. The Internet of Things is one such form of digital disruption that is game changing to businesses across the globe. The Internet of Things is where physical objects or “things” are becoming wirelessly connected and embedded with electronics, software, and sensors that allow these objects to collect and exchange data. The connectivity then allows these physical objects to be controlled remotely via smartphone apps. For example, think about your household, pretty soon all of your appliances will have LCD panels embedded in them. This will allow customer service to tap into the physical object to diagnose problems, assist consumers via video, and provide a better personalized experience.
- Augmented Reality—Augmented Reality is another form of digital disruption that can be a game changer for customer service. Augmented Reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. This technology can be a strategic differentiator for companies needing help evolving its tech-support. With the help of augmented reality, you can aim your smartphone at the product, and then it will show a 3D version of the product, along with interactive guides, how-to videos, helpful tips or even an ability to connect with customer service via video. The best way to describe AR is a blur between virtual reality and gamification.
- Social Profiling—Think about all of the type of information you can get from looking at a person’s public social network profiles. One could find out everything from the individual’s age, gender, marital status, employer and role, skills, life events, vacations, favorite movies, books, places traveled and so much more. All of this data can be extremely valuable to personalizing the customer experience. Within the last year, companies have figured out how to tap into that goldmine of data (as long as the customer’s profiles are public). All it takes to implement is the customer’s first name, last name, and email address. It is called Social Profiling, and it’s being used for personalization, customer segmentation and persona strategies.
- iBeacons—iBeacon is a protocol standardized by Apple and introduced at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in 2013. You can think of iBeacon as like GPS for indoor locations. The technology enables smartphones, tablets and other devices to perform actions when in close proximity to an iBeacon. Your smartphone will pick up the iBeacon transmissions and pretty much deliver anything at all to the device from offers, coupons, ‘you are here signals’, info, etc. You could, for example, walk into an iBeacon-equipped store, and then have the store’s iPhone app recognize who you are, greet you with a personalized message that says “welcome back”. iBeacons are critical for personalizing brick and mortar customer experiences. It’s important to note that various vendors have since made iBeacon-compatible hardware transmitters – typically called beacons that broadcast their identifier to nearby portable electronic devices outside of Apple devices.
- Content Curation—For years businesses have used stock photos when marketing the brand. Usually these photos contained model-like, beautiful people using or eating the product or service. The product itself was always in 100% top notch condition. These advertisements where setting consumer expectations high, and only to be later let down by the non-perfection. Today, the voice of the customer has never been louder. Customers would rather see advertisements with real customers using the product or service, or read reviews from real customers to get their non-biased opinion. Content Curation is the answer. Content curation is the process of sorting through the vast amounts of user generated content on the web and presenting it in a meaningful and organized way around a specific product, service or theme. With the help of content curation, you can present photos of real customers using your products collected via social media. You can post these photos to a website, and present an “option to buy” when the photo is clicked on, which will help increase conversions.
- Social Conquesting—Within the past 5 to 7 years, brands have been dedicating time and resources into figuring out their social media strategies. There is one new strategy that has recently surfaced called Social Conquesting. Social Conquesting can be described as leveraging a competitor’s social audience to acquire customers. For example, customers are turning to social media to air their grievances when upset with a particular brand. When this happens, if the brand doesn’t respond to their upset customer, the competitor will. This is a strategy that is happening in all industries, and has been pretty successful. At the end of the day, customers just want the brands they do business with to listen to them when they are talking in social. The bottom line, if your brand fails to respond, then the competition will. Start monitoring 24/7 and respond!
So that’s the close of our 11 digital terms customer service professionals must know this year. Stay tuned as we continue to stay on the pulse of the terms—and tools, solutions, innovation—you need to keep ahead of the pack.
Publish Date: April 11, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Lauren Kindzierski
Believe it or not, the first quarter of 2016 is almost over. As we seek to improve our customer strategy, it’s a good time to check our comprehension of this year’s hottest emerging digital trends and the newest jargon. This blog will be the first of a two-part series, covering terms that characterize today’s disruptive game changers for customer service professionals. Do you know this industry lingo? And more importantly does your planning incorporate this unified engagement innovation?:
- Unified Engagement
If omnichannel was the technology answer to the multichannel mayhem of adding channels on top of channels (inbound phone and then outbound, IVR, fax, website, email, chat, texting, social media, messaging) with disparate approaches to managing them, than Unified Engagement is the answer to optimizing the customer experience and bringing consistency to the way we engage over all those channels. The heart of modern digital transformation is unification. We must unify our approach to engaging with consumers if we are going to reduce customer effort (be easy to do business with), and extract business value from an amazing customer experience. The tools of unification in the customer experience include analytics, automation, and artificial intelligence— always learning and constantly improving.
- Digital Transformation
Consumers have become “rewired” mentally and emotionally to their smartphones and tablets, which has caused them to abandon traditional customer support channels in favor of digital and self-serve options. For this reason, Digital Transformation has become a hot topic for brands across the globe. Brian Solis of Altimeter defines Digital Transformation as “the realignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital customers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.” Businesses are struggling to figure out a way to integrate and connect all of these disparate channels and technology systems in an effort to personalize the customer journey. If Digital Transformation is not a part of your brand’s business plan in 2016, it should be.
- Click to Text
Everyone has heard of “Click to Call”, the feature that quickly changed the mobile experience when having to call customer service after visiting a website from your smartphone. There is now a “Click-to-Text” option which will allow customers to contact customer service via text message. With the click of a button, customers can launch open a new SMS to the customer service phone number. Then, customers can quickly send you a message without having to call— a win-win for both customers and brands.
- Channel Pivoting
Today’s consumers have more choices and options when it comes to communicating with customer service including: phone, email, chat, mobile apps, SMS, IVR, social media, video chat, and online self-serve. When multi-tasking, digital consumers reach out to customer service in search of answers, and many of them will be forced to end conversations and interactions because companies don’t give them the ability to switch channels or devices. The end result will be expensive incremental contacts because their issue wasn’t resolved on the first contact. Instead, brands need to let their consumers start an interaction in one channel, stop or pause, and finish the interaction from a different channel or device. This is called “Channel Pivoting”. Channel Pivoting is a great way to enhance the experience for both the customer and the brand.
- First Touch Resolution
Many organizations have realized the importance of creating a mobile-first mindset as they work to develop apps or optimize their mobile website. With mobile dominating, there has been a new metric that has surfaced called “first touch resolution.” First touch resolution is focused on how many finger taps it takes to resolve an issue, or get an answer using the company’s mobile or mobile website. Some companies have even taken this one step further and are creating “One-Touch Tickets,” which is a metric that counts the number of tickets that were solved with one reply. The equation is the number of one-reply tickets / the total number of solved tickets.
Stay tuned for Part Two of this industry terminology summary—Digital Disruption, which will prepare you for providing the digital CX your customers demand.
Publish Date: March 31, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Andrew Kokes
Your customers are texting. Do you know how many are already texting to your company toll free line? At our March 23 webinar, How to Launch Text Message Customer Service, HGS VP of Solutions and Capabilities Lauren Kindzierski provided some key insights into how to provide this customer service channel to meet, and exceed, the raised bar on today’s CX expectations.
- For our poll regarding “What is status of your brand launching text as a customer service channel, we noted that 64% are thinking about launching text as a service channel.
- The second poll, “How are you currently using text for your customer service?,” revealed that 79% of respondents are considering options. A total of 15% of attendees are using one-way notification and alerts, while 3% are using two-way text to interact with customers and resolve issues, and 3% are using both.
According to our webinar attendees, a good sampling of companies across verticals, today’s businesses are increasingly turning to text as a channel to reduce customer effort and meet the demand for optimized CX. During the How to Launch Text Message Customer Service, webinar, Lauren answered the questions of brand leaders from across North America regarding launching a text solution:
Q1: What should the average response time for text be?
A: When a customer is texting a business, they are definitely going to want a response within seconds, if not faster. When texting friends and family, the average response time for a text message is 90 seconds. Therefore 90 seconds is a really good starting point, because that’s what consumers have come to expect.
Q2: If a customer is in the CRM and is marked as “opted-out,” can a rep still text the customer? Is there anything that stops the rep from texting an opted-out customer?
A: In our system, if a customer has opted-out, the rep cannot text the customer. The customer would have to re opt-in through the legal disclosure process.
Q3: How do you recommend hours of service if customer care is generally offered Monday through Thursday 8 to 8, for example? What happens during off hours?
A: We have the ability to set after hours automated responses. For example, with one of our clients, if someone texts outside of regular business hours, they receive a response that says, “Thank you for contacting brand XYZ. Our business hours are x to x. We will get back to you first thing in the morning. In the meantime, please visit our self-help portal page or Frequently Asked Questions here.” You can then provide a link to the website.
Q4: How many texts can one CSR handle simultaneously?
A: Text is very similar to the chat channel. Typically, two to three texts is average, especially if it’s a new channel and a new agent learning things. As time passes, agents become more efficient. It’s important to recruit agents who are good multi-taskers and are text savvy. This is a good rule of thumb. And when beginning a pilot, take your existing call center volume and anticipate 20% of that being converted to text. The 20% rule is a good industry best practice. This will help you gauge how many people you need for the pilot, and with 20% it would be two to three conversations by concurrency.
Q5: If 20% of contacts are received via text, is that percentage a replacement for other contact channels or is it incremental volume?
A: Typically, 10% is a replacement for calling the 1-800 number and pivoting from IVR into text, while the other 10% is incremental.
Q6: You mentioned a 77% response rate with post transaction surveys. Did the scores increase or decrease based upon additional surveys being returned versus the traditional email replies with a 9% response rate?
A: Usually, you find a positive response rate with text surveys. With text, because everybody does it on a daily basis, and you have told customers that it’s only going to be two questions, they are more willing to respond. You will find that text surveys are more positive and have a higher response rate.
Q7: Does the affirmative consent requirement responding “Yes” lead to any attrition among text users?
A: You might get a couple of instances of attrition, but it’s typically not a problem.
Q8: What are standard response rates after hours, nights, and weekends? Do they vary?
A: If your contact center is open Monday through Friday, 9 to 5, it means that when agents come in on Monday morning, they may have to tackle a few that have come in over the weekend. This may be more volume than they can get to. Therefore, you might want to consider staffing heavier on Mondays, if you have those business hours in place.
If you have further questions about text message customer service, email email@example.com.
Publish Date: March 31, 2016 5:00 AM
Posted by Jack Biersdorfer
Companies today are confronted with a hostile and complex business environment that includes fierce competition in the global market from legacy brands to an endless line of emerging companies, a demanding consumer who is less concerned about brand loyalty and more interested in value and quality, and technology platforms that are changing at the speed of light.
Couple this environment with hundreds of stores closing in North America as leading market brands scurry to keep pace with the likes of Amazon.com and emerging giants like Alibaba.com and others. As evidence of this disruption, according to Business Insider, store closings this year include Radio Shack with 1,784 closures as well as J.C. Penney and Macy’s with 40 store closures each.
These days there is a tendency for bricks-and-mortar retailers to think that e-commerce retailers have it all figured out; however, online retailers have challenges too. Like bricks-and-mortar retailers, they also struggle with the challenge of how to encourage customers to spend more, increase average order value (AOV), and return to the store faster. Brick-and-mortar retailers can take a page from e-tailers’ investment in digital strategies and solutions that deliver personalization and hyper-localization. This will drive explosive growth in global commerce. The challenge facing all retailers is to create deeper, more personalized localized experiences that also resonate with consumers from varying countries and regions. For example, Amazon supports its two-year old India operations with significant investment in marketing initiatives that resonate strongly with the base, such as a blitz to support the season of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.
No industry is immune to these challenges, which affect healthcare, retail, technology, automotive, travel, and communications equally, as companies compete to own the customer. While brand identity still matters, the ultimate differentiator today is service and optimized customer experience. At HGS, we partner with some of the largest global 500 companies. With successful growth, comes challenges as they focus on their customer experience. They simply can’t grow 5X or more and expect to solve their customer challenges by adding people. Our objective is to address these challenges head on using digital solutions that perform the heavy lifting and reduce the reliance on traditional employee resources.
As you weigh this challenging era in business, know that HGS has been in a continuous state of transformation over the last 3 years. Our Digital Natural Assist (DNA), for example, is a platform, designed with a mobile-enabled customer in mind. DNA leverages company knowledge and bridges channels of interaction with an emphasis on empowering self-service while seamlessly integrating agent assistance. We continue to invest in our DNA platform and the assets required to design, build, and host competitive solutions that play a vital role in the continued success and growth of our clients. As a company we remain flexible knowing that there is no cookie cutter solution as our clients want to use new market technologies to better service their customer, but also differentiate their brands.
If you want to learn more about HGS, please visit www.teamhgs.com or drop me an email to jackB@teamhgs.com
Publish Date: March 31, 2016 5:00 AM
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