The “Always Connected” Customer Experience - Sitel - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Wired magazine said it first: “It’s time to copy China.” Indeed with Alibaba and WeChat, China has steadily been paving the way from e-commerce to m-commerce.
Business is changing, our habits are changing and… the size of the web as well. Cyber Monday generates $3 billion for Amazon; yet, its Chinese counterpart, Alibaba, earns five times as much thanks to B-to-B that’s become B-to-C then C-to-C – all of which transit through smartphones. In a world where m-commerce (mobile commerce) is growing 200 percent faster than e-commerce in general, the alliance of mobile technology with instant messaging has become a crucial growth factor and revolutionizing customer experience.
By weaving personalized and instantaneous ties between brands and their customers, m-commerce privileges pocket sized business. Via WeChat, a businessman will place an order for his noodles from his neighborhood vendor who will have purchased her ingredients through Alibaba. Set against this logic of convenient business, our habits have changed, as we’re already seeing in China, and are evolving within a new digital reality.
Connected Customer Experience
The technological adoption curve is staggeringly gaining in speed and predicting the end of technologies devoted to a single use. “The mobile has killed the phone,” observes Arnaud de Lacoste, Founding Partner of Group Acticall and Chief Marketing Officer of Sitel. A reality proven by the multiplicity of services deployed on mobile interfaces such as WhatsApp, Messenger, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and in their midst… the Chinese giant WeChat.
Indeed, the very fabric of our behaviors seems to herald the “always connected” era: we’ve gone from a connecting act to a permanent state of connectivity.
Services provided have shifted from mobile first to mobile only and multi-interfaces are disappearing in favor of a proactive mobile mono-interface – possibly screen-less if the success of the Echo speaker developed by Amazon says anything. Akin to an OS, this mono-interface must perform everything within a limitless conversational thread that blends personal and professional exchanges. WeChat follows convenient business and social network principles and thus merges professional and personal interactions through instantaneous, fluid and historicized conversations within messaging.
The Age of Context and of Conversation
“We are entering the Age of Context,” declares de Lacoste. Services will be provided to the client depending on his life context and consumer behavior. It will no longer be necessarily up to the client to act first. The Customer Experience will become increasingly more personalized through conversations that will be both permanent and recorded. “It will be harder for the client to forget, and therefore harder to forgive,” de Lacoste underlines.
As a result, “an exceptional level of service will be absolutely compulsory,” stresses Thibaut Bayart, Chief Connector at Ze Twelfth Player, “and exceptional translates here as a more personal relationship that the advisor will nurture with the brand’s clients.”
These new ways of exchanging, this “conversational business” will open up new opportunities in terms of commercial rebound, sales upscaling and quality of service.
For de Lacoste, “this will ‘disrupt’ the customer relations industry. We have to accustom our business culture to this huge paradigm shift, prepare our advisors accordingly… The impacts are considerable and it will keep changing very quickly. In terms of tech adoption rates, we’re talking months not years.”
Augmented Human Skills
This evolution will force companies to be more proactive. These new ways of interacting will improve our exchanges and interactions. The future belongs to an “enhanced” customer experience where chatbots seamlessly slip into conversations.
“We’re talking a lot about bots, the robotization, and automation of our industry,” says de Lacoste. “I think this will prove to be empowering. We are fortunate to benefit from a technology that can augment human beings.” This notion of “augmented” advisor will facilitate a cooperation between men and robots. Tomorrow the chain of interactions will be different but definitely enhanced and generating value.
A conversation will thus begin with a bot, either talking or texting, then at some juncture, an advisor will take over to answer more specific technical issues in a personalized fashion where emotion will layer the relationship: the advisor will be able to handle more complex requests and address them with the required time and expertise. We could then figure redirecting the conversation back to a bot for the purely transactional part of the exchange.
All of this might seem futuristic to clients, but we’ll grow used to interacting with machines. “We’re at the vanguard of an exciting future, both as consumers and as professionals working within the customer experience industry,” explains de Lacoste. “If the role of the advisor is augmented by technology, the customer experience is both expanded and enhanced”.
The “human touch” will remain crucially important. Advisors will be relieved of all repetitive and administrative tasks so as to devote themselves thoroughly to their interactions with a brand’s clients.
There is, therefore, no question about it: the critical differentiating element in quality service is the human element, which we will need and expect more than ever.
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Publish Date: February 14, 2017 5:00 AM
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