Article : Consumers Want Fast Resolution with a Human Touch
Eight in 10 consumers will consider taking their business elsewhere due to a poor customer experience. Let that sink in for a moment. Is your business doing everything it can to ensure that poor customer experiences don’t happen and deliver exceptional ones instead?
To make sure your brand is building customer loyalty and not resentment, an important first step is to consider how consumers want to reach you, and what options are most successful in helping them. For example, a recent study revealed that human interaction is the most preferred route for customer service, despite the industry’s increased focus on self-service channels. This doesn’t mean that self-service channels are not important; rather, brands should tune into their customer preferences to ensure they’re providing the best experience possible, whether it’s through live agents, self-service or blended interactions.
New and innovative technologies like AI can make it easy to lose sight of the outcome that really matters: delivering an exceptional consumer experience at every opportunity. It’s important to develop your technology strategy around the core customer experience – not the other way around.
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Keeping this in mind, I’ve outlined what stands out as most important to customers, based on a recent study from NICE inContact:
- Don’t Underestimate the Power of Human Touch
Speaking to a live agent is still the most preferred way to deal with customer service, with 67 percent of consumers saying they prefer agent-assisted channels over self-service. Interaction via phone is also perceived to be the quickest path to resolution, so this is especially true if the issue is urgent.
Phone interaction with an agent wins out versus other channels in terms of satisfaction, with phone cited as the most effective method of resolution. Inbound/outbound voice is the channel that sees the highest results for resolution, with 84 percent of customers indicating their questions or issues were resolved during their most recent customer experience via phone (versus just 65 percent for email).
What does this mean for self-service technology? Keep using it to your advantage to automate simple and commonplace questions or issues. But also know when your customer wants or needs to speak to a live customer service agent – and use technology to equip that human with all the customer journey context and answers they need to deliver an excellent customer experience.
- Prioritize Speed of Resolution
When a customer initiates an interaction with a brand, they expect a fast, helpful response. Seems intuitive, right? Maybe not, since only 42 percent of consumers said they are satisfied with their experience, regardless of communication channel.
While satisfaction for each channel of communication varies, the main takeaway here is that "fast resolution" is the top driver of channel performance, no matter the channel. In fact, resolving issues quickly is twice as important as "personalized" and "convenient" customer service. As you assess which technologies are right for your organization, consider incorporating AI technologies like chatbots and virtual assistants that improve efficiency and speed contact resolution times. AI helps provide fast service for transactional or traditionally self-service resolved issues. For blended interactions, AI’s proactive, context-inclusive handoff of chat sessions to live agents enables quicker and more complete resolution of more complex customer needs.
- Know Your Customers
Consumers, especially millennials, have high expectations for proactive customer service. While half of consumers will try to resolve an issue themselves before reaching out, once they make the first point of contact with your brand, they expect companies to direct them to the most effective method of communication for resolving their specific issue.
Furthermore, 72 percent expect agents to know their purchase history, regardless of the channel of communication. This brings me back to my original point: model your technology strategy around customer experience expectations. Select a cloud customer experience platform that integrates with your CRM to provide a higher level of service powered by familiarity with customers’ previous brand interactions and customer journey context.
With more buying options today than ever, customer experience is quickly becoming the biggest business differentiator. Leveraging the right open cloud platform to support customers successfully – on their terms – is crucial to winning and retaining their business.
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About NICE inContact:
NICE inContact CXone™ is a unified cloud customer experience platform. CXone combines Omnichannel Routing, Workforce Optimization, Analytics, Automation and Artificial Intelligence on an Open Cloud Foundation. NICE inContact’s solution empowers organizations to provide exceptional customer experiences by acting smarter and responding faster to consumer expectations. NICE inContact’s DEVone developer program is the industry’s largest partner ecosystem, providing applications from partner companies on the CXexchange marketplace that are designed to integrate with CXone.
Published: Thursday, March 29, 2018
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