Senior Vice President, Transformation
Melanie Longdon speaks to the changing world of customer care.
Imagine today was your business’s first day on Earth. Would you invest in starting up a call center?
The answer is almost certainly a loud, resounding NO!
In today’s environment, call centers represent the old world — the antiquated way of doing things. And old ways rely on old metrics to measure their success.
In the new world of customer care, where changing expectations have transformed how brands and their agents interact with customers, the core metrics you use to track your performance need to be transformed as well. What worked in call centers of the past simply will not work for your agents of the future.
A couple of key factors are driving the need for new metrics (and new applications of old metrics) in customer care. The first is that the new way of talking to customers is asynchronous. As customers seek to interact with brands on the same channels they use to talk to family and friends — like SMS, iMessage, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and more — conversations now take place on their time, not yours. This is the new world of conversational commerce. In this world, customers want the option to pick up an existing conversation when it’s convenient for them, not the burden of being tied to synchronous, closed chat sessions. The last thing you want to do is keep a customer on hold, listening to the same old music over and over again.
This asynchronicity benefits brands too since agents can take on far more conversations simultaneously than they could during 1-to-1 phone calls, plus refer back to the existing conversation history to add context to their conversations with customers. On top of all that, the door to continued interactions down the line swings wide open. But embracing these kinds of interactions means you need to measure them for what they are, not in the ways of the old world.
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The second factor behind updating traditional metrics is that brands need to embrace automation to deliver these conversations at scale. The good news is that messaging bots and human agents should be measured on the same new metrics, just given different targets. For example, bots can fix certain issues much faster than human agents, but these tend to be simpler issues that the brand is confident its bots can understand. They can run with these simple tasks and free up human agents for the more complex issues that they excel at handling.
So let’s look at some examples of old metrics that must be re-evaluated. First up, the number of closed conversations. This metric must be evaluated differently in messaging than it was in phone calls, because the asynchronous nature of the new world means these conversations can continue for quite a while, even for days at a time. In general, while individual instances of customer care will open and close, the point of messaging is to continue to be a resource to customers throughout the entirety of their journey with your brand.
Other metrics that must be measured differently include escalations and transfers. In the old world of phone calls, transferring to an agent or having one agent transfer a customer to higher and higher levels of management was an incredibly frustrating experience. In the new world of messaging, passing a conversation from a bot to a human is a speedy and natural process. I like to call it the "tango," and it’s an essential part of serving your customers at scale.
Some ways of measuring your success won’t simply be new twists on old metrics, but new metrics altogether. Among many others, these include:
Whether it’s through applying old metrics through updated methods or teeing up totally new metrics, one thing is clear: playing in the world of messaging means the ways in which you measure success are going to have to change.
Think again on how you’d act if today was your business’s first day on Earth. You’d say no to investing in a call center, but what would you say yes to? Embracing change is your way forward to conquering customer care in the age of conversational commerce.
LivePerson makes life easier by transforming how people communicate with brands. Our customers use our conversational commerce solutions to orchestrate humans and AI, at scale, and create a convenient, deeply personal relationship — a conversational relationship — with their consumers.
Published: Friday, September 20, 2019
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