In today’s hyper-digitized and disrupted world, artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots and personalized videos are shifting consumer behavior, changing business goals and impacting the ways in which people and technology communicate. That said, which will have the largest impact on the way businesses communicate with their customers and the experience they have with their products and services?
All of them.
We considered how technology is changing the customer communication space – in 2018 and beyond – at our recent webinar, “The Customer Journey is Transforming. Are Your Communications Ready?,” with guest speaker Matt Swain from Keypoint Intelligence–InfoTrends.
Of those who attended, nearly half (48 percent) think that artificial intelligence and chatbots are going to have the greatest impact on meeting their goals, followed by personalized video and the emergence of the consumer communications ecosystem, like Google and Amazon.
Chatbots to Virtual Butlers
As AI and chatbots become a new norm in our society, people are slowly growing comfortable communicating and interacting with this technology. When U.S. consumers were asked how likely they’d be to use a voice command device (e.g., Amazon Echo, Google Home) to interact with providers, 40 percent said they would use the device to review account balances, 31 percent said they would use it to pay bills, and 41 percent said they would use it to receive payment reminders and messages from their providers.
In the future, these technologies will move from reactive solutions to proactive solutions. Instead of having to ask multiple questions, you may ask a general question, like, “What’s going on today?” and the device will respond, “This is what’s on your calendar. By the way, you have two bills that are due today: your utility bill and your telecom bill. Would you like to pay both of these now?”
Eventually, these connected devices will act like a virtual butler that is able to assist with specific and unique needs. To stay relevant and communicative to customers and clients, business leaders need to accept and embrace this reality.
Educating Customers Through Personalized Videos
Personalized videos are a convenient and easy way for businesses to engage with their customers. Consumers choose to watch personalized videos primarily out of curiosity and, secondarily, to better understand the products and services they purchase. The personalization alone makes the consumer feel important, and they are an effective communication channel when explaining complicated information.
Communication Consolidators: Choose Your Channel Wisely
In recent years, many organizations have come to the realization that it is complicated to encourage consumers to visit their website and download their app. The idea of being able to communicate with your customer where they are, wherever that may be (as long as it’s secure and compliant) gives organizations the ability to syndicate content directly to the locations that matter to customers.
Our research uncovered some fascinating digital consumer behavior as it relates to bills and statements. Many visit a provider’s website and download the necessary payment information only to upload it into a consolidator site. Others get the paper copy, scan or take a picture of it, and then upload it. Though many businesses are using data in a digital format to create a printed document, consumers turn around and transform it back into a digital format.
Bottom line: Providers can save costs and consumers can save time by having their communications delivered directly to their preferred digital channel.
Measuring the Impact of Digitalization
Consumers are prioritizing their transactional communications for cost reduction, security and regulatory compliance, and improving the customer experience. Yet, even though it seems to defeat the objective of reducing costs, investing in outbound communications can actually decrease inbound call center volume and improve days sales outstanding (DSO).
To track their customer experience efforts, webinar attendees ranked call center volume (56 percent), attrition rates (47 percent), and new customer acquisition (44 percent) as the top three CX metrics, followed by upsell/cross-sell revenue (12 percent) and DSO (6 percent).
Regardless of how it is measured, customer experience comes down to servicing your customers better – on their terms. Whether you are considering AI, chatbots, consolidator sites or ecosystems, these technologies are micro services that ultimately work together to create a better customer experience, now and in the future.