The always-insightful Jeannie Walters from 360Connext Customer Experience Consulting is back to talk about two of my favorite topics: trends and technology. Watch the video below to understand the three customer service trends that will humanize businesses.
As marketers and customer service professionals, thinking about customer service trends is a little like going to an amusement park: we get to imagine our businesses without the constraints of budgets or timelines and just envision what could be.
Here’s a look at the three trending topics Jeannie and I discussed:
1. The robots are taking over
Chatbots, marketing automation, virtual reality and artificial intelligence all hold the power to dramatically change and improve the customer experience. Many customers appreciate the ease and speed of being able to interact with a technology interface instead of a human. And if we are being honest, many of us simply prefer it to going through an interactive voice response (IVR) or sitting on hold to wait for a live person.
Technology and automation can bring magic to the customer experience because we have reduced the effort needed to do business with us.
2. How technology empowers companies to be more human
We like the ease that technology brings, but it can also create complex problems. And don’t forget the unpredictable issues! Those problems still have to be solved by people—really smart and savvy people. With technology handling the more routine issues, it puts pressure on our front-line associates to be really impressive problem solvers.
I say “impressive” because this is where we get the chance to show that no robot, machine or automated process can take the place of the human touch. When a customer has a live interaction with an employee, it’s game on. It’s our chance to impress upon the customer that behind all the sophisticated, seamless technology is a bevy of real people solving customers’ real problems.
3. The power in overlooked (and forgotten) moments in the customer journey
It’s the little things that mean the most. When Hallmark Business Connections coaches its clients on being intentional about customer experiences, we use the three Ms as our guide:
- Be Meaningful: Does it truly mean something to the customer? Is it funny in a way that adds to their day? Is it sincere enough that they are touched? Is the customer unexpectedly having a positive moment?
- Be Memorable: Is it meaningful enough that the customer will remember it a day, a week or a month later?
- Be Measurable: Can we prove the value the experience had to the customer-company relationship?
There are countless moments that we can impact within the customer journey. Watch the video above to hear Jeannie expand on finding and capitalizing on often-overlooked customer interactions.
Customer Experience, Technology Dreams and Customer Service Trends
The great thing about technology and customer service trends is that they allow us to dream a little about what our business world could be like…
“If only, we could get AI (artificial intelligence) to be better at predicting lapsed customers.”
“If only, we had the budget to try a virtual reality experience for our customers.”
But those dreams sometimes turn into reality. Today our reality is that although technology threatens to make our companies appear less caring, less real and less human, the latest trends in customer experience also hold the potential to allow us to be more human with our customers.
Hi Rhonda: your blog reminded me of the quote from Samuel Coleridge, “what comes from the heart, goes to the heart.” That idea speaks to the essence and true value of keeping people involved in customer service. In my view, the proper way to think about the role of AI isn’t in its ability to replace human interaction, but to improve it – as the title of your blog connotes. In achieving that goal, I don’t believe we necessarily need smart and savvy people in customer service roles, and we don’t need to burden them with expectations for being ‘impressive problem solvers.’ Rather, we need to cultivate their capacity for bonding with other people, and it begins with making sure those who work with customers have the right intentions. That might sound corny, but ultimately, it’s positive intent and the ability to bond that will deliver the greatest value to customers. And AI doesn’t provide either one.