Engagement Costs Aren’t Being Tamed: What Customer Service Should Do


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Customers use an exploding number of communication channels to interact with a company, moving between them dependent on their context and preferences. They also use several channels at the same time – like web and phone – if it makes sense to do so.

We know that customers use self service as a first point of contact with a company, and if self service doesn’t work, typically only then will they call customer service. And, if customers are offered lower friction channels like chat or messaging, they will increasingly prefer to use those.

We also know that customers are using visual engagement like cobrowse, video or screensharing as it allows customers to quickly cut through conversation clutter, It also helps establish customer intimacy and trust during high-value purchases, like a mortgage or an insurance policy.

What does this mean for customer service organizations? They are drowning in inquiries and are reacting by adding staff year-over-year, despite the cost. But this strategy is not sustainable. They must reimage their operations, leveraging self-service and automation whenever and wherever possible. To do this, they must:

  • Add conversational interfaces to static to static self-service content. Customer service organizations must explore the power of chatbots in order to add conversational interfaces to static self-service content which results in greater overall self-service success rates.
  • Digitize existing processes. Customer service organizations must work with other parts of the company to tag digital properties like your website and mobile apps to track customer behavior. They must collectively use CX techniques like journey mapping to understand current pain points, drop-offs and disconnects.
  • Add robotic process automation (RPA): RPA software robots perform routine business processes and make simple decisions by mimicking the way that agents interact with applications through a user interface. Organizations can automate entire end-to-end processes such as account onboarding or insurance claims awards, with humans typically only managing exceptions.
  • Explore agent-facing intelligence. Agent-side virtual assistants shadow an agent’s work, and learn from their interactions, to the point where they are able to recommend next best steps to take or content for an agent to use in an interaction, or at times take over the entire conversation. Today’s they are fairly simple, but are quickly evolving to provide real value.
  • Infuse AI into processes. AI can uplevel contact center operations. AI streamlines inquiry capture, routing and resolution. AI extracts useful information from voice and digital conversations, images as well as machine-to-machine communications to quickly surface trends in issues, and customer sentiment that may affect customer retention and loyalty. AI schedules maintenance appointments, pushes fixes to connected devices, makes field operations more efficient, for example restocking parts based on needs, or intelligently optimizing field resources to provide on-demand service.

Customer service organizations with established processes and technologies can’t explore each of these transformation steps sequentially. Instead, they must put the customer and their journey at the center of each project, and modernize each journey with a combination of these approaches. Read more here.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Kate Leggett
Kate serves Business Process Professionals. She is a leading expert on customer service strategies. Her research focuses on helping organizations establish and validate customer service strategies strategies, prioritize and focus customer service projects, facilitate customer service vendor selection, and plan for project success.


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