A Guide to Excellent Conversation Management

A must-read guide for enterprises with billions of conversations and millions of customers.

call center conversational business intelligence software woveon

Enterprises are much more overwhelmed with conversations than ever before. Not only do they have to actively respond to customers over a myriad of channels like email, phone, social and livechat, they’re expected to give personal, relevant and fast responses.

To tackle this problem, many organizations are looking at new technology to help them meet customer expectations. Some of the most notable are AI chatbots, self-service knowledge bases and good old Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems.

The problem? These all aim to lessen the time customers spend with agents.

While people do like self service for speed and convenience, majority still want to be able to talk to a person in times of need, or at important turning points in their life. Curiously, while we’re moving more towards a more digital and self-service world, most consumers still want the ‘human touch’ in their service communications.

human touch woveon conversational business intelligence

The challenge is to provide highly personalized and relevant offerings to meet both customer and business goals, all the while delivering the experience through the customer’s natural mediums of interaction. Counterintuitively, the likeliest solution to bring the human element back into customer conversations is though technology and big data.

So, what should you look for in a technology that will give you both customer satisfaction and maximize revenue?

Multichannel Conversations

 multichannel conversations business intelligence software woveon

At the basics, an organization’s communication channels should be in one view. That means a business should be able to see and reply to customers by email, phone, livechat, social media, forums and wherever they could be talking to you, or about you, on one platform.

Why? Convenience and transparency.

Convenient Conversations

A single platform for the entire range of conversation channels is much more efficient for customer-facing agents. Often, they have to switch between multiple channels to check for new customer interactions, and unfortunately, miss some communications here and there. With one view for conversations, they save on time, and reduces the chance they will miss communications from less monitored channels.

The convenience isn’t just for agents. Customers want to interact with brands through their medium of choice. 51% of U.S. consumers are loyal to brands that interact with them through their preferred channels of communication. Younger consumers especially, want to interact with large organizations via instant messaging channels where they can use natural language. Having all channels on one platform allows agents to have visibility across all channels, instead of doing well on a few and lagging on others.

Transparent Conversations

In so many organizations, a different team handles a different channel. They are responsible for that channel, and that channel only. But the customer is dynamic. They might reach out on one channel, and upon finding that it isn’t fast enough or substantial enough to resolve their problems, they will switch channels.

The ‘different team, different channel’ approach doesn’t account for the customer’s flexibility, resulting in multiple replies or inconsistent replies from two different people, both creating bad customer experiences. With multiple channels on one view, conversations are transparent. Conversations from the same customer are stitched together, and the same person can handle issues without making the customer’s journey difficult.

Holistic Customer View

single customer view conversational trasactional behavioral intelligence woveon

In an enterprise with multiple departments, systems and channels, it’s necessary to have a collective view of the customer.

A single customer view (or a 360 degree view) is a complete profile of a customer, created from aggregated data points within an organization’s systems and channels. It collates data from multichannel communications and customer data platforms (like CRMs, analytics, marketing and legacy systems).

Customers often complain about the lack of continuity in their conversations and having to repeat themselves. Problems like this arise because agents have no visibility on what customers have said on a separate channel, or what customer information exists on a separate system. As such, interactions are treated as a completely new “ticket”, and in the worst cases, existing customers are seen as a new customer.

With a single customer view, an agent can see a given customer’s conversational, transactional and behavioral data in one place. This not only improves time-to-answer by 20% – 80%, it also ensures customer information flow is consistent and continuous, reducing awkward moments like the ones above.

The use of a single customer view can even go beyond customer care activities. Integrated systems mean that there could be a seamless blend of sales, marketing and service activities through conversation.

Having this feature marks the start of being able to use critical sources of data collectively. The key however, lies in how the customer intelligence is used. The following presents ways customer intelligence can be used to take control of conversations in providing exceptional customer experience and maximize revenue.

AI-assisted agents

Use of artificial intelligence (AI) in enterprises is not new. For decades they have been used to automate heavily manual processes to increase efficiency, accuracy and decrease costs. What is new, is the use of AI beyond processes to interactions.

Use of AI opens up the potential to deliver personalized interactions and hyper-relevant offerings that are scalable.

artificial intelligence customer conversations business intelligence woveon

Whether it’s the AI itself doing the talking, or an algorithm providing assistance to a human representative, online, or face-to-face, AI holds incredible potential to re-establish the human-to-human connection in an increasingly digital world. Check out some examples below.

Deliver relevant content and information with AI

Many organizations have invested heavily into user experience, self-service and knowledge management tools. Yet, it is still difficult and time-consuming for customers to find the right information when they need it.

Companies like Zendesk have developed AI-powered virtual assistants that help customers self-serve. By processing natural language, the technology suggests articles in the knowledge base to help them resolve their problems on their own. Research has found that most people are open to using self-serve AI technology like this, and see it as faster and more convenient.

Other organizations like Woveon have built AI-powered response assistants to help agents have more productive conversations in real-time. As agents talk with customers, the response assistance helps guide conversations so better results can be achieved for both the customer and the business. It would suggest opportunities like ‘other customers like her also bought’, or ‘he mentioned credit cards, link to these articles from our blog to help him decide’.

Speed up resolution times

call center conversational business intelligence software woveon

On average, a customer care specialist spends 20% of their time looking for information and context to resolve a customer’s problem. That’s one whole day in a work week!

AI can help organize information so that it’s easily digestible and relevant to a customer’s enquiry. Woveon’s Intelligent Response framework for example, will change the information it displays to assist agents based on the flow of conversation. If a customer talks about their personal loan, their loan details pop up. If the conversation shifts to their lost credit card, their shipping details will surface and agents are prompted to cancel the lost card.

Instead of wasting time looking for information, AI assistance leave agents more time to build a relationship and take up on untapped customer opportunities. Customers also love a quick and productive interaction. 69% attributed their good customer service experience to quick resolution of their problem.

Reduce repetitive admin tasks to open doors for higher value interactions

after call work repetitive call center agent woveon

Administrative tasks like After-call work (ACW) have been a constant headache for employees in customer-facing roles. Though they are necessary, it’s tedious, repetitive and and takes up too much time. Technology can help to reduce time spent on these menial tasks, leaving agents more time to build customer relationships and, in the process, make their jobs more productive and meaningful.

For example, Avaya has a natural language summarization tool to help agents process customer information post-call. Talkdesk automates call routing, where the customer is automatically paired with an agent with the best ability to solve their problem. Woveon can prioritize conversations real-time, based on customer importance, value, urgency, or a mixture of all factors.

Freeing up employee time away from menial tasks allow them to participate in higher-value activities.

Intelligent Analytics

customer business intelligence conversational analytics woveon

There’s no doubt that data analytics is incredibly beneficial for customer conversations. The trick is knowing what data to use, how, and when.

What data is being used matters because not all data is created equal. For example, rather than looking at metrics at a point in time (customer rated the agent 4 out of 5 for resolution), it’s much more important to look at the larger picture (that it took 3 calls and an hour on hold to get there).

How data is used is arguably more critical to conversational success. The key lies in knowing what datapoints to tie together, and what analysis to draw from it. A mesh of marketing and service data can show how a recent marketing campaign has affected conversation volume and NPS. A cluster analysis of related keywords in customer conversations can lead to discovery of a huge logistics flaw.

When to use what data is of particular importance to customer-facing agents. 74% of Millennial banking customers for example, want their financial institutions to send them information about services exactly when they need to see it. This could be information about personal loans when they’re starting to look for a house, or travel insurance before they intend to travel.

Companies these days have a wealth of data on their customers. In theory, organizations should have the ability to know who they are, what they need and what makes them defect to another company. However, lack of visibility on the holistic customer journey and customer intelligence tools stunt their ability to provide such excellence.

The following section will delve into three types of analytics particularly useful for managing customer conversations — predictive, clustering and revenue-generating.

Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics provide foresight into potential customer problems and opportunities. Extracted from existing historical conversational, transactional and behavioral data, it can help agents better prepare for customer outcomes and trends.

A pretty common example is prediction of when influxes of customer conversations come in. For eCommerce businesses, holiday seasons generally see a spike in customer conversations and steadily reduces till the next holiday season. In a more complex scenario, predictive analytics can find that customers with a particular occupation, a certain concern and at a similar stage in their lives is actually a niche the organization hasn’t capitalized on.

Cluster Analysis

Now this one isn’t as common in a conversational technology, but is definitely worth mentioning. Cluster analysis involves conversations and customer information to be tagged, then for similar or related tags to be clustered together to draw insights.

Cluster analysis can draw out how topics in conversations can be relevant, or how particular customer segments can be feel about a product. This customer intelligence can then feed into other parts of the business. It could be used to help create a new automated customer workflow for upsells, or contribute to a new marketing campaign for a newly discovered customer segment.

Revenue-generating analytics

As repetitive and menial conversations are moving towards being solved by self-service solutions, agents must also move from a traditional support role to a hybrid service-to-sales model. This category of analysis is as the name suggests, analysis that serves to generate revenue for the business within conversations.

For example, Woveon’s Intelligent Response Framework suggests ways customer specialist representatives in banks can sell more products to their customers. A customer who fits the profile of ‘customers who typically get a black American express card’ will prompt a suggestion for the agent to talk the customer into an upgrade from their current card. A customer who is at a stage in their life where ‘customers like him are looking at buying a property’ will prompt a suggestion to link some home loan webpages, or a free session with a  financial planner.

Marketo research shows that only 10% of B2B companies’ revenue comes from initial sales. 90% of the revenue comes from following sales.

In the best possible scenario, this analysis is also delivered at the right time for an agent to capitalize on the opportunity, like in an intelligent response framework.

Be a data geek, not creep

data usage personalization privacy woveon business intelligence

Of course, it’s important to know that use of data should be “cool”, not “creepy”. There’s a fine line between the two that should never be crossed. Also, everyone’s fine line is drawn differently, so what one customer may think is cool, can be perceived as creepy by someone else.

Enterprises should have enough data about their customers to track and understand individual preferences, and see how customers respond to different use of their information at different points in the customer journey. Conversational intelligence and analysis tools can help create better relationships without overstepping the customer’s boundaries.

On a whole, customers don’t mind companies using their data for personalizing their experience and suggesting products and services that benefit them.

 

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While human contact is diminishing in volume, the quality and importance of each interaction increases. Forward-thinking organizations should be balancing quantity with quality to maintain a competitive advantage in customer experience. Technology can be a great booster to that end.

Have more ways you think businesses can improve on their customer conversations? Reach out to us to add to the article. We love chatting to like-minded people!

Best Ways to Create a Winning Customer Experience Strategy

Business nowadays needs a winning customer experience strategy to take advantage of their consumer base, and develop brand potential in their industry. Nowadays, customer experience is at an all-time, and a business is judged on their interactions with customers and business relationships with clients. The reason why it holds so much importance is because customers that have positive experiences with businesses are more likely to become long-term customers with that business.

The most successful businesses are the ones that manage to retain clients, and attract even more customers. Any business that has strong interactions and relationships is bound to have greater sales, and that is the reason why businesses impart so much importance on customer experience.

The difference between Customer Experience and Customer Service

Most businesses tend to confuse customer experience with providing great customer service. Customer service is a part of the experience of any customer’s interaction with your business across their entire buying journey, which means that they are two separate things.

customer experience level of rating

Customer experience starts from the first business interaction, to the service delivered, and the customer support provided by the business. It is the overall package that the business delivers to the customer, which is why it is important that businesses focus on creating a winning customer experience strategy.

Below are the Best Ways to Create a Winning Customer Experience Strategy

To help and allow you to improve customer satisfaction and increase revenues.

1. Know your customers

The first step towards developing a winning customer experience strategy is knowing your customers, more importantly the different types of individuals you will be targeting and dealing with. You must strive to understand your target market, and then understand their needs and wants. This will help you connect with your audience on a personal level, and allow you to easily meet their expectations.

Related:
How to Do Customer Service The Right Way
Customer Service: Its Importance and Value

2. Develop an emotional connection

Customers today respond well to businesses that focus on developing emotional connections with them. Don’t focus on the business side of things, follow up with your customers, and interact or engage with them on social media platforms to retain their interest. Research indicates that more than 50% of customer experience is based on emotional connections, because emotions help shape decisions. Customers will only be loyal to a business if they are emotionally attached, and businesses that succeed in developing an emotional connection outperform their competition by 85% in sales.

3. Respond to customer feedback in real-time

The best way to create a winning customer strategy is to always be on your toes and respond to customer queries and feedback in real time. It is important to show your customers that you value their time, and feedback, because that will help you build trust with them. Businesses that go out of their way to respond to customer feedback in real time tend to do better in sales. You can get feedback through surveys, or even outbound calls to customers to develop personal connections and gain vital feedback.

4. Account for employee feedback

Businesses shouldn’t negate the importance of employee feedback, since it will help them iron out flaws in their system, and overcome obstacles. Develop a survey process to catch employee feedback from your team, which will help you find out how engages they are with the business, and how you can improve delivering exceptional services. By encouraging employees to share ideas on improving customer experience, you will be able to grow as a business and deliver better services to customers.

5. Have a customer experience vision

Your business should have an end-goal or customer experience vision that it wants to achieve. This is one of the most important steps to developing a winning customer experience strategy, because by defining a vision, you can easily measure your success in achieving it. Once you have developed certain principles for developing a valuable customer experience, you can figure out whether you are meeting the goals you have set for yourself, and how far away you are from achieving them.

6. Setup a quality framework

Your business also needs to invest in setting up a quality framework that allows you to develop a winning customer experience strategy. This means that you must train your employees to help them deliver the level of quality that will impress customers and keep them coming back. Businesses must invest in group training, eLearning, and coaching to help their teams reach a level of customer experience that will attract more customers.

Conclusion

The expectations of customers from businesses are at an all-time high, since the internet is a medium that can quickly make or break the reputation of any business. Customer experience is an area that requires constant care and nurturing, and that is why businesses are focusing more on developing an outstanding customer experience strategy, which will result in greater customer loyalty, higher retention, and increased revenue for the business.

Customer Experience Management and their Importance to Businesses

Customer experience metrics provide a means of gaining access to tangible evidence of your business’s reception which gives you an idea of what steps you could take to improve the overall customer experience. Your best tool to enhance customer experience management and improve customer support is to gain a deeper understanding of what your customer wants from your company.

Detailed insights provided by metrics give you the most unbiased representation of your company’s success. There is a lot of debate on which customer metrics are the best means of gauging your success.

Below are metrics that will definitely help your business.

1. First call resolution (FCR)

Properly addressing the customer’s needs the very first time and eliminating the need for subsequent phone calls (or emails)  is known as FCR. The importance of having a good FCR value is pretty obvious; your customer is satisfied the first time around, which serves to improve their trust in your support team. They’re guaranteed to come back for more business.

2. First response time (FRT)

Customers expect that your support staff are constantly on the edge of their seats waiting for the phone to ring up so they can immediately respond to their grievances in a timely manner. Something along the lines of “90% response rate within the first 5 minutes” is sure to improve your customer’s overall experience. Customer experience management is all about staying on top of what your customers expect of you.

When it comes to emails, response times for typical companies can vary from between 24 to 48 hours. These response timings are getting ramped up however, and top customer support teams are boasting response times of less than 60 minutes nowadays!

3. Net Promoter Score (NPS)

One of the most preferred customer loyalty metrics, developed by Fred Reichheld, NPS is used by organizations of all sizes and functions. NPS, because of its simplicity, is the perfect starting point for companies that would like to eventually collect more advanced customer metrics.

You can start by asking questions which are useful to both your company and the customer such as “On a scale of one to ten, how likely is it that you’ll recommend our product to your friend?” Follow it up by using a 0-10 point scale with proper labels at both ends, such as “most likely” at number 10 and “least likely” at number 0.

4. Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Measuring customer satisfaction (CSAT) can be as easy as showing a scale spanning from 0 to 5 asking a generic question such as “How satisfied were you with our products and services?” It is easy to understand and use by your customers. However it does tend to give a few misleading results because the scores can be somewhat inconsistent.

5. Customer Effort Score (CRS)

A powerful customer experience management metric that measures the ease of accessibility of your services to the customer, CRS requires you to prepare short survey asking questions such as “How easily did the company handle your issue?” and then follow it up by placing a short scale, ranging from “Very easily” to “Very difficult”.

6. Contact resolution

Contact resolution is a complex metric which is influenced by dozens of factors such as the level of your support team’s training, complexity of the call and type of transaction. The general rule of thumb is that the longer your customer holds their phone, or the more they send grievous emails, the poorer is your contact resolution.  

7. Net Retention Index (NRI)

NRI measures the number of repurchases or returning customers who conducted more business with your company. If you have a subscription based model, you can calculate your NRI by dividing the number of customers that extend their subscriptions by the total number of customers you have that subscribed to the service.

8. Upselling ratio

This is the ratio of customers who purchased more than one type of product from your company against customers who only purchased a single product. It may sound the same as the NRI, but it is slightly different, in that, it also takes into account the types of products your customers purchased with your company.

9. Omni-channel experience

It measures the success of your multichannel sales approach, whether you’re conducting business online, offline, on computer, mobile phone, on different channels – it really doesn’t matter. Omni-channel integration is not only difficult to handle, but also weighs heavily on the resources of your company. If it fails to provide a seamless experience to your customers, you’re obviously wasting money and ignoring potentially loyal customers. Customer experience management is all about picking your battles, and knowing where you can win.

Related:
Managing Multiple Customer Channels

10. Customer emotion experience

Using emotions to connect with your customers can definitely retain them for the long haul. There really isn’t one single way of measuring psychological values because they’re essentially intangible. You could assign a certain value to an emotion and ask the customer to choose from a provided scale. For instance, ask them the question “Do you love our product?” and then attach a scale providing both extremes to choose from, such as “I love it!” and “I hate it!”

After all love and hate are the most effective means of understanding emotions aren’t they?

Five Companies Who Have Lost thousands of Customer Payments

Large conglomerates are not immune to sophisticated cybercriminals who can find ‘loopholes’ and ‘vulnerabilities’ in a company’s cybersecurity defense systems to exploit customer payments. We normally assume that the corporate world with its enterprise software solutions and high-security firewalls are on standby 24×7. However cyber crime does not choose depending on the size of your business or demographic. It just sees an opportunity and potential weaknesses. The biggest weakness with any firm – big or small – is the lack of knowledge on the employee’s end.

Unwary employees

Employees just have to click on that big red button which says ‘download’ on it, or open up a seemingly trustworthy email that contains a .exe attachment which promises them an unlimited lifetime supply of money. Common phishing tactics that are normally avoided by more tech savvy employees are the root cause of most ransomware and malware attacks that have riddled Australian companies for years. Once inside your network, phishing emails can install various Trojans and key logging software to compromise your user’s credentials and then use it to thwart the overall customer experience by affecting customer paymentsIn 2011, Sony, a technology company renowned for being at the bleeding edge of technology, was hacked, exposing the data and user credentials of over 77 million PlayStation Network (PSN) users worldwide.

A lot of Aussies were also affected

1.5 million of this massive chunk of user information, belonged to Australians. This includes 280,000 credit card credentials that were ousted to cybercriminals. If these large corporates are not safe, then you probably aren’t either.  Business Email Compromise (BEC) has cost Australian businesses a cumulative loss of over $3 billion since January of 2015. Australian businesses are at risk and if bigger corporations could not avoid massive breaches to their security, then how can small and medium-sized companies without sophisticated cybersecurity systems and enterprise-grade firewalls cope? No one can afford to let their customer’s data get breached. You are required by the Privacy Act of 1998 to take all possible steps to guard your customer’s data – failing to do this can result in crippling fines and worst of all, reputational damage that will ensure that your company is never trusted with user data again. Sony recovered from this damage, and continues to explode in growth – the same can’t be said for your business if it fails to follow the necessary protocols. 

Below are 5 Companies Who Have Lost thousands of Customer Payments

1. Walmart

Walmart might be the go-to place for most shoppers who want to get their grocery done. But its popularity and fame has put a big red arrow on its face saying, “Free for the taking!” And that’s exactly what’s been happening.

A number of users have been reporting that their credit card details have been compromised and their bank balance is just going down the drain. Although we shouldn’t really be blaming Walmart for the breach, because digital payments were still in their cradle at the time; this was way back in the year 2005.

walmart brand logo

Someone installed L0phtrack into one of the thousands of servers leading to hackers stealing POS source code and executables including a detailed mapping of the company’s transaction processing network.  

2. Home Depot

Many people purchase relevant home improvement tools for their DIY project from Home Depot, but a data breach in 2014 cost the company a massive sum of $179 million. To add insult to injury, the giant retailer was forced to pay $27.25 million to financial institutions and other entities affected by the security breach. 

home depot building entrance

The lawsuit not only tarnished its reputation but cost it millions of dollars. While it is a billion dollar empire, such thrashing takes years to recover from, which Home Depot has yet to do.

3. Apple

The biggest oxymoron would be a tech giant such as Apple falling victim to hackers sitting in their grandma’s basement. Yet Apple’s security systems were breached in 2014, and the iCloud accounts of millions of users were compromised, leading to a number of celebrities having their ‘private’ photographs being leaked for the world to gawk at.

apple brand logo

4. Anthem

One of the largest health insurance companies in the US, Anthem is still reeling in from a massive data breach that occurred in 2015. The incident has come back to bite it for a whopping $115 million settlement because of a class action lawsuit. 80 million patient and employee records were exposed in the data breach, resulting in the loss of $8 to $16 billion.

5. Kmart

In October 1 of 2015, Kmart, which has its headquarters established in Australia, reported that a privacy breach had resulted in millions of customer’s data being stolen by ‘external’ attackers. Details such as their email address, billing address, phone numbers and product purchase details were compromised.

Top 10 Customer Experience Management Trends to Learn From

Customer experience has always been a complex topic because of technology’s accelerated growth. The myriad of channels through which your business can serve the query of a grievous customer has evolved beyond the simple phone call into an interwoven network of phone call centers, social media management, chatting and emailing. The customer is now used to prompt and quick response times, the result of which most large companies need to continually monitor their customer channels. Your business must continue to improve customer experience if it wants to survive – one could argue that it is the cornerstone of your company’s success. The only way to spearhead it towards newer heights is by keeping up with the ever-changing customer experience trends.

Top 10 Customer Experience Management Trends to Watch out for:

1. Personalized shopping trends by using data analytics

You are expected to know the tastes, likes and dislikes of each and every single one of your customers, whether they number in the millions or if they can be counted on your fingertips. Today’s shopping experience is heavily personalized, driven by data analytics which is powered by supercomputers operating in the cloud. Companies that understand the importance of personalization are now seeking more and more of the customer’s data so they can curate the product better around your tastes.

Successful companies such as Netflix and Uber are so good with data analytics that they can make accurate predictions for what their customer would want next in the future – and when that future comes, they’re more than prepared to handle their requests. Despite the importance of data analytics in the personalization of the customer’s overall shopping experience, 80% of companies don’t know their customer beyond the basic information such as purchase history and frequency of their purchase.

2. The low effort in purchases

Time is money as they say and today’s customer is more about saving time than money. They want their purchase to be over as soon as possible. Standing in long queues and then waiting for the clerk to pack up your goods is a relic of the past decade. Consumers don’t want more decisions and spend the time to decide what to buy. Gone if the generation of curious online consumers doing extensive research and deciding the best option after days of digging through websites, consumers want to know the right choice now.

3. Purchases of the phone

Yes – your business needs to have an app if it wants a wider reach. Almost everyone (unless they’re living under a rock) owns a smartphone with access to the internet these days. In fact, most people are now making 51% of their purchases online using their phones! Australian shoppers are becoming more tech-savvy and more than 84% of the population is now using smartphones. The phone has now more power than the TV, you could even say it is the ‘colour TV’ of our generation.

4. Targeting the millennials

Millennials are now increasingly critical of your business than ever before. They make efforts to research your product over the internet before making an informed decision, something that the older generation doesn’t tend to do very often. In fact, 40% of millennials conduct their research online. Targeting this ambitious group of young people requires the use of catchy slogans and turning your business into a brand more than anything else.

millenial group of friends on targeting customer experience

5. Catering to emotions

Emotion is now becoming a strong component of the overall customer experience. Think of the PS4 and Xbox One fanboys – how they rage at each other on the internet on forums discussing how their brand is the superior one. That’s emotion at play here.

6. Let the metrics do the talking

Collecting key customer metrics such as customer satisfaction, customer profitability and click through rate should lend you a better understanding of the kind of product which will net you the best results.

7. Integrating with other businesses

Partnering up with other businesses to provide a more streamlined shopping experience to the customer has been an evolving trend. Credit card companies such as MasterCard and Visa are a prime example of this. Their promo campaigns give you voucher cards for discounts if you go to a certain restaurant and use their credit card for making the purchase.

8. Avoid challenging the cognitive resources too much

While giving the customers a wide range of choice is considered to be good business as it allows them greater control over their purchases, it has also been shown that too many of many choices, especially ones with similar characteristics, labeling one product ‘brown’ and another ‘hazelnut’ can place a psychological burden on the customer. Successful businesses are learning to avoid this practice.

9. Augmented reality

Businesses are now looking to gain their customer’s confidence by installing augmented reality images next to their product to give them a more in-depth review of what they’re buying into.

10. Train your staff and agents

Your agents are the ones that engage with the customer on a regular basis, training them on best practices and identifying where their successes and failures lie can be the difference between your support staff being your Achilles heel or a valued service. This is especially true for agents that deal with customer support channels.

Consequences of Ineffective Management of Blended Channels

Better Customer Experience = More Business

The management of blended channels can sometimes become the Achilles’ heel for many businesses. Instead of providing them with good returns, bad management of blended channels will result in soured customer service and experience. It has been estimated that bad customer experience is costing $120 Billion dollars to Australian businesses each year. This staggering figure clearly suggests how important is to devise strategies for better customer experience. With more people using different social media platforms, businesses can’t provide optimal customer experience only through contact centers. To highlight,  7 in 10 Australians use Facebook and approximately half of the Australian population daily logs onto Facebook, how many businesses do you know respond to their customer service channels through FaceBook?

Here are some of the consequences of Ineffective Management of Blended Channels

Unfamiliarity with Technology: Ineffective usage of blended channels + bad reputation of the business

Answering customer queries through inbound calling is fine but if your customer support agent is not familiar and efficient with the use of other interactive platforms (SMS, online chat, Twitter, Facebook), then your approach of blended channels can’t convert in better ROI. Generation Y is very agile and they are always in a hurry. Hence, they won’t like it when their queries are not answered quickly. Not only will they dump your services, but they will also only propagate the bad reputation of your business.

And it doesn’t stop just with bad mouthing. The same online tools which you have incorporated in your business will be used against you. They probably leave comment or review about their experience with you on social media platforms. A study suggests that more than 80% of people are influenced by online reviews when they reach any business through blended channels.

Related:
Why is Multi-Channel Customer Service Important?

Counter-Productivity of Multitasking Means Leads Won’t Convert

There are many caveats attached to the concept of multitasking. A school of thought believes that it is a good strategy for increased productivity while others think it is counterproductive.

Agents, when operating blended channels, are basically doing multitasking and there is a simple problem associated with that. Not every person is able to handle the challenge of multitasking demanded from the blended channel approach. Therefore, if you have huddled a team without assessing their multitasking capabilities, then there are strong chances that it will backfire.

barista multi tasking customer experience

People who fail to multitask can’t simultaneously concentrate on every interaction they are making on blended channels. Failing to provide 100% to every customer interaction means there will be less display of persuasion and convincing. We all know that with little persuasion you can’t successfully convert leads into customers.

Inefficient Management of Blended Calls and Increased Employee Turnover

Assigning agents that are not familiar with newer online platforms or who are not good at multitasking to the operations of blended channels also becomes problematic for your own employees.

With more workload and failing to manage multiple channels, their stress levels can shoot up. Apart from that, failure in converting leads and satisfying customers can also lead to frustration. Working under constant pressure can make many of your employees switch. Greater turnover rates are not good for the consistent performance of any business.

Unrelenting Mismanagement and Profit

If a business doesn’t mend its ways in managing the blended channels effectively, then the worst possible outcome will be decreased profits. With bad reputation, a business will have less lead generation, and with bad customer support even the loyal customers start to call it a day. The failure to acquire new customers and the inability to retain existing ones only means one thing: a significant dip in revenue.

It is an undisputed fact that devising multi-prong blended channels strategy is good for businesses but managing it effectively is the key to reap its benefits. If you are looking for better ways to improve customer engagement and offer better customer experience, get in touch.

Ways to Create a Customer Experience Strategy with Woveon

For any business to succeed in their niche industry, it’s essential to have a well-defined customer experience strategy – one that creates distinctive value for targeted customers. The creation of a definitive strategy in order to improve the consumer’s experience allows corporations to bring innovation and instill energy into the company’s growth. In the modern digitized era of today, there’s a greater focus on digital customer service capabilities. According to research, it has been found that corporations that invest their time, energy and effort into creating a much-needed balance in the customer services journey by addressing all the possible needs and requirements of a consumer, reap staggering amounts of benefits.

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Here are the 7 Ways to Create a Customer Experience Strategy

Apart from the basic benefits such as increased customer satisfaction, increased revenue, decreased consumer backlash, organizations that skilfully mediate the customer services experience for consumers to provide a well-rounded transaction are also able to gain improved employee gratification such that it leads to improved company outcomes overall.

1. Create Intelligent Customer Engagement

While human interaction provides that empathetic factor in between customer-representative relationship – the fact remains that humans can only do so much. Strike the perfect balance by allowing Woveon to simplify customer services for your customers as well as employees. Woveon is a multi-faceted platform that combines the various elements of customer services under one umbrella so that neither the consumers nor the employees have to reach too far for valid solutions to customer problems.

intelligent customer conversations stream

2. Improve Customer Service Accessibility

One of the biggest reasons that organisations feel high levels of consumer churn is because the customers have to navigate a labyrinth of customer service representatives before they reach the individual actually responsible for providing a viable solution to their problem. By using Woveon, organizations eliminate the detours and hurdles to create a quick and easy pathway directly to the concerned personnel. Through Woveon, customers have the choice to communicate with the CS representative through multiple platforms such as in person, via phone, email or quick-chats – allowing them to choose one which suits them best.

3. Enhance Speed and Efficiency

Often times, the customer is left disappointed with the customer services because the representatives are unable to either address their present concerns or correlate with their past issues. Woveon eliminates this issue by allowing organizations to perfect their digital services to the point where they have instant access to all consumer details in one place at one glance.

4. Construct a Well-Rounded Management System

Customer service complaints arise most often when organizations are unable to address all the concerns and complaints of a consumer. Woveon simplifies that by having Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence programs in place, which collect and utilize essential consumer data to predict complaints, provide assessments and suggest simple responses in an efficient manner. By constructing a well-rounded management system, it takes the pressure off the customer services representative, allowing them to better address the consumer and their concerns.

5. Identify Consumers Priority

In the midst of an onslaught of complaints, concerns and requests by a large number of consumers, sometimes customers can get lost and buried under the masses. Woveon, based on the previous data collected, allows organizations to distinguish between the consumers on a priority basis such that no customer is left unattended.

6. Instill Flexibility

Customer churn is at its peak when consumers are provided with generic answers in response to their individualized queries. Organizations that place individual importance on each consumer by keeping a track of their specifications and personal requirements achieve far greater customer excellence and satisfaction than those who don’t. With Woveon, organizations can successfully instill flexibility in their customer strategy such that each representative is able to address the specific customer problems pertaining to their unique circumstance.

7. Sell Knowledgeably

Last but not least, one of the most essential ways to create a customer experience strategy is to have a customer services team that is knowledgeable, educated and aware. Vague responses such as ‘company policy’ or other generic replies only help in ensuring that the customer never returns to engage with the corporation again. If the customer services representative can make personalised suggestions and recommendations of newer services or products to address the consumer problems, it successfully depicts a more helpful and concerned service. Moreover, it ultimately provides increased value to the consumer-representative relationship, thus allowing for the achievement of improved results.

4 Terribly Executed Customer Strategies that People Use

Having a good customer service strategy is really important if you want your business to run smoothly. One wrong experience for a customer and it can create a snowball effect for the company and can ruin your brand image.

Unfortunately, bad customer experience is inevitable and there will come a point in time where you will have to deal with some dissatisfied customers. This is a good way to see any cracks in the management and service of your company and you can learn from the experience.

How you respond and react to your customers sets the tone for good damage control. No matter what the trends of marketing strategy for a business may be, one thing remains true that the customer is king. The customer might not always be right but you don’t have to let them know this. Your mission should always be to deliver the best, in any way possible, without causing any further problems for the people who help you run your business, a.k.a. the customers.

4 Ways of NOT Carrying out a Customer-Driven Strategy

1. Not following the market trends

Times have changed drastically since the advent of the internet. Marketing strategies have evolved over time and most of the ad campaigns rely heavily on online strategies to target customers.  Online marketing tools are in fact, so important for any business that it is almost impossible to survive. Even mom and pop run businesses need some online marketing tools these days to attract more customers.

Using SEO based strategies to come up in the search results is just one of the many examples of how you can create a more customer-focused strategy. Cookies that follow online users and Adwords are also crucial to the online marketing mix.

See also:Customer Experience Strategy

2. Not including social media

These days, companies have at least one social media page even before they have a website. There is also a flipside to it; businesses that already have websites are now creating their own social media pages and strategies to target their customers.

Thus today, social media is like an extension of your business. A customer might not sit down specifically to send you an email or feedback for the product or service you are selling. But if you have a social media account that they follow and regularly use, there are higher chances of them coming to your page and leaving feedback. Your social media posts would be on their timeline or feed frequently and they will almost always respond or comment on it.

Social media for customer driven strategy

3. Not following up

Customer satisfaction and feedback are two sides of the same coin. Sometimes you have to nudge the customers a little to know what their opinion is and ask for their suggestions. A little bit of tweaking and change can go such a long way and in doing so, you will also gain their trust by showing that you genuinely care about their opinions.

Reach out to your customers by any means necessary after providing them with any service or product. You can have a questionnaire or online feedback form filled or send them an email. Having a rating and review feature like Amazon is a good example.

4. Not seeing things from the customers’ perspective

Many businesses just view their customer base as a bunch of numbers or a portion of the pie that they wish to devour. They should realize that at the end of the day, they are dealing with a large group of unique individuals that have to be catered to, according to their needs. Using the same cookie-cutter approach doesn’t do well all the time. Customers now know that when their rights are being stepped over. Even if the customer is wrong in a situation, businesses should never point it out in a way that would make them leave for good.

Connecting with the customers on a personal level and making them realize that they are dealing with people who care, is the best customer-centered approach any business can use.

What are the Components of Customers Data that Have to be Secured?

The level of security provided to the sensitive information of a business or an individual determines their privacy. With the digital age progressing fast with every passing second, the concerns on the privacy of data are mounting as well. Whenever and wherever the data is provided, collected, and stored, there is a high risk of its being misused, lost, or being accessed by unauthorized people when left unprotected.

Therefore, the Privacy Act 1988 was set in place to make the entities take essential steps for the protection of customer’s data and prevent it from being misused in any way. Moreover, this step ensured that the concerned authorities collecting the data would either destroy or at least de-identify the customer’s data once it is not needed anymore.

While the Privacy Act is subjected to a number of organizations, credit providers, agencies, and credit reporting bodies, the entities that do not come under this, should try to follow these rules as well. This will ensure improved security of the personal information of their customers.

Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) Guide

The Australian government has also released a guide that will help the organization secure private information in the best way possible. This guide is not legally binding. However, the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) refers to it whenever it is undertaking any Privacy Act functions. Further information on the regulatory powers that are to be exercised can be found in the Privacy Regulatory Action Policy.

The data of customers are subjected to easy attack from the criminals of the cyber world in several ways. Thanks to the ambiguous nature that a connected world offers, the security concerns have increased tremendously. Mobile networks, BYOD, bringing your own devices in public areas, and IP addresses set to public setting provide environments that are unprotected and are not the best way to access sensitive data.  

While the consumers are concerned that their data might be stolen, the government identities and businesses are always on the lookout for protection against malicious cyber attacks on a number of fronts, including even their own organizations.

Related: 
Customer Service: Its Importance and Value

Here are the Components of a Customer’s Data that needs Protection

This means that there is a great need to understand which type of customer’s data needs to be protected on a priority basis.

customer data protection

In order to make it easier for you to identify the data that should be protected, we have compiled a list of components of customers’ data that should be protected:

  1. Biometric Information: This is used for identifying an individual on the basis of one of their distinguishing biological trait. Such traits include fingerprints, iris and retina patterns, signatures, and DNA. This information comes under the personal identification type and can create many issues if it reaches the wrong person.  
  2. License Number: Personally identifiable information is the licensee number since it is unique and can easily be traced to that individual.
  3. Medical Information: Another important type of data that needs protection is an individual’s medical information. It can allow a criminal to commit identity theft.
  4. Date of Birth: Perhaps no other information requires a higher level of protection than an individual’s date of birth as it is the most commonly asked question when checking anything for security purposes.
  5. Employee ID: In the wrong hands, an employee ID can create a lot of problems for the person. If the data becomes insecure the thief can use the information for stealing other more important types of data.
  6. Social Security Numbers such as Citizen Visa code: Stealing someone’s citizen visa code is the most common form of robbery. This allows the culprits to steal IDs and conduct illegal activities through it.
  7. Patents: These allow a person to have legal ownership of their product.
  8. Copyright: Anything that is copyrighted for an individual should be properly protected. Theft in this case means that you would be losing your intellectual property.
  9. Industrial Designs: A company’s industrial design should also be well protected as well since they are responsible for giving them an economic advantage over other competitive businesses.
  10. Trademark: What is more unfortunate than losing your original trademark? The logo of a company is their identification mark and losing it means losing a lot of clientele as well.
  11. Data on new business Ideas
  12. Passwords for forums where the customers market their businesses such as social media
  13. Legal Documents numbers
  14. Credit Cards: These should be protected for the safeguard of your hard earned money
  15. ACH Numbers needs protection as well
  16. Bank Account Information
  17. Loan Information
  18. Payroll Information: This can lead to financial losses
  19. Non-salary Information (expenses, fringe benefits, pension, etc.)
  20. Investment Information (Stock, 401K, Trade, etc.)
  21. Any of the unique identification system that is created by the customer

4 Handy Tips for Busy CIO

Customer experience has evolved unconditionally and exponentially within the last decade, and it’s expected to continually evolve in the coming years to a point where we might not even recognize what it looks like today.

The Essence of Customer Experience Management

Customer experience or CX could clinically be described as the product of the basic interaction between one organization and its consumer over the course of time. However, customer experience and by that connection, customer experience management is so much more than that today.

It’s the personalization of a fast, economical and interactive communication between an organization and every single one of its consumers. It’s the simplicity and ease of navigation, the awareness and advocacy of brand, it’s the integration of the purchase experience with the provided support and most importantly, it is the cultivation of the business relationship to result in a loyal and long-standing consumer.

Here are some handy tips for the busy CIO

1. Use of Established Technologies and Metrics

Customer experience management reduces down to only half the battle when there are established technologies and analyzing metrics in play. For CIOs to ease the management experience, not only should they weigh in and establish the pros and the cons of a customer experience strategy in order to separate the positive possibilities from the negative, but they should also utilize a dedicated CEM platform, personalization technologies, and management tools from the get-go to facilitate the processes.

busy CIO establishing an effective customer experience management

2. Bridging the Online/Offline Chasm

The technology driven CIO’s that are focused on running and managing the IT aspect of customer experience management strategy often fail to take into account the human aspect of customer experience. For successful management therein needs to be the creation of a seamless balance between the online and offline management.

While people are naturally inclined toward the digital involvement of customer service, CIOs should ensure that the digitized support is directing the online traffic into offline traffic by encouraging them to physically engage with the brand.

This brings us to the next point.

3. Create Collaborative Support

Collaborative support is exactly what it sounds like. No one tech executive can be expected to handle the onslaught of customer experience management concerns on their own without the input of external representative. Not only does this hold true for the collaboration necessary between the online and offline elements, but it’s also equally as important for other organizations aspects as well.

By bringing other technicians and experienced individuals on board or by delegating the menial tasks to one of the lower tier advisors, the higher-ups can focus on the more critical problems faced by the company – in every regard – customer experience management related or otherwise.

There’s also another added benefit to creating collaborative support – apart from maintaining the CIOs sanity – and that is saving money.

4. Communication Consistency

Often times, it’s the smallest of inconsistencies which can cause the biggest downfall of an organization. A majority of the time CIO’s overlook the importance of creating a seamless consistency between the consumer and its communicative approach to the parent organization. The connective modalities are unstructured or lack fluency creates a further divide between the two making the jobs of the employees considerably difficult – at every level.

CIOs should ensure that the consumer is able to easily access the required assistance across all channels by the provision of the option of quick movements between the smart customer service solutions. This includes being able to jump from phone calls, to text or chat messages, all the way to emails or social media interactions – along with automated technology and support that enables for efficient, effective responses and thus a fluent customer service experience.