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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!

Dream A Little Bigger – Why Multi-Channel is Dead

A few years ago, I was lucky enough to help Professor Jerry Wind write his latest book, ‘Beyond Advertising.’ The research touches over a few concepts, including the need for businesses to create marketing campaigns and brand alignments resulting in benefits not just for themselves, but for their consumers and beyond. Backed with a worksheet-style framework and a slew of case studies, Professor Wind suggests that consistent messaging, distributed and orchestrated over a wide variety of channels, would lead to a consistent and altogether more effective customer journey.

Professor Wind was correct in his conclusion. In a generation where people have shorter attention span than goldfish, are forgetful and chained to their phones, and consistently lost and addicted to immediate gratification, it’s not enough to focus on how small interactions affect customer behavior. To move from these reactive, ineffective attempts at understanding people, marketers and customer service agents need to move away from analyzing points, tickets, and individual channels. The first step is cutting out this idea of marketing and customer service as multi-channel.

Multichannel Marketing and Customer Service is Dead

Bailing a Sinking Ship With a Solo Cup

To break into this concept of moving past multi-channel, it’s worth looking at a concrete example as to how and why multi-channel strategy doesn’t work in the first place. There are any number of case studies which address the topic. My personal favorite might be an onboarding study in the telecom business. A large telecom company tracked interactions that customers, such as an initial price consultation. In every given stage, customers were asked to rate their experience. Over all the polls, their experiences were positive. Viewed holistically, however, customers had a negative opinion of the process and the brand itself. Executives had to take a step back and think about not just the reaction of such calls, but the reasons behind them. By spending the time to examine the reasons why there were so many interactions, as well as bringing in customers to help them design a better process, they were able to engineer a far more effective onboarding process.

The brand needed to understand customers and their emotions rather than resolving sets of tickets. To compare this to the view of multi-channel considered originally, although consistency of quality was carried out over the different channels, the experience itself was not necessarily well-received.

A contrasting point is the success of healthcare IT company Flatiron Health. A large portion of their success is based in breaking down silos between patient touch points. By relating data between things such as EMRs and clinical research, as well as back and forth with patients, Flatiron is able to find successful trends in clinical and patient care. Additionally, by putting their product managers in hospitals to shadow nurses and doctors, Flatiron was able to listen more effectively to not just their clinic customers, but also to the patients their system is used for. By putting a focus on informing patients – not just doctors – both parties have an improved experience. Patients understood their therapy better and had easier ways to alert their doctor of changes while doctors had better information to inform future decisions. Flatiron’s astronomical growth rate and funding rounds speak for themselves in terms in contrast to the success and usability of traditional EMR systems. By focusing on net experience, rather than traditional touchpoint management, Flatiron was able to deliver better product and growth.

To formalize this into concrete business concepts, Chris Meyer proposes a possible explanation in Harvard Business Review about the customer experience

Multi-channel marketing and customer service is built on CRM management – tracking events, instances, and facts without focusing on the experiences and problems underneath. While there is a wide breadth of this information, it is still distinct from the concepts of motivation, experience and feeling. To really switch, businesses require a fundamentally different view towards how they try and get brands to align with people – or more simply, just seeing people as people.

While multi-channel itself an ineffective management strategy, it is worth mentioning how this thinking is ineffective for corporate sustainability as well. With customers using a wider number of channels – and methods of using those channels changing as well – thinking about channels as rigid entities sets a business up to be permanently behind the rate of change. In one Entrepreneur article, the writer posited that the rate of capturing the value of new platforms wasn’t as much of a problem anymore as the rate at which companies can adopt to them. Focusing on multi-channel will leave managers on an adoption rate treadmill, exacerbating the lack of visibility they have on their customers.

An Experience is Worth More Than 1000 Words

Nearly as soon as Professor Wind’s book came out, parts of its research were already bending to the breakneck speed at which digital marketing is changing. As IBM observed in their most recent CMO survey , the traditional silos – both in terms of industry and channel – are breaking down. CMOs are no longer the masters of ‘the campaign’ or creative geniuses, they are engineers of customer experience. Concisely, in the same survey, Mohamed AlTajer writes “There won’t be CMOs in the future; there will be Chief Experience Officers who are responsible for the overall customer journey.”

Relating to Professor Wind’s book, his work sets the stage for what will be a needed change in outlook and approach. People fundamentally expect the same experience over any channel we interact with. In other words, people don’t just want consistency when dealing with companies, they want an ongoing conversation. Too long has marketing and customer service focused on what is corporately efficient without realizing that by accommodating and listening customers, both succeed.

This is a relatively abstract concept that is illustrated well by clothing company Patagonia. Patagonia is built upon a number of principles including use of recycled materials, a permanent one percent of revenue commitment to grassroots activism, and a culture based off the mountain climbing past of it’s founder, Yvon Chouinard. They branded around the catchphrase “Don’t Buy This Jacket,” urging customers to consider the environmental implications of the clothes they were buying and to encourage them to buy use. In an act in line with their guiding principles, considerate to their customers, and seemingly flying in the face of a proper sales campaign, Patagonia’s sales actually exploded. () By sticking to their philosophy and informing their customers, Patagonia has maintained it’s shopper experience as an outdoors brand and continued to be a model brand of customer and corporate goals aligning.

Bottom of the Ninth

In an age where social media and customer management is an increasingly crowded landscape, what do businesses needs to change to actually understand their customers?

In part, the change in cultural. Think about the idea of the traditional sales team. The concept, although certainly profitable, is not always the most healthy extension of company culture. This introduces a risk of divide between the culture of the sales team and the rest of the team. In an ideal corporate structure, everyone in a company believes in their brand alignment and, through their work, help contributes to its success. To cite Michael Keller, CEO of Pearson’s Candy, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

To illustrate this, consider REI, the outdoor clothing and supply behemoth. REI seeks out employees passion about their products – in other words, ‘outdoorsy people’ – and the same people that would buy the products themselves. REI employees also lead sessions teaching things such as kayaking, get discounts on their products, and even days off to go outside and play. This unapologetic commitment to culture has led to a massive boon in sales, especially in comparison to some of their less-focused competitors. Rather than focus on channel-specific campaigns and tracking, by curating a culture, REI was able to drive sales effectively.

To tie this concept more directly to the sales and marketing front, Atlassian stands out. As one of the few Australian unicorn companies, their lack of sales team has generated a lot of buzz. While potentially alarming at first, it is relatively easy to see this success is attributed to founders devoted to the need for their own product, building a culture where people want to work, and making all aspects of the company, to some extent, marketing. By creating a product that they loved themselves and employees that wanted to work there, the marketing came from largely word of mouth. Combined with distributing their software for free, Atlassian blossomed into a massive company. Co-founder Scott Farquhar notes, “I passionately believe about giving experience. Mainly to employees but also to customers… People remember experiences that you give them.In other words, your own employees should be your brand’s biggest advocate, and their actions will help a product sell itself. In the same vein, Palantir, backed with a 0 dollar marketing budget, relies nearly entirely on the passion of its employees to drive and perfect it’s product. As one of the most valuable privately held companies in the valley, it’s safe to say the tactic is working.

A Product Is Worth a Thousand Words

Aside the more intangible changes of culture, the answer isn’t to stop tracking points – in fact, tracking is as relevant as ever – but to approach how we integrate conversations into marketing, sales, and, most importantly, product differently. As companies break down their multi-channel induced silos, they need to integrate customer interactions with how they build their product.

I think summary of all of this can come from a talk I went to with Eone Watch’s founder, Hyungsoo Kim. In his attempt to make a watch for the blind, he quickly realized that his perceptions of building and selling the product were completely wrong. He had made a series of assumptions about the blind, including that they could read braille and wouldn’t care as much about the appearance of the watch. In testing, soon realized how painfully wrong he was, with around 10% of his test users knowing braille and appearance being one of the most asked questions. Bringing the product back to the drawing board, the watch was re-designed to be appealing and usable to blind and sighted alike, an intuition that only came from having blind people work closely with the product team.

While companies talk to a variety of customers, usually not as specific of a market segment as the one targeted by Hyungsoo, it is easy to make a number of simplifications and projections based off what we as businesses feel like we should be focusing on and what people will want. Multi-channel, as Professor Wind examined and built on, is necessarily reactive. It precludes companies from seeing the underlying motivations behind customers and precludes them from building their best products. If we follow stories, rather than words and points, it’ll be much easier to predict the next chapter. So let’s stop thinking of marketing and customer service as pages, but rather books about people.

Managing Multiple Customer Channels

The way people reach your business’ customer support has changed significantly in the past couple of years, primarily because of the advent of the internet, social media and more importantly, smartphones. Companies are now expected to answer the customer’s grievances over a vast array of channels – these can include emails, messages over social media such as Facebook and Twitter, SMS, contact page on the website and last but not the least, the very traditional but still relevant… phone.

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The customer expects your representatives to be available for any queries around-the-clock, 24/7 and wants prompt replies. Failure to address your customer can result in losing out on important business resulting in loss of revenue. All the different channels of communication should be consistent with each other, for instance handling the customer’s emails should not keep your agents so preoccupied that they miss out on a customer’s phone calls.

Here’s How to Manage Multiple Customer Channels

1. Different Channels – Different Challenges

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Each channel has its own set of requirements, challenges, resources and your customer representative team will have different skills. You can’t expect one agent to perfectly handle all your channels with perfect tenacity. You will have to gauge their strengths and weaknesses and assign them certain roles accordingly. You will need someone with good communication skills in order to handle a large number of phone calls, while fast typing speed would be required of someone who is handling emails and social media.

Related: 
The Art and Science of Customer Engagement

With phone calls and chats, both the customer and the support agents are available at the same time and this can allow you to find common ground very quickly. Channels such as SMS and emails mean that neither the customer nor the support agent are burdened with the pressure of time, and can respond to each at their own leisure (not really true for support agents). While both channels have their strengths and weaknesses, the main purpose of a well oiled customer support team is to ensure that your customer has access to useful information in a short amount of time.

How you can go about designing your customer support team depends entirely on the size of your business and how much volume each channel receives. Depending on the type of business – whether it conducts most of its business online or offline – most customers might try reaching your support team on social media than on phone. This is most often the case with media publication sites with a strong online presence. For insurance or professional service companies, however, phone calls and traditional letters seem to be the order of the day.

2. It isn’t Practical to Blindly follow someone else’s Multichannel Strategy

It really isn’t one size fits all, and the preferable means of communication really depend on the customer. For most small scale businesses in Australia, it really isn’t a good idea to invest in every single type of channel you can get your hands on. It takes time and resources to gather useful, talented individuals and train them to properly handle their roles. It isn’t practical to be available 24/7 across phone, email, SMS and social media. Pick one service that might work best for you. If you’re an online seller, chances are that your customers might not really try to reach you on phone. However, that might not be the case if you’re a physical business with a physical store. For restaurateurs, it is more beneficial to have support agents dealing with phone calls 24/7 or during working hours, rather than having a team address customers online. Your preferred method of communication also depends on which channel the customer themselves choose.

3. Variety is Beneficial for both Employees and Customers

A key point to understand is that your support team also needs a break from the hassle of going through a monotonous job on a daily basis. You need to change their roles every now and then to keep them engaged so that the quality of your support teams doesn’t falter. For instance, one week an agent would be addressing the customer over chat, the next they might engage them over phone. The idea is to ensure they don’t get bored. Boredom can kill productivity and your customers might actually interpret this as lack of concern or empathy for their problem.

The operator over the phone needs to have an encouraging, bubbling voice that exudes enthusiasm which can instill confidence in your customer. So even if their problem might take some time for your team to get back to, they will always be patient because the person on the end of the line was so… enthusiastic.

Studies have shown that deploying omnichannel solutions can boost the employee’s morale by more than 80% while giving your customer more options to reach you.

4. Make Notes about the Customer

By keeping a history of the customer’s purchase history, complaint records and other such data, your support agent will be able to address their problems more efficiently the next time they receive a complaint. This also means you can track the customer’s trends by quantifying key business metrics such as the customer loyalty and retention.

Customer Service Software: The New Foundation of Marketing Strategies

More than 75% of customer-company interactions now occur online. Customers are continuously reaching out to companies over social media. Marketing teams that originally focused just on marketing over social media are now responsible for the customer service interactions. Customers constantly interact with these companies and expect quick meaningful responses.

Here are some great examples of customers contacting companies via social media. Shane from Canada contacted Samsung and explained to company representatives how he is a loyal customer. He told them all the products he owned and then kindly asked if they would send him a new phone for free. In return he offered this picture…

customer-service-samsung-canada

Samsung took this opportunity to show off its excellent customer service and market it to thousands of people. They sent him a new phone, and even customized it by putting his drawing on the back! Social media is a great way to get in contact with your customers, but remember, it’s okay to have some fun once in awhile. Samsung and other companies around the world often showcase their excellent customer service over social media because their marketing channels are so well established.

For a better customer service, use conversational technology to easily manage customer conversations. Request a demo now!

Woveon, an intelligent customer service startup, is paving the way in this online industry. Woveon is an easy-to-use online application providing businesses a centralized location to manage their customer channels, such as social media and phone calls. Using machine learning, social listening, a wide breadth of data, and a clean user interface, Woveon helps prioritize inquiries, identify valuable customers, and suggest personalized content. It levels the playing field for small businesses to compete with larger social media teams and helps enterprises visualize customer journeys. It simplifies online customer relations and makes businesses more efficient in managing the touch points they have with customers.

Learn How Woveon Can Improve Your Marketing Strategy

I recently read on Forrester, “I believe consumer behavior will continue to push eBusinesses to re-evaluate their approach to social media and move to more strategic interactions between marketing, branding, and customer service. Consumer adoption of both direct social support and peer-to-peer support has exploded in the last few years. Further, the majority of consumers expect a reply to their Facebook and Twitter posts.”

Companies should be working their best to get their customers to interact with their brand online. This can include Facebook, Twitter, email, YouTube and Google Ads. Millions of consumers are already online, and it is easy to reach larger audiences. But once you have reached these larger audiences, how do you manage the questions?

Single Platform Integration

Most companies have multiple channels of communication with their customers. Woveon has created a platform that combines all of your customer channels onto a single page. The simplicity allows your marketing and customer service teams to never miss a conversation.

Conversation History

Conversation history is another important feature when dealing with customer service and marketing. It helps to look at past interactions so that if a similar problem arises, you can quickly solve the problem with the steps in front of you. This feature also allows you to know the customer you are dealing with better.

Conversation Prioritization

Woveon’s advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities can prioritize customers. The program looks into the customer’s social media or purchase history and identify more valuable customers. This can include people with large followings on social media. Your customer service team can quickly respond and market how well your brand takes care of its customers.

Customer Service, The Foundation of Online Marketing

Every company’s priority is its customers. So why not focus on your valuable customers and solve the problems that arise? Woveon has the ability to simplify and better market your customer service. With so many different social media platforms, it can be hard for companies; however, integrating all channels onto a single page makes it extremely easy to keep track of all customers conversations. Conversation history allows representatives to look back on past interactions to learn more about your customer before interacting with them. It takes a software platform like Woveon to provide superior customer service. 

CTA marketing strategy template

The Art and Science of Customer Engagement

It’s a no-brainer that we no longer interact with customers the same way we did face-to-face in brick and mortar. With customers increasingly using social media, apps and websites to shop and browse, they are being empowered with more information and more choice. With so much choice available to the customer, it really boils down to the quality of their customer experience with the company that ultimately wins a customer and gains their loyalty. For any company that wants to increase their conversion rates and retain their customers (which company doesn’t, really), you need to excel at customer engagement.

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What is Customer Engagement?

Customer engagement is, in its simplest form, the interaction between a company and their customers. But it should not be mixed up with Customer Service. Customer Service is an interaction with a customer as a result of the customer reaching out to the company.  Customer engagement on the other hand, is an interaction between the company and customer where both parties are actively reaching out to each other. On social media, this takes form of companies posting engaging content such as quotes and discounts to delight their followers, as well as responding and reacting to customers who reach out to them.

I’ll break this down with an example:

A customer has a problem with a company’s product. He takes a picture and posts this on the company’s Facebook.

Scenario 1: The company sees this issue and replies with a solution to the customer. End of interaction. This is customer service.

Related:
What are the Best Strategies to Ace Customer Engagement

Scenario 2: The company replies to this customer publicly with a solution; and privately messages him asking for his email address in order to send him a small token of appreciation for letting them know. This time, the customer posts up his satisfaction with how the company has handled the issue. In response, the company reply favourably to his post and reshares it to encourage other customers to also contact them about issues, because they are actively listening to their customers. This, is customer engagement.

How to do Customer Engagement right?

So, customer engagement is a little more work than your traditional customer service. It might be a real pain, but with such widespread use of the internet, that is the level of customer experience you need to provide to attract, retain and engage customers to develop them into promoters. Whilst there are countless ways to engage with your customers, there are three crucial points you need to address in every customer engagement strategy.

1. Be Omnipresent

customer engagement-customer service - omnipresent

Being omnipresent means that you’re everywhere at the same time. Meaning, you should be on social media, email, phone, chatbot and whatever other communication channel your company uses, all at the same time, around the clock. Customers expect a company to have presence on at least 3 to 4 social channels, as well as fast response times across all these channels. 32% of people who contact a company for customer support on social media expects a reply within 30 minutes. 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. Crazy right! If you’re anything like me, you’re a bit of a sloth replying to your friends on social media. Just imagine if you had hundreds messaging you every day expecting instant replies.

zootopia slow sloth-customer engagement - timeliness - customer service

Some ways companies are overcoming this hurdle is by outsourcing customer service, using social media management platforms, or just start slow by using social listening tools. Customers want to have their voice heard on a channel they use, and very importantly, want to know that you value their time.

2. Provide seamless omnichannel experiences

customer engagement - omnichannel - customer service - cmo - customer support

Omnichannel experiences mean blending the touchpoints a company has with its customers to provide a wholesome, integrated experience. Not only will this improve customer satisfaction, but the reduction of customer effort has been proven to be a huge contributor to customer loyalty.

Disney and Tomorrowland are amongst the top in providing an omnichannel experience to their customers. Customers start from mobile optimised websites, to online itinerary planning, to a mobile app that can be used to find locations at the venue. They have made it easier for customers to transition from platform to platform and from online to offline, making these entertainment giants some of the most successful in the world.

3. Be Personal

Nothing better than having human touch, really. In a Genesys Global Survey, 40% of 9000 consumers say better human service mattered to them the most in customer support, much more than other options such as integration of more channels and enriched content.

customer engagement - human touch - customer service - cmo - customer support - personalization

Being personal goes beyond using their name when interacting with them or showing a picture of your face on the chatbot screen; it also encompasses being responsive to their emotions and knowing their history with the company. The end goal is for the customer to develop feelings of personal connection to a company or brand. Once they are in this comfortable stage, it’s much more likely they will end up becoming evangelists of the company.

A fantastic example of online personalization is Hubspot’s smart content. Smart content intelligently personalizes content to the user’s need. Using information such as their job title, average page views or stage in the buying process, smart content changes the content the user sees on the website. A regular visitor would for example, see different call-to-actions or forms compared to a new user. The result? Personalized content did 42% better.

Hubspot smart content - customer engagement - customer service - personalization

Whilst there is no one right way to do customer engagement, being omnipresent, omnichannel and personalized (even to some degree) has reaped many benefits for all companies that have implemented it. What are you doing in your business to engage with your customers? Share with us in the comments below!