Today’s customers are unpredictable and rushed. So are businesses. While we’d love to have beautifully integrated systems and customers who play by the rules, the reality is that service is getting more chaotic by the minute.
Rather than fight against the inevitable disruption, it is important for businesses to embrace the chaos, move faster and use it to gain a competitive advantage.
The good news is that the latest customer experience platforms now have the smarts – including rapidly emerging artificial intelligence – to decipher unstructured data from multiple disconnected systems and channels to deliver a unified experience for customers and agents.
The challenge is two-fold:
Today’s customers expect service on multiple devices and channels
Whether it’s an office worker sending an email on a laptop, a student live chatting with a bot on the bus, a social media comment, or an after-hours phone call, customers now expect to be able to browse, buy and get support across any channel and any device, anywhere at any time.
Businesses are complex and disconnected
While digital transformation has been a buzzword for years and a lot of progress has been made, enterprises still operate with siloed systems, separate departments, manual processes, and staff with varying levels of knowledge.
As a result, we see a range of common challenges:
- Siloed processes, systems and data across teams and departments.
- Managing engagement across from multiple channels in a disconnected manner such as emails, voice calls, SMS, chat etc.
- Taking a lot of time dealing with status updates, basic requests and account management as opposed to doing work that is meaningful to the business.
- Lack of measurable performance management targets, reporting and tracking.
- Too often it depends on who takes your call as to the experience your customer has.
These issues result in inefficient operations, inconsistent customer experiences and limited opportunities for service improvement and optimisation.
In reality, this will always be a challenge. So we need to accept this imperfect mess and look at how technology can bring these worlds together in a way that delivers a smooth and consistent experience for customers and service agents.
Human-centred design before technology
Technology integrators are sometimes called in late in the CX process for the technical discussions about software, integrating databases and designing workflows. However, we typically advise taking a step back to understand how your customers currently interact with you and, importantly, how they would ideally like to engage with you in the future.
Too often the human element is forgotten in the rush to deploy new systems that may not be in line with how your customers want to work.
Here are some examples of pertinent non-technology questions we ask clients in our consulting practice:
Who are your customers? What are their motivating factors for engaging with you? What are your core segments? What do they need most? What are their frustrations? Have you proactively gathered customer feedback from agents, surveys and social media?
What are your performance KPIs such as wait times and resolution rates? Have you established a baseline for ongoing improvement?
What are your most common or impactful workflows? How often are they used and in what volume?
Can you map the lifecycle of service provision to identify channels or processes that are overlooked?
What are your main business goals such as reducing calls through self-service, increasing first contact resolution or maintaining service levels at a lower cost?
By understanding what your customers and agents need from a human and business perspective you can design and implement digital solutions that enable cross-department collaboration.
Once you have a centralised system, you can start to unlock many benefits. You can leverage chatbots for menial updates, use machine learning to route tickets, use data to prioritise and assign tasks, create targeted ‘how-to’ articles and videos to enable self-service, use data to forecast service peaks and position your business to respond to changing customer demands.
Unifying the customer and agent experience
While it’s often pitched as a technology problem, world-class customer experience is a blend of strategy, human-centred design and technology.
In our consulting division, Nexon partners with enterprise clients to integrate their entire communication channels and business systems.
We leverage our clients’ existing technology investments, as well as integrate new platforms where applicable from our partners, such as ServiceNow – an end-to-end digital workflow platform – Genesys – a leading omnichannel cloud CX solution – and Microsoft Teams – an enterprise platform to meet, call, chat and collaborate.
Regardless of the technology, the objective is to create a centralised customer service management platform that offers a consistent experience for customers and a single view for agents.
The service is ideally suited to organisations with a high volume of customer enquiries in sectors such as financial services, education, healthcare, government, retail and not-for-profits.
By leveraging and integrating your existing systems, without the need for major disruption, you can move fast on quick wins and optimise operations over time into a centralised service management platform.