Long before the pandemic, consumers made the digital shift—but business has been slow to catch up. For over a decade, texting and digital messaging have been the most popular ways to communicate. Yet, the average Fortune 500 company still spends 80% or more of their contact center budget on voice calls—where the experience is worse and the cost is higher. Customers are handled more like anonymous callers, and the levers to drive efficiency and quality are limited.
For brands to stay competitive, customer service needs to modernize, using new technologies to really know customers and be there for them where and how they want to be supported. Call centers will still be part of the mix, but they need to deliver more value, and be integrated into a larger, holistic omni-channel support strategy. By embracing innovative capabilities, companies can deliver cost-efficient human-centric digital experiences that help win and keep customers.
Rethinking digital communications
When customers have a question or a problem, they want quick, convenient resolution on their preferred communication channel. Today that most often means digital. Customers may want to use self-service tools, reach out on social media, and chat, text, or message in a variety of ways. The best brands will make it an easy, personalized experience that nurtures loyalty and increases lifetime value, regardless of channel. There is real power in engaging with your customers in the same place they talk to their friends and family.
Many budget-minded executives see digital communications solely as a way to minimize costly engagement with customers. They measure success in deflection and containment. But that’s not a sustainable (or logical) approach. What if, instead, your digital capabilities made every interaction substantially better?
AI innovations are making that possible. Today, businesses can not only deliver smarter digital channels, but empower better customer service communications all around.
One of the biggest wins is meeting customer needs on the first contact. When an AI-powered solution integrates all your digital communication channels, both agents and customers have a greater opportunity to get it right the first time. If a customer does need to follow up on something, a smart system provides all the relevant details so any agent can quickly move things forward instead of starting all over.
That’s one part of a better, modernized customer experience. Taking it further, AI-driven solutions also make agents significantly more productive through every interaction. Machine learning augments CX teams with the right knowledge at the right time for faster, easier resolution. I love that some of the most advanced machine learning technologies are being used to help make people (in this case, agents) better.By dramatically increasing efficiency, customer care agents can deliver a more personalized and contextual interaction — turning potentially negative experiences into real loyalty moments.
Fueling conversation-powered operations
Conversations are the heart of customer service, and digital-first technologies can make those communications operationally more efficient. In real time, it means faster resolution for shorter and more concurrent interactions, at lower costs. In the long view, it provides a wealth of data for machine learning insights, providing ‘conversational analytics’ to fuel strategies and actions that help the business.
Think about ‘voice of the customer’ programs, where feedback mostly comes through surveys. What if you could easily uncover insights from conversations across many touch points?
After decades leading contact center organizations, I think the future of workforce management is in conversation-powered operations. Companies have a goldmine of data that isn’t being tapped. With the best of modern technology, machine learning can extract valuable customer sentiment from 100% of contacts with zero manual work instead of the old way of listening to calls and reading transcripts.
It can rapidly analyze thousands of agent conversations for internal quality assurance to improve compliance, soft skills, and process optimization. This modernization provides a significantly greater ability to understand the quality of service agents are delivering, and opens a window of insights into the enterprise. It’s a faster, smarter way to identify how and where to make both transactional and strategic improvements that are better for the business and the customer experience.
Humanizing your agents
Circling back to empowering agents, modern CX teams recognize customer service agents are the voice of their brand and should be brand ambassadors. We all know the adage about ‘making every agent as good as your best agents’—but you can only get there if you support them well. Instead of juggling multiple tools and inefficient processes, agents need to be able to focus on ensuring each customer feels known, valued, and supported.
That’s the kind of experience that powers a brand. And that’s where ASAPP really shines.
ASAPP modernizes CX with a streamlined, unified platform to easily support customers across channels. With AI-driven predictive knowledge, agents know what to say and do to serve each customer better and faster. It uses the power of technology not to replace the human touch or hide from customers, but to make contact more personalized. Ultimately, that’s the path to greatness for a brand…empowering both sides of the conversation with the right balance of digital efficiency and an emotional connection. That builds relationships with your customers and makes great customer experience a core part of the value proposition of your brand.