By Simon Black, CEO, Awaken
Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba once advised, “Forget about your competitors, just focus on your customers”. As the statistics highlight dissatisfied customers not only cost you time and money but if you lose a customer it’s going to cost even more to replace them. In fact, it’s common knowledge that it can cost five times as much to acquire a new customer versus retaining existing ones. Worryingly, in a world of over-sharing your customers are likely to complain about your business, products or service across their social channels, within minutes. That’s why your customers’ first interaction with your business needs to be fit for purpose from the outset.
Quite often that first conversation is with your contact centre, the very heart of your company’s customer services. It’s usually the first point of call for customer queries so it’s important to ensure that your first call resolution (FCR) processes are more than fit for purpose. Making sure that the communication between your agents and customers are as simple and as mutually understandable as possible is critical. From a customer point of view their interaction with your business often means minimum effort on their part and maximum reward (for them, from you). Gartner recently highlighted that 94% of customers with low-effort interactions intend to repurchase compared with 4% of those experiencing high effort.
These numbers aren’t really a surprise. We all know from our personal encounters that it only takes one good or bad incident to make or break a relationship. As Amazon CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos puts it, “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell six friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000”. The good news though, according to PWC, is that when it comes to making a purchase, 42% of all consumers would pay more for a friendly, welcoming experience – which is why First Call Resolution (FCR) so important.
FCR, or sometimes referred to as ‘one-touch resolution’, isn’t just about the average number of support tickets your agent resolves on the first response or interaction with a customer. It may be a popular benchmark to measure metrics such as response rates and resolution time so that you can run your call centre team efficiently but there’s more to FCR. Well, if you really value the customer experience (CX) and their journey.
As the statistics highlight dissatisfied customers not only cost you time and money but if you lose a customer it’s going to cost even more to replace them. Fortunately, the technology is now in place to support and improve these FCR interactions. By incorporating Artificial Intelligence (AI) into your contact centre you can better support your agents and provide them with the right tools for resolution and a more seamless customer journey.
A recent survey by PointSource highlighted, 49% of customers are willing to shop more often when AI is present and 34% of customers will spend more money. The research also found that 38% will share their experiences with friends and family. Essentially, AI makes people shop more, spend more and share more. So, with today’s technology there is every reason and every opportunity to get the customer experience right.
According to IDC, $13.9B was invested into CX-focused Artificial Intelligence (AI) and $42.7B in CX-focused Big Data and analytics during 2019, with both expected to grow to $90B in 2022. That’s a pretty strong argument that now might be the time to look at how AI can support and enhance the experiences of your customers and become the game changer needed in your contact centre customer relations. You only have to look at consumer adoption of conversation digital assistants like Alexa to realise that natural language query (NLQ) or conversational analytics (CA) is on the up and up.
NLP enables people to ask questions about data and receive an explanation thanks to the amazing analytics built into the platform. Conversational analytics takes this further by allowing people to ask questions verbally and Gartner predicted that by 2020, 50% of analytical queries would be generated via search, natural language processing or voice, or would be automatically generated.
We recognise that the use of NLP and CA can enhance our experiences as a consumer so how can it help our businesses? In 2018 ZDNet’s sister site, Tech Pro Research, reported that 70% of survey respondents said that their companies either have a digital transformation strategy in place or were working on one. First forward two years and digital transformation projects have been fast tracked, thanks to the accelerant we now know as COVID-19. Almost overnight organisations have had to transform their operations, mobilise their workforces and meet customer expectations within new parameters. Digital transformation has put data at the very centre of every business, what you need to do now is use it to your advantage.
NLP and CA are so transformative that Garner listed them in their own Top 10 technology trends in data and analytics report. The analyst house predicts that by 2021, NLP and conversational analytics will boost analytics and business intelligence adoption from 35% of employees to over 50%, including new classes of users, particularly front-office workers. And it’s your customer facing employees (as well as your customers themselves) that stand to benefit from CA the most.
Think about your omni-channel for a moment. It shouldn’t matter whether your customer reaches you by telephone, email or social media, they should have the same frictionless experience. CA enables your contact centre agents to answer customer queries in a knowledgeable way, quickly supplying answers and resolving problems or escalating so that the customer gets a personalised, easy experience. In fact, there’s lots of benefits for both your customers and your agents with CA;
For Your Customers:
- Customer service whenever and wherever they need it.
- Ability to ask all kinds of questions and not be transferred across multiple departments.
- Real-time solutions to problems resolved with insight and, with Awaken Translate, real-time voice to voice translation means customers can have their query resolved in their own language, not that of your business.
- Ability to provide outstanding customer service rather than focusing on the process will make communication with your customers more personalised and will allow you to meet their needs better.
For Your Agents:
- The intuitive way CA works means your agents require less training or can move on to different campaigns without spending hours reading reams of training manuals.
- Ability to handle calls and resolve them faster than before, which means your cost per call is kept in control.
- Your agents have ability to focus on the conversation, rather than the process which means both agent and customer have a better experience. That means your staff retention improves dramatically.
- Analysing only the calls with known issues, flagged by Auto QAyou will save up to 67% of your QA team’s time.
- By providing you with actionable insightsformed into one report, it will allow you to motivate your agents in the right directions and stimulate continuous improvement.