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Take Your Customer Support from ‘Talking At’ to ‘Listening To’

By Björn Gülsdorff, Chief Business Development Officer

Once upon a time ‘market’ was a noun, denoting the place where people got together and negotiated public affairs. In some markets, like the Forum Romanum, history was made. Then, ‘market’ also became a verb. Now marketing basically means talking at people, often raising the level of volume, colours, and wordings whilst lowering niveau. 😊

Surely, to say such a thing is utterly unfair to many marketeers. Yet, when it comes to customer service, I uphold the claim that the communication is often rather unidirectional, and in the wrong direction on top of that. Countless the websites where FAQs are not “frequently asked questions” but rather “answers we’d like to give”. Or where obviously someone has created a user journey for me. Frankly, nobody needs to design that. I know pretty well where I want to go, thank you.

What I do want on my journey, is to have road bumps removed, gaps bridged, and connections optimised. If customer service was an airport, I don’t want the lounge refurbished; I want another fast lane and quick boarding.

I am aware that people are different and that the same person has different needs at different times. Therefore, there is not the one journey for all and clearing the path is not easy.

That’s where two-sided conversations, aka dialogues, kick in. Customer service is about listening as well as acknowledging that each experience will be unique. Virtual agents can play a role in that as they come with a free text input field. So even when customers are self-serving, they don’t need to guess the one correct search term or scroll through a list of FAQs someone else has selected.

When it comes to creating this dialogue with customers, there are good and not so good ways to start.Things like expectation management, consistency, focus, and coverage make a big difference. It also requires courage (customers will speak their mind!) and the will to act.

It may be an inconvenient truth, but customer service with a virtual agent (or any other tool for that matter) is not a one-off thing. Good customer service means listening to your customers and improving constantly, be it the NLP (natural language processing), answers in the virtual agent, your processes, your services, or your products. In customer service, the journey to design is your way to become a better and more successful company.

Whether you’re ready to add a virtual agent to your customer service plan for the first time or have realised that your current tool isn’t creating a helpful dialogue with customers, I recommend this whitepaper for tips from conversational AI experts.

3 Examples of How Automated Chat Agents Create an Effortless Customer Journey

By Christina Wilson, Director, Customer Success, Creative Virtual USA

Some organizations still view their customer communications in a linear fashion, with a definitive start and end point. But as thought leaders like McKinsey and others have pointed out, customers today often have a much more dynamic journey while researching a sales decision or requesting support. There are several reasons automated chat agents are the perfect complement for these complex customer pursuits.

  1. Automated chat agents are unstructured

Automated virtual agents don’t require customers to read a menu and try to decide which category their problem fits into. Customers don’t have to listen to a phone recording to select the proper department or option. With an automated agent, customers can begin their exchanges exactly where they are having issues and proceed to a resolution from there, instead of jumping through hoops just to get to the point where they can explain their issue or question.

  1. AI virtual assistants provide instant, scalable service

When customers are interacting with an automated agent, there’s no need for them to wait for phone lines to clear up, business hours to begin, a rep to answer their email, and so on. It doesn’t matter how busy things are with your organization, how many other people are trying to reach you, or what time of day or night it is – the virtual agent is always instantly accessible.

The Pew Research Center reported that those who are used to the instant gratification of the internet age become frustrated if they don’t get what they need immediately. The top organizations are already looking to make their delivery of services, products, and customer support instantaneous.

  1. Automated virtual agents can serve customers anywhere

Top-quality virtual assistants are channel agnostic. They can be accessed with mobile apps, desktop browsers, voice prompts, SMS, social media platforms, and more. Virtual agents also have the ability to move between different channels – if a customer begins an inquiry or asks a question on their mobile device and then needs to see it on their desktop, the best AI virtual assistants can shift seamlessly and still provide the information the customer was looking for.

Gartner reports that nearly 9 out of every 10 companies believe they will compete on customer experience by the end of 2016. Automated chat agents can help you enhance your customer experience by meeting your customers where they are, on their terms.

 

As the leader in virtual customer service, Creative Virtual specializes in the science of conversation.