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A Stamp of Approval for Customer Service Week

By Mandy Reed, Global Head of Marketing

Happy Customer Service Week! It’s the first full week of October, and that means it is time once again for the annual week-long global celebration of the importance of customer service, the people who deliver that service, and the impact it has on business success. Since last year’s celebration, businesses have been forced to continue to find ways to overcome challenges the pandemic has raised around the world. Getting that coveted stamp of approval from customers and employees that comes from a successful customer service strategy has been harder than ever.

This is my sixth year creating a blog post roundup to kick off Creative Virtual’s celebration of Customer Service Week. It’s a post I look forward to writing every year even though it’s always difficult to narrow down a year’s worth of informative blog posts into just a couple handfuls to include. As a member of the Creative Virtual team for over 13 years now, I find compiling this roundup makes me contemplate how much has changed in the world of customer service over that time – evolving customer expectations, new contact channels, technological advancements.

But it also reminds me that some things haven’t changed. At the end of the day, customer service is all about people helping people – whether that’s designing self-service tools or answering calls in the contact centre.

And so, without further ado, here are some of the key blog posts on customer service we’ve shared on the Creative Virtual Blog over the past year:

  • Selecting the Right Conversational AI Vendor Makes All the Difference – Chatbots and virtual agents are at the forefront of many digital customer service strategies and selecting the vendor that’s a good fit for you is important for success. To help with that selection process, analyst group ISG evaluated 19 conversational AI vendors based on the depth of their service offerings and market presence.
  • Is Your Inexperienced Approach to Self-Service Driving Customers Away? – Trial-and-error is important in life but taking that approach to customer support can have a devastating effect on your business. When it comes to creating positive service experiences with chatbots, there is no substitute for having hands-on experience with building, integrating, installing, maintaining, and expanding these self-service tools.
  • Conversational AI and the Future of APAC Contact Centres – The companies that have the most success with their CX strategies take an approach that combines digital channels and the contact centre. They build a team that brings them together, which helps with creating and implementing a channel agnostic conversational AI strategy.
  • Combining Chatbots and Voice for Omnichannel Experiences – The tight integration of chatbots and voice creates a seamless journey as customers switch between channels, helping you deliver a connected experience. This post outlines three important tips for companies looking to get started with their own voicebot project.
  • On the Hunt for Better Customer Service – Companies are always on the hunt for ways to meet customer expectations, build brand loyalty, and deliver a better customer experience. Smart companies know the present and future of better customer service lie in the combination of humans and machines, people and technology, live agents and virtual agents.
  • It’s Time to Pull Back the Curtain on Enterprise Conversational AI Pricing – Enterprise software pricing is often shrouded in mystery and the subject of intense negotiations between the supplier and customer. Creative Virtual is removing that shroud of mystery with a guide to conversational AI pricing designed to help organisations properly budget and evaluate costs of these customer service solutions.
  • Past the Point of No Return: Customer and Employee Experience Post-Pandemic – While each of us has had an individual experience and been impacted in our own unique way by the pandemic, it has also been a global event that is leaving lasting effects on communities and companies everywhere. We have experienced too much uncertainty, overcome too many unexpected challenges, developed too many new digital skills, and created too many new expectations to be the same customers and employees as we were prior to the pandemic.
  • Successful Conversational AI: Blending Machine Learning & Human Intelligence – Part 1Part 2Part 3 – Mrinal Rai, Principal Analyst at ISG, and Jan Erik Aase, Partner and Global Head – ISG Provider Lens, joined Creative Virtual Founder & CEO, Chris Ezekiel, for a three-part discussion on conversational AI. Watch the recording to hear their conversation about current industry trends, the impact of the pandemic, and setting conversational AI project goals.
  • A Seamless Support Experience is Music to Your Customers’ Ears – Creating your overall customer service strategy is similar to writing a musical score – you have to pay attention not only to the performance of each individual component but also how they interact with each other over the course of the journey. You must ensure each element is utilised to emphasis its strengths but do so in a way that creates a joined-up, seamless experience.
  • Conversational AI Doesn’t Have to Be a Risky Investment – Step 1Step 2Step 3 – It’s a common misconception that conversational AI is always a high-risk investment for organisations, but one that shouldn’t keep you from implementing your own chatbot or virtual agent to improve customer service. This three-part blog series takes you through important steps for minimising risk and maximising benefits when embarking on a conversational AI project.

As we have for the past several years, the Creative Virtual team is joining the festivities this week with our Customer Service Week Blog Celebration – a series of posts written by expert members of our team on the present and future of customer service. Subscribe to our Blog to get them all delivered right in your Inbox and find them listed here as each is published.

Two Thumbs Up for Customer Service Week

By Mandy Reed, Global Head of Marketing

Happy Customer Service Week! Today we kick off the annual week-long international celebration of the importance of customer service, the people who deliver that service and the impact it has on successful business practices. 2020 has brought new customer service challenges for companies and altered the way customers engage with businesses, perhaps forever. Delivering service that gets two thumbs up from customers has been – and continues to be – no easy feat!

This is the fifth year I’ve put together a blog post roundup to start off Customer Service Week, and it might just be the most important one yet. The global pandemic has put digital transformation projects on the fast-track for many organisations, including digital customer service initiatives. Having expert insights, resources and industry stats is important for getting those strategies right. Here are some of the key blog posts on customer support we’ve shared over the past year that can help you with improving and extending the customer service you provide:

  • Delivering Self-Service During the COVID-10 Uncertainty, Part 1: Supporting Customers – COVID-19 has put organisations under immense pressure to deliver quality service and support over digital channels. This three-part blog series explores the business value of using a chatbot or virtual agent to provide easy-to-use self-service, starting with supporting customers. Also take a look at Part 2: Supporting Contact Centre Agents and Part 3: Supporting Employees.
  • Helping Financial Organisations Deliver 24/7 Customer Support: Part 1 and Part 2 – This two-part blog series dives into the real experiences of financial organisations as they took quick action to keep the information they were providing to customers up-to-date during a period of fast-paced changes. They used their existing virtual agent implementations both to analyse customer needs and deliver 24/7 support for better customer service.
  • Virtual Agents in 2020: Usage Spikes and the Banking Sector – Starting in late February and early March, Creative Virtual saw a spike in virtual agent traffic that surpassed anything the company had seen in over 16 years of being in the industry. By the end of the first week in July, those virtual agents had already recorded about 75% of the total transactions completed the previous year. While some sectors saw a return to more normal usage after the initial spike, the Banking sector continued to see increased usage compared with the first two months of 2020.
  • A New Ebook and a Conversational AI Success Story During Times of Pandemic – In August, AI Time Journal published a new ebook, Conversational AI Trends 2020, exploring the rapid advances in conversational AI technologies and the new applications and use cases emerging across industries. The ebook also covered several conversational AI success stories, including one telling how an international financial services group’s virtual agent rose to the challenges of customer support during the pandemic.
  • The Chatbot & Virtual Agent Experts Have Spoken: Experience Matters – If you are considering virtual agent or chatbot options and providers, then you will benefit from the expertise of this group of industry insiders. Together they offer 83 years of experience in a field that has only been commercially viable for about two decades. Learn about the six areas of experience that are necessary for the success of a conversational self-help tool.
  • APAC Contact Centres Embracing AI and Virtual Agent Technologies – There has been a shift in the APAC region as an increasing number of organisations look to use AI and virtual agents within the human customer service area of their CX strategies to support contact centre agents, relationship managers and other employees. Contact centres need to be prepared for the impact of new technologies on their operations, structure and workload.
  • Hindsight May be 20/20 But CX Needs a 20/20 Vision – Customers are expecting more from the companies they give their business to, and that includes effective service across touchpoints. Just as each company is unique, so should be their chatbot, virtual agent and live chat strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all approach that guarantees success.
  • A Successful Self-Service Strategy Requires Looking at the Bigger Picture – While companies needing to implement a new self-service solution or upgrade an existing one are feeling a sense of urgency, they still need to be thoughtful about the technology they select and how it is implemented. Having a successful self-service strategy requires looking at the bigger picture of your overall customer service and experience to avoid frustrating customers with a disjointed, unhelpful experience.
  • Tips for Deploying AI Chatbots & Virtual Agents – Chatbots, smart help, virtual assistants, virtual agents, conversational AI – there are lots of names for this automated, self-service technology being used today. Whatever you call it, the objective for including it as part of your customer service strategy is to deliver quick, easy access to information. Selecting and deploying the right technology for your company is key to achieving success.
  • Out with the Old and in with AI for a Better Contact Centre – A ContactBabel customer service survey found business leaders agreed that AI will be important to the future of the contact centre. While long-established customer communication channels haven’t disappeared, companies need to look to new technologies to help them support those channels in a better and more cost-effective way.