Posts

For a Better CX, Get Out of Your Customer’s Way

By Björn Gülsdorff, Chief Business Development Officer

It is Customer Service Week, time to give customer service and customer experience (CX) some thought. Wait a minute – even more thought? Isn’t it all about CX these days?

It is, albeit lip service most of it. Also, we know we have gone too far when you are being asked about your “shopping experience” in a supermarket. Or, as happened to me the other day, how to improve my airport experience. Seriously? Well, get the “airport experience” out of the way. Whatever you plan, the money is better spent on quicker security and boarding, minimizing my time at the airport.

I admit I am ranting a bit based on some recent unpleasant travel “experiences”, but there is a relation with CX. It was all well when it meant to put yourself in the shoes of the customer and be less product or project centric. But we lost it at some point when we still said ‘experience’ but started thinking ‘sensation’.

Instead, if you want to deliver good CX, get out of the way! Do not get between the customers and their goals. Integrate your various tools seamlessly. Don’t just be multi-channel (or omnichannel), go beyond channels and blend the different touchpoints as you blend different information sources.

Provide a one-stop shop for information and self-service, powered by natural language conversations. Make it as easy as possible for the customer – great CX is when they don’t notice.

My current travels have taken me to GITEX Technology Week with our partner ixtel. GITEX is the biggest tech show in the Middle East and has all the global players plus a lot of “local” ones which just happen to serve millions of people. They all have some cool stuff in the pipeline. All of which need NLP (natural language processing) power, of course. 😉

Scanning Twitter for some inspiration on where to look next I came across https://t.co/8zmViTW5r9, which I liked a lot and which is definitely far on the sensational side. So, I considered deleting my half-finished blog post. But then I did not, because all of this is certainly cool, but it will only be a great experience if it helps me do what I want. When it helps me to get my shopping done, not when it interferes with it. So, while I cherish all the nice visuals, I cling to my claim: A great experience is when it it easy, seamless and smooth.

Check out our annual Customer Service Week blog post roundup for some trends, tips and statistics to help you deliver an easy, seamless experience for your customers.

Meeting Customer Service Expectations in India

By Anand Gupta, Knowledgebase Author

India is one of the fastest growing economies of the world but is yet to hit the peak.  Climbing up the ladder of success, and boosting the economy, has been aided by several technologies. They helped in cutting down costs and incorporating quality. Now, as the competition is increasing, maintaining economic growth is a huge challenge. Customers are spending their money with companies that can save their time and provide accurate information.

Yet major Indian companies and organisations are falling short on customer satisfaction. Most of them are shockingly unaware of it. While basking in the glory of success, they tend to think everything is alright. This is where they lose the connection with people.

Small companies in India are unable to afford call centres for resolution of customer issues. A contact centre requires a huge budget and infrastructure in place. Yet, having a call centre isn’t always the best way to serve customers. Connecting to a call centre agent consumes customers’ time. One needs to go through the grind and wait until the agent receives and answers your query. It may take a while and causes people to lose interest in buying from the company.

In India, people are often confused when it comes to contacting product manufacturers. There’s not much information available to them sometimes as to how to get the information and support they need.

Luckily there are solutions available to Indian companies to build better connections with customers. Chatbot technology is easily the most compatible, affordable, and easy to use solution. It is hassle-free, connects 24/7 from any place with just an Internet connection, and systematically answers the most FAQs without any human intervention.

India is an explicitly diverse nation housing multiple languages and dialects being spoken in distinct states. Not every company is capable of hiring a bunch of people at call centres to meet the needs of its customers’ languages. But a chatbot can accommodate the regional languages. It can process the queries in them and revert to the client in the same.

Here in India, Creative Virtual has successfully executed the technique in two states: Rajasthan and Maharashtra. We created our NLP (natural language processing) in the local languages, including Rajasthani, Marwari, Hindi (along with English) for Rajasthan (for the government project Bhmashah), and Marathi for Maharasthra (PCMC, government). It was a unique exercise that became pathbreaking in the industry with others looking to emulate. Now, people from remote areas don’t need to walk down to a government office. They can check the government schemes on mobiles phones and download e-cards provided to them for availing facilities.

As we celebrate Customer Service Week, here are some expectations of customers that companies in India need to keep in mind to better serve their customers:

  • Options to connect with a company without a long wait
  • Accessibility from anywhere
  • Proper and deep information of a company’s product or service
  • Resolution of their problem in their local language
  • Responsive user experience
  • Information readily available and help that is customary and free
  • Ability to connect with a human helper if they have a complex issue that can’t be resolved through self-service

Research is key for companies in India as it is a country of over a billion people with different needs. They must get to know their customers so they can build connections. Companies must be artisanal in their approach to customer service which includes flexibility when catering to a varied customer base. Requests and suggestions made by customers must be respected and worked upon. Word of mouth is key in success in the Indian market.

 

The Ever-Changing World of Customer Service Chatbot Creation

By Jeff Clifford, Project/Account Manager

I started building virtual agents and chatbots for customer service more than 12 years ago. A lot has certainly changed in that time. I talked about some of the changes in my Meet the Team interview a couple of years ago, but the industry has continued to evolve since then.

In my experience, there has been a major shift in customer expectations since 2015/2016 in the customer service chatbot industry. Pre-2014, most companies were looking to deploy chatbots that were pretty straight forward and consisted largely of FAQs, scripted conversation flows, keywords and a flat or standard UI. Some forward-thinking organisations were exceptions to that, and Creative Virtual worked with companies that took their solutions to the next level with innovative functionality like account integration to give personalised answers to logged in users.

Now, as we approach the end of 2019, chatbots and virtual agents are increasingly becoming the face of company help centres. Simple chatbot implementations are no longer enough to meet customer expectations. Customers also now expect self-service on new channels, such as Facebook Messenger and Amazon Alexa, that weren’t popular for customer service even a few years ago. The look of chatbots has also changed, with many companies now embedding their virtual agent into their own UI to give a cleaner, streamlined look and experience.

While previously personalised self-service was a major differentiator, now customers expect an experience tailored for them. Chatbots designed for enterprises have the features, functionality and integration options to deliver that. For example, chatbots are able to detect a customer’s language and country via integration with their user profile. This means the chatbot can display the user’s preferred language and can also return location-specific responses, such as a correct payment cut-off time that varies by country or time zone. Chatbots can also provide customised responses depending on where it was launched from, such as a section of your website about a particular product or service.

The goal of a seamless, omnichannel experience is becoming standard practice in organisations. Chatbots that can be deployed across channels are helping companies move away from a siloed approach to their customer service. When backed by the right orchestration platform, a single knowledgebase can be used across all channels while still delivering a specific answer based on the user’s device (such as a shorter answer on a mobile). A tight integration with live chat allows the virtual agent to pass a user over to a live agent seamlessly in the same panel while in the background passing over a full history of the conversation.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes in the chatbot industry is the use of more artificial intelligence (AI), and companies now want a chatbot that has AI capabilities. A good chatbot technology brings together different methods including semantic algorithms, deep learning, neural networks and machine learning in a way that still gives companies control. Chatbots are able to learn customer behaviours based on how users interact it with it and what suggested questions they are selecting in order to continuously improve. However, this shouldn’t be a black box. To be successful in a customer service role, the chatbot needs to have some level of human intervention and sign-off on content to keep information accurate and compliant.

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of simple chatbots out there today that leave customers annoyed and with a bad impression of the technology. The team at Creative Virtual are on a mission to help save as many of these chatbots as we can by transforming them into tools that meet customer expectations and are worthy of being the face of the company’s help centre.

The chatbot and virtual agent industry is an exciting space to be in, and I love being able to help my clients implement the newest developments in their virtual agent projects. At Creative Virtual, we’re always pushing the boundaries of what the industry thinks is possible and consistently striving to bring new innovations to the table. It gives me a real feeling of pride to see long-standing chatbot implementations evolve along with these changes and continue to deliver the service that customers expect.