Guest Post by Ashwini Dave, Acquire.io
According to McKinsey, 70% of a customer’s journey is based on how they feel the company is treating them. No wonder, up to 90% of Americans base their decision to transact with business according to the level of customer service offered it.
The fortune of your organization and the level of customer service are intrinsically related. However, many businesses relying on legacy customer support tools are finding it hard to keep up with customer demand.
According to HubSpot Research, 90% of customers expect an immediate response to their queries. When asked to define immediate, most customers gave businesses less than 10 minutes to respond to their questions. And, while customers are happy to pay more for better service, they don’t mind switching vendors if their expectations are not met. So, poor customer service will not only send off your customers to the competition but will also impact new customers as individuals are likely to share their experience of a brand with family and friends.
In short, evolving customer demands call for highly personalized customer service that is immediate, as well as accurate. Unfortunately, the traditional support tools don’t just make the cut. Research points out that the average email response time for customer service is over 12 hours. To top that, 62% of companies don’t even bother to respond to customer service emails. Of those that do, less than 3% send follow-up emails to customers to check whether they are satisfied with the response or not. On the contrary, switching to a modern customer support platform that offers services such as live chat for real-time support can reduce customer wait times drastically.
New Innovations in Customer Support Technology
With the rise of the ‘always connected’ omnichannel customer, there have been significant technology innovations in the field of customer service to keep up with customer demand. Modern customer service tools focus on personalization and real-time support to offer immediate and accurate assistance to customers.
Below we talk about the three most commonly known innovations in the field of customer service and how they can turn around your business for better:
Most customers expect the brands they interact with to be available 24/7. Besides, they prefer to communicate via chat as compared to phone or email. However, deploying customer service agents ‘round the clock’ is an expensive proposition. Fortunately, a chatbot can be where your service agents can’t, that is, offer seamless customer service even when your support agents are asleep.
Of course, we don’t mean to say that chatbots will replace humans in customer service. But chatbots like Acquire can be used to handle up to 80% of customer queries, reducing the workload of your human agents significantly. Besides, as the bots get more intelligent with use, they will become even more adept at handling queries, ensuring only the complicated concerns get passed on to humans for resolution.
Here are some benefits of adopting chatbots in your arsenal of customer service tools:
Faster Response Times
According to Accenture, “Chatbot-based customer support has the potential to be almost twice as fast as voice-based support over the telephone. And it will come at a lower cost.”
Chatbots not only provide a speedy response to queries but also kill the need for repetition. Even if the question is passed on to a human agent, it is accompanied by a transcript of the conversation, eliminating the need for repetition.
According to the 2018 State of Chatbots Report, 24-hour service is the most important benefit of chatbots. Also, chatbots don’t get tired or irritated, ensuring a constant level of service for your customers throughout the day.
One of the main benefits of automating your customer service with chatbots is lowered costs. Research indicates that chatbots will help businesses save over $8 billion annually by 2022. Bots achieve this by engaging multiple customers at a time and handling simple and straightforward queries without human intervention, enabling companies to save money in hiring and training several human customer service agents.
Pro-Active Customer Service
Use chatbots to engage your customers from the go! As soon as a visitor arrives on your site, your bot can send a message asking what they are looking for and provide them with the relevant information to save their time and offer a personalized experience. Bots can also keep your customers updated on their delivery times, share product alternatives, or keep them informed if a product that was out of stock is available now.
Better Customer Experience
According to a survey, customers depend upon a chatbot for the following reasons:
- Instant response to questions when faced with an urgent situation (37%)
- Detailed explanations (35%)
- As a means for getting connected with a human (34%)
With speed and accuracy being of utmost concern to customers, chatbots qualify as the perfect tool to elevate your customer experience by enabling real-time customer service, all through the day.
Live Chat Technology
Live chat technology is a vital tool for businesses who wish to serve their customers speedily. With live chat integrated on your site, you can interact with your customers in real-time, while they are browsing your site, to provide them immediate assistance that can influence their purchase decision to a large extent.
According to Forrester Research, “44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a web site can offer.” Besides, more than 30% of users expect to see a live chat option on every website. The positive effects of integrating live chat in your support system can also be seen on your company’s bottom-line as customers are 3X more likely to convert when they’ve used live chat.
But, is it possible to get even more out of living chat to improve your customer service?
The answer is, yes!
You can integrate live chat software with additional features such as screen-sharing and co-browsing to improve the experience of your customers and resolve issues efficiently.
For example, you may have seen a situation wherein an agent is trying to explain a technical feature to a customer on live chat, but the customer cannot understand what the agent is trying to say. Here, by enabling screen sharing with due permission, an agent can navigate the site for the customer, making it much simpler to give a demo on their screen. Screen sharing is also possible across multiple screens, leading to better collaboration.
Another example is the use of co-browsing technology with live chat to deliver real-time support in a safe and secure environment. Co-browsing is a tool that enables your support agents to interact with customers by using their web browsers. Using this method, an agent can easily guide customers through a tedious step or a complicated process by highlighting different points on a webpage through a shared browser. Agents can also offer users the option of interacting via messaging or switch to audio or video calls, according to their preference.
According to the data collected by Acquire, real-engagement using co-browsing between support agents and clients can improve first call resolution by 18% and decrease call handling time by 14%.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)
AI and ML have transformed various business processes, and customer service is the next field that is going to benefit immensely from the developments in these two fields.
According to PointSource, when AI is present, “half of (49 percent) consumers are already willing to shop more frequently, 34 percent will spend more money, and 38 percent will share their experiences with friends and family.”
Increased Level of Personalization
Personalization is a key area in which businesses will benefit from AI. According to the
Segment’s 2017 State of Personalisation Report, only a fifth of shoppers is satisfied with the level of personalization they currently receive. However, AI can help businesses deliver curated experiences to users by building customer-specific profiles based on past behavior, on-site interactions, demographics, etc. Once this is done, it is a matter of matching the right products or services with the right profiles, leading to better customer engagement through personalized suggestions.
You can find an example of such personalization in the audio and video recommendations thrown up by Spotify, YouTube, and Netflix that are based on your past interactions and online behavior.
Understanding Qualitative Data
Today, most businesses are present on multiple social media channels and are bombarded with thousands of comments regularly. Such remarks and queries hold vital information and feedback from clients that can be used by businesses to improve their product, as well as customer service. However, combing through such vast volumes of data is not possible without the help of AI in the form of sentiment analysis.
Yes, companies can now use text and sentiment analysis to transform unstructured qualitative feedback into actionable feedback within a short period. This is achieved by tagging comments according to specific keywords and categorizing them into positive, negative, or neutral categories. Besides, the analysis is carried out in real-time, helping an organization to keep a tab on the performance of their implemented solutions.
Providing Real-Time Assistance
We have already discussed the role of AI-enabled chatbots in delivering real-time customer support, 24/7. As ML-based algorithms power these chatbots, they learn with every new interaction and can apply the experience to future chats for improved outcomes.
However, the increasing use of AI in customer service does not mean that it is a substitute for human support. The role of intelligent technology is limited to facilitating the work for human agents. Chatbots are only capable of answering repetitive and straightforward queries and can be trained to transfer customers to human agents if there is a technical or complicated query that needs resolution. It is also pertinent to remember that we are dealing with humans, and machines cannot gauge emotional reactions accurately. Thus, complicated queries or long-unaddressed problems are better handled by human agents who can empathize with customers and make them feel better by driving an emotional conversation.
Seeking Feedback from Customers
Feedback is a gift that customers want to share freely, but are often hard-pressed for time to respond to your feedback requests on email. An AI-based messenger or chatbot can help in collecting feedback by asking customers for their comments on every step of their journey through a direct message that pops up in the corner of their screen.
All you must do is prepare a short survey that your chatbot can share at the end of a conversation or before a user leaves your site, and experience higher survey completion rates as compared to traditional modes like email.
As you can see, modern technology has the power to turn around your business by making your customer service process much more efficient and streamlined. Therefore, if you wish to stay relevant in a market where companies are competing on customer experience rather than price or quality, it is vital to invest in an advanced customer service platform that can scale with your business.
Ashwini Dave is passionate about Business, Entrepreneurship, E-commerce, and Digital Marketing. She is working with Acquire as a digital marketing expert. She is a free soul and adventurous scholar who spends her free time with herself, loved ones, music, and watching and playing sports. She is ocean addicted and on roads being a thrill-seeking traveler to get new experiences as she looks at life as our very own work of art.
Acquire was created out of a need for immediate customer feedback. Our founders struggled to find a way to get instant, on-screen assistance while purchasing designs on a printing website. They couldn’t get the support they needed so they bounced. Realizing how frequently this happens for all businesses in all sectors, they had an idea: “What if we could do something about it?” And so, they built Acquire.