“Your call may be recorded for training and quality purposes.”
We’ve all heard this before. Companies use call center recordings for training and compliance purposes. But imagine a solution that uses technology, data and analytics in real-time to automatically match customers to like-minded customer service representatives. Software that uses algorithms to analyze customer speech for tone, tempo, and syntax to identify the customer’s personality type and behavioral preferences.
These days, Amazon is practically a household name. Of course, they haven’t always been at the top of the game. In fact, it took a lot of hard work and customer care to get to where they are now. Among companies today, Amazon is arguably the leader in continuously raising the bar. In 2013, the company released its Mayday button for the Kindle Fire HDX tablet. The single-click support solution allows tablet owners to access an Amazon customer service representative via webcam. Within fifteen seconds, an Amazon representative shows up on-screen to solve problems in a responsive fashion with a simple touch of a button.
It seems like a lot of people talk about data. It’s important to note that data plays a big role in today’s world. There is so much that can be learned from data, assuming you know where to look and how to analyze it. The good news is that even if you don’t know how to do these things, there are plenty of individuals out there who can–and who are for hire. That being said, most brands aren’t really focused on the data. Instead they’re focused on their customers–the very people they want to service.
Verizon personalizes its service through a desktop solution called Rep Guidance. The system shows reps detailed customer information such as how much data they use, what shows they watch and which TV equipment they use the most. Rep Guidance allows call center representatives to foster more intelligent, better-connected conversations with customers on one single screen.
Customer expectations are binary. You either exceed them, or you fall short. Similarly, if you’re trying to keep up with increasing consumer expectations, you’re fighting an uphill battle.
Amazon, no longer a small online bookstore by any measure, knows this. Their objective isn’t to meet expectations. Rather, their objective is to exceed customer expectations such that customer expectations increase by way of the service they provide. Scot Wingo, Co-Founder of Channel Advisor, calls this increasing customer expectation the “Amazon Effect.
The unprecedented expansion of markets into an online space has changed up the customer journey. That means that is has never been more important to connect with your potential customers on their terms– but for your sake, it should be done in a way that capitalizes on their established behaviors. Sound complicated? It’s not in today’s tech savvy world.
Whatever your industry, excellent customer service is an essential element in gaining customers. You also need great customer service to retain those customers and improve your brand’s positioning in your industry. It’s no longer enough to just ensure that our staff members are well trained in technology, data, and general analytics. To be effective, your customer service must anticipate your customer’s needs and ultimately create an experience that is as valuable to them as the product or service you’re offering to them. It’s all part of what ensures a seamless customer journey.
This is the fifth blogpost in a nine post series (originally published by IBM) focused on the intersection of customer experience and technology, data and analytics. This post covers the Second R of responsiveness and the importance of reducing waiting.
Someone once said we spend 10% of our lives waiting. We’re certain it’s true because we once read it on the Internet. In all seriousness, waiting is a fact of life. It’s an irritating and annoying fact of being a customer. One of the most impactful ways companies are using technology is to help their customers wait less or, when waiting can’t be avoided, help the time pass more quickly.
Case Study: Applebee’s
Many companies are embracing the self-service trend. Julia Stewart, CEO of Applebee’s, says, “Customers have been telling us for some time—even myself … I don’t like to wait for the check. That was the first sort of pain point we heard of, and we had this unique opportunity with technology to make a real difference.”
Based on a successful pilot, Applebees bought 100,000 tablets for its restaurant tables. The results show 70% of tables using the tablets. Additionally, appetizer orders increased by 20% and dessert orders by 30%. Tables turned quicker and the kids can play games on the tablet while waiting for their food. This is a win-win scenario as customers are leaving faster, more satisfied and with a higher check total, which the restaurant chain profits from.
Looking to recent survey numbers, these results should come as no surprise. “Almost a quarter of all millennials use self-service kiosks to avoid any sort of interaction with cashiers,” according to Retale president Pat Dermody.
Case Study: First Tennessee Bank
Founded in 1864 and headquartered in Memphis, First Tennessee Bank (FTB) is a leading financial services company. Serving more than 460,000 households across the State, the bank offers a range of retail banking services including checking accounts, mortgages and insurance.
To achieve its goal of doubling annual sales of online accounts by 2019, FTB needed to reduce waiting and give customers a smoother journey through the account sign-up process. FTB implemented IBM Digital Analytics to capture, monitor and analyze real-world customer behavior on its website and mobile app, and identify opportunities for improving the user experience. More user-friendly online and mobile journeys drive more customers to complete the account sign-up process. Ongoing monitoring helps to continuously assess and improve the user experience.
Takeaway: The lesson is clear. Any investment that reduces the wait time will equal happier customers who will ultimately spend more and return time and time again. Don’t fall into the trap of the way you’ve always done things. While new technologies can cause growing pains, customers’ expectations are always increasing and you must use every tool in your arsenal to get ahead of the curve.
Today’s Lagniappe (a little something extra thrown in for good measure) – According to Tom Petty, the waiting is the hardest part:
The rate of innovation is ever increasing. What would seem like a giant leap fifty years ago appears more like a small step today. Second, these innovations are changing the average consumer. Going from the world where connected technology was mostly a dream to such ubiquity where more humans have mobile phones than access to working toilets is nothing short of impressive.
This is the final installment of amazing technological advances over the last sixty years. As you can see, our society (and the world) has come a very long way in just a short time. I, for one, am very excited to see what kind of tech advances will come to us down the road.
2004 – 19-year-old Mark Zuckerberg launches thefacebook.com in his dorm room as a Harvard sophomore.
2005 – YouTube is founded by former PayPal employees Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim. The idea was born at a dinner party in San Francisco the year before, inspired by two key events that year: Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl and a devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean.