1)  AI Can Be Used to Predict Customer Intent:-

Your customers may contact you for a multitude of reasons. Some of these reasons are fairly straightforward, others are intricate, yet, rarely are they entirely novel.

With the immense data that you are collecting with every recorded phone call, chat interaction and email, you have a strategic asset that can be used to train machine learning models to understand customer intent within conversations.

Once you understand true customer motivations, you can then use AI to optimise interactions through:

  • Smarter routing of your customers
  • Presenting potential up-sell and cross-sell suggestions for advisors during customer conversation

Flagging interactions for fraud and compliance risk

2) AI Can Help You to Track Customer Effort:-

Customer effort is one of the leading indicators of loyalty. Analysing customer effort can guide companies in identifying emerging issues before they explode into major issues.

Traditionally, effort has been quantified through structured questions on a survey. However, AI and machine learning techniques, combined with text analytics, can aid in evaluating the level of effort expressed in any piece of unstructured customer feedback.

AI can do this through interpreting word choice and sentence structure, as you can quickly understand which aspects of the customer experience cause friction in any feedback source – not just in surveys.

3) AI Is Best Implemented With the Support of the Entire Team:-

Before you deploy AI, it is worth considering that one of the biggest risk factors in any IT implementation, system upgrade or system change are the human users of that system.

By failing to communicate in an open, honest, transparent way how this technology is going to benefit them, you will meet resistance.

If you simply say, we are rolling out this new robotic-led approach on Monday, your employees will inevitably be negative towards the technology and may even actively sabotage it.

Instead, you need to get people involved in the process. Ensure they can test out the technology in a safe environment and make sure they are comfortable with it, before you even start rolling the technology out.

4) AI Increases in Value With Good Knowledge Management:-

Any AI application will only ever be a good as the knowledge at its disposal. You need to ensure that when a question is answered in the contact centre, that knowledge is captured and delivered into the knowledge management system (KMS), so that customers, bots and advisors can feed off it.

After all, how can AI be used to make decisions when it does not actually know anything? It can learn but it needs relevant data to do that.

This is why it is so important to have processes and procedures in place that enable you to feed accurate data and intelligence into the KMS.

Many businesses are too reliant on their employees as a source of knowledge and therefore run the risk that if people leave the business, they take the knowledge and understanding that they have gained with them.

5) AI Is Driven by Customer and Employee Data:-

Any strategy that uses AI and machine learning should be considered within a broader customer experience AI strategy that considers how data will be leveraged across both the customer and employee journeys.

There are many opportunities to apply AI and machine learning across the customer engagement process.

For example, knowing the right moment to proactively engage with customers online, routing to the best agent based on the desired business outcome and assisting them to accurately handle enquiries – AI and machine learning can help drive all of that.

However, AI applies to more than just customer journeys. It can also help identify why specific agents are better than others at certain contact or customer types, increase the speed and accuracy of workforce planning and scheduling and automate task completion post-contact.

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CX champions often face challenges if they start new initiatives around customer services. It often isn’t as easy to see the value of customer experience as it is to see the ROI of other investments. However, customer experience is incredibly valuable. Executives often won’t invest in customer experience without “proof,” even if the writing is on the wall. Here is actual proof you can share with your teams. Without a customer focus, companies simply won’t be able to survive. We are living in a time where we face the commodity trap. Too many of our products and services are the same. To stand out in a sea of sameness, CX is the only way to do that. These statistics prove the value of customer experience and show why all companies need to get on board.

Companies with a customer experience mindset drive revenue 4-8% higher than the rest of their industries.

Companies that lead in customer experience outperform laggards by nearly 80%.

84% of companies that work to improve their customer experience report an increase in their revenue.

73% of companies with above-average customer experience perform better financially than their competitors.

96% of customers say customer service is important in their choice of loyalty to a brand.

83% of companies that believe it’s important to make customers happy also experience growing revenue.

Brands with superior customer experience bring in 5.7 times more revenue than competitors that lag in customer experience.

73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties.

Customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that don’t focus on customers.

Loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase again and four times more likely to refer a friend to the company.

Companies with initiatives to improve their customer experience see employee engagement increase by 20% on average.

81% of companies view customer experience as a competitive differentiator.

68% of customers say the service representative is key to a positive service experience.

The top reason customers switch brands is because they feel unappreciated.

64% of companies with a customer-focused CEO believe they are more profitable than their competitors.

75% of customer experience management executives gave customer experience a top score for being incredibly important to business.

Companies that use tools like customer journey maps reduce their cost of service by 15-20%.

Offering a high-quality customer experience can lower the cost of serving customers by up to 33%.

71% of the companies say the cloud has influenced the customer experience.

Customers are likely to spend 140% more after a positive experience than customers who report negative experiences.

2% increase in customer retention is the same to profits as cutting costs by 10%.

Data Source- Forbes

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Customers are the backbone to any business. Without them, there will be no reason to continue trading. Even more importantly, there will be no profit. But, when you acquire customer data regularly, it helps you understand what your customers need most.

Gathering customer data is notoriously challenging. Businesses now need to be extremely careful with how they acquire data, how they store it, and what they do with it. A business needs to be transparent during every step of the process.

Let’s explore the questions a business should ask to itself and its customer when gathering data.

How will you acquire data?

How a business acquires data is highly significant. Businesses are using an array of diversified sources to acquire and process customer data. You can collect customer data by:

  • Directly asking the customer
  • By appending other sources of customer data
  • By indirectly tracking customers

The most obvious places to pull data is from consumer activity on a business’ website. Location-based advertising is a more interesting method, however, as it utilizes an internet-connected device’s IP address so that it can build a data profile. Through this data profile, a company can use hyper-relevant advertising methods.

How will you protect the data?

Another question a business must ask itself when gathering customer data is: how will I protect the data?

It is of utmost importance that every piece of customer data is encrypted and stored securely. Data theft is a real threat to every business. Should it happen to your business, it could potentially close the doors on your company. Therefore, you need to ensure every piece of sensitive data is safeguarded.

However, it’s crucial to remember that safeguarding customer data starts in your office. Studies report that employees are one of the biggest threats to data breaches. Every employee needs to be well versed in the best practices of creating a strong password and ensuring they don’t give permission to view sensitive data to anyone who shouldn’t have access.

What data do you need to make the right decisions for your business?

This question will form the basis of your data collection. From gathering names, location and age to more personal information such as income status and lifestyle preferences, this data will enable a business to know who they are catering to. It will allow a business to know who they want to be targeting if they aren’t doing so already. Think about the following to understand what data to collect:

  • Name, age and family status: Single, married, widowed, divorced, and so on
  • Location
  • Lifestyle: Own a house, living situation, income status
  • Education status: High school, university graduate
  • Occupation status: Unemployed, in work, retired

Specific occupation: marketing, retail, IT, engineering, etc.

Why do you need to gather data?

A highly important question to consider; why are you gathering this data?

Is it something which will help you create tailored marketing campaigns? Will it show you which demographics respond most to your products? Is it for feedback on your current products and services? By answering this question, you will be able to gather the correct data.

However, this question will also enable you to know what benefit customer data will bring your business.

Above all, the data should paint a clear, defined picture of your customers. This information will be invaluable for the business as a whole moving forward, from marketing to product development.

Gathering customer data is a challenge. Not only do you need to know what data to collect, and how, but you also need to protect and safeguard every piece of data. Only by doing so can you ensure customers continue to trust your business with their data.

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• It costs up to 25X more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one.
• Improving customer retention by just 5% can send profits soaring up to 95%.
• Loyal customers are 5X more likely to repurchase, 4x as likely to refer and 7x as likely to try a new offering.

With figures like these, it’s no surprise customer retention is a primary business objective, and the stakes are extremely high. Two-thirds of customers are willing to switch brands over a poor customer experience.

It’s no wonder, then, that customer experience is a top strategic priority for driving growth in 2020. The problem is, most companies are ill-prepared to execute on that strategy. While some 87% of senior business leaders say CX is a top growth engine, only one in three feel prepared to address it.

What’s holding them back? Poor data. Customer feedback is notoriously difficult to collect, pinpoint, and track, which makes it difficult to accurately measure customer sentiment, understand issues, and make corrections to drive appreciable improvement.
So, what’s the solution? It’s certainly not burdening customers with more of the same lengthy, generic surveys. If the data companies are producing now isn’t working to reduce churn, the solution isn’t more data–it’s better data with more insights in less time. Here’s how to get it:

  • Make it quick.

    Customers are busy. If they feel it’s going to take too much effort to provide feedback, they simply won’t. Keep your feedback requests short and sweet: a quick 1-5 overall experience rating and a few easy-to-choose attributes will provide the specifics you need without burdening your customers with a lengthy survey.

  • Be immediate.

    Send feedback requests immediately after an interaction and over an immediate channel: mobile devices. By sending quick surveys via SMS as soon customers leave your store or complete a transaction, the experience will be fresh in their minds, resulting in higher response rates and more accurate feedback.

  • Tie experiences to specific employees.

    Give your customers the opportunity to name the specific employee they dealt with—or better yet, include that information in your request for feedback, so the customer can rate and describe the specific person who helped them. By tying the customer experience to the specific employee, you will get measurable, actionable data on each customer-facing employee. By connecting this to internal talent management systems and performance reviews, you can also set goals to improve CX at the individual employee level.

  • Identify employees who impress customers.

    By capturing employee-specific customer experiences, you can clearly identify who interfaces well with customers and who needs training. Without this data, you’re operating on the assumption that no news is good news; i.e., no customer complaints means an employee interacts well with customers. This leaves you in the dark about problematic patterns until they manifest as major complaints or lost business. By tracking CX performance with hard data for each employee, you can correct these patterns before they become full-blown problems and reinforce behaviors linked to higher customer ratings.

  • Reward performance.

    We hear about customer complaints all the time, but rarely do we hear about an employee doing a great job or going above and beyond to deliver superior service. CX isn’t just about how you correct problems– it’s also a function of how you encourage excellence. With an effective customer feedback program that ties CX to specific employees, outstanding performers can be formally recognized and rewarded for their impact.

  • Monitor trends vs. isolated incidents.

    When customers report a bad experience, it can be difficult to determine whether their experience was an isolated incident, or if they’re a particularly difficult customer, or if their experience is indicative of a larger problematic trend. By tracking customer feedback as measurable data, companies can get a clearer picture of what’s happening at the point of every employee/customer interaction. This keeps you from catastrophizing one-off experiences and helps you focus on consistent issues.

  • Intervene immediately.

    Customers can be quick to abandon your brand, so it’s crucial to respond to their issues immediately. However, most customer feedback platforms are cumbersome and slow which means the experience has long-since-passed by the time it shows up on your radar. By implementing immediate feedback solutions, companies can take swift action to intervene if a valuable customer relationship could be in jeopardy.

In an age where keyboard warriors can destroy a brand’s reputation with a single scathing review, and customers seem to be increasingly fickle, customer retention is both more challenging and more important than ever. Particularly in customer-facing industries like retail, hospitality and financial services, it’s imperative to gather actionable feedback to continuously improve upon the customer experience. By implementing a comprehensive people-centric feedback approach, companies can deliver the exceptional service that keeps customers coming back.

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Understanding the various touchpoints you have with your customers is key to delivering a memorable customer experience.

Once you’ve mapped out your touchpoints, it’s often helpful to group them into channels. That’s the focus of this blog post.

The most common channels

Websites: refers to customers visiting websites to gather information about a company. Can include both mobile and regular versions of the website.

Native Mobile App: refers to customers who download a company’s iOS or Andriod app, and feedback is gathered about their experience with it.

Contact Center: an important touchpoint where customers call for more information or assistance. Online chat is another part of modern contact centers.

In Location: refers to an actual in-person customer experience, such as a retail store, restaurant, or hotel.

Field Services: customers interact with a company in their home.

Mapping your touchpoints

When you look at all the touchpoints on your map, each of them will likely fall into one of these five channels.

No matter how your customer interacts with you, the ultimate goal is to have a consistent “omnichannel” experience.

When your in-location experience is different from your web experience, or when your web experience is different from the experience a customer has with your native mobile app, this inconsistent CX will create problems.

Customers might feel like the company cares about them after a positive field service experience, but if the contact center fails to provide the same level of experience, the customer will be disappointed.

Keep in mind that if you’re working with a premium brand, all channels will need to deliver an outstanding customer experience. If you’re working with a mid-tier, value-oriented brand, the goal may be to achieve a certain standard throughout each channel, such as professionalism or efficiency.

Gathering omnichannel feedback

If you want a consistent omnichannel experience, make sure you are listening to your customers in each channel! You can gather feedback from these five channels in various ways.

For example, you might ask about their most recent experience with a field services representative through an email survey. How satisfied were you with our technician’s most recent visit to your home? Why? Were there any problems? If so, please describe them.

Or you can gather feedback via methods that are channel specific.

For website feedback, pop-up surveys can ask the customer for feedback while they are on the website or after they leave.

When a customer uses a mobile app, a survey can be embedded into the app asking them to provide feedback.

An interactive voice response (IVR) survey or a computer-generated survey can be used after a customer interacts with a contact center—the system directs the customer to the survey when the call is complete.

We are also seeing more and more text surveys, or Short Message Surveys (SMS), these days as a substitute for email surveys.

The goal is to obtain feedback from the customer in whichever way they prefer to provide you with that feedback.

It will largely depend on the customer. If your primary customers are millennials, they might prefer a text message survey. If you’re working with baby boomers, they probably prefer completing a survey via email at a time that’s convenient for them.

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