Customers are demanding better service through more and more channels. And they have no patience for roadblocks on the customer journey. According to Forrester 34% give up or go to a competitor after an unsuccessful website experience. Those that do persist tend to switch to your most expensive contact channels – nearly half (49%) of those that couldn’t find information online either called or emailed the organisation concerned.
So you’ll either lose the sale or will add unnecessarily to your costs by providing a substandard customer experience. In today’s fiercely competitive market this puts your very business survival at risk. But with a growing number of channels to manage and customers that want to be able to switch seamlessly between them, how do you deliver a consistent, omnichannel experience to everyone?
Based on its work with 400 leading organisations including AirAsia, TUI, Dixons, Ageas and the NHS Business Services Authority, Eptica has created a six stage approach to create a seamless omnichannel customer experience:
1. Install a single omnichannel workflow that brings all interactions together and automatically routes them to the best agent or department to answer the query. This also delivers a single view of the customer and improves efficiency.
2. Create a seamless customer journey by providing the right information at key points on all channels (phone, web, email, chat, social and mobile) to help move browsers to buyers. Make it simple for customers to move channels without having to repeat their query or re-enter information.
3. Deploy a centralised multichannel knowledgebase to deliver fast, accurate and consistent answers on every channel. Sharing knowledge from a single source not only improves the experience for customers, but increases efficiency and reduces management time and cost.
4. Increase adoption of Self-service by deploying it on your website, via mobile apps and on social media sites such as Facebook. By helping customers find answers to their own questions they don’t need to switch to other channels – reducing inbound emails by half and calls by 25% at least.
5. Analyse customer interactions across every channel. Ensure you track and trace the visibility of every interaction and measure agent performance in real time. Use technologies such as sentiment analysis to understand what your customers think of you without forcing them to fill in surveys – and use this information to improve your products and services.
6. Listen and respond to social media enquiries. As well as monitoring and replying quickly to relevant messages on Twitter and Facebook use sentiment analysis to gain a real time understanding of customer mood and how they view your brand.
To give more insight on how to deliver omnichannel success Eptica is running a webinar on 16th April 2013 at 9.30am BST. Aimed at managers in every industry you can register for the free event here.
Successful organisations have long realised that delivering the best customer experience has a direct impact on their profits. Happier customers remain loyal, buy more and tell their friends about the good experience they’ve had. Upset customers move to your competitors and use social media to tell the world about the poor experience they’ve had to endure.
This is backed up by research – Forrester believes that a ten point increase in a company’s customer service score can translate into an extra $1 billion of additional sales. But while most companies understand the importance of the customer experience, delivering it well can be much more complex and difficult. Customers have increasingly high expectations and want the same level of excellent service across every channel and device, time after time.
To help businesses meet this need, accelerate online sales and turn customer service into a revenue generator Eptica has just launched its Multichannel Customer Interaction Suite 8.2.
Eptica’s unified solution for multichannel customer service gives customers access to brands from multiple touch points: web, email, chat, mobile, phone and social media. Acquiring Lingway in November 2012 has enabled Eptica to strengthen its suite with one of the most powerful multilingual semantic analysis engines on the market, delivering functionality that helps increase sales and improve the customer experience.
Eptica version 8.2 has been made more powerful in four key areas:
1 Knowledge based proactive web chat
By integrating Eptica’s proactive web chat solution with the centralised Eptica knowledgebase, the efficiency of every chat agent is improved and conversion rates increased by up to 10x. Completely customisable rules of engagement allow chat sessions to be triggered by customer events while enhanced co-browsing enables agents to remove road blocks on the customer journey, increasing successful online form submission by up to 25%.
2 Customer sentiment analysis
Companies can now analyse the tone of every customer interaction, whether on social media, email, forms, surveys, or digitised letters and faxes, delivering vital insight into customer sentiment about product and brand. This can then be used to identify emerging issues, service problems and root causes in order to improve the customer experience, and sales.
3 Emotion-based routing
All incoming digital enquiries are automatically routed based on the content and tone of the customer’s question. For example, difficult or complicated enquiries can be directed to a specialist team, urgent enquiries prioritised and happy customers automatically offered the chance to complete a feedback survey.
4 Enhanced Web Self-service for web, mobile and social media
Customers want access to consistent answers through every channel and on every device. Eptica’s enhanced Web Self-service provides unlimited flexibility and leverages responsive design to create the best customer experience across the web, social media, iPhone, iPad, Android and Smart TV channels. Self-service options can now be quickly added to any point on a website, helping customers find the answers they need to complete their purchase. Customer service answers can also be automatically displayed through existing product search boxes, and Self-service widgets can display context sensitive help related to the product or service the customer is researching or buying.
Companies realise they need to deliver the right customer experience if they are increase revenues and survive in increasingly competitive markets. With the new features in the Eptica Multichannel Customer Interaction Suite, customers can access the right information they need to complete the customer journey, whatever their channel or device, boosting revenues and ensuring that service excellent improves the bottom line.
Eptica and NHS Business Services Authority (NHS BSA), have won the Most Effective Use of Self Service category at the prestigious 2012 Customer Contact Association (CCA) Excellence Awards. NHS BSA has seen training time for new agents drop by 30% and first year savings of £121,000 since its Eptica-powered self-service knowledge management technology project called Sherlock went live.
Sherlock has enabled NHS BSA to transform telephone customer service. It ensures that 230 agents can access accurate, up to date information in order to deliver fast, consistent answers to the 3 million calls it receives every year.
The benefits already delivered by Sherlock have exceeded project expectations. As well as lowering training time the number of staff deployed on the service desk has been reduced by a third. In a recent survey 72% of agents said that Sherlock had made their jobs easier and 62% believed it had added to the customer experience. Sherlock is receiving nearly 40,000 queries every month from agents and the project is predicted to save £121,000 in its first year of operation, rising to £162,000 per annum in the future.
The NHS BSA is responsible for a wide range of healthcare-related administration services. These include managing the NHS Pension Scheme in England and Wales, which has over 2 million members, administering the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme in the UK, processing and making payments to dentists and pharmacists and managing the NHS Student Bursary scheme.
“Winning this prestigious CCA award is demonstration of the benefits that self service is delivering to every one of the 3 million calls NHS BSA receives every year,” said David Roberts, Shared Services Manager, NHS Business Services Authority. “Working with Eptica has transformed how we provide customer service, making it simple for our 230 agents to find information and answer telephone queries across the diverse range of services we deliver. Our agents love Sherlock and it is making a major difference in how we operate, enabling us to provide a superior, efficient, customer experience to telephone callers.”
The awards were announced at the CCA Gala Dinner on 7 November 2012, part of the annual CCA Convention. NHS BSA was also shortlisted for three further awards for customer service excellence. In 2011, Eptica and Ageas Insurance Services won the Best Technology Partnership category at the CCA Awards. In the same week NHS BSA and Eptica were runners up at the North East Contact Centre Awards in the Innovative Use of Technology category, with NHS BSA winning best North East Contact Centre, for the second successive year.
“Providing the highest levels of customer service is crucial for every organisation, whatever sector they operate in,” said Dee Roche, VP, Global Marketing, Eptica. “This latest recognition for NHS BSA’s Sherlock knowledge management project demonstrates how the organisation is leading the public sector. As the CCA award shows, Sherlock is making self service elementary for NHS BSA.”
The CCA is a membership body of 900 organisations across the UK with over 5000 senior customer services practitioners. Its Excellence Awards programme is designed to recognise achievements of individuals and organisations committed to delivering outstanding customer service. The Excellence Awards judging panel includes professionals from all sectors and senior executives with wide-ranging experience in customer contact and customer service.
Solving customer problems and delivering the highest levels of service is seen as central to successful businesses. But a recent musing from DeWitt Clinton of Google raised the question – does service scale when you have billions of users across the globe?
Clinton posted this thought:
“If you have a billion users, and a mere 0.1% of them have an issue that requires support on a given day (an average of one support issue per person every three years), and each issue takes 10 minutes on average for a human to personally resolve, then you’d spend 19 person-years handling support issues every day.
If each support person works an eight-hour shift each day then you’d need 20,833 support people on permanent staff just to keep up.”
And he concluded: “That, folks, is internet scale.”
Essentially Google has a two pronged approach to customer service. Big customers (such as major retailers or agencies spending millions on AdWords) get access to a real account representative. However for normal users (Clinton’s billion), many of whom aren’t paying anything for their Google products, the company delivers customer service through automated self-service systems, content (such as videos) posted online and by creating forums where customers can help each other.
As Google has evolved, there are two problems with this. Firstly, there’s now a dizzying array of Google products (from browsers to Google Docs and the Android operating system) that are more complex than a simple search engine and require much more hands on service. People rely on them to run their lives/businesses so any problems have potentially calamitous effects. Secondly, by essentially outsourcing a lot of customer service to your community you do get internet scale, but risk losing control of the relationship with your customers. This makes it more difficult to sell more services and positions the company as faceless rather than friendly.
So what can Google do? Clearly creating a customer contact centre with space for over 20,000 people is a non-starter. But given the negative comments that greeted Clinton’s post (and wider complaints, often raised on social media) customers expect better from the company.
In our experience the answer comes back to providing knowledge to customers across all the channels and places they might be looking for it. A centralised knowledgebase that is available via web self-service, social media and customer forums will deliver consistent help to customers in the format they are looking for. And by linking self-service to customer forums and social media Google can bring in answers from the community but through a consistent, easy to use interface. Incoming questions can be analysed to find gaps in the knowledgebase or to spot customer trends and new answers can be easily disseminated across the globe. Obviously this is a major undertaking, but as Forrester analyst Harley Manning points out delivered professionally low cost self-service doesn’t have to mean low quality. Essentially a focus on multichannel knowledge provides a chance for Google to create a human face for service on an internet scale, benefiting users without significantly increasing costs.
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