Friday, May 11, 2012

Customer Feedback Fridays: Do You Really KNOW Your Customer?

I know this topic comes up frequently, especially in self-service scenarios. Getting closer to the customer fuels the need for tools like Virtual Agents (Virtual Assistants), Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software, surveys, call recording, and the list continues.

At Technology Services World this past week, during the Cisco/noHold case study, Tarik Mahmoud shared a plethera of valuable insight, and one of the key takeaways was: Knowing your customer. When building your own self-service strategy, not only do you need the tools for success, but you need to know who your customers are and how they prefer to interact with your company.

During a meeting at noHold yesterday, customer teams discussed Virtual Agent performance and shared lessons learned in implementing, maintaining, and positioning. When launching a Virtual Agent, noHold (and its customers) have the ability to perform tests to see how the audience responds. For example: When positioning a Virtual Agent for a PC manufacturer, one type of user is better served with the ability to chat with the Virtual Agent, as well as a list of hot topics, along with a menu of options. To some, the chat window may look too busy, but to this particular customer's audience, it's the best experience for them and the metrics are proof.

Another example: A Virtual Agent with an avatar or cartoon image tends to receive more verbose questions, and conversational aspects like "hi" and "thank you" from the end user. Users interacting with a 'faceless' Virtual Agent are more inclined to type key words, or browse to a solution.

So what's the best self-service experience, you ask? There's not one answer. Here's what Cisco thinks:

“Channel selection, or the rational behind it, all depend on the customers and which tool they would
like to use to get support from. After time, customers will always use the tool that brings the most value to them, and the most enjoyable experience.” - Tarik Mahmoud, Cisco

Happy Friday!