Thursday, September 27, 2018

Use the Power of AI and your Best and Brightest Employees to Engage with your Customers

I am excited to share a guest blog post from noHold's very own Program Manager, Francesco Ventura.

Use the Power of AI and your Best and Brightest Employees to Engage with your Customers

Customer Engagement
Some see it as a trendy differentiator, others see it as a necessary business investment. Still others believe customer engagement is a way to deflect calls to your call center. In my view, it is a mix of all three and serves both businesses and consumers equally.

At its core, customer engagement opens the lines of communication between businesses and the folks who buy their products. The benefits are obvious:
  • Better brand management
  • Better understanding of customer needs
  • Better access to relevant support and customer service

Top Customer Engagement Tools
Social media, live chat, and traditional phone & email support are the most common customer engagement tools used today. Businesses are investing in these technologies because they want their customers to feel valued and they need ways to communicate with them.

But because these tools need human involvement from both customer and business, they are often costly alternatives to self-service. What's more, the tools listed above do not usually exist on their own - they are usually part of a wider customer engagement net that includes options to utilize each tool.

Virtual Assistants Provide Engagement Too
I don't just mean in the interactive and diagnostic way they interact with customers, but in their ability to act as the personal assistant to get customers where they want to go. We call it the concierge approach. The virtual assistant is positioned ahead of other options on your website, like chat or email. Customers begin interacting with it and the concierge will provide one of three outcomes:
  1. The customer will be guided to an answer immediately
  2. The customer will be asked to provide additional information which leads to an answer
  3. The customer will be guided to the most appropriate contact channel
Our experience has demonstrated that the concierge can answer about 80% of the questions that come in to other channels, like social, chat, and phone & email.

We realize however that there will always be a need for the human touch at some point. In the concierge scenario, that would come when the concierge doesn't have an answer, or when the best option is to transfer to a live agent (e.g., refund requests). And with noHold's APIs, we've been able to connect to a wide range of 3rd-party platforms: CRM, Chat, Social, and even the call center. This ability makes the transition seamless to the customer. Best of all, they need only one browser window open - no ping-ponging them from page to page, form to form, or queue to queue.

We believe the utilization of a concierge to handle those 80% of questions frees up your employees to perform better on the live contacts that do come in - less of a need to hurry the customer off the phone, more ability to deep dive into a problem, higher customer satisfaction, lower agent stress.

Also, the concierge is collecting and grouping user phrases in real time. Those data points represent actionable behavior metrics - areas where content may be needed, processes improved, feedback provided, or completely unknown issues are discovered. Indeed those grouped data points need to be reviewed and acted upon by humans. Imagine a team of highly knowledgeable customer engagement reps who get user input real time, in a secure platform environment.

The Action Plan
Create a virtual assistant based on your most common contact topics. Don't know what they are, read about EZintel and the ability to quickly gain insight into your customers' needs. Position your virtual assistant prominently on your website and other online channels. Review data collected by the virtual assistant and take action on it - create content, modify processes, listen to your customers. Empower your employees to make immediate changes in the virtual assistant platform.

If you want to learn more about the virtual assistant's role in customer engagement, please reach out.

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