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Customer Service

Take the first-ever customer service speed test

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By Freshworks

Freshworks analyzed 107 million support interactions and it emerged that speed is the most important factor to improve customer satisfaction. However, measuring the speed of your customer service is not easy; metrics like ‘First Response Time’ and ‘Average Handle Time’ don’t provide an accurate representation of speed.

We’ve identified 4 areas of customer service that affect speed: service availability, self-service, proactive service, agent productivity.

Take the Customer Service Speed Test and to find out which areas of your customer service operations might be carrying ‘dead-wait’.

Once you complete the speed test, use the #CutTheWait playbook’s 5-step approach to accelerate your customer service.

P.S. We’ll be hosting a fireside chat of experts on 18th May to discuss the need for speed in customer service. Save your spot!

Mobile Learnings for 2021 to Increase Customer Loyalty

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By Pinder Takhar​, Director of Marketing, mGage

2020 was a significant year for business messaging as we saw an upward trend in its usage. It quickly became an indispensable communication channel for brands to stay connected with their customers, keeping them engaged, informed and updated.

Along with an increase in two-way messaging, more businesses started to deploy mobile chat services and automation in line with consumer demands. It proved vital for enterprises to send key and relevant messages to their audience, enabling them to provide a better customer experience during the pandemic.

Taking our learnings from both business communications and consumer behaviours, we found that there were three significant areas of change that are likely to stick in 2021 and something all organisations need to think about.

  • People shopping online (no surprise here)
  • More cost-conscious consumers
  • Digital product discovery

Thinking about the changes, it raises the question what should brands consider in 2021?

  1. Being multi-channel

We know that the use of mobile messaging for one-way and two-way interaction has increased, however there are many more channels out there like Rich Messaging (RCS), WhatsApp for Business and Apple Business Chat, that brands can adopt to make themselves more available to their customers. Allowing consumers to easily reach them or engage in a two-way dialogue, its increasingly important to be where your customers are. According to Edelman, 65 percent of consumers will base their future purchasing decisions on the ways in which a brand communicates with them at this current time. This highlights that customer needs and requirements are more important than ever before.

  1. Use mobile messaging for customer service

Consumers are looking for convenient ways to engage with brands, as 69 percent[i] of consumers prefer communicating with brands over text messaging rather than traditional phone calls. Many businesses have had to adjust over the last year and adopt mobile chat services, however this is an area that is still largely underutilized for customer support. Enabling mobile messaging channels presents various routes for consumers to effortlessly connect with brands: whether it is to receive product support, request information or to resolve an issue. It empowers mobile users to easily initiate a conversation with businesses and provides a customer first approach.

  1. Consumer reach – best time to send messages

It is important to highlight that people’s routines have changed significantly and they are not the same as they were a year ago. Working patterns have changed considerably, flexible hours are more of a norm, socializing has shifted online and many of us are no longer commuting. Before the pandemic, the best times to engage were typical commuting hours and lunch times. However, recent research has shown that there are now spikes around 9am, after lunch between 2-6pm, with engagement then seeming to decrease until the following day. So, it’s important for businesses to review data and try different times if you have not already done so.

  1. Convenience and transparency

Make it simpler for your customers to engage with you, to navigate and find information. With services such as click and collect provide customers with clear instructions, as to where they can collect this from. Set expectations, if there will be delays, be open and honest and make it effortless to change appointments or delivery times. Customers today expect fast and timely responses to their enquiries and a delayed response can often be the basis for a negative review or cancelled service. A report from Forrester Research found that 63 percent of customers will leave a company after just one poor experience and almost two-thirds will wait no more than two minutes for assistance.

To learn more about the emerging new technologies and use cases for mobile messaging, watch our webinar recording to pick up some key insights.

Watch Recording

To find out more information about mGage’s Mobile Messaging solution please contact us.

[i] consumers-prefer-communicating-brands-over-text

How Analytics Can Help You Deliver Superior Customer Service

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Lauren Maschio, Product Marketing Manager, NICE

Consumers today expect world-class customer experiences, and delivering the fast, personalized service they demand requires that you build analytics into the core of your business. Analytics can deliver a competitive advantage by improving the quality of your interactions with customers, and with the contact centre the most vital point of contact between your company and your customers, that’s critically important.

Analytics encompasses far more than trends and insights, however; trends and numbers will get you nowhere unless your analytics program is driving the business outcomes you desire rather than simply identifying trends. Here’s what you need keep in mind to truly impact CX and CSAT:

Leverage the power of AI

AI technology has become the driving force behind innovation ranging from self-driving cars to e-commerce recommendations. In the contact center, the use of prebuilt AI technology for analytics has moved from a nice-to-have to an imperative due to its ability to transform customer service, both in terms of quality as well as efficiency. While machine learning examines and compares data to find patterns and explore nuances, AI takes it a step further, continually evolving in how it enables machines to behave in a way previously thought to require human intelligence.

In the contact center, that takes a variety of forms, including:

  • Autodiscovery, or the use of unsupervised machine learning to surface unknowns in interactions data, which makes it possible to focus deeper analysis on the topics that are most critical to your business.
  • Sentiment analysis, which is a proven predictive indicator of customer satisfaction such as tNPS or CSAT surveys.
  • AI behavior models, which score the agent soft-skill behaviors that influence the sentiment analysis on all interactions.

Move beyond speech analytics

Your agents’ interactions with customers are no longer limited to the phone; increasingly, customers are reaching out via chat, email, social media and more. If you really want to know what your customers are talking about, you must be analyzing interactions over all channels – text and audio.

An omnichannel approach that covers all channels of interactions enables you to analyze a variety of characteristics, including:

  • Speech time/non-speech time, or the presence and amount of speaking vs. silence in calls over a period of time. You can identify both the agents who have the highest speech or non-speech time as well as the reasons for call silence.
  • Agent response time in a chat, or how long it takes the agent to respond to a chat request.
  • Customer sentiment on social channels, including through text, hashtags and more.

Focus on outcomes, not data collection

When implemented in a way that drives outcomes rather than simply outlining trends, analytics offers tremendous potential to improve CX and CSAT, as one financial services provider found. After implementing an analytics program across its contact center, the provider discovered that agents were missing information, leading to long hold times. By training agents better, the provider was able to:

  • Decrease hold times.
  • Increase customer satisfaction.
  • Save more than $540,000 annually.

Keep evolving

If there’s one constant today, it’s that change is ongoing. Your sales and service models aren’t static, so your analytics program shouldn’t be either. Your business — and the language your agents and customers use when speaking about your unique environment, products and services – will naturally evolve, and your analytics program must be able to adapt in response.

To learn more about how analytics can give you the tools you need to drive the outcomes your business desires and the service your customers demand, download the ebook, AI-Enabled Contact Center Analytics For Dummies 

WEBINAR: Fast Track Your 2021 CX Service Strategy

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Extraordinary times demand original responses. To help you prepare for the next phase of customer service evolution and deliver outstanding CX throughout 2021, Puzzel and customer strategy expert, Martin Hill-Wilson have developed Being Ready, a handy planning framework for contact centre leaders.

Join Puzzel’s webinar tomorrow to learn more about the framework and receive your free e-book and templates.

When: Tomorrow, November 25 at 14:00 GMT

Where: Online

Secure your place now: https://bit.ly/33aBpzU

Blended human and digital customer service tops investment focus for retailers

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Capabilities that bridge the online/offline customer experience gap prove a key investment focus for UK retailers over the next two years.

That’s according to the latest report from iAdvize, which polled 50 senior UK retailers in its ‘Blueprint For The New Digital Store Associate In The Age Of Conversational Commerce’ report.

It says that with 40% of UK shoppers now wanting human interaction in the online buying process, customer service functionality that blends human and digital touchpoints made up four out of the top five investment priorities for retailers over the next 24 months.  

Almost two thirds (64%) of UK retailers plan to invest in live messaging capabilities with customer service agents – either through online messaging or chat functions.

In app customer service agents (37%), social media influencers (21%) and online brand ambassadors (19%) also featured in the top five investment focuses when it came to customer service. 

In the same way retailers are looking to deliver human interaction in online encounters, retail businesses also plan to use in-store staff to answer digital queries. Over half (58%) of the retail leaders polled as part of the research wanted to digitise store staff by giving them online capabilities, while two-fifths (40%) said they plan to use store associates to engage in digital conversational commerce when store footfall is light. 

Stuart Gordon, UK Country Manager at iAdvize, said: “Retailers realise that store staff need access to quality customer, stock and order insights in general, but even more so if they are going to make a valuable contribution to the online customer journey, successfully closing the customer experience gap.

“There is a growing realisation within bricks-and-mortar retail that physical stores need to focus on what pureplays cannot do, rather than trying to compete on their home territory of price, friction-free convenience and ease of delivery.  And that means unlocking human capital to offer quality insight, delivered with ‘emotional’ human interaction.”

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 

Retail failing at social media for customer service

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Retailers are neglecting social media when it comes to customer service, and are not listening to consumers to drive customer experience improvements.

That’s according to the 2019 Eptica Digital Trust Study, which found that while retailers successfully answered 59% of routine queries asked via web self service, chat, email, Facebook and Twitter, there were wide variations in performance between channels.

Retailers provided answers to 83% of queries on their websites but only responded correctly to 38% of tweets and 50% of Facebook messages.

Performance had worsened on many channels since 2017 – then retailers answered 73% of emails. By 2019 this had dropped to 68%, despite the continued popularity of the channel with consumers, who use it for over a quarter of their interactions with brands.

As part of the 2019 Eptica Digital Trust Study, 20 fashion and food & drink retailers were evaluated on their digital customer experience, alongside brands from other sectors, by testing their accuracy and speed at answering relevant, routine queries, repeating research conducted since 2012.

Questions included asking about ethical sourcing policies (fashion) and allergy labelling (food and drink). Additionally, 1,000 consumers were asked for their views on customer experience.

Fashion (answering 60% of all queries) and food and drink (59%) were the top sectors surveyed, but still failed to respond to 4 in 10 of all routine queries.

The research also demonstrated a direct link between trust, listening and loyalty. 89% of consumers surveyed said they either will stop buying from brands that they don’t trust or will spend less. Building trust begins with delivering on basic promises – 59% ranked giving satisfactory, consistent answers as a top three factor in creating trustworthiness, while 63% rated making processes easy and seamless as key. Just 8% of consumers felt that brands were listening to them all of the time, with 74% believing brands pay attention to their views half the time or less.

“The move to digital has transformed the retail landscape,” said Olivier Njamfa, CEO and Co-Founder, Eptica. “Greater choice means consumers are becoming more demanding and are actively seeking out brands that they can trust and who listen to them. While retail brands have made some improvements since 2017, they have slipped back in others, damaging trust and ultimately customer loyalty and revenues. If they want to succeed they need to listen to customers and use their insight. Only those who do this will thrive and stay ahead of the competition.”

RetailAccuracy 2019
versus 2017
Average speed 2019
versus 2017
Web83% vs 70%n/a
Email68% vs 73%10hr 19m vs 24hr 12m
Facebook50% vs 28%43m 24s vs 3hr 34m
Twitter38% vs 50%1hr 56m vs 1hr 43m
Chat35% vs 25%8m 43s 4m 24s
Total59% vs 55%

Speed of response also varied widely between channels – and even within sectors and brands. One fashion retailer answered a tweet in 17 minutes, yet another took 50 hours to reply. A food and drink retailer responded on Facebook within one minute, but needed nearly 23 hours to provide an answer on email.

Overall response times on chat doubled from 4 minutes back in 2017 to 8 minutes this year. Facebook had the fastest average speed of response, at 43 minutes, 24 seconds – over twice as fast as Twitter (1 hour 56 minutes) and nearly 15 times faster than email (10 hours 19 minutes). This is despite exactly the same questions being asked across these channels.

The study evaluated 50 UK brands, split equally between the fashion, food and drink, travel, insurance and banking sectors. Brands were rated on their ability to answer five routine questions via their websites, as well as their speed, accuracy and consistency when responding to email, Twitter, Facebook and chat.

Additionally, 1,000 UK consumers were surveyed on their attitude to trust, its relationship with customer experience and on loyalty and brand reputation. All research was completed in H1 2019.

A full report, including the study results, graphics and best practice recommendations for brands to transform customer experience is available at https://www.eptica.com/19cxretail.

Is on-screen clutter getting in the way of good customer service?

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Contact centres are still wasting precious time on administration instead of servicing customers. Colin Hay, VP Sales at Puzzel UK, believes the answer is, quite literally, staring you in the face.  Here are 5 tips for improving the customer experience using the latest agent desktop applications… 

Automating business processes and providing a clearer view of what really matters certainly makes life easier in terms of delivering customer service. 

However, just as the advent of electronic communications failed to deliver on the promise of the paperless office, contact centres are still required to deal with online administration which is often a major barrier to delivering an exceptional customer experience (CX).  

In fact, recent research by Call Centre Helper in the UK has highlighted that contact centres waste over 40% of their time handling administrative tasks instead of servicing customers. Much of this time is spent by agents switching between screens and on post contact wrap-up, updating different enterprise systems. The same research showed that less than 10% of contact centres integrate their customer communication channels.  

It’s time to tidy-up the desktop. The first step towards revitalising the contact centre is to get rid of the clutter. The next step is to take a fresh look at the humble agent interface.  Amazingly, it is often over-looked and yet it offers the perfect de-cluttering solution when supported by the right technology. Recent advancements in agent applications mean they are becoming more easily accessible, crystal clear and simple to use. They also help agents to clean up their own messy screens to produce a single contextual view of customer interactions by bringing together all channels and systems into one place.  

Five-star service, five ways
The answer to five-star service is literally staring you in the face. Make the most of today’s agent applications to:

1.Welcome in a brand-new widget concept – new agent desktop applications remove on-screen clutter by supporting direct integration between enterprise systems and agent screens through widgets. Customisable and flexible, widgets allow every agent to be presented with the information and functionality most relevant to them in any given situation without switching screens or resorting to pop-ups.  
This provides a single view of customer conversations that increases agent confidence, empowering them to provide a highly personalised and satisfying customer experience at all times. Look for a vendor that offers a collection of ready-made widgets for faster set-up and effective in-house training.   

2.Easy switching between customer enquiries – the superior functionality of today’s agent applications means that each customer interaction is handled via a separate tab which is opened automatically. This provides easy switching between channels  and customer enquiries, whatever the channel while allowing agents to deal with multiple simultaneous interactions at any one time.

Agents can even customise their screens and highlight the functionality tabs they use most frequently such as queue overview, queue details and personal queues as well as identity and verification tabs for specific partners or customers.

3. Extend social media capabilities – modern agent interfaces enable contact  centres to become more flexible and responsive by providing a far greater choice of social media communications options for customers. For example, they link directly to the latest WhatsApp Messenger and consumer review website Trustpilot.com. They can also scale readily to add new channels rapidly as they appear on the social media networking scene.    

4.Integration with partner systems for vital information – new agent desktop applications connect effortlessly to selected third parties and knowledge -bases, vastly accelerating an agent’s ability to solve user or product queries from one single user interface.  Information on orders, stock availability and delivery times are instantly available. What is more, today’s agent screens support co-browsing to enable simultaneous viewing of products while dealing with a customer’s enquiry.

5.Future proofing for an omni-channel experience – look for a vendor with a forward thinking approach to product development. The best agent applications have been developed with the future in mind as customerexpectations demand a sophisticated, seamless service from contact centres. They should support a variety of customer communication channels, systems and advances in Softphone that enable companies to provide a complete customer experience that meets the requirements of today and tomorrow. 

Spring clean your agent application to re-energise the contact centre and revitalise your customer careprogramme.

For more information on the latest agent applications, visit www.puzzel.com

AEGIS

Aegis named a Global Leader once again

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Aegis Customer Support Services has been named in the Leaders Category of the IAOP Global Outsourcing 100 list.

It is the eighth consecutive year that the global outsourcing and technology specialist has been featured in the Global Outsourcing 100 list, which serves as an essential industry reference of innovative outsourcing services companies in the world.

Aegis has been recognized by IAOP for its performance in five survey assessment categories including Size and Growth, Customer References, Awards & Certifications, Programs for Innovation, and Corporate Social Responsibility. In addition to being cast as a Leader in the 2018 Global Outsourcing 100, Aegis has also received honors in a number of sub-categories in the 2018 listings, including:

– Customer References
– Awards & Certifications
– Programs for Innovation
– Programs for Corporate Social Responsibility

Sandip Sen, Global CEO, Aegis said: “This recognition is a reflection of Aegis’ commitment to continue offering innovative services and solutions to our clients and demonstrate exceptional performance consistently across the global landscape.”

“The Global Outsourcing 100 lists showcase the best of the best in the outsourcing industry,” added IAOP CEO Debi Hamill. “We are proud to recognise Aegis for being among the highest rated companies in customer references, company awards and certifications, programs for innovation, corporate social responsibility, size and growth.”

Millennials are redefining customer service

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By Merchants

As the biggest generation and consumer group in the world today, millennials are now the most important influencers in the world of customer service.

Having grown up with technology at their fingertips, millennials now value efficiency above everything else. Receiving goods/services on time and receiving answers to queries or concerns quickly is one thing, but millennials demand it all be done with their personal preferences in mind as well. Efficiency is being redefined–written in collaboration with Merchants, here’s how.

Millennials want a personalised service. They want to receive communication from a business directly, but they don’t want to speak to a contact centre agent over the phone. They want communication platforms that provide quick answers, but they want the answers to be definitive. They require customer service that progresses in tandem with modern technology, but that also gives the attention to detail known from customer service in the past. This might seem like a tough task, but with business process management, businesses can offer this kind of efficient service.

This is why millennials often prefer discussing their personal requests or needs over social media. It offers a quick and simple way to receive answers that are ready and waiting, yet still offers the option of speaking to an agent. According to Salesforce, 20% of millenials don’t receive communication from businesses via text message, which means that not all businesses are capitalising on this current trend. Whether it’s via WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or a traditional text message, it’s better to stay in touch with the largest consumer group via platforms that they prefer.

Providing Effective Customer Service For Millennials is not an impossible task if businesses are backed with the right knowledge, and have a contact centre team trained to provide a top-notch service across multiple platforms; your business will be on its way to providing customer service that keeps millennials coming back.

Customer Service

Americans say customer service is better than ever

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US consumers – especially millennials – say businesses are meeting or exceeding their service expectations according to research from American Express.

The study shows US consumers are happier than ever with the service companies provide, with eight in 10 Americans (81%) reporting that businesses are meeting or exceeding their expectations for service, compared to 67 per cent in 2014.

In fact, the 2017 Customer Service Barometer indicates 40 per cent of consumers think businesses have increased their focus and attention on service, a significant increase in just three years (up from 29% in 2014).

“More companies are realising that delivering great care is not just the right thing to do; it also makes great business sense. Seven in 10 U.S. consumers say they’ve spent more money to do business with a company that delivers great service,” said Raymond Joabar, Executive Vice President of American Express’ servicing organisation. “Service is an increasingly important competitive advantage for companies, both large and small, that make doing business easy and put their customers’ needs first.”

Digital servicing options are helping to drive this uptick in servicing satisfaction, as is improved person-to-person care.

More than two thirds of those surveyed (68%) said that a pleasant representative was key to their recent positive service experiences, and 62 per cent said that a representative’s knowledge or resourcefulness was key.

Americans continue to reward companies that get service right. US consumers say they’re willing to spend 17 per cent more to do business with companies that deliver excellent service, up from 14 per cent in 2014.

As a group, Millennials are willing to spend the most for great care (21% additional), followed by men (19%).

But there’s another side to that coin, too: poor service is costing companies. More than half of Americans have scrapped a planned purchase or transaction because of bad service, and 33 per cent say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service. The stakes remain high for getting service right.

Millennials are particularly happy with the service they’re receiving from businesses. Eighty-four per cent say that businesses are meeting or exceeding their service expectations, significantly more than older Americans (79%).

Millennials are also the only generation that tells more friends and family about instances of good service than bad ones, bucking an established trend in how Americans talk about service.

As in previous years, Americans across the board report telling more people about poor service (15 people on average) than about good experiences (11). Millennials, though, tell an average of 17 people when they get great care, compared to the 15 they tell about poor experiences.

Men are especially chatty when it comes to service, telling twice as many people as women both about their poor experiences (21 compared to 10) and good ones (15 compared to 7).

There is a growing preference for self-service and digital options on simpler inquiries, specifically for online chat and mobile apps.

More than six in 10 US consumers say that their go-to channel for simple inquiries is a digital self-serve tool such as a website (24%), mobile app (14%), voice response system (13%) or online chat (12%). But, as the complexity of the issue increases, such as with payment disputes or complaints, customers are more likely to seek out a face-to-face interaction (23%) or a real person on the phone (40%).

More people than ever are also using social media to get help from businesses. In the past year, 35 percent reported reaching out in social channels, up significantly from the 2014 survey (23%) and double the percentage from 2012 (17%).

Of those who have used social media for a customer service concern, 84 pe rcent say they have received a response or resolution, up significantly from 65% in 2014.