The customer service function is at an inflection point. Companies are still struggling to meet customer expectations at a time when those expectations are both increasing and multiplying. Specifically, companies are finding that:
- Frustrations with customer service continue
- Liquid expectations are real and on the rise
- The digital-physical blur creates more touchpoints
- Traditional ways of working aren’t working
To meet rising expectations and compete effectively, companies need to find a way to increase the scope, volume, and quality of customer service interactions.
The trade-off between quality and cost
Historically, customer service leaders have wrestled with a fundamental trade-off: how to provide quality customer care in the most affordable manner possible.
This dilemma is amplified given the increased scope and investment required to put service at the core of the business. Companies need to develop an entirely new approach to servicing that bends the cost curve while embracing an ever increasing number of opportunities to engage and satisfy customers.
They need to find a way to both lower servicing costs and improve experiences, providing customers with whatever it is they need, whenever they need it. This must be in their channel of choice, without the disappointments and pitfalls of current servicing systems.
Service is no longer a post-purchase silo
Companies need to rethink the role and function of customer service. What was once a support and resolution capability is becoming a proactive and pervasive differentiator.
This trend will escalate as hyper-connected, intelligent products proliferate. It is central to the brand’s relationship with the customer—the bridge between brand promise and brand experience—and to the future value a company can expect to derive from an engaged customer. As such, it is transforming from a cost center to a business driver.
More intelligent customer engagement
Customers who are continuously connected to the company will expect an “always-on, always-me” experience that is fueled by deep customer knowledge and broad servicing capabilities.
In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has been used in customer service to drive self-service and improve internal efficiencies. But by embracing AI’s newer capabilities—from video processing to machine learning—companies can reduce costs while providing integrated, improved, and complete customer experiences.
Key areas of value include:
- Improving automated servicing while unlocking capital for investment
- Delighting customers and differentiating from competitors
- Enabling best-of-breed and holistic customer engagement that builds brand love
Pursuing the journey to Intelligent Customer Engagement requires a blend of capabilities, from design thinking, to dialog design, and knowledge engineering. By approaching change both systemically and strategically, companies can expect to meaningfully impact customer experience metrics and reduce costs by as much as 30 percent. They will develop a powerful, enterprise-wide capability to empower employees, satisfy their customers, differentiate competitively, and drive new growth in their business.