You've heard it before; "In today's competitive market, outstanding customer experience is more important than ever." According to IDC research, most customers will not interact with businesses that aren’t contextually aware. To stay competitive, you need to meet your customers' expectations by addressing their specific concerns in a personalized way. Chances are, however, simply adding cloud capabilities as an additional layer on top of your current communications platform will have minimal impact on your business if little thought is given to how these are weaved into your workflows and processes. For example, migrating from an on-premise contact center solution to a cloud offering is NOT in itself digitally transformative, unless it is part of a larger strategy that also explores how it will enhance existing processes and customer experiences for the better.
So, how can your organization stay competitive in 2024? The answer lies in embracing advanced contact center technologies that seamlessly integrate AI and automation capabilities within your existing solutions and workflows. To deliver the greatest value operationally and in the field, 2024 should be focused on building a communications structure that helps break down siloed processes and enhances supervisors and agents with intelligent insights, analytics — and more — to drive unmatched customer experiences. However, finding a solution that provides your organization with the capabilities you specifically need can be difficult. Because your customers are unique, so should your digital transformation plan be. To support you on your journey to seamless communications, we’ve created a list of the top five customer experience strategies every competitive organization should consider.
How to Stay Competitive in 2024 with Unmatched Customer Experiences
1. Leverage AI to Deliver Personalized Customer Experiences
To live up to your customers' needs, personalized journeys are a must. Gartner reports that “74% of customers who experience easy transitions to a customer service rep say they’ll return to self-service next time.” A simple way to get started is to empower your Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology with AI and machine learning capabilities. An AI-powered IVR helps drive customized journeys based on historic customer data and natural language understanding. Instead of the traditional “Press 1 for English, Press 2 for Spanish” flow, the use of Conversational AI can help identify the reason for a customer’s call and potentially solve it without ever needing live agent assistance.
Additionally, enabling 24/7 intelligent self-service flows has proven to decrease response times and call volumes, allowing organizations to reserve agents to focus on and address more critical requests. Ticket status updates can be managed by the intelligent self-service center, while your agent can assist with requests regarding more complex needs. Improving your call-to-resolution time — without adding additional agents to your team — does not only positively impact your customer satisfaction scores but also assists with decreasing operational costs.
The true personalized experience, however, happens when contact center capabilities are natively embedded within your CRM platform (such as ServiceNow, SAP, Salesforce, or Microsoft Dynamics). When integrated into your CRM, these AI capabilities will start to complement your existing workflows, making it easier to deliver personalized experiences and outcomes at scale.
Supporting Capabilities: Interactive Voice Response (IVR), AI-Powered Self-Service Centers, Workflow Automation, Natural Language Understanding (NLU), Advanced Speech Recognition (ASR)
2. Integrate AI and Automation for Operational Efficiency
The integration of AI and automation is pivotal in the optimization of operational efficiency. Gartner predicts that: “by 2025, 80% of customer service and support organizations will be applying generative AI technology in some form to improve agent productivity and customer experience (CX).” In a second report, Gartner also states that the deployment of conversational AI will reduce contact center agent costs by $80 billion.” Organizations not making AI a part of their digital transformation journey will be left behind.
Generative AI, Conversational/Voice AI, and Sentiment AI are all powerful capabilities for your contact center. AI will assist your agents with time-consuming and repetitive tasks so that your agents can focus on more important issues. For example, call transcripts and summaries can automatically be created and emotionally analyzed with the help of AI. This eliminates the manual process of inputting notes and insights into the system, giving your agents time back to focus on solving customer issues.
Sounds too good to be true? There’s more to it! When identifying trends such as password resets or ticket status update requests, drag-and-drop interaction flows can be created to automatically send these types of repetitive requests to an intelligent self-service center. For more complex trends, such as repeated product concerns, specialized training can be developed and shared with your customer service team to address more involved pain points.
Supporting Capabilities: Generative AI, Conversational/Voice AI, Sentiment AI, Natural Language Understanding (NLU), AI-Powered Speech Analytics, Interaction Flows, Voicemail Technology, Automated Push Notifications, Advanced Speech Recognition (ASR), AI-Driven Self-Service, Automatic Call Summary and Call Transcription
3. Balance AI with the Benefits of Live Agents
Your customers need to be able to trust your business. As explained by IDC, trust comes with repeated interaction. Hence, the importance of making sure your customers are happy. One bad service interaction we all probably experienced is giving details to a customer service representative, to then be re-routed and forced to explain the same details again. It’s frustrating and it doesn’t create an experience where you feel eager to transact with that organization again. Chances are, next time you’re purchasing a similar product, you will look elsewhere.
To stay competitive, your organization needs to deliver exceptional experiences, not only meeting but exceeding your customers’ expectations. You need to be able to adapt to the changing needs coming from different generations. As mentioned by Gartner, 37% of Gen Z and Millenials want their issue to be resolved through self-service, or not at all. At the same time, human interaction is a must and shouldn’t be fully replaced. There are a few key aspects of how you can do this:
Throughout the previous two top strategies, we’ve mentioned the use of AI in the contact center. Hence, it should be no surprise key consideration number one is to leverage these AI capabilities to ensure your organization can solve more problems without increasing agent headcount. While agents are still the most versatile form of service, the days of simply throwing headcount at a problem are over — leave repeatable tasks for AI to solve and reserve your most valued resources to address only the most complex inquiries.
The second cornerstone is to make work simple for your agents. This can be done by integrating contact center capabilities within your current CRM platform, such as ServiceNow or SAP. With all the data in one place, voice-enabled self-service, and AI-powered real-time reports and analytics, your agents are set up for success. When your agents have the tools they need, your agent performance will increase, call resolution time decrease, and customer satisfaction scores will go up.
The third consideration is to provide your supervisors with the assistance they need to deliver successful agent training. When 100% of customer interactions are automatically transcribed, and AI Coaching analyzes the agent performance, your supervisors have all the information they need to develop personalized training plans — customized for each agent. With the right training, your agents will be more successful, creating a better work environment and happy employees. This will translate into better customer experiences and lower employee turnover.
Supporting Capabilities: AI Coaching, Voice-Enabled Self-Service, AI-Powered Analytics and Reporting
4. Prioritize Platform Integration Capabilities
Enterprise organizations are getting to a point where they have too many platforms and applications. The cost and complexity are increasing. How many of these platforms do you actually need? When duplicate data is stored in different platforms, it creates hurdles and added security risks. In 2024, simplicity is a top strategy for success.
By integrating your solutions into one platform, you create a single pane of glass for your employees to access all information in one place, without duplication of data. A natively integrated system not only improves response times for your agents but also enhances data security and minimizes the risks of data breaches. When production and platform training costs are reduced, data duplication eliminated, security risks lowered, and analytics and reporting improved, you have effectively created a strategy to help your organization deliver outstanding customer service. Wellstar Health System is a great example of a customer struggling with siloed communication platforms. When making the move to a contact center that natively integrated with their ServiceNow platform, the organization experienced increased ROI and improved experiences.
Supporting Capabilities: 3CLogic Total Cloud, 3CLogic Hybrid Cloud, Voice, SMS, Self-Service
5. Focus on Agent Well-Being/Great Employee Experience
Last but not least — in 2024, employee and agent well-being will be in the spotlight. While an organization’s main goal is to focus on increasing ROI by improving customer satisfaction scores, the road to success starts with great employee experiences. Forward-thinking organizations understand the well-being of their agents has a direct impact on the delivery of outstanding customer service.
Recognizing the importance of employee satisfaction includes improved training programs, mental health support, remote and hybrid work environments, and other tools as requested. Additionally, the workload must be reasonable, and match their compensation rates.
To help your business support your agents with the right tools and capabilities, conducting personalized training is a must. Tools such as automatic call transcripts, AI Coaching, and Speech Analytics can be used to optimize agent training based on complete insights into their historic performance. AI-powered reports are based on all communications managed by the agent — not just a sample size — and can help better understand their strengths and weaknesses at scale.
Additionally, with a cloud-based contact center solution that pushes information directly to your Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, SAP, or ServiceNow platform, your agents and supervisors have all the information they need in one place, minimizing the need for competing platforms and technology. This not only gives you a complete view of all communications but also simplifies work for your agents and minimizes the risk of burnout.
Supporting Capabilities: AI Coaching, Automatic Call Summary and Call Transcription, Speech Analytics, AI-Powered Performance Reports, Workflow Automation
Set Your Organization Up for Success Today and Tomorrow
By now, you should be ready to create a digital transformation and communications plan, setting your organization up for success in 2024 and beyond. With ServiceNow- and SAP-certified system integrators and a team of contact center experts, 3CLogic is here to assist you on your journey — regardless of where it starts. Visit the 3CLogic website for additional information on how you can integrate your CRM with natively embedded contact center technology, or speak with an expert today to learn how to customize your communications to exceed customer expectations.