How to Create CX Resiliency With Digital Solutions
As companies adapt how they deliver customer care in a post-coronavirus world, there has never been more opportunity to leverage digital solutions that offer first-time resolution, increase customer satisfaction and combine agents’ emotional intelligence with AI to drive efficiency and productivity.
The first webinar in our new EmpowerCX Now Spotlight Series examines how to quickly leverage digital solutions to remain resilient in the face of unprecedented disruption and to keep answering customer questions quickly and accurately while continuing to build relationships and strengthen the customer experience.
In particular, for this first episode, our experts focused on how by leveraging technologies including speech analytics, conversational messaging and the latest-generation chatbots, agile solutions and services can be developed and quickly deployed that make an immediate positive difference to companies’ costs to serve, first contact resolution, average handle times and contact volumes; without negatively impacting on customer experience.
“Using speech analytics to adjust to the current environment is key in really helping drive the business,” explained Cris Kuehl, VP, Analytics and Client Insights as he walked through how Sitel has built new tools and solutions around the technology to help organizations respond proactively to changing customer demands and concerns. “We’re currently analyzing and data mining a total of 168 contact centers operating in a COVID environment and [through speech analytics] we’ve been able to positively impact CSAT scores by 2-2.5%.”
The coronavirus has highlighted the fact that Customer Experience (CX) is a vital element of business resilience. The brands whose business continuity plans delivered when the virus started disrupting everyday operations, had continuity of customer care enshrined as a business critical operation.
An unprecedented time for CX
Nevertheless, no matter how well prepared, as a result of this pandemic, organizations across all consumer-facing industries have discovered new pain points and challenges to overcome across their customer journeys – unprecedented levels of traffic to their digital assets, spikes in live chat and social media interactions and of course exponential growth in the volumes of calls to contact centers and subsequent gaps in agent training or knowledge base content.
Yet, even though analysts have dubbed this an unprecedented moment in customer experience management and one that could lead to new trends, new norms and new behaviors, thanks to these new tools and solutions, businesses don’t have to wait for this new normal to define itself before they can take control of the engagements they’re having with customers and start meeting their expectations – even in these most uncertain of times.
Understand everything your customers are saying
“[Our solutions] are helping companies close the loop,” continued Kuehl. “They’re identifying the new contact drivers as they happen, call mix elements, the COVID-related topics. Customers aren’t sharing their feelings in surveys or in the cancellation or churn mechanism. They’re saying it on the call and the companies using speech analytics are the ones able to address these changes in behavior.”
The ability to monitor 100% of contacts in real time provides up-to-the-minute business intelligence and a level of customer insight regarding their hopes, fears and COVID-19 concerns that can be funneled back into the organization to reshape policies, products or services, refine contact center agent vocabulary or coaching while, thanks to SItel Group’s own carefully curated and constantly maintained library, actively monitor for attempts at social engineering.
Moreover, as businesses move to work at home agent models, the technology is the backbone of a solution for monitoring virtual agent compliance, mitigating fraud and delivering real-time remote coaching and training.
Keeping agents and customers connected
With unprecedented contact volumes comes unprecedented pressure on contact center agents to deliver for their brand. Complicating matters further is the act that many find themselves working remotely for the first time. In the rush to continue serving customers, some organizations can overlook the fact that the customer experience starts with the employee experience.
To address this problem Sitel’s software experts, innso, have quickly commercialized an in-house digital system for maintaining a connection with a dispersed workforce. “Without your agents, you don’t have a customer experience. So we’re offering our platform to support SMS push notifications,” said Raoul Roy Senior Product Marketing Manager for innso. “So for example these notifications can be used to link agents with their calendar and suggest shifts. In times like these where call volumes and agent availability are fluctuating all the time; this solution has really helped our clients save time and save costs.”
More than simply helping to maintain calendars, the platform supports internal conversational messaging so that agents can communicate with each other, receive guidance from trainers and managers and have a direct route to accessing and downloading new training materials.
As part of Kuehl’s presentation around how speech analytics can be used to build valuable digital solutions for managing contact deflection and improving resolutions, he outlined how the technology is helping Sitel to build conversational IVR systems that can learn as they go and provide customers with the help they need before joining a phone queue.
However, in industries like financial services, where traditional IVRs are still very much the norm, organizations are seeing 100% increases in calls to their contact centers coupled with a complete drop off in other channels as customers instinctively reach for the phone. This in turn is increasing hold times and increasing customer frustration. So innso has developed a deflect-to-chat function that can be offered as a choice within the IVR menu to stop lines becoming overwhelmed. “Giving customers the choice to start a conversation in the chat channel we immediately reduce the number of calls that need to be routed,” detailed Roy. “We can use this channel be it via SMS or WhatsApp to direct customers to self-service options or to prequalify issues so the organization can prioritize contacts in terms of importance.”
During her presentation, Isabella Mongalo, Director, Digital Solutions, used real-world client examples to demonstrate how through intelligent use of automation, digital channel capabilities, particularly around chat can be taken even further. “This is an opportunity to accelerate your channel mix optimization. But to be able to get the lost out of these channels you really need automation. It’s the name of the game at this point,” she explained.
By designing and deploying our latest, third-generation chatbot – the Sitel Digital Agent – an organization can do more than simply deflect low-value customer interactions or promote self-service, it can optimize digital channels’ cost efficiency and effectiveness. “However, chatbots only yield powerful results in these situations when they’re viewed as a live integral part of your customer care team,” warned Mongalo.
And when a chatbot is considered part of the customer care team from the moment of inception, an organization can expect to be able to contain between 40% and 80% of contacts. “The goal is to escalate only those calls with great complexity and those that require a high human touch,” said Mongalo. “Because bots can be used to automate repetitive and mundane tasks and common call drivers, your agents are free to focus on building customer relationships.”
What’s more, because the bots and agents together are a single team, a complementary relationship develops. The bot continues to learn from new interactions the agents have and the agents learn from interactions the bots have.
Seven days to call containment
But perhaps most impressive is that a bot with this level of capability can go from concept to call containment in a week. The technology supporting its development has been operationalized meaning that Sitel’s digital care teams are free to focus their efforts on developing the bot’s personality, tone of voice and the data sets that will be used for its initial training.
This means they serve as an immediate quick fix for call containment and reducing pressure on agents and continue to grow and improve over time to become an indelible part of the wider customer experience strategy.
Over the coming weeks our EmpowerCX Now Spotlight series will be shedding light on a number of other related customer experience topics in order to help organizations of all sizes, across all business sectors define the new normal.
To sign up for the next episode, click here. To listen to the first webinar full, click here.