Why It’s Time to Move Beyond Self Service
Timing is everything when it comes to connecting with your customers. Customers today have a lot less patience and if your self-service site or app does not answer their questions within a few seconds, you’ve lost them forever. A bad self-service user experience can leave a customer feeling confused and frustrated.
And although self-service was designed to simplify the customer journey, 80% of all engagement is still resolved via phone calls. This almost goes against the entire concept of self-service and winds up costing brands more in terms of lost time and productivity. Even worse, is the negative customer experience that comes as a result of the disconnect.
Today’s digital reality has presented brands with new opportunities to expand beyond self-service and connect with customers on the messaging channels they know and love best.
Whether it is adding an item to a shopping cart or receiving assistance paying a phone bill, thousands of conversations can be automated at once. This happens when businesses assign higher priorities to tasks that can then be smartly routed to a digital agent. The customer can always opt to have a conversation with a live digital agent as well.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into the challenges of self-service and how business messaging can greatly enhance the customer experience.
Challenges of Self-Service
Missing the Human Touch
One of the main challenges of self-service is the need for human interaction. Customers still need and want the ability to connect with a human.
Although over 60% of consumers look for self-service first, mainly for simple tasks, it’s a whole different ball game in complex issues such as getting medical assistance in real-time or having their bank account frozen.
For that reason, when it comes to truly understanding and empathizing with the needs of a customer, a live agent can make the world of difference in the customer journey.
Brands spend millions of dollars on self-service and infrastructure, including site maintenance and development. If the self-service app cannot efficiently handle a query, or worse, doesn’t work at all, the customer will have no other option but to pick up the phone.
When used correctly, the combination of an AI chatbot and a live agent in the loop, both available to customers on business messaging apps, can greatly enhance the CX. This gives brands the ability to serve and assist as many customers as possible across a variety of messaging channels and automate repetitive tasks.
Brands can now focus on building stronger relationships while reducing the wait time per customer and ultimately increasing their Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) – more on this crucial KPI and others a bit later on.
There is almost nothing more frustrating than a poorly designed or confusing-looking website. Customers simply do not have the time to navigate through a bunch of spammy-looking popups or attempt to spot the chat window itself if the UI is bad, especially on mobile devices, where the average person spends an astounding 4.8 hours per day of their time.
Instead, they will exit and never return. Did you know that 95% of the visitors who reach your website will never come back again? If you think that’s bad, just imagine what could happen to a busy e-Commerce merchant with nonexistent chat support during Cyber Monday, which is right around the corner.
Brands with self-service apps face even greater challenges, such as slower digital adoption, higher development and maintenance costs, greater security concerns, and the ability to drive downloads, as customers typically do not like to download apps that are unfamiliar to them.
Outdated Knowledge Base & FAQ
No matter how well-optimized a self-service site is, there will always be questions not listed in the FAQ or knowledge base. While it’s always a good rule of thumb to routinely update your customer service knowledge base, it still might not be enough. AI chatbots can provide more humanized conversations and handle complex queries. It can also understand customer intent to deliver a higher engagement rate and take some of the volume and pressure off call center agents.
Due to overloads and long response times, customers will quickly long for more available communication channels such as business messaging.
The Rise of Business Messaging
Business messaging is used by brands to interact and respond to customers over a variety of messaging channels, such as SMS, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Google Business Messages.
Brands can now stay connected with customers on their preferred messaging channels that they know and love without disrupting the customer journey. Brands are also able to showcase their products with rich media such as photos, videos, and even those cute little emojis. This adds the personalized and welcoming touch that customers expect.
Brands have begun leveraging AI to humanize the customer experience. While human agents need to repeat themselves every single time they interact with a customer, AI only needs to be deployed once, simplifying the work process. Basic requests such as general FAQs can be automated by chatbots while more complex processes can be handed over to live agents, who communicate with customers through messaging channels, also known as an asynchronous communication method.
Asynchronous communication puts the customer in the driver’s seat and allows brands to help guide customers throughout the journey while feeling like a natural conversation. Simple queries can be resolved in a matter of seconds and brands can easily gather more efficient data on each customer while enhancing the engagement rate. By using asynchronous communication, brands can increase productivity and efficiency while seeing higher retention rates.
Customers no longer have to download self-service applications that are unfamiliar to them. Business messaging allows both customers and brands to have actual conversations rather than the customers being bombarded with irrelevant ads which can detract from the CX.
Brands are also able to specifically target their audience by demographics and even capture the short attention span of Generation Z as they live on social media. In fact, 60% of Gen Zers in the U.S. use Instagram to discover new brands, products, and services. E-commerce merchants have begun to understand where they need to be in order to convert more conversations into sales, especially with the holiday season rapidly approaching.
Benefits of Business Messaging
- Improved Customer Satisfaction – By reaching customers across their preferred channels at their convenience, brands have the ability to provide better customer care in a more personalized way. Furthermore, brands can deliver better-targeted campaigns and personalized messages that resonate with their audience. This helps create higher engagement rates and a memorable customer experience.
- Handle More Conversations – Agents can now handle multiple conversations across a variety of channels rather than shift all of their resources to individual messaging. From SMS to WhatsApp and beyond, brands can toggle between conversations without skipping a beat and increase agent productivity.
- Reduce Costs per Resolutions – Resolving customer resolutions is one of the most important key objectives for any business, both in terms of financial impact and customer satisfaction. And one of the most important metrics tracked is the First Call Resolution (FCR). A high FCR rate greatly reduces operational call center costs, improves employee productivity, and removes the added burden placed on agents, which eventually leads to employee burnout.
Take this into consideration.
For every 1% improvement in FCR, you reduce your operating costs by 1%. There is also a 5% improvement in employee satisfaction. Through business messaging, you can handle numerous conversations simultaneously without tying up your agents.
Business messages can eliminate the need for a customer to pick up a phone in the first place and remove the burden on call center agents. Research shows that 89% of consumers say they prefer texting with businesses over any other mode of communication. This includes phone calls. By adopting an omnichannel communication platform, you can route calls from your IVR system directly to messaging channels, and significantly reduce overloads and operational costs.
The Best of Both Worlds – Combining Conversational AI with a Humanized Touch
As the customer journey evolves, brands will have to shift their attention and efforts to a new form of customer engagement known as autonomous communication. Autonomous Communication is a new approach that combines omnichannel communication and conversational AI to provide a fully automated customer experience while keeping humans in the loop.
Conversational AI combines machine learning (ML) and other forms of Natural Language Processing (NLP) to analyze human conversations and to improve the quality of interactions with customers over time.
Conversational AI differs from traditional bots mainly in their intelligence and capabilities. While “stupid” bots operate based on a predefined set of rules, responses, and scripts, AI chatbots have the ability to understand human intent and evolve over time.
The “stupid” bot will constantly repeat the same process, but the AI-powered smart chatbot will learn the human tone and voice (this is where NLP comes into place). A smart chatbot will later craft custom messages and allow smoother engagement and more naturally flowing conversations.
The shift from the old paradigm of live agent intervention for every customer engagement to personalized experiences is an evolution, one which does not require a great deal of effort or digital transformation. Brands can complement their self-service offerings with the power of AI across messaging channels without the dependency on live support agents.
The CommBox 50-50™ approach also enables our customers to safely automate 50% of their repetitive inquiries and tasks using AI, minimizing communication costs, and maximizing customer satisfaction and revenue, all in just 12 months.
A good example of the CommBox 50-50™ approach would be Clal – a leading financial services and insurance provider that leverages CommBox’s smart chatbots to automatically handle 57% of ongoing customer requests. This frees up support reps to shift the focus to more important issues and leave the repetitive tasks to AI.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, customer service organizations that embed AI in their multichannel customer engagement platforms will elevate operational efficiency by 25%.
4 Essential CX Metrics to Measure
1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT) – CSAT is easily one of the most important CX KPIs you can measure. It basically shows how happy customers are with a product, service, or customer support interaction. CSAT is measured by a rating scale (typically 1-5 stars) and is usually accompanied by a survey questionnaire. The feedback here is invaluable and gives brands the ability to really connect with their customers and improve their services over time.
CSAT is The Total Number of 4 and 5 responses) / (Number of Total Responses) x 100 = % of satisfied customers. Surveys are absolutely essential for gathering valuable feedback and for truly understanding the customer journey and emotional pain points. CSAT surveys should be kept to 10 questions at most, as you do not want to overload your customers.
2. Net Promoter Score (NPS) – NPS is another key metric that gauges the loyalty of customers to a brand and is essential for business growth. The Net Promoter Score is calculated as such:
NPS = The Number of Promoter Scores/Total Number of Respondents) – (Number of Detractor Scores/Total Number of Respondents)The NPS can be broken down into three distinct categories and scores: Detractors (0-6), Passives (7-8), and Promoters (9,10). NPS surveys can tell you if you are building long-term customer relationships or if your brand is actually counterproductive and potentially costing you business in the form of churn.
3. Customer Effort Score (CES) – The Customer Effort Score measures how much effort customers put into interacting with your business. Does it take a few minutes or hours to resolve an issue or find a general answer in your FAQ? The less effort a customer needs to put into finding what they came for will increase the CES. Similar to the other KPIs mentioned above, the CES is done through a survey with an assigned number score. How to calculate CES.CES = (Sum of Customer Effort Ratings) / (Total Number of Survey Responses)
The CES can also give you a clear indication of how likely a customer is to refer your brand or service and even predict purchasing behavior for e-Commerce sites. Yet another reason to connect with customers across messaging platforms they already use.
4. First Contact Resolution (FCR) – When it comes to measuring CX, one of the most important metrics to track is the First Contact Resolution. FCR measures a call center’s performance for resolving customer interactions on the first call and is vital to the customer journey. FCR is also essential in reducing operational costs, improving customer satisfaction, and giving you a higher NPS as a result. How is FCR measured?FCR = (Cases Resolved on First Contact / Total Number of Cases) x 100%
Just to set the benchmark, a good FCR score is around 70%. Anything above that is superb and should be strived for in part to provide an elite level of customer support.
There are plenty of other valuable customer metrics to track, so we created a separate post for them. We’ve put together a list of other crucial customer service metrics you should measure in order to improve your CX and business margins.
Transform Your CX with CommBox’s Autonomous Communication Platform
CommBox humanizes conversations with an AI-driven intent-based automation platform. CommBox offers a powerful combination of business and logic-driven automation, intelligent routing, and advanced AI that empowers brands to make smarter decisions based on actionable data.
CommBox humanizes conversations across multiple channels with AI-driven intent-based automation. Our autonomous customer communication platform offers a powerful combination of humans and AI, working in perfect synergy to ensure an elite level of CX. Brands that use CommBox can make smarter decisions based on actionable data and grow their business.
Take your CX to the next level.
See how you can elevate your CX with CommBox’s autonomous communication platform. Delight customers and turn each conversation into a memorable experience with CommBox. Request a demo today.