STOP You’re doing it all wrong

How many of us have used a chatbot on a website when we felt it might be quicker than waiting in the call queue, or in some cases where you just could NOT find a phone number anywhere to call!?

But it was an unmitigated disaster!

The BOT was more of a NOT as it didn’t seem to understand what you were asking for!

Next stop was SOCIAL MEDIA- RIGHT. Facebook and Twitter, and this time a very different experience. But still shocking. You’ve reached the corporate marketing team and they can’t help you with your query, but instead suggest you use the website (doh), or call the Contact Centre.

So far, you’ve got absolutely nowhere and your patience is dwindling….

Thankfully there are genuinely joined up and intelligent solutions available and the “no code” cloud offering from Koopid can be set up, and built in a few days. Critically ALL CHANNELS are orchestrated for a single uninterrupted conversation INCLUDING real agents and with chat persistence.

No more repetition

No more, please dial this number

No more “The Computer Says No”

It’s time to transform your customer experience journeys and remove the barriers to customer intimacy

Go on, ask me to show you, and I’ll be delighted

How to adapt your home to become your work space

Guest blog

By Lali Bunting

This subject really spoke to me and, funnily enough, I decided to write my dissertation on this while I was studying at the National Designs Academy in Nottingham. I feel as though this topic is really relevant to a lot of us and I just want to give those a few tips who may be struggling with adapting and those who feel they need to make some changes in order for their working day to be more successful. 

2020 was a year which changed the way in which a lot of us worked. The arrival of the pandemic meant that very few employers and employees were unaffected by its impact on working practices. Things feel like they have returned to normal to a certain extent now, sure. Yes, the bars and pubs are open and it isn’t compulsory to wear masks anymore, but the way we work has kind of stayed the same for a lot us. At home. I wrote this blog to help those who have and will have to overcome the challenges and hurdles faced when adapting to changing working environments to your home environments and what can be done to face some of these issues head on.

The practical side of working from home is not always straightforward. Our workplaces are designed to be just that – workplaces. Many of our homes are not designed around the need to work within them. Here are some ways to improve your home office space which will cover limitation of available space; safeguarding personal motivation and well-being; and maintaining professionalism. 

SPACE: 

You’re faced with working from home, but you don’t have a separate space in order for you to concentrate as you could in the work space. Your kids are on summer holiday, your partner is playing on his PS4 next to you, that TV programme on in the background looks really interesting. You may be on the opposite side to this, and you do have a separate space, but you do not know how to utilise that space.

Number 1 thing to focus on is getting that separate space from your home life. You need to be able to shut the door at the end of the day as if you would do when leaving work to go home. Is there a room in your house that is unused throughout the day? Do you have space under your stairs? Is your spare bedroom not being used? Do you have a shed you can convert into an office space? There are so many things to consider before plonking yourself on the sofa or at the dining table with constant distractions around you.

Now you have figured where you could potentially put your office, you could potentially be limited by space. If you have a good idea of a space you can happily work in then that’s great. If you’re still struggling and cannot think of anywhere suitable for your home office then you will just have to make do with what you have got HOWEVER I would suggest the following:

  1. Fold away furniture; this is a great utilisation of space, fold away desks, chairs or storage space allows you to pack up at the end of the day and resume your normal life at home with no extra space used.
  2. Try to minimise the amount of traffic in and out the room.

Now you need to decide what to do with that space. Which brings me onto…

MOOD AND MOTIVATION:

Your mood affects the way you work, it’s a known fact. If you are feeling happy you are productive, if you are feeling down or unhappy then it shows in the work you do or how fast you do it. I’m not saying I can fix all your worries and problems (as much as I’d want to!) but as I have said, a good working environment helps your mood which then leads to productivity. If you are then being productive at work it has a domino effect and things in your life will start to feel more at ease.

Once your workspace has been thought about, you can then start to think about what style you like, what colours make you happy and is your workspace clean and tidy (trust me, this has an impact on your stress levels!)

  1. From a personal perspective the ideal home office has the following:
  2. Good lighting; natural is best but if this isn’t possible a good bright light which stops you from straining your eyes while looking at the computer is 2nd best.
  3. A comfortable and up-right seat with the desk at the right height for you. You could even try a standing desk.  Colours that affect your mood in a positive way; colours such as:

green; an outdoorsy and nature colour, blue; a calm and peaceful colour, pink; vibrant and confident, or yellow; bright and summery vibes.

  1. A particular style that pleases you; this can Contemporary, Art-deco, Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian etc.

PROFESSIONALISM:

Professionalism is about how you present yourself, and what others can see while you’re video-calling colleagues. What do you want your colleagues to see? Personally I feel you have a few choices with how you present yourself. One is to have your back to the wall so there is a blank canvas behind you, two is the same as above but decorate the wall behind you with either a notice board, shelving with books/plants/candles on it, or you can filter the background which a lot of these video-calling apps have in the Settings section and therefore you do not have to worry about what will be in shot around you. 

There are different ways to deal with professionalism and the choice is yours. What you DO NOT want is clothes/mess all over the floor, dirty pots, people / animals walking in and out of shot in the background etc. 

I hope my blog helps you decide how you go forward with your home office. Stay tuned for more Interior Design blogs

Guest Blog by Lali Bunting – https://www.lalibuntingdesigns.co.uk/blogs

If you’re implementing bots to reduce your call volumes, then you’re starting from wrong place

I often observe a wry smile or perhaps a small sneer appear on people faces when I mention the words “chat and chatbots”, and I reckon this is because they have been around long enough now for most of us to have encountered one on a website, and unfortunately most of those experiences have been what I would call SUBOPTIMAL. 

From my perspective this boils down to a bunch of reasons, and a summary list is here to share my viewpoint:

  • Poor implementation.
  • Poor understanding of the customer requirements.
  • Poor technology – often free or low cost DIY.
  • Lack of any integration into business process or workflows.
  • Very binary bot – with zero intelligence. 
  • Business driver is to reduce call volumes to the call centre. 

For me, the right place to be starting, is with an understanding of the customer you serve, and their communication and engagement preferences.

For many of your customers, they will wish to call you, and if there is a queue, some will be ok waiting briefly. For many others, they will not have the patience, and will quickly seek an alternative. So injecting a digital/self-serve option, in the early part of the calling options is a good idea. 

Other groups within your customer base will wish to find a digital engagement option first, and so offering them an INTELLIGENT chat option on the website, as well as via commonly used social channels, is a must. We see huge growth in WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and webchat interactions, as customers seek rapid responses and resolutions, without the need to sit in a call queue. Often there is a resistance to even speaking with someone!

Moreover, customers dislike getting stuck, or isolated on a channel

… and this is where the first generation of dumb chatbots has failed. Should the digital channel hit a snag, then the ability to route the customer immediately to a live agent (critically with the context of the interaction to that point also), is pure gold. Nothing less is acceptable.

So don’t worry if your first generation chatbots are failing, but DO TAKE ACTION and ensure your customers are having the kind of experiences you would want, and you would want them to have.
Unsure how – then drop me a message or call me – you’ll find me here: https://grahambunting.com/findme/

Why “we never get asked for that” is a terrible response

Care to join the debate?

When you are considering your business operations, with a thought for your portfolio of offerings and what your prospective customers seek you out for, do you ever find yourself saying to potential suppliers “we never get asked for that”?

Do you also ever stop to consider why that might be? Could it be that it is so far away from your core business activities that it just wouldn’t happen – e.g. are customers likely to ask an IT reseller for HR assistance? Could it be that your business is seen as a very niche provider? Could it be that you seem unapproachable, or that your skillset is focussed?

Whether or not any of these reasons apply, wouldn’t you like to grow your business by helping more customers solve more business problems and you are their “go-to” person for all advice? For me, “Trusted Advisor” is an extremely aspirational position to be in where your knowledge, experience, and opinions are deemed valuable

Agree? Whats your view?

Your customers are buying this from someone else

You have put a ton of effort into finding and winning those customers that you have, and now you’re just going to leave them to source their technology and services elsewhere – is that right?

You are not a Jack of all trades?

I see?

So what are you then?

Its worth thinking about isn’t it? To consider what your value proposition is to your customers and how you help them with technology and advice, so that they get the most from the investments they have made with you and appreciate your value-add for future consulting, advice and services ..

Koopid is vertical agnostic, and we are seeing opportunities to help with customer engagement for many different industries. I will develop this post with different examples, but starting here with Hospitality

Hospitality

Koopid is a SaaS offering that enables your customers to delight their customers.

Because Customers dislike:
  • Waiting in call queues and listening to Greensleeves (a bit out of date I know, but making a point here).
  • Going in circles with webchat bots that are extremely limited.
  • Communication silos – messaging you via Twitter or Facebook and finding you can’t help me because it’s a departmentally “run” channel and disconnected from the business’s main operations.
  • Hitting the buffers on the channel I start the conversation in, and having to start all over on a different channel or start queuing again.
  • Being told that you cant talk to me.
Agents dislike
  • Angry or frustrated customers “taking it out on them”.
  • Repetitive and mundane engagements.
  • Lack of tools to do their jobs effectively.
Organisations dislike
  • Unhappy customers.
  • Unhappy agents.
  • High operational costs.
  • High transaction costs.
  • Inefficiencies.

Would love to hear from you and if you want to learn more – drop me a line here:

Automation, bots and more

We have all experienced web chatbots havent we? How was your experience?

The thing about automation and Digital Channel engagement, is that it needs to be well thought out and implemented carefully – too often it seems like a knee-jerk reaction and tactically deployed and siloed from other customer-facing areas of the business. For example, a twitter account, or Facebook account are set up and the marketing teams engage with customers driving news, promotions and the like, but when customers reach in through that “window” for help, they are left frustrated and alienated because the social team are “unable to help”…. never a good look is it.

A much better solution is to create a unified engagement experience – built on a “universal engagement” platform that allows an experience to be created once and deployed on any digital channel available, allowing customers to choose their route into your business, and to always receive the same high quality conversations – including self-serving where appropriate. So whether this is WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram or SMS, the experience can easily be deployed.

Not stranded

When the self-service attempts fail – and they will on occasions, because the customer might be after something you had yet to consider they might need, your customer needs to be carefully handed over from automation, to a human agent ALONG WITH THE CONVERSATION TO THAT POINT, so they do not feel frustrated, abandoned or marginalised.

Imagine the response from a customer when the agent engages and knows, not only who they are, but also understand their journey to that point.

Contact Centres – YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK, GOODBYE

Contact Centres – YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK, GOODBYE

Change or die is the message here. Progress means change is inevitable, yet we often see reluctance from business in this regard.

Changing gradually, is more of an evolutionary path and generally means a less bumpy and more controlled transition.

Change for the sake of change is questionable, however, change because your customers are demanding it is smart and clearly demonstrates customer-centric behaviours. It says “we are listening, and we are implementing the services you’re telling us are important to you”

A business’s inability to evolve generally results in frustrated customers, and ultimately customer defections.

It does increasingly feel like businesses make it difficult for you to contact them, doesn’t it, and although many of them are embracing digital channels like social media to broadcast their marketing messages. Ironically, this opens up new channels for customers and, yet those same organisations have so far failed to embrace the two-way nature of the communication that it enables. Broadly speaking, this is because these have become siloes that are unconnected, and unregulated, and staffed by unprepared team members.

There is no excuse for this, because the technology to rapidly deploy a connected omni-channel solution is available today. And to meet customers on their chosen channel without needing to rip and replace existing investment can be in place within days.

When technology fails

Frustration with technology

It’s interesting isn’t it how we all have a different perspective concerning technology and its role in work life especially when it comes to interacting with people.
For example there’s a lot of friction caused by technology in the contact centre world, as customers generally hate queueing and certainly dislike a lot of the queueing technology, music and repetitive queue messages.

Too much friction and frustration.

It’s probably fair to say that technology is often blamed but is actually rarely at the root, as most often it’s how the technology is implemented and whether it’s a good fit for the problem that you’re trying to solve that is actually the cause.
One high priority action I’d strongly advise is to listen to your customers and examine their behaviour, and this will inform your technology choices to some degree.
Don’t be too quick to blame the technology but certainly do review regularly and take the pulse of your customers regularly. Technology evolves very quickly as do people’s adoption rates and being easy to do business with is a Critical Success Factor for you, and should certainly be one of the key measures you keep your eye on.

Who cares about modernisation?

Your customers do!!

Queuing isn’t fashionable amongst customers these days. When we want to contact an organisation, we want to achieve an outcome pretty quickly, without friction, which includes not queuing and listening to repetitive messages telling us how valuable our call is and that all agents are currently helping customers!!! I don’t care! I want service NOW
We are so “over” queuing

What we really want is to be able to access services from our Smartphones, whenever we want, day or night
And this is where smart AI services come in.

Putting the customer in control by enabling access to information easily, on any channel, at any time. And with a well thought out, intelligent service, this workflow automation results in really happy customers.

Imagine accessibility via WhatsApp, or Facebook messenger, Twitter or webchat, in a conversational style, providing you with answers to your questions and queries and allowing you to book appointments and return unwanted goods and checking deliveries, progressing orders, etc, etc, the list is vast, and puts you at the heart of the engagement

This is what a conversational AI solution like Koopid can deliver.
And is deployed rapidly in just hours. And on existing legacy Contact Centre platforms that you thought were incapable of supporting such witchcraft ☺️