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

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?

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 ☺️

Chat bots are a waste of time and effort. Or are they?

Many organisations have turned to quick fixes in order to attempt to address the deficit in resources in their businesses and to avoid having to take the call of at all possible.
Primarily this is because they do not have the personnel available due to Covid restrictions, and technology shortfalls – Shortfalls in that their technology was designed for a traditional office Contact Centre with office based workers, and not for a dispersed homeworker, workforce. Some might hand out criticisms of short sightedness, but let’s be fair – how many of you predicted the Covid crisis and it’s impact accurately?? Thought not.

Increasingly we are, as consumers, looking for flexible ways to connect with our suppliers, but to avoid the often lengthy queues that drive us potty. We are also seeking simplicity – for transactional interactions, we don’t always want or need to speak with a human, and we might also just need something text based, such as a balance check on our bank account, or checking a booking, ordering a ticket, making an appointment, etc,….

Often seen as the quick fix, business may turn to adding a webchat capability, or a chatbot capability, and more often than not, they are another silo in the communications morass, that simply pushes customers away.

Most chat technologies offer a synchronous engagement only, and very often these services are manned by social media teams, who are probably not well versed in the issues customers want resolving. This often leads to added frustrations for the consumer, as they are still not getting their questions answered, and may well STILL end up having to break off and make that call, joining the queue they were trying to avoid, and having to explain the whole thing again – It’s simply not very customer-centred is it?

Automation has been on offer for years, including IVR, and yet the way we, as consumers want to engage has changed. Yes we do still want to talk to a human being where appropriate, but by no means always.

Artificial intelligence is bringing a new paradigm into play, enabling intelligent automation, where consumers can share the intention of their inquiry using natural language, and receive a higher quality engagement, and satisfactory outcomes.

Well thought out solutions also allow for a joined up and customer centred journey. Meaning that we reduce friction with a single persistent conversation, that captures the discussion and passes it all to an agent, if required, avoiding repetitive questioning. Resulting in a well prepared agent, and a really satisfying customer experience.

Is this were possible, without the need to replace existing platform technology, wouldn’t that be of enormous value?

Ask me how Graham@koopid.ai

Artificial intelligence is now, successfully replacing contact centre agents

Contact centre leaders have for some time been evolving from their original call centres, (handling just phone calls) Into multi-channel and ultimately Omnichannel solutions, whereby customers can arrive on any channel and enjoy a continuous conversation wherever the engagement takes them.

For some contact centre operations, this has meant an extremely slow evolution, due in some part to the often significant investments required, but also the time taken for full deployment, and user adoption schedules can be lengthy.

This delay in moving to digital-first contact centres often causes frustration to customers as increasingly they (customers) are choosing to make contact using their conveniently located smartphones, and want to use one of the common messaging apps.

Typically this means starting on a digital channel – such as:

  • Webchat
  • Chatbots
  • WhatsApp
  • Facebook messaging,

Etc.,

and escalating to a voice call with a human being where circumstances dictate.

Serving customers on their channels of choice is a critical Customer Experience “moment of truth”, and ensures that focus is on them rather than us.

This transition certainly needs managing with care, as the last thing customers want, is repetitive questioning after they have authenticated or explained the reason for calling on the digital channels.

All of this conversation MUST remain with the caller just like it would on an SMS chat on your smartphone.

This is what we expect from any technology offering chat today, and anything less than this is UNACCEPTABLE.

To learn how Koopid.ai delivers this capability without a rip and replace strategy – click here