A recipe for success: mix live agents with automation for seamless customer experience – Graham Ede, Yonder Digital Group
As a business grows, it is plausible for management to be tempted by the allure of technology which automates business processes, particularly accounting, production, human resources and even customer experience. It is understandable why businesses are implementing solutions – they are advertised as the silver-bullet to facilitating processes, all the while reducing company costs. However, when it comes to managing customer service, businesses need to make sure they know what their customers prefer, and it is not always ‘total automation’.
Latest research by Yonder Digital Group, investigating the role of live agent interaction and the speed of response in customer experience, has found that providing some level of human interaction is a vital ingredient to keeping customers loyal. The original research, which canvassed the opinions of 1,000 UK consumers across a range of industries, delved into the key components of customer management and uncovered some interesting truths about ensuring live interaction within the customer journey is available.
The research unveiled that it is incredibly important for customers to have access to a full range of communications channels – automated and human – in fact a combined approach urges customers to stay loyal and even increase their spending say 84% of respondents.
Many companies would boast that they manage their customers experience very well, yet out of those companies only a handful can provide evidence that they have measurement and monitoring systems in place. Usually the responsibility for customer experience is split throughout a company and sits in various silos. Ideally, customer experience needs to be placed in the heart of a company. Best practice typically consists of garnering a complete understanding of the customer journey through analysis and by implementing measurable KPI’s.
Using technology to manage the customer experience can indeed substantially reduce costs, by delivering sought after data-driven insights about the customer base all while simultaneously facilitating interactions across multiple platforms. However, it is abundantly clear that automation alone is not a silver bullet solution; people want to speak to a real person and typically, succeeding to do so or not will make or a break a relationship with a company.
In fact, 87% of consumers claim that they will buy again from a company that is able to provide live agent interaction. Also, 69% will actually take their business elsewhere when they have a query and they can’t get a response from a live agent.
It’s not just being able to speak to a live agent that is important, but the speed of response also has an effect on a customer’s interactions with a business. Quick and speedy responses to a query actually increases loyalty, say 95%, and 81% will defect if there is no response or even a resolution. Providing live agents with an arsenal of customer information and up-to-the-minute view of customer behaviour can hugely facilitate a speedy and helpful outcome for the customer.
This is not to say that technology and automation do not play an important role when it comes to managing the customer experience; they allow customers to interact with the business via a range of channels, all while contributing to forming a repository of analysable customer behaviour. However, it is critical that businesses don’t completely rely on automation and eliminate all live-agent interaction. Having both the technology to gather customer information and a live agent to help swiftly resolve a customer query, is a recipe for success in customer interactions.
Graham Ede – Yonder Digital Group
For more information and to see the full results from the survey Click Here