eGain Executive Interview
Anand Subramaniam, VP of Worldwide Marketing, eGain
In a recent survey, one of the biggest pain points in customer services was inconsistency of
answers between agents and across channels. What factors contribute to
this disconnect and how can it be corrected?
As new interaction channels came about, businesses
implemented point products for customer service and knowledge management to
serve consumers through those individual touchpoints. This created fragmented
interactions and inconsistent knowledge silos over time. The solution is to
take a “hub” approach to customer service, where interaction and knowledge
applications are built on a common omnichannel platform.
Enterprises have quality
monitoring in place and management staff whose mission it is to ensure
accuracy. Why do you think inconsistent responses are often not flagged?
quality monitoring tools have been just that – they monitor and not enable
agents. Moreover, they have been focused
on the general basics of interactive compliance (e.g. did the agent greet the
customer properly or show empathy or ask for the contract number) rather than
assessing the quality and consistency of answers.
Do you think that more training
will assist this issue?
hard for training departments to keep up with the ever-expanding set of
products and services offered by the business, the range of customer issues
that arise, and the best paths to resolve those issues. Moreover, with the
relentless push from the C-suite to drive down costs and increase efficiencies,
contact centers are under constant pressure to reduce training time.
Outsourcing models add another layer of difficulty to agent training. The
solution is to arm agents with a highly intelligent knowledge management system
– for example, eGain’s case-based reasoning capability can guide agents (and
end-customers) to answers and next best steps like an expert agent would, and
in compliance with industry regulations and best practices.
Customers still often find it
too difficult to find the information they need online. What measures do
companies need to take to reduce the rate of website abandonment?
fast, accurate, contextual answers—both proactively and reactively—is key to
reducing website abandonment. Deciphering customer intent, including natural
language understanding (NLU) and providing multiple ways to find answers to
suit customers’ information consumption styles—FAQs, topic tree browsing,
virtual assistants, conversational guided help, etc.—helps reduce abandonment.
How can companies’ capitalize on
the consumer’s increasing use of devices?
such as smartphones and tablets (and IoT) should be treated as part of a
unified omnichannel customer engagement hub for consistency and connectedness
across touchpoints. When it comes to mobile, look for engagement apps that are
compliant with responsive design standards and solutions that include mobile
SDKs and “re-skinnable” reference apps.
While older customers find agent
knowledge levels acceptable, a higher number of Gen Y customers think
differently. How can companies ensure that their agents have the right
information at their fingertips and can better personalize interactions with
customers of all ages?
consumers are more used to “instant gratification” than older consumers, and
moreover, they are more likely than older customers to have already tried to
find answers through online self-service and forums. By the time they get an
agent, they are likely to have tried a few things and do not want to repeat
context or get asked to try “obvious” solutions they have already tried without
success. The solution here is to have a systematic approach to capture accurate
answers and the fastest discovery paths from the best agents and subject matter
experts, and propagate it to the entire contact center through knowledge
technologies such as Case-Based Reasoning. In fact, a leading global bank and
an eGain client has been able to empower all agents to handle all calls from
all customers with this approach, while zooming from #4 to #1 in service
delivery! Moreover, analyzing the effectiveness of knowledge and crowdsourcing
it to complement enterprise knowledge on an ongoing basis, can help fill gaps.
What do you think is holding companies
back from adopting knowledge management systems to facilitate better
Here are some barriers:
Lack of awareness
Inability to easily try a solution and prove
value, and disenchantment from typical SaaS DYI, freemium and toy sandbox
“Bait and switch” tactics, where many vendors
inflict “sticker shock” when the implementation rubber meets the road,
requiring extensive professional services even for basic capabilities. This
scares away others considering omnichannel KM
eGain has recently introduced a unique, expert-guided pilot
service called “eGain Try+Buy” that makes it risk-free, safe and super-easy to
adopt knowledge. The offer enables businesses to quickly prove value with our
award-winning omnichannel knowledge and customer service solutions in
production settings. We have seen strong interest and adoption of this program
across multiple industries--retail, telco, financial services, insurance,
travel, BPO, and manufacturing, where many customers have already bought the
solution after a successful, guided, “Try” phase.