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Customer Service Summit 2018 Review


Presented By: CRMXchange

What is the holy grail of customer service? Is it agents empowered to deliver personalized customer support at scale? The capability to provide effective self-service options that can dramatically reduce customer effort? Combining emerging messaging channels with chatbots to drive efficiency and decrease operating costs? Creating and nurturing a proactive community where customers can support each other?

These are just a few of the next-gen customer care applications discussed at the 8th Annual Customer Service Summit, an educational event held at the Marriott Brooklyn Bridge in New York City October 4-5, 2018.  

Produced by the UK-based Incite Group, the Customer Service Summit brought together a roster of authoritative speakers from such businesses as Alaska Airlines, Boxed, Google, Lego, Rogers, Southwest Airlines, and Wells Fargo. These leaders offered insights on proven strategies employed by their organizations to meet constantly rising consumer expectations.

In the opening session of the event, “How Much Is Good Support Really Worth? - The Business Case for Customer Service,” Scott Chilson, VP Customer Connectivity at Johnson & Johnson and Pete Poul-Graf, Vice President of IT and Customer Care for DHL discussed the value of making technology investments to support and improve customer service. The two executives cited metrics that can be used to make a solid case for linking customer satisfaction to achieving business goals. Graf outlined the importance of winning senior-level buy-in and noted how he was able to leverage it to upgrade to a SaaS solution that helped elevate customer service to world-class levels.

Social media was also a conference focus, with several sessions examining the most effective use cases, strategies designed to reduce the cost of issue resolution over social media and best practices to decrease response times while ensuring that content is targeted to answer the specific issues raised by customers. In discussing the value of open communication of online communities, Sarah Wampler, North America Lead, Community and Social, Consumers, Google, noted that “things can be said in communities that could not be said publicly.”

Omnichannel communication was a key concern at the Customer Service Summit. Kristopher Friday, Head of Solutions Consulting at Zendesk stressed the need for businesses to move beyond the ‘right channel’ strategy of simply getting customers to the correct channel based on what they’re trying to do. He believes companies should now be shifting to an ‘organic channel’ approach, focusing on channels that grow with the customer based on their needs, demographics, and desires. In a second seminar on the topic, Jay Wolcott VP, Social Product for Interactions, elaborated on the importance of meeting the expectations of consumers. Since people now anticipate that businesses know who they are, remember what was said in previous conversations, and offer relevant reminders and recommendations, he advocated the use of AI solutions to help deliver on the promise of incorporating personalization, persistence and context into each omnichannel conversation.

In addition, a session on Agent recruitment, training and motivation featured speakers from HBO, Boxed and fashion brand PVH. The panel discussed how pulling transaction recordings from the CRM create an opportunity to use verbatims to improve the vital KPIs involved in measuring quality.  Ricoh’s Director of Customer Support Services, Bruce Nelson, delivered a case study of how the digital business service company used AI and automation to empower agents to achieve greater collaboration and teamwork, create higher employee satisfaction and drive a 27% higher resolution rate to improve CSAT to 97%. Nelson recounted overhearing two agents in a break room laughingly agreeing that “we could never work in a real call center again.”

Messaging applications were also covered in depth with discussions of emerging channels such as Facebook Messenger, Twitter Direct Message, WeChat, WhatsApp and Snap and how businesses such as the Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Freshly and organic cosmetics supplier Tule are using them to enhance customer satisfaction. ESPN’s Senior Director, Fan Support, Doug Kramon, outlined how the sports giant has increased CSAT scores and driven down the cost of an agent seat by implementing text and mobile messaging. He noted it was particularly effective in handling repetitive inquiries during such peak periods for the network as the NFL Fantasy League player drafts.  

In a session on Self-Service and Transactional Automation moderated by CRMXchange’s Herb Greenebaum, Lego’s Senior Manager of Contact Center Operations Remco Jensen discussed how the international toy building brick company had successfully implemented self-service options to dramatically reduce call volume on such common but time-consuming issues as missing pieces in sets and instructions left out of boxes. Mario Sansalone, Head of Customer Operations for Grindr, also talked about how self-service had enabled users of the gay relationships app to quickly delete profiles and update information on sensitive personal issues.

CRMXchange also spoke with several solution providers on the exhibit floor about some of the emerging applications, evolving trends and strategies that are shaping the future of customer service.

Dynamic AI56, a German-based company founded in 2015 to drive sales automation evolved into an AI provider bringing RPA (robotic process automation) technology to the CX/contact center space. President and Founder Florian Erlach pointed out that according to Forbes, 85% of all tasks are repetitive. He saw that as an opportunity to create an automation solution that would grow with a company by eliminating the time-consuming task of manually updating its database. “In the near future, nearly all of these repetitive actions in enterprises will be handled by machines and we are in the vanguard of that movement,” said Erlach. We have developed a patented NLU (natural language understanding architecture) built upon an in-depth analysis of text structure using recent breakthrough in computer linguistics, and a set of machine learning approaches to get best of both NLP and ML. We implemented an automatic source code system that can dynamically automate up to 80% of business processes in real time. We don’t just recommend solutions: we solve problems.”   

First Orion offers a platform that helps carriers easily launch solutions that drive revenue and enhance the communication experience for mobile consumers and businesses. The company’s Chief Marketing Officer Scott Ballantyne noted that up to 46% of all mobile calls will be fraudulent by 2019,that amounts to up to 100 billion scam call. According to Software Advice, Local Presence Dialing Survey, up to 84% of calls go unanswered by consumers.  Through its in network and cloud-based solutions, First Orion provides tools such as Enhanced Caller ID to block bad actors as well as Business Calling ID via their Call Enhancement suite. It incorporates Orion’s Engage solution to enable companies to clearly identify themselves as legitimate callers with a distinctive icon and personalized content and context. “We help our business partners engage in practices that increase customer satisfaction, reduce risk associated with fraud and compliance, and yield more profitable calling solutions,” said Ballantyne.

ModSquad specializes in what they term as “ModSourcing.”  Providing high-quality outsourced digital engagement, customer service, community management/moderation and social media listening/response professionals. The company has a network of 10,000+ Mods, mostly remote agents. It also has locations in Sacramento, CA, Austin, TX and Derry, Northern Ireland.   According to Rich Weil, Senior VP of Global Operations, ModSquad was founded by attorneys Amy Pritchard and Mike Pinkerton who originally met on the Second Life virtual reality site and decided to create an updated community of higher-level enterprise customer care professionals. Weil noted that while it originally served mainly the gaming community, it has branched out to encompass a variety of entertainment and business verticals. “Whether a company needs a fashion expert, a gamer, a certified teacher, or a tech specialist, we can help, said Weil. “Our Mods are bold, intelligent and experts in their respective fields. We make it a point to staff teams with people who have a passion for the company or brand with which they are working. While the company has experienced no licensing issues with the 1960’s TV show from which it took its name, Weil noted that in one nation in which they do business, they had to assure the government that there was no conflict with their own MOD (Ministry of Defense). 

ICUC Social is a worldwide social media management agency offering wide range of services, including reputation defense, crisis management, community management and social listening on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Among its areas of specialization are Social Media customer service with teams dedicated to providing thoughtful human contact that defuses frustration, and leaves customers feeling more positive. It also provides Social Media Customer insights to help businesses interpret social media data to derive usable information about its audiences to generate new opportunities. One of the company’s most interesting services is its product and app review. “Our staff of experts can help minimize threats and maximize ROI opportunities from user reviews of a businesses’ locations and products, said Erika Lovegreen, Senior Manager of New Products for ICUC Social. “They can flag bad reviews on Google or Yelp, remove bugs and provide suggestions to engage the audience.” Lovegreen also presented a seminar session at the event on Bots and Brains: The Perfect CX Marriage, outlining how companies can get the best of both worlds by blending human intuition with efficient high-tech responsiveness.