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How to Avoid Customer Desperation and Have a Winning CX Strategy


Presented By: CrmXchange

Contributed Article by Shannon Flanagan, VP and GM, Retail and Consumer Goods at Talkdesk 

While some frustrated customers take to social media to lament long wait times when contacting customer service, others take it a step further by augmenting the truth in order to get priority treatment. One even claimed a shipping company’s mailcourier set her house on fire…and after a month of trying to get in touch with the brand, it worked.

Without realizing it, brands have designed customer experience (CX) journeys that have trained their customers to make drastic claims or take desperate measures in order to get proper support from customer service departments.  It’s time for brands to reevaluate how they’re servicing their customers. They must invest in their customer service processes and contact center technology to improve customer satisfaction and drive loyalty. Below, we’ll discuss a few ways to do just that.

Use Technology for Enhancement, Not As A Crutch

Artificial intelligence (AI) in customer service continues to get more intelligent and impactful. New and experienced contact centers are increasingly using conversational AI and other self-service tools to better serve consumer needs and provide personalized guidance. AI is also impactful for customer service agents. Fighting with technology is half the battle for agents so equipping them with AI-powered tools, like agent assistance and next-best-action, improves their own experiences, empowering them to drive better customer experiences. With Chat GPT, we even see AI helping customer service agents with after call work and in keeping customer data clean, giving them more time to focus on connecting with their customers. AI technology isn’t meant to replace the human element, and businesses should not treat it as such; it is designed to make humans and machines smarter. Almost every software function in the contact center can be enhanced by an order of magnitude that multiplies what is possible today. At the end of the day, happy agents mean happy customers– and AI is a way to make them both happy.

In fact, 80% of people have interacted with a chatbot at some point, and while they can be great for answering quick questions, human involvement is still required. For example, virtual agents may be able to handle most customer inquiries independently but can defer to the human agent for confirmation when their confidence is low. Humans are also still required as a quality assurance layer, a human-in-the-loop, providing real-time feedback and corrections to virtual agents, enabling it to learn and improve over time.

Additionally, the metaverse presents opportunities to leverage AI and replicate in-person shopping with a more immersive experience. It is intended to enhance and deepen the connection between the consumer and the brand by bringing in-store experiences to the customer’s couch.   

Technology also provides critical data analysis tools for businesses to create a better CX. Talkdesk research shows that data on past service interactions are collected by 50% or fewer brands, while only one in five (21%) collect data on customer sentiment. Of those brands collecting data and analyzing its insights, only 43% use it to personalize future interactions. Brands must better apply the data to the right priorities so that consumers know they’re being treated based on their past experiences, not as another number in a queue. Overall, the contact center presents a goldmine of data and insights ready to be tapped into and leveraged by all functions of an organization.

Engage Influencers and Ambassadors as Contact Center Agents

Success in hyper-competitive marketplaces like retail means going outside the box to find advantages. Whereas call center agents and store employees have typically been the source of information for shoppers, two new categories have recently emerged: influencers and brand ambassadors. According to Talkdesk research, 38% of customers prefer brand ambassadors and influencers as their go-to service and support resource.

Influencers and brand ambassadors are not only able to raise product awareness, but they can also offer tutorials or workshops on product use and answer questions about the product. Consumers view ambassadors and influencers as positive, relatable conduits. Authentic loyalty sells– but only when done right – as we’re seeing with the new “de-influencing” trend going on. Nevertheless, according to a 2022 IZEA study, nearly half (46%) of consumers had purchased a product promoted by an influencer, and 62% trust influencers over celebrities.

Organizations should look to influencers and brand ambassadors to create positive customer interactions, and that starts by giving those influencers and ambassadors incredible customer experience. We’re even seeing influencers and brand ambassadors gaining access to video chat and other tools that enable them to provide hands-on assistance to the consumer when necessary. Influencers and ambassadors can be specialized resources dedicated to specific issues, taking some pressure off contact center agents and brick-and-mortar employees.

Offer Call-Back Options and Other Alternatives

Being transparent to customers about busy wait times is essential, but offering alternative solutions, such as calling customers back, so they don’t have to wait on hold, or offering self-service solutions, can be the difference between building customer loyalty or losing a customer. Word of mouth can be a powerful tool for businesses dedicated to great CX but an extremely detrimental one for those that aren’t. Research from Invesp shows that companies with positive reviews could see consumers spend nearly one-third (31%) more when they see positive customer reviews, but 86% of consumers hesitate to purchase from a business with negative reviews. Reviews can reach hundreds or thousands of consumers, and the cost of lost business can stretch into the trillions. The cost of bad customer service is a number not many track but is vital to be aware of.

Businesses need to ensure they are meeting their customers where they are by developing an omnichannel experience that provides customer service agents total visibility of customer transactions and interactions. This has been difficult though because many businesses have traditionally employed a piecemeal approach, identifying, and adopting best-of-breed solutions by category and attempting to get them to speak to one another. In reality, they’ve resulted in complex tech landscapes with multiple systems of record, and teams that have no visibility into what’s going on in those systems. Customer service reps don’t know who they’re talking to or what their latest order was, their supervisors don’t know how their team’s performance is, CX leaders don’t know what customer pain points are, and business leaders don’t know what areas of opportunity there are. Unified CX cannot become a reality for brands if their puzzle pieces are incompatible or disconnected. More and more, we’re seeing brands choose one of two options: 1) a flexible all-in-one solution; or 2) a set of capabilities with powerful integrations that fit seamlessly into an existing platform. With a united CX strategy, businesses can have visibility into the entire customer journey, personalize interactions, connect with, and learn from their customers when it makes sense. Each interaction is a building block on the path to transforming CX, building brand love, and driving customer loyalty.