For a handful of companies, the future of customer care is already here. The future’s arrival time for your own company depends on how quickly and fully you embrace half a dozen trends that are transforming the field:
Brands already capitalizing on these trends have a distinct competitive advantage. Why not join them?
By 2030, frustrating phone trees will be old school. Instead, contact centers will make sophisticated use of speech recognition, natural language processing and conversational AI to enhance automation for routine self-service options that customers find easy and gratifying to use.
A top entertainment provider of gaming consoles is already doing this. Overwhelmed by 80,000 monthly service requests, 20 percent of them about password resets alone, the company decided to automate all resets. Guiding customers through the process, chatbots handled 250,000 resets within 60 days after rollout, achieving 70 percent savings per interaction. The company hasn’t looked back. Players requesting new passwords return to their games sooner now, while live agents have greater availability to focus on more-complex interactions and upselling. A decade on, this will be the industry norm.
The key to omnichannel success is channel integration. The best way to achieve this is by bringing all customer interactions onto one platform in the cloud. There, you can swiftly integrate your current infrastructure with the newest tech while providing seamless customer care across all channels.
The ideal cloud environment is both bespoke and highly flexible, delivering an omnichannel platform on the go at the speed you desire. That’s what an entertainment and media conglomerate opted for six weeks before launching its new global streaming services. Worried about sustaining consistent service across multiple technology providers in the event of extreme growth, the company found a cloud partner to create a multi-tenant platform for the launch. With 10 million subscribers on Day 1, demand was 16 times what the company had anticipated. Thanks to the cloud’s inherent speed and nimbleness, the platform scaled 400% in less than a week, and in four weeks scaled 1000% to meet snowballing subscriptions, handling over 140,000 customer contacts daily, with zero down time. Rather than get blindsided by an accelerated future, the company met it head on.
For too many brands personalization remains a blunt instrument, especially when it comes to customer care. A chief culprit is poor data and analytics. Today, most companies analyze just a small fraction of their customer interactions, leaving huge quantities of free customer intelligence untapped.
By 2030, companies will analyze all of their customer interactions for valuable information, including contextual and emotional cues that customers don’t articulate but that real-time sentiment analysis detects and decodes. Brands will then combine that intelligence with other customer data like demographic details and past purchasing behavior, layering on a blend of predictive and prescriptive analytics.
The resultant insights will help live agents and digital assistants better understand individual customers (including their churn propensity and likely lifetime value), anticipate their concerns, readily find optimal solutions, and make tailored upsell suggestions that customers find intuitive, not invasive. Anything less will feel generic by 2030.
Prioritize Proactive Contact
A decade from now, agents waiting to field customer queries will be a thing of the past. Instead, proactive outbound contact will be the norm. Leveraging machine learning at exceptional speed, brands will swiftly assess emerging issues and just as rapidly push out spot-on solutions, using real-time digital engineering to connect the dots between omnichannel intelligence, content moderation and customer care.
Customer care will also focus more on value proposition. For instance, rather than check in with a customer two weeks before a software security subscription expires, by which time the customer will probably already have shopped alternatives, be in churn mode and require a discount enticement, an agent will get in touch a month earlier to emphasize better value, pointing out that the customer’s protection covers five devices but he’s using it for only two. As 2030 draws closer, brands proactively engaging with this fuller view of the customer will have a clear edge on their competitors, commanding higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Groom Relationship Agents
Contact centers of the future will be less about transacting and more about connecting.
No longer will customer queries be automatically routed to agents specializing in rebates, for example, or product exchanges. Instead, agent-customer pairings will be equally driven by relationship compatibility, as indicated by the customer’s profile and journey map and by the agent’s experience with various customer personas.
A key game changer enabling all of this will be real-time language translation. Already, natural language processing is advanced enough that a top global audio and media streaming services company now takes text-based customer queries and instantly translates them into the language of the most appropriate agent. This has driven a 30 percent increase in the company’s capacity to handle queries across select languages and given customer satisfaction a 10 percent boost. By 2030, technological advances will perfect instantaneous translation for voice interactions too, removing language barriers from customer care altogether.
Gauge CSAT in real time
In 2030, brands will favor real-time, AI-powered sentiment analysis over post-interaction customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys. Augmenting agents’ intelligence with cognitive AI, companies will convert interaction-specific CSAT into actionable insight during a customer interaction, not just afterward. Instead of digesting CSAT survey responses with a should’ve/would’ve/could’ve perspective days after the interaction, agents will receive dynamic real-time scores and adjust strategy while the interaction is still underway, making CSAT surveys obsolete.
As your own company embraces these transformative trends in customer care, keep the following tips in mind:
Reassess value: Focus less on total cost of ownership and more on net ROI, factoring in benefits like sales conversions, reduced churn and higher customer lifetime value.
Do more with less: Operational savings from automation can fuel growth in each trend, making customer care less of a cost center and more of a profit generator.
Reduce complexity: By putting your omnichannel platform in the cloud, you can easily add and remove features with minimal cost and effort.
Get in touch: Give customers peace of mind before they give you a piece of theirs. Proactive engagement is always better than reactive defense.
Stay human: Provide your agents with the right training so that they can translate digital accelerators into high-value person-to-person interactions.
For a more in-depth look at the trends discussed here, please see our whitepaper Customer Care in 2030: Where the Future Is Heading. To start capitalizing on those trends today, let’s talk. We’d love to hear from you.