tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/online-customer-service Latest Online customer service content from Econsultancy 2017-11-13T03:16:09+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3358 2017-11-13T03:16:09+00:00 2017-11-13T03:16:09+00:00 Mastering Customer Experience (CX) Management - Singapore <p>Quite simply, without customers you don’t have a business. Winning customers today has a become a lot more complicated as people have changed the way they buy goods and services.</p> <p>Research indicates that typically 80% of your business comes from 20% of your loyal customers.</p> <p>But in today’s customer controlled world, earning loyalty is a real challenge.  This is because we are dealing with a very smart and discerning customer who is looking for immense value, has very high expectations and hyper researching everything.</p> <p>Yet, innovative and smart businesses have created customer experience formulas that work extremely well for them. Zappos, Disney, Airbnb, Virgin, Starbucks, Nordstrom, Hubspot among others continue to deliver amazing experiences and drive sales.</p> <p>This unique and insightful course teaches you how successful companies design and deliver amazing customer experiences (CX). It gives you an insider view and highly effective tips and tricks to deliver amazing experiences at every brand touch point to win and retain your customers.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69416 2017-10-13T11:27:00+01:00 2017-10-13T11:27:00+01:00 Mobile’s sorted, isn’t it? So why aren’t things getting better for many hotel chains? Martin Jordan <p>You won’t rank in Google, you won’t convert traffic and your brand will be slowly dying (at least online). Any traffic from mobile you do receive will be research traffic alone – and likely traffic with high bounce rates and low dwell time.</p> <p>Thankfully the UK market is mature, has always innovated and most brands will at least have a site that is adaptive or responsive to mobile. That said, there is still a lot of evolution required in the hotel web space that actually starts to exploit mobile as a device, rather than just as another browsing platform.</p> <p>Many brands are still staring down low conversion rates and lots of traffic that looks like “research” traffic due to poorly thought out mobile experiences or pseudo-mobile third-party book­ing engines that look like they’ve been there since the noughties.</p> <h3>Intelligent mobile</h3> <p>Today as we see many hotel brand sites pass the 50% mark for mobile traffic, the approach to developing mobile-friendly sites needs to come with a completely different approach to the user – one that is actually less about mobile and more about the user.</p> <p>At Equator, we refer to this as “Responsive Plus” – a site that not only adapts to the user’s device but thinks intelligently about the content it is going to show them by looking at where the user is, what time of day it is, whether they are logged in, whether they have a booking and whether they are in the middle of the booking process. A connected website such as this, with visibility of its location can tell you that User X is at your hotel, making use of their booked stay.</p> <p>Sounds straightforward enough when put like that, but it belies a greater problem in the hotel space, that of legacy, unconnected and inflexible systems. Here in the UK, we have a generally digitally mature hotel space, made up of medium and large-sized chains. The “mom and pop” operations that typify central Europe are far less prevalent here.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9706/travelodge.png" alt="" width="700" height="336"></p> <p>This means that most of the brands here digitised their systems and processes some time ago, buying into comprehensive and complex Property Management Systems and investing in hardware and hosting for them to reside in.  And agencies like ours will have been tasked to build them sites, design a booking engine, get them online and eventually get them visible to mobile users too. All well and good, but this whole technology stack is now woefully dated and is slowly strangling the contemporary hotelier.</p> <p>The reason for this is that the PMS dominates the technology conversation. Everything the hotelier relies on flows from it: the booking engine, F&amp;B, payments, revenue management, channel management, upselling… and a heck of a lot more. If the hotelier wants to do something innovative with any part of their technology stack, the PMS gets in the way.</p> <p>Seen a cool new upselling tool? It needs to work with the PMS. Like to integrate with a smart AI-powered revenue management system? Needs to integrate with your PMS.</p> <p>Hoteliers all over keep having to answer the same question – “What PMS have you got and what version is it?”. Why? Because, invariably it’s legacy, not built on open principles and not designed for easy two-way engagement.</p> <p>So, why are they not tearing out these legacy systems and replacing them anew? Sadly, it’s not always that straightforward. There may be enough CapEx to replace the PMS itself, but many of the incumbent systems connected to it or slave to it will likely need replacing – or certainly overhauling. These systems too will have likely been built as slaves to the PMS and without modern open interoperability. And of course the website will need a new IBE to go with the new PMS too. It’s all expense and can seem like too much for the typical hotelier to bite down on.</p> <p>But perhaps it’s worth sitting down and doing the longer-term maths and building a business case with a 2-3 year viewpoint. Whilst neither the task nor the immediate costs are small, there are multitudinous benefits in the long term. That server-based PMS does not evolve and is likely a few versions old. It needs hosting, it needs patching and it eventually becomes unsupported. Except if you want to pay the supplier a <em>lot</em> of money on support and maintenance.</p> <p>New cloud based technologies are locked out or require prohibitively expensive “bridge” work to make them compatible with your PMS and all along the way. You find you’re missing out on huge revenue opportunities or finding your budget strangled by costs for any enhancement you want to make to it. When this technology is cloud based and open, it’s no longer your problem.</p> <h3>In the cloud </h3> <p>As more hotel systems become cloud driven, we are now witnessing a shift towards a more customer-centric view and away from obese legacy desktop and server-based systems.</p> <p>This new cloud-based approach is opening the hotel tech ecosystem to multiple new players such as Guestline, Hetras and Hotelogix, bringing new capabilities for hoteliers large and small.</p> <p>What used to be an expensive and cumbersome purchase can now be affordably bought from multiple vendors for a single property, as it is for a 100+ hotel chain.</p> <p>With open systems powered by customer data, machine learning and analytics capabilities, hoteliers can exercise their customer data with more flexibility than ever before.</p> <p>This brings a host of benefits:</p> <ul> <li>Smarter front-of-house, capable of personalising the customer experience.</li> <li>More intuitive web experience that tailors itself to the users’ preferences and behaviours, driven by the CRM database.</li> <li>Better marketing function that promotes less but ultimately drives more revenue and deeper loyalty.</li> <li>Unique and individual offerings through an enhanced on-premise experience in a world being commoditised by the OTA.</li> </ul> <p>We’re spending an increasing amount of our time intelligently connecting these systems and have written in more detail about them in our <a title="The hotel in the clouds" href="https://www.eqtr.com/uploads/SmartHotels.pdf">Smart Hotels paper.</a> Whilst technology standards like <a href="http://www.htng.org/">HTNG</a> go a long way to help ensure the interoperability of systems, the technological space in hotels moves very fast and every brand has their own unique needs.</p> <p>There is now huge potential to deliver new forms of service through automation and machine learning – achieved through the connectivity offered by contemporary systems. </p> <p>Examples include:</p> <ul> <li>Linking a hotel’s Wi-Fi system to their CRM platform to personalise the on-site internet experience and give loyal customers super speedy broadband.</li> <li>Developing the ability to reward loyalty without a complex and expensive loyalty scheme or the need to involve senior staff in approval of discounts or upgrades.</li> <li>Taking the typical lobby screen and allowing it to serve real-time offers based on actual availability, demand curves, current weather and more as well as pushing distressed inventory without effort.</li> </ul> <p>It’s this very path to innovation that has the potential to finally free the hotelier’s reliance on the OTA and bring their market share down more in alignment with the airline industry, where direct brand purchases still make up almost 60% of sales. And to suggest that the transition from desktop to mobile could throw this all into jeopardy is to tell just one side of the story. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/9705/ryanair.png" alt="" width="700" height="331"></p> <p>With so many expert systems and technologies available at prices that no longer cripple, hoteliers are increasingly building a technology-driven hotel business. And as these systems are connected and made accessible, the opportunities to drive greater revenue, improve efficiencies, deliver better service and change the entire marketing proposition are tangible and excitingly achievable.</p> <p>Any fear of change needs to be swapped for the fear of being left behind. Technology continues to evolve ever faster. If you can’t keep up, find a technology partner who understands your world to help you stay ahead.</p> <p>In the future, when everybody’s lives are in the cloud, the savvy hotelier will be using tech to make their hotel feel like home. The in-room entertainment will be what the customer likes and their dietary requirements will be understood – all without adding mountains of cost or complexity. The future is not far away. But it starts with a <strong>more connected</strong> hotel world.</p> <p><strong><em>For more on this topic, read:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69414-four-big-digital-trends-impacting-travel-tourism-marketing"><em>Four big digital trends impacting travel &amp; tourism marketing</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/travel-statistics-compendium"><em>Travel Internet Statistics Compendium</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/67766-10-examples-of-great-travel-marketing-campaigns"><em>10 examples of great travel marketing campaigns</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69328 2017-08-19T21:00:37+01:00 2017-08-19T21:00:37+01:00 Should companies embrace SMS texting for customer service? Patricio Robles <p>As <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-10/furious-about-delays-and-lost-luggage-text-your-airline">detailed by</a> Bloomberg's Justin Bachman, despite its ubiquity, SMS text messaging — "arguably the world's most favored form of communication" — has largely been ignored as a customer service channel by businesses, particularly large corporations. Instead, SMS has historically been used as a one-way channel to deliver notifications and marketing communications to customers. </p> <p>But that is changing.</p> <p>Case in point: while airlines have long used SMS to deliver information such as flight status updates to their customers, two airlines, Hawaiian and JetBlue, are or will be experimenting with SMS-based customer service.  </p> <p>Hawaiian Airlines began testing SMS-based customer service in April and recently decided to make the channel permanent. Currently, it handles about 200 texts a day, a tiny number for the eighth-largest commercial carrier in the United States, and interestingly, says that 70% of the SMS inquiries "don't involve itineraries or the carrier's HawaiianMiles program."</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/8304/hasms.png" alt="" width="396" height="252"></p> <p>JetBlue has invested in a startup called Gladly, which offers a customer service platform that supports SMS. According to the company, once JetBlue integrates Gladly's platform into its call center operations, "JetBlue customers will be able to have continuous, real-time conversations through whichever channel they prefer at the moment. They’ll be able to switch communication channels mid-conversation, and JetBlue will be able to pick up where they left off by accessing the full history of conversations with the customer from both current and previous flights."</p> <h3>The problem with SMS</h3> <p>While there are logical reasons to believe that SMS-based customer service has a future, in large part due to texting's popularity, it's not certain that customers will embrace it. There are a number of reasons for this.</p> <p>For starters, one of texting's benefits – its asynchronous nature – can also be a drawback under certain circumstances. While many consumers avoid phone customer service like the plague, for urgent or complicated matters customers might very well prefer to speak with a person who can respond to them in real-time. This raises the question as to whether SMS-based customer service will become anything more than an email alternative.</p> <p>Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, is the fact that when it comes to text-based customer service inquiries, it's possible that many individuals will turn to social media channels like Twitter before they use SMS. As some observed <a href="https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14979737">in a discussion thread</a> about SMS-based customer service on Hacker News, companies have an incentive to respond promptly to inquiries that are posted in social channels. After all, those inquiries are public and a failure to address them adequately and in a reasonable period of time could result in negative press or even a full-on backlash.</p> <p><strong>In other words, the appeal of social media customer service is that consumers feel it gives them more leverage to get companies to take their inquiries seriously and respond.</strong> That leverage doesn't exist when texting because the communications are private.</p> <h3>The bot factor</h3> <p>Even if SMS proves to be a marginal customer service channel for industries like air travel, Bloomberg's Bachman noted that there are other markets, such as banking and telecommunications, that might be better-suited. According to Rurik Bradbury, the head of global communications and research at LivePerson, up to 70% of the inquiries in these markets could one day be responded to in an automated fashion "because you have 60-80 very common questions."</p> <p>The predictable nature of inquiries, coupled with the relative simplicity of addressing many of them, lends itself to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67697-does-the-rise-of-messaging-apps-mean-brands-need-a-bot-strategy/">the use of bots</a>, which in some cases might totally change the viability of using SMS for customer service. While companies need to be careful about buying into <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68388-how-klm-uses-bots-and-ai-in-human-social-customer-service/">the idea that AI-powered bots can automate customer service completely</a>, bots backed by humans could be an effective combination.</p> <p>As customer service platforms add support for SMS, making it possible for companies to offer SMS-based customer service, expect more and more companies to give it a look, especially if they're already investing in human and bot text-based customer service for other messaging channels such as social.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69107 2017-05-23T00:02:00+01:00 2017-05-23T00:02:00+01:00 Three risky customer experience (CX) initiatives Jeff Rajeck <p>If you need some help with CX, Econsultancy recently published a report,<a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/implementing-a-customer-experience-cx-strategy-best-practice-guide"> Implementing a Customer Experience (CX) Strategy Best Practice Guide</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/events/cx-trends-data-and-best-practice-apac-time-zone/">we are offering a webinar</a> which offers a glimpse of the report on Thursday, May 25th (11:30AM SGT). </p> <h3>1) Surge pricing for deliveries</h3> <p>Redmart is an online, home delivery supermarket based in Singapore which provides all the bells-and-whistles that one might expect from a digital leader in 2017. One way it has pulled ahead of the pack, though, is in how it schedules deliveries.</p> <p>Once customers have finished their shopping, they are asked to choose a two-hour slot for delivery. But instead of offering free delivery at all times, <strong>Redmart has made a risky decision and imposed 'surge pricing' at popular delivery times.</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6275/redmart.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="514"></p> <p>That is, if you can only accept groceries at a particularly busy time then you are charged for your otherwise 'free' delivery. On the plus side, if you can receive groceries at an unpopular time you pay nothing for delivery or even get a small rebate.</p> <p>This is a risky strategy as <strong>most companies do not like to add visible surcharges to services initially offered for 'free'. </strong></p> <p>The customer benefit of this innovation is that those who have a tight schedule can be sure to get the delivery time that they need at a small extra cost. And those who are flexible enough to make the company's schedule just a little bit easier benefit with a small discount.</p> <h3>2) Using customer rewards to encourage criticism</h3> <p>Qoo10 (pronounced 'cue ten') is a popular online marketplace in Southeast Asia.</p> <p>The company's main strength is that customers can buy low-cost products from China and find obscure items globally through one shopping and payments hub. This strength, however, is also a weakness as <strong>the company's customer experience is dependent on the performance of its merchants.</strong></p> <p>To encourage its partners to deliver quality products on time, Qoo10 take a significant risk. <strong>The site rewards each customer with redeemable Qpoints when they verify delivery</strong> and offers additional points to those who take a photo and write a short review.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6276/2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="221"></p> <p>The result of this simple mechanism is that every product listing is accompanied by numerous comments about the quality of the merchant's services, including photographs of the received items. These are largely positive but in many instances customers make it clear when they receive poor quality goods or late delivery.</p> <p>On one hand, encouraging comments risks damaging the site's reputation but, on the other, <strong>having reviews from multiple, unrelated customers enhances the overall customer experience.</strong></p> <p>Qoo10 consumers can take comfort that they can order from suppliers outside of their home country without worrying too much about their commitment to customer service.</p> <h3>3) Significant discounts for those working in the sharing economy</h3> <p>As everywhere, southeast Asia is now enjoying the benefits of the 'sharing economy' through taxi-hailing apps. In Singapore, one of the main companies in this space is called Grab.</p> <p>In Singapore, however, <strong>Grab drivers must purchase commercial auto insurance even if they are only working for Grab on a casual basis.</strong></p> <p>In response to this requirement, AXA has decided to take a risk to serve its customers better.  The company now offers an insurance product which <strong>reduces the cost of the commercial insurance for part-time drivers by 30% and then charges drivers on a per-km basis</strong>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6277/3.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="302"></p> <p>This means that <strong>the firm is, in essence, leaving money on the table</strong> so that Grab drivers who work on a part-time basis pay less for insurance than those working full-time.  Customers clearly benefit in this case at a significant and measurable cost to the company.</p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>Whether its risking <strong>upsetting customers with additional fees</strong> (Redmart), <strong>exposing bad merchants in your marketplace</strong> (Qoo10) or <strong>leaving money on the table</strong> (AXA), companies are taking significant risks to improve their overall customer experience.</p> <p>Whether any of these strategies will pay off is uncertain, but to enjoy the benefits of improving customer experience, it is likely that more companies will have to undertake similar, risky initiatives.</p> <p>*Forrester study: <a href="https://www.forrester.com/Only+One+In+Five+Companies+Deliver+Good+Or+Great+CX/-/E-PRE9504">One in Five companies Delivers Good or Great CX</a></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68898 2017-03-17T09:39:50+00:00 2017-03-17T09:39:50+00:00 Seven retailers that use live chat to improve customer service Nikki Gilliland <p>In fact, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63867-consumers-prefer-live-chat-for-customer-service-stats/" target="_blank">92% of customers feel satisfied</a> when they use a live chat feature compared to other modes of communication. And with <a href="https://www.forrester.com/report/Contact+Centers+Must+Go+Digital+Or+Die/-/E-RES122341" target="_blank">55% of US adults</a> also likely to abandon a site if they can’t find the answer to a question, live chat can be an effective key way of keeping customers happy and more likely to make a purchase.</p> <p>Offering immediacy, one-to-one interaction and potentially resulting in greater levels of customer satisfaction – here are a few examples of online retailers utilising the technology.</p> <h3>ModCloth</h3> <p>ModCloth is well-known for its tone of voice, however it’s just as friendly when it comes to customer care. With its live chat functionality, consumers can chat one-to-one with staff – or a Modcloth ‘advocate’, as they’re also known.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4693/Modcloth_live_chat.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="640"></p> <p>The fact that the service includes a photo and the first name of the person makes it much more personal – users really feel like they’re talking to a real life person rather than to a faceless brand. Similarly, this also serves to emphasise the brand’s customer-centric reputation. </p> <h3>Nikon</h3> <p>While fashion retailers might use live chat to drive the path to purchase, technology brands like Nikon use it to speed up the customer care process. After all, with <a href="https://blog.zopim.com/2014/11/13/infographic-theres-a-chat-for-that/" target="_blank">42% of people</a> saying that not having to wait on hold is one of the biggest benefits of using it, the immediacy of the service is key.</p> <p>For brands that have a commitment to customers when products go wrong, live chat can be utilised to troubleshoot common issues, also saving on the hassle of sending back products for repair.</p> <p>Nikon is a great example of this, offering help and advice on how to fix specific problems with its cameras.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4694/Nikon_live_chat_3.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="764"></p> <h3>Canyon Bikes</h3> <p>While many retailers might offer live chat, it’s often buried within a website’s help and support pages. In contrast, mountain bike retailer Canyon Bikes puts the service front and centre on its homepage.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4695/Canyon_Bikes.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="497"></p> <p>Not only does this instil an instant sense of trust – reassuring people that help and information is at hand throughout the path to purchase – but it also ensures that customers are less likely to abandon their journey due to difficulty in finding it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4696/Canyon_live_chat.JPG" alt="" width="672" height="578"></p> <h3>Warby Parker</h3> <p>Eyewear brand Warby Parker also puts live chat at the forefront of its customer service, promoting it alongside email and telephone help. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4697/Warby_Parker.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="607"></p> <p>However, with live chat resulting in <a href="http://www.maruedr.com/live-chat-tops-customer-service-league-table-thanks-to-high-satisfaction-and-low-customer-effort/">73% satisfaction levels</a> - the highest for any customer service channel - compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone, it’s likely to be the service that consumers are drawn to the most.</p> <p>This mainly looks to be due to its time-saving nature, providing instant results in comparison to calling up or writing out an email.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4698/Warby_Parker_live_chat.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="545"></p> <h3>Nordstrom</h3> <p>Nordstrom ensures that its online customer service covers all bases by separating its live chat service into categories such as 'designer specialist' and 'beauty stylist'.</p> <p>Even better, its live chat stays open 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Not only does this improve levels of customer satisfaction, but it also helps to prevent customers from being disappointed and potentially abandoning a purchase due to an unavailable service.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4701/Nordstrom_live_chat.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="523"></p> <h3>Toys R Us</h3> <p>While I am including Toys R Us on the list, this is not necessarily a good example of how to use live chat online. This is mainly because the service looks to be automated, sending consumers pre-programmed answers based on the query they select.</p> <p>So, even though the ‘Ask Emma’ service appears to be a real person, it’s actually not.</p> <p>This is a dangerous move, as instead of improving the customer experience, it could potentially harm it – leading users to feel frustrated and even duped if they realise <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68458-why-chatbots-are-an-important-opportunity-for-retailers/" target="_blank">‘Emma’ is a bot</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4699/Toys_R_Us_Emma.JPG" alt="" width="615" height="401"></p> <h3>Goldsmiths</h3> <p>Finally, Goldsmiths is a good example of a brand going one step further and making use of live chat with sound and video as opposed to just text.</p> <p>The jewellery retailer recently introduced this feature in order to mimic the personal service that it offers in its physical stores. With consumers potentially preferring an in-store experience – and therefore avoiding shopping on the website in the past – this is a great way to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68023-think-retail-how-brands-are-targeting-the-phygital-generation/" target="_blank">fuse the physical and digital</a> experience and encourage online purchases. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4700/Goldsmiths_live_chat.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="574"></p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68546-social-media-customer-service-six-important-talking-points/" target="_blank">Social media customer service: Six important talking points</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68770 2017-02-08T11:19:00+00:00 2017-02-08T11:19:00+00:00 An introduction to AI and customer service Ben Davis <h3>Multiple choice chatbots</h3> <p>Chatbots are becoming increasingly common. Though they are continually lumped in with AI technology, their chief aim is simply to reduce the complexity of service navigation by using the format of a conversation.</p> <p>They offer pre-defined multiple choice options and little or no free text input. In essence, they are a form of information architecture, which also can provide customer information (e.g. order details).</p> <p>Examples of this kind of chatbot can be found in many different industries such as retail (Very) and travel (Expedia).</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UI87klPExcs?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <p>From a UX point of view, long forms with multiple fields, which can be a daunting prospect for users, may be made more accessible and less taxing when chunked in a chatbot. </p> <p>This is perhaps the logical progression from current online form best practice, where one field at a time is presented to the customer, before moving on to the next.</p> <p>Chatbots may also lead to websites and apps that shun a deep, nested menu experience, and choose to surface information through ‘interacting’ with the user.</p> <p>Such technology offers time-saving potential in customer service. It could be integrated into <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64255-why-do-online-retailers-need-live-chat/">live chat</a> functionality (see bot-assisted agents below).</p> <p><em>Further reading on chatbots:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/"><em>What are chatbots and why should marketers care?</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68458-why-chatbots-are-an-important-opportunity-for-retailers/"><em>Why chatbots are an important opportunity for retailers</em></a></li> </ul> <h3>Virtual agents</h3> <p>Most consumers will be familiar with virtual agents, which have been on the market for a number of years.</p> <p>These are often no more than a way of searching <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68160-five-tips-for-creating-a-successful-faq-page/">an FAQs section</a>. Though a stock image of a call centre agent implies some personalized service, the language processing involved is less to infer meaning in a request and more to match keywords and phrases with FAQ content.</p> <p>As savvy consumers have become more familiar with these solutions, the realization that one is dealing with a glorified search functionality can be underwhelming.</p> <p>Robert LoCascio, CEO of LivePerson <a href="http://www.topbots.com/bots-vs-cyborgs-model-best-scaling-customer-service-bots/">notes that</a> “Customer satisfactions on [these] traditional front-end bots is below 70%, which is really low for customer care and sales.”</p> <p>This well-established style of virtual agent gives an interesting lesson in the dynamics of automated / intelligent service. The problem to be solved is how to accurately set customer expectations – offering supposedly intelligent service that ultimately disappoints must be superceded either by sufficiently accurate and error-free AI, or human service supported by AI (in the background).</p> <h3>Bot-assisted agents</h3> <p>Much of artificial intelligence relies on a ‘human in the loop’ – some form of human feedback or assistance that helps an algorithm learn or moderates its output.</p> <p>Bot-assisted agents are the next step from virtual agents. Human agents quality control a bot’s suggested answer. LivePerson calls this a cyborg model and say it delivers 30-35% gains in efficiency (presumably time savings).</p> <p>This style of assistance garnered much publicity when <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68388-how-klm-uses-bots-and-ai-in-human-social-customer-service/">KLM implemented it</a>, using a system developed by Digital Genius. Agents are supported with suggested answers based on historical use data, including that collected on the customer, to give personalised answers quickly and correctly.</p> <p>Social media manager Karlijn Vogel-Meijer says this approach gives "the best of both worlds - a timely answer, a correct answer, and a personal answer. The best of humans and the best of tech."</p> <p>The screenshot below, <a href="https://blogs.nvidia.com/blog/2017/01/27/faster-customer-service-with-ai/">via Nvidia</a>, shows how this works within the Digital Genius interface. Confidence levels are provided and agents can choose to personalise or approve automated messages.</p> <p>The automation threshold is set at 90% in the example below, meaning when the algorithm is confident enough, it will answer automatically.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3684/digital_genius.png" alt="digital genius" width="800"></p> <p>In late 2016, KLM was taking an average of five questions a minute through Facebook Messenger alone (13 per minute in peak times). The airline already has c.250 social media agents, and so any solution to deal with rising message rates without continuing to add agents is obviously of great value.</p> <p>A similar solution is provided in the market by DeviceBits, which can be used to optimize content surfacing in a knowledge base, or to provide predicted answers to an agent. </p> <p>Afiniti also provides a similar product, which routes customer calls to the appropriate agent, based on analysis of that customer’s data.</p> <h3>Real-time emotional analysis</h3> <p><a href="http://www.cogitocorp.com/">Cogito</a> is one of the most interesting companies providing AI customer service. The company's website claims to increase customer and agent satisfaction, reduce customer effort and attrition, with resulting gains in revenue and savings.</p> <p>The software does this by flagging customer emotions, intentions, and social signals during calls in real-time. If you’re wondering what this looks like, see the screenshot below.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3705/cogito.jpg" alt="cogito" width="800"></p> <p>Cogito claims that working with healthcare company Humana, it saw a 28% improvement in customer satisfaction (likelihood to recommend).</p> <p>However, though the sample was impressively large (100,000 conversations) and used test and control groups, I couldn’t find further detail on how strict the experiment was.</p> <p>Were the same agents used? How did the customer enquiries and demographics differ over each test and control group? Were they conducted at the same time?</p> <p>Though a 6.3% improvement in customer resolution is not to be sniffed at (including a 30% reduction in dead air), some suggest that such technology is not yet sophisticated enough to interpret individual or even regional differences in conversation cadence.</p> <p>To this point, <a href="https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603529/socially-sensitive-ai-software-coaches-call-center-workers/?set=603536">MIT Review quotes</a> Rosalind Picard, a professor at the MIT Media Lab who has pioneered emotion tracking and says, “Many New Yorkers practice a ‘high interruption’ style. Interrupting can thus be likeable and build rapport with them. But the same behavior with some other callers could be seen as rude.”</p> <h3>Intelligent assistants</h3> <p>The endpoint for artificial intelligence and customer service could be considered to be a fully automated solution. Due to the current limitations of natural language processing, it’s unclear when this might be possible and indeed if an automated experience lacking empathy could ever provide the customer satisfaction a human agent can.</p> <p>Though home and personal assistants such as Alexa are currently very sophisticated, error rates would be way too high if such systems were implemented on the front line of customer service, particularly over the phone.</p> <p>However, it’s worthwhile remembering that home intelligent assistants may affect a company’s product or service offering, whether they like it or not.</p> <p>Companies have to decide how their own information and services will be presented to a customer through a home/personal assistant. This may mean some sort of HTML markup or further integration with functionality such as ecommerce.</p> <p>The customer’s experience via a personal intelligent assistant should be treated like any other touch-point, offering an interaction consistent with the brand.</p> <h3>Content curation (e.g. merchandising)</h3> <p>AI is being used on the softer side of service, such as merchandising and personal shopping online.</p> <p>North Face has employed IBM’s Watson technology to test an interactive tool that asks jacket shoppers fairly basic questions (but with some free text input) and then narrows down the product range.</p> <p>The question is whether this experience is particularly helpful. North Face doesn’t have the biggest product range, and many people arriving at a website have already done some research more effectively on the wider web as to what sort of jacket they need.</p> <p>Apparently the 60-day trial saw 50,000 consumers use the service, spending two minutes longer on the site than without the tool. 75% said they would use the tool again, though it’s debatable how many visited the website out of curiosity, and how many made a purchase confident that the algorithm had not missed a cheaper or more suitable product. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3712/north_face.jpg" alt="north face" width="800"></p> <h3>In summary...</h3> <p>This was a quick walk through several AI customer service tools. As ever, in this tech-rich world of marketing, those that offer pragmatic functionality - where the AI lives in the background (i.e. bot-assisted agents) – seem the most likely to succeed in the short term.</p> <p>Longer term, who knows the fate of the human agent. There is certainly plenty of impetus for automation, but for now it can seem like a cool gimmick (see the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/16/japans-robot-hotel-a-dinosaur-at-reception-a-machine-for-room-service">Henn na Hotel</a>).</p> <p>If used on any scale, AI has to be proven to definitively ease the customer journey and ultimately grow revenue.</p> <p><strong><em>Discover the world of AI-powered marketing at Econsultancy’s <a href="http://conferences.marketingweek.com/supercharged">Supercharged</a> event in London on July 4th, with speakers from ASOS, BT and Just Eat.</em></strong></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68655 2017-01-10T14:23:00+00:00 2017-01-10T14:23:00+00:00 Cart abandonment emails: Creating content that maximises conversions Greg Randall <p>To drive revenue, the construction of cart abandonment emails requires more thought and planning in three key areas:</p> <ol> <li>Email layout</li> <li>The ideal content recipe</li> <li>Content hierarchy</li> </ol> <p>Before delving into the above let’s first understand the size of the problem.</p> <h3>Cart abandonment rates</h3> <p><a href="https://blog.salecycle.com/stats/infographic-remarketing-report-q3-2016/" target="_blank">SaleCycle produced a report in Q3 2016</a> which found the average abandonment rate from 500 leading global brands to be 74.4%:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2559/screen_shot_2016-12-20_at_10.20.23_am-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="250"> </p> <p>And for lots more stats, see this post: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/63466-nine-case-studies-and-infographics-on-cart-abandonment-and-email-retargeting/">Nine case studies and infographics on cart abandonment and email retargeting</a>.</p> <h3>Consumer behaviour trends </h3> <p>Part of building more effective cart abandonment emails comes in a retailer’s better understanding and appreciation of today’s consumer, their behaviours, and what’s motivating him/her to take action.</p> <p>In the context of cart abandonment, there are two consumer shifts retailers should take notice of:</p> <ol> <li>How consumers engage with email content </li> <li>Behavioural shifts because of too much choice </li> </ol> <h3>How consumers engage with email content</h3> <p>In a <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68437-10-of-the-best-digital-marketing-stats-we-ve-seen-this-week-2" target="_blank">recent survey of US consumers,</a> Mapp Digital found 72% of respondents regularly check their emails using a smartphone instead of a desktop or tablet. This figure rises to 91% for 18-24 year olds.</p> <p>Regardless of content relevancy, consumers are unlikely to engage with email content if it’s hard to read, has a poor layout, and the actions are unclear.  </p> <p>Here are some tips on what to consider when planning the layout for emails for smartphone screens:</p> <ol> <li>As a guideline, stick with a wide single column format.  </li> <li>Respect the “smartphone” fold. Be strategic in your content hierarchy. If the content above the fold is relevant, consumers are more likely to scroll down the page.</li> <li>Apply a large font.</li> <li>Ensure the images are large enough to be recognisable.</li> <li>Deliver white space to set off images and copy blocks.</li> <li>Ensure all calls-to-action are large “finger targets”.</li> <li>Ensure font and calls-to-action have strong contrast against the background. Email content will be viewed in environments with inconsistent and varied lighting. </li> </ol> <p>The detail behind this guidance can be found in Econsultancy's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-fundamentals-of-email-marketing" target="_blank">The Fundamentals of Email Marketing 2016</a> report.</p> <h3>Consumer behavioural shifts from too much choice </h3> <p>Consumers can struggle to make decisions due to there being too much to choose from. <a href="https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/comparison-shopping-mobile.html" target="_blank">Two examples of what consumers face today</a> and how it affects their decisions: </p> <ol> <li>If a consumer wishes to purchase a scarf, they now have over 200,000 to choose from in Amazon.  </li> <li>In Christmas 2015, 7 out of 10 people received a Gift Card because of this inability to make a decision.</li> </ol> <p>Retailers can capitalise on the effort required to make a choice by <a href="http://www.marketingprofs.com/articles/2015/28858/how-to-use-heuristics-to-your-marketing-advantage" target="_blank">leveraging consumer “heuristics”</a>.   </p> <p>A “heuristic” is the consumer’s approach to problem solving that employs a practical method to help make a decision to assist in achieving a goal.  </p> <p>Essentially, heuristics are mental shortcuts consumers use to ease the cognitive load of making a decision.  </p> <h3>What is the “Best”?</h3> <p>The influence of too much choice combined with this development of “mental short cuts” can be seen in consumer search behaviours.  </p> <p>Consumers are now searching for “the best” of things - searches with “best” in the keyword phrase <a href="https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/comparison-shopping-mobile.html" target="_blank">have risen by 50% year on year</a>.  </p> <p>The question then becomes; what digital content, presented to consumers, contributes to having him/her think a product is "the best" amongst a large selection.</p> <p>There are <a href="https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/comparison-shopping-mobile.html" target="_blank">three primary content types:</a></p> <ol> <li> <strong>Customer reviews</strong>. In Christmas 2015, reading customer review content was one of the most popular actions consumers took while shopping online.  </li> <li> <strong>Highlighting best sellers.</strong> This is another influencer, which comes from the roots of peer review. If other people purchased a product, the inference is it must be good.  </li> <li> <strong>Presenting products in context</strong>. This is part of a merchandising strategy where retailers are helping consumers visualise the product adding value to him/her based on their need. 64% of women who shop for apparel agree seeing product images in context influences their purchase decision. </li> </ol> <p>While retailers work hard to apply these above content types on their site, there is a clear absence of this content in cart abandonment emails.  </p> <h3>Context: Why are consumers leaving? </h3> <p>Gaining an appreciation of why consumers are leaving assists in the planning to build effective cart abandonment emails.  </p> <p>The previously mentioned SaleCycle research analysed the most recent reasons consumers abandoned a purchase based on those same 500 global retailers:</p> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2560/screen_shot_2016-12-20_at_10.23.27_am-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="306">  </p> <p>One key point to make on the above graphic is about the 23% leaving due to issues with shipping (cost/time).</p> <p>Don’t automatically assume this is a consumer leaving because the delivery time is too long, or the cost is too high. Many consumers leave because this content is not visible on the shopping cart page!</p> <p>For more on this topic, see this post on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64943-12-excellent-ways-to-present-ecommerce-shipping-information/">12 excellent ways to present ecommerce shipping information</a>.</p> <h3>The ideal content recipe</h3> <p>Now that we have a better understanding of behaviours and there is context as to why consumers are leaving, the focus turns to the content required to meet these varied needs.</p> <p>The content recipe can be broken down into two types: content that targets heuristics and content communicating support promises.</p> <h4>Take advantage of the heuristics: </h4> <p>This content helps persuade those consumers who are “just looking” or “researching”:</p> <ol> <li>Email subject title. Deliver a title that catches the attention of the consumer and presents a sense of urgency.</li> <li>Present a customer review (or multiple reviews) of the product. If the consumer is still in research mode, this content will help.   </li> <li>Present other content to help merchandise the product.  </li> <li>Emphasise the product is a best seller (only if it's true).</li> </ol> <h4>Delivering on a promise: </h4> <p>This content helps to de-risk the purchase and deals with the other reasons consumers may have abandoned the cart:</p> <ol> <li>Present delivery times, delivery options, and shipping costs.  </li> <li>Present <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68677-how-10-ecommerce-sites-present-returns-policies/">returns content</a>. This content is highly sought after and contributes to online purchases.  </li> <li>Security symbol/message. Present a security symbol or message (“safe and secure shopping”) to deliver confidence.</li> <li>Support content. Offer contact information to the support team. Some consumers simply will not purchase online no matter how persuasive you may be. This content helps facilitate a purchase for this consumer type.</li> </ol> <h3>The email content hierarchy</h3> <p>It’s great to have a content recipe to facilitate the right actions, but the ordering of this content is crucial.  </p> <p>Once there is clarity on the right ranking of content, the email can be built and translated across all screen types.</p> <p>Below is an ordering of content based on importance and impact, and when it should be presented. This ordering is less important for desktop but crucial for smartphone screens:</p> <ol> <li>Brand – logo</li> <li>Header – main navigation</li> <li>Intro – in brand voice</li> <li>Call to action (above the fold)</li> <li>The product thumbnail and title </li> <li>Heuristic content (whatever form this takes)</li> <li>Delivery/returns/support content</li> <li>Security statement</li> </ol> <p>This ordering favours the heuristic content to persuade and satisfy the pain point of too much choice. Once satisfied, the support promises provide the assurances of getting the product in a reliable timely manner.</p> <p>Here are some great examples of real cart abandonment emails in action:</p> <h4>ASOS</h4> <p> <img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2561/email_asos.png" alt="" width="373" height="540"></p> <p>The ASOS email is very simple with messaging in the brand's voice ("Don't Forget About Me..") and clear messaging around free delivery and easy returns.</p> <h4>JOY</h4> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2562/email_joy.png" alt="" width="341" height="573"> </p> <p>JOY introduces alternatives to the product not purchased. This is a different approach to merchandising the feature product in a cart abandonment email and may have come from testing.</p> <h4>Doggyloot</h4> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2563/email_doggyloot-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="585"></p> <p>Doggyloot does a fantastic job of tugging at the emotional heart-strings of pet owners with this email.  </p> <p>It introduces urgency and uses great language to keep in brand, "Lots of licks, Your friends at doogyloot".</p> <h4>FAB</h4> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/2564/email_fab-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="452"></p> <p>FAB is an example of multiple content recipe elements working together to prompt action:</p> <ol> <li>Great email title.</li> <li>"Free Shipping" and "Free Returns" content.</li> <li>A guarantee to further de-risk the purchase.</li> <li>Content reassuring the consumer the product in their cart is still on sale:  "Smile, it's still for sale".</li> <li>A contact phone number which immediately activates when on smartphone screens.</li> </ol> <p>These emails have their own reasons as to why they are great, but imagine the impact if there were customer reviews intermingled within the above examples. There is opportunity to do more.</p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>When considering putting more effort into cart abandonment emails, don't think about it as “capturing a sale”. Think about it from the perspective of the consumer and force yourself to ask the following questions:</p> <ol> <li>What information can I provide to help a potential customer feel confident enough this product is right for him/her?</li> <li>And if I can achieve this, is the action clear and obvious enough on the email for him/her to act?</li> <li>And, if I am fortunate in that the consumer is going to make the effort of coming back to my site, is the process to complete the purchase simple and obvious?</li> </ol> <p>Think like this and you can't go wrong. </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68617 2016-12-09T01:00:00+00:00 2016-12-09T01:00:00+00:00 Three factors driving the future of customer engagement Jeff Rajeck <p>This seems counterintuitive. First off, marketers are frequently asked to do 'more with less' and keep headcount growth to a minimum.  </p> <p>Also, technology is emerging which could automate a large part of what these contact centres do. Online chat on websites and <a href="https://developers.facebook.com/products/messenger/">bot interfaces for messaging apps</a> could be used to answer most customer queries using artificial intelligence.</p> <p>So, why are customer engagement centres set to grow by so much? Why are they not feeling the same pressures to reduce size and headcount as other areas of marketing? And will 'thinking' marketing systems, or cognitive marketing, ever replace humans for ongoing customer engagement?</p> <p>To find out, Econsultancy recently hosted a roundtable workshop with <a href="https://www.ibm.com/watson/marketing/">IBM Watson Marketing</a> in Mumbai, India. Senior client-side marketers from a wide variety of industries were invited and discussed contact centres and cognitive marketing.</p> <p>Here are three factors delegates said were critical to the future of customer engagement.</p> <h3>1. Privacy concerns</h3> <p>Today, marketers understand their customers by analysing their online behavior. They look at what their customers click on, what they do on the brand website, and what they buy. </p> <p>According to <a href="http://globaldatinginsights.com/2015/10/29/29102015-americans-are-concerned-about-online-privacy-in-post-snowdon-world/">recent research by Pew Research Centre</a>, consumers appear to be quite comfortable with marketers using this data. The study found that <strong>only 8% of consumers surveyed considered purchasing habits as 'very sensitive' data.</strong></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2215/pew.png" alt="" width="640" height="539"></p> <p>To gather the data necessary to automate contact centres, however, companies will have to start analysing much more customer engagement data. They will need to digitally capture emails, texts, and phone calls to train the customer service algorithms.</p> <p>Looking back at the study, we see that these data sources are considered 'very sensitive' by far higher percentage of consumers.  </p> <p>Because of this greater sensitivity, brands are holding off on using this data now. Participants felt that their companies do not want to have pushback from their customers when asking permission to use email and voice data to train an automated contact centre system. </p> <p>Participants noted that<strong> these sensitivities may change</strong>, but for now privacy concerns are one reason why brands have been slow to automate their contact centres and use more customer data for cognitive marketing.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2218/1__Custom_.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>2. Technology issues</h3> <p>Another barrier to adopting automation for customer engagement is the fact that <strong>many attendees felt that the technology is not yet ready.</strong></p> <p>There was concern among attendees that customer engagement data 'has not proved itself to be statistically correct'. Using the combination of incorrect data and automated customer service could potentially cause a major mistake and harm the brand, they asserted.</p> <p>Instead, participants felt that <strong>companies will move toward automation incrementally.</strong> That is, they will instead use new technology to change customer engagement programmes piece by piece and avoid trying to automate customer service all at one time.</p> <p>For example, brands which have a lot of social media inquiries may start by delivering automated responses on social platforms. These could tell customers when, exactly, they will get a more comprehensive, manual response from a customer service agent. </p> <p>Watch this short clip where Sriman Kota from IBM Commerce explains more about how marketers will be using new technology such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68612-how-the-internet-of-things-will-fundamentally-change-marketing/">the internet of things (IoT)</a>, image processing, and natural language to enhance their customer engagement.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Wu560xykOu0?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <h3>3. Unanswered questions</h3> <p>Finally, attendees pointed out that<strong> there are big questions about customer engagement for which companies do yet have good answers.</strong></p> <p>These include: </p> <ul> <li>Is it possible for us to sort our customers' questions and issues into well-defined categories?</li> <li>Do we understand our customers' problems well enough to respond to them automatically?</li> <li>Can we predict that future prospects will have the same questions and same issues? </li> </ul> <p>When marketers can answer 'yes' to these questions, then customer engagement automation will happen very quickly, participants argued. While there is still some uncertainty about what customers need, however, then companies will struggle to automate customer engagement, even if technology issues and privacy concerns are overcome.</p> <p>To move more towards automation, therefore, <strong>brands should focus on understanding their customers better by methodically tracking customer questions and other issues which they face.</strong></p> <p>Attendees were unsure about exactly when customer engagement automation will happen, but some felt that it is imminent.  A recent report by Gartner backs up this notion, <a href="https://www.gartner.com/imagesrv/summits/docs/na/customer-360/C360_2011_brochure_FINAL.pdf">indicating that</a> by 2020 85% of customer interactions with brands will not involve a human being on the other side. </p> <p>Marketers, it seems, have a lot of work to do to make cognitive marketing a reality.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2219/2__Custom_.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>A word of thanks</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank all the marketers who participated on the day, subject matter expert Antonia Edmunds (Business Leader of <a href="https://www.ibm.com/watson/marketing/">IBM Watson Marketing</a> in Asia Pacific), and our keynote speaker Sriman Kota (Cognitive Engagement Executive in Asia Pacific for IBM Commerce).</p> <p>We hope to see you all at future Mumbai Econsultancy events!</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2220/4__Custom_.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68546 2016-11-21T13:45:00+00:00 2016-11-21T13:45:00+00:00 Social media customer service: Six important talking points David Moth <p>However the event was hugely over-subscribed and attendees all had a lot to say on the subject, suggesting that social customer service remains a hot topic for marketers.</p> <p>While all our roundtables operate under the Chatham House rule, meaning we don’t reveal who said what, I am able to give a broad overview of the topics we covered.</p> <p>Equally I can say that attendees were all senior marketers from a range of sectors including travel, financial services, non-profits, B2B and FMCG.</p> <p>I’ll get to the talking points after looking at some interesting stats on social customer service:</p> <ul> <li>The <a href="http://www.conversocial.com/blog/infographic-the-state-of-social-customer-service">biggest challenges inherent in customer expectations</a> of social service are: customers expecting social teams to be integrated with other channels (43%), customers expecting a response in under 30 minutes (27%) and customers expecting ‘first contact’ resolution from the social team (30%).</li> <li>Research conducted by Esteban Kolsky, CEO of ThinkJar, shows that <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vala-afshar/50-important-customer-exp_b_8295772.html">55% of requests</a> for customer service on social are unacknowledged or unanswered.</li> <li>Around 70% of social customer service enquiries occur because traditional service has failed to resolve the issue.</li> </ul> <p>And now for those talking points (but don't forget to also check out our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/social-media-customer-service/" target="_blank">Social Customer Service Training Course</a>).</p> <h3>CRM</h3> <p>To truly optimise <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/creating-superior-customer-experiences/">the customer experience</a>, businesses have to plug social data into their CRM. But there are numerous tech and budgetary barriers that prevent that from happening.</p> <p>As a result, when people begin a conversation with a brand on social the customer service agent is often unaware of any previous interactions between that person and the company.</p> <p>This means that the customer has to repeat themselves when explaining the problem or complaint, which can exacerbate the issue.</p> <p>It also prevents the company from having <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65425-what-is-the-single-customer-view-and-why-do-you-need-it/">a single view of their customers</a>, meaning more advanced personalisation and automation techniques will never be an achievable goal.</p> <p>On the flipside, some delegates said that customers often want to remain anonymous on social media, so it’s not necessarily a good idea to immediately reveal that you know exactly who they are.</p> <p>Brands risk coming across as creepy if they match up an email complaint with a social media profile without first being prompted by the customer.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1674/crm.png" alt="crm" width="280"></p> <h3>Response times and other KPIs</h3> <p>The previous point on prioritisation ties nicely into another hot topic – response times.</p> <p>There was a consensus of opinion that brands need to challenge their customer service teams to respond quickly to social media queries, though exact targets ranged from 15 minutes up to an hour.</p> <p>One delegate said their business had seen an improvement in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10860-porsche-s-battle-to-improve-customer-service-and-the-net-promoter-score/">its Net Promoter Score</a> after achieving a 15-minute response time, so there are tangible benefits to responding quickly.</p> <p>Another important way of tracking performance is looking at the time to resolution, which just means the length of time it took to solve the customer’s query.</p> <p>There’s no point being quick to respond if you don’t then follow through on the promise.</p> <h3>‘Can you DM us, please?’</h3> <p>Brands that deal with confidential customer information often have to invite the customer to a private messaging channel to abide by data protection laws.</p> <p>This has three negative outcomes:</p> <ul> <li>It annoys the customer by forcing them to switch channels.</li> <li>The brand looks like it’s constantly trying to bury bad news by refusing to deal with complaints in public.</li> <li>Positive outcomes don’t get shared on social.</li> </ul> <p>While data protection means the first two outcomes are largely unavoidable, one delegate had had some success in mitigating the third issue.</p> <p>The company had been trialling a system whereby social media queries would be routed to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64255-why-do-online-retailers-need-live-chat/">a live chat function</a>, but once the issue was resolved the customer would be automatically bounced back to the social media platform.</p> <p>This meant that the customer might be encouraged to share their positive experience with their followers.</p> <p>While the test had only been running for a short period, early results were positive.</p> <h3>Bots!</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Bots have been big news recently, with some major brands creating bots in messenger apps to deal with basic customer service queries or product orders.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">We’ve previously written about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/">how brands are using chatbots</a>, with <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68388-how-klm-uses-bots-and-ai-in-human-social-customer-service/">KLM’s use of AI in social customer service</a> being particularly noteworthy.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;"><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/PGLASey3MAE?wmode=transparent" width="640" height="360"></iframe></p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">While none of the delegates had yet branched out into using bots, there was an acknowledgement that this is where the future likely lies.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">That said, delegates felt there would always be a need for human customer service agents alongside the bots.</p> <h3>How to prioritise queries?</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">This is an issue that’s obviously more important for businesses that receive a high number of queries.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">People who ask a question via social tend to want a speedy answer, but those who have a serious complaint (or have loads of followers) need to be bumped to the front of the queue.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Each business will have their own criteria for which queries need to be prioritised, and opinions were split over which tool was best for the job.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">One delegate spoke highly of Clarabridge’s ticketing system, though others were less positive.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Overall there was little consensus over which tool was most effective, and again it will come down the business’s requirements and budget.</p> <h3>Who should social sit with?</h3> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Delegates were keen to discuss who dealt with social customer service in other companies, and it quickly became clear there is no one-size-fits-all approach.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Logically one would assume it sits with the customer service team, however it is often left up to digital, marketing or even editorial teams to answer queries that come in via social.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">This can mean that customer service queries have to be passed on to a different team for resolution, which increases the workload and can lead to delays in resolving problems.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">One delegate said they felt that social customer service was inherently different to traditional customer service as users have different expectations.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">As such, it requires digital skills that some traditional customer service teams do not possess (yet).</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Another delegate said their company had a distributed model of customer service, where different teams are empowered to do their own customer service. The digital team is then in charge of training and quality control.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">Ultimately it depends on the type of queries the company receives as well as the quantity. If a company receives a handful of queries per day via social then they can likely be dealt with by the marketing or digital team. </p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">However in cases where companies receive hundreds or even thousands of queries per day, then there needs to be a dedicated team with robust processes in place.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, read our post on <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68481-seven-guiding-principles-for-implementing-social-customer-service/">seven guiding principles for implementing social customer service</a>.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68500 2016-11-08T14:39:57+00:00 2016-11-08T14:39:57+00:00 Will the Tesco Bank attack dent trust in startup banks? Patricio Robles <p>Like many banking upstarts, Tesco Bank is competing on experience, a largely digital focus and rates. Unlike most upstarts, it has the power of a huge non-banking brand behind it.</p> <p>While Tesco Bank is far from a banking behemoth, it has managed to build a profitable business with its customer base exceeding 7m.</p> <p>But now, all of its gains are threatened by "a systematic, sophisticated attack" that affected 40,000 of the banks 136,000 current accounts and led to money being taken from more than 20,000 of them.</p> <p>The Evening Standard called it "the most serious hack on the UK banking sector in recent history." </p> <p>In response, Tesco Bank has blocked online debit card payments and says that it will reimburse any losses from the apparent hack. "Customers are not at financial risk," Higgins has reassured customers.</p> <h3>A game-changer</h3> <p>While cybercrime targeting financial accounts has become commonplace, the Tesco Bank attack is noteworthy for a couple of reasons.</p> <p>First, while Tesco Bank is pointing out that relatively small amounts of money were taken from most accounts, the means by which a large number of accounts were apparently compromised is concerning. As the BBC <a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/business-37891742">explained</a>...</p> <blockquote> <p>...what is different is that it involves tens of thousands falling victim in a 24-hour period to what appears to be an automated process, rather than individuals clicking on links in phishing emails or having their details stolen after downloading malicious software.</p> <p>That could involve the attackers exploiting a vulnerability in the bank's website - or even gaining physical access to a branch and then the central systems.</p> </blockquote> <p>Second, customers are not happy with Tesco Bank's response. Affected customers reported difficulties in reaching customer service, and some who were able to reach customer service agents were apparently told that they would have to wait days for a resolution. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/tescobankhelp">@tescobankhelp</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TescoBankNews">@tescobanknews</a> My available balance has gone down by £700 without making a tx. I cannot get through by phone!!!</p> — Christopher Mills (@chrismi1) <a href="https://twitter.com/chrismi1/status/795222803628883968">November 6, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>Even though branchless banks like Tesco Bank pride themselves on the 24/7 access they provide customers via phone, web and mobile apps, this incident highlights the fact that otherwise sufficient support networks might not be adequate when crisis strikes.</p> <h3>A possible setback for upstart banks, but what about fintech?</h3> <p>Already, observers <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/5e5e6778-a4d1-11e6-8b69-02899e8bd9d1">like The Financial Times's Claer Barrett</a> are questioning whether the Tesco Bank attack will bolster trust in high street banks at the expense of startups.</p> <p>While she points out that major high street banks are also vulnerable to security breaches, and big banks are <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68334-wells-fargo-scandal-shows-why-banks-are-vulnerable-to-fintech-startups">not immune to reputation-threatening scandals of their own</a>, this incident could create a perception problem for the Tesco Banks of the world.</p> <p>Given that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68240-78-of-mobile-banking-customers-are-satisfied-with-the-service-stats/">78% of mobile banking customers are satisfied with the service</a>, if big banks can convince consumers that they're more secure, or let the failures of their startup competitors do that for them, it could make it much more difficult for Tesco Bank and others to lure consumers with promises of better experiences, lower fees and/or higher rates.</p> <p>Whether the Tesco Bank attack has an impact beyond the banking sector remains to be seen. Some <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-11-07/tesco-bank-hack-will-be-warning-to-fintech-s-upstarts">suggest that</a> "the fallout will be felt across the wider fintech industry," but while security is an issue for all financial service providers, there's arguably less risk in other sectors that have been targeted by fintech startups.</p> <p>For example, fintech players focused exclusively on markets like lending face very different risks, and few markets are arguably as sensitive to security as banking.</p> <p>So while it's possible that the Tesco Bank incident will cause consumers to think twice about doing business with a young fintech company, the effects will probably remain most pronounced in the market for bank challengers.</p>