CRM evolution 2017 – Customer Experience via AI

CRM evolution 2017 – Customer Experience via AI

Just on may way back from CRM evolution 2017 it is time for a little recap. The conference, once more chaired by CRM Grandmaster Paul Greenberg, was again co-located with sister conferences Customer Service Experience and Speechtek. Why there is a separate – and smaller – conference for Customer Services co-located with a CRM conference is beyond me, as Customer Service is an integral part of CRM. But be it as it is. CRM Evolution attracted around 500 professionals, being second to Speechtek. The main topics this year seemed to be Customer Engagement, Customer Experience, and AI, nothing of this coming as a surprise. The size ratio of the conferences and the topics were also confirmed by the exhibitors in the Customer Solutions Expo. We saw an abundance of little booths with AI- and bot-vendors. The mainstays of CRM had fairly small presences, notably SugarCRM, which had a big presence last year. Both keynotes dealt with delivering to maximize customer experience and to measure the result. In the opening keynote Gerry McGovern answered the question what great customer experience is in a digital world and then how to measure it. His premise is that customers want to get something done and that it therefore is imperative to help them getting it done as fast and easy as possible. That begins with page load times, goes on with simple check-out processes like Amazon’s famous one-click or Uber’s payment process – hint there is none at the end of the ride. Things are as easy as saying good-bye to the driver and opening the door. Throughout his keynote Gerry made the...
The Opposite of United. Customer Experience … Delivered

The Opposite of United. Customer Experience … Delivered

I just had the pleasure of getting a few family days in the Club Med Bali resort and, being me, working and writing about customer engagement and customer experience, somehow cannot not observe. On top of this, Chef de Village Jeremie Gonzalez and his 280-strong team certainly deliver something that is worth writing about. Jeremy also agreed to having a chat with me about his resort and customer experience. So here we go. The Impressions We were traveling with 9 persons, 2 families, 4 adults, 5 kids from 7 to 11, coming from New Zealand, with another friend arriving from Germany. Right from the beginning on Denpasar airport we have been in good hands. As one can imagine, in a holiday destination like this there are plenty of hotels and resorts receiving customers. Club Med was very easily spotted and their man took us under his wings with a warm greeting, guiding us to the van that was waiting for us to bring us to the 20 minutes away resort. Where we received another warm reception accompanied by a fruit drink, from Jeremie and the one NZ G.O. of the team – G.O meaning “Gentle Organizer”. Guests are referred to as G.M.’s – Gentle Members. Check in was a breeze and we were guided to our rooms with some nice conversation about the resort. The rooms were still as we knew them – we have been here before 5 years ago – not spectacular, small but good. And then Club Med is not about the rooms but about what is on the outside – a great, lush area on...
Mobile In-App Support – A brief Overview

Mobile In-App Support – A brief Overview

In a mobile world, where the smartphone has become the command center of our lives support needs to be offered from directly inside the app, using in-app messaging. This way the advantages of being able to send relevant contextual information about the state of the app to the service agent and the ability to engage in a service conversation via a conversational UI can get brought to full advantage. The user is identified, relevant information has been gathered, which the service agent can use right away. This leads to capabilities that a genuine mobile in-app support system needs to have on top of generic help center functionality: In-App FAQ that gets pushed out to the phone and is available in an offline scenario Collation of meta data about the phone, user and the incident that created the support call, along with the ability to send that to the customer service center In-App messaging/conversational UI in combination with push notifications Automation to properly route incoming issues and to increase the issue resolution efficiency An ability to integrate into CRM- or other systems An ability to selectively and proactively engage with users, to e.g. support onboarding or push notifications about special situations to relevant parts of the user community. It is possible to find vendors that deliver parts or all of this in order to deliver a mobile service experience. Platforms like G2Crowd, but also traditional analyst companies like Forrester and Gartner give some leads. Gartner lists Salesforce, Pegasystems, Oracle, Microsoft, Zendesk as leaders in customer engagement centers, with SAP being the only Challenger and Lithium the only Visionary. None of...
eCommerce is Dead! Long live iCommerce!

eCommerce is Dead! Long live iCommerce!

My new column article on how to take advantage of AI and MachineLearning in eCommerce is live on CustomerThink. It gives you background and actionable information, answering pressing questions like ‘Where does AI come into the picture’? Not wanting to spoil, here a little hint: There is far more than merely product recommendations. But read for...
Tenacity – Improving Customer Experience by bettering Employee Experience

Tenacity – Improving Customer Experience by bettering Employee Experience

Following some of my posts on AI in customer service environments I got contacted by Daniel Doctor from Tenacity who invited me for a chat with Ron Davis, the founder and CEO of the company. Which I had. And it was an interesting conversation. In my articles I spent a lot of time focusing on how AI, machine learning and chatbots can help improving both, the customers’ and the service agents’ experiences by making sure that all relevant data is collated and available, reducing wait times for customers, being able to already suggest good solutions to both, customers and agents, and so on. The objective is at all times to have the customer get a good solution as frictionless as possible and to enable the service agent to concentrate on the hard jobs. The idea behind this approach is that it reduces customer irritation by having the answer faster and improves the agent situation by making the work more attractive. After all, who of us loves dull, boring and repetitive work. Not many, I bet – certainly not I. Of course, this is only half of the truth. Service agents, like all employees also react strongly on who they work with, who they work for, whether they have the right tools at hand to get their job done, how their stress levels are, whether their private lives are untroubled, whether they have enough sleep, and so on. Additionally, the more interesting situation of the dull jobs being taken care of by the machine creates stress, as the customers tend to already have an elevated level of frustration that was...
Content Management Systems – The Secret of Great CustServ

Content Management Systems – The Secret of Great CustServ

Today’s customer service requirements are getting ever more complicated for businesses. Customers encountering problems increasingly rely on self-help. Customers may start looking for solutions by searching on Google, on community sites, or inside a mobile app. A logical starting point depends on the device and application, as well as personal preferences. The bottom line is: customers want to get to their solution as quickly and easily as possible, and they do not want to change their habits and preferences in order to reach support. Many companies run several customer service applications that support different channels, each with a separate knowledge base (KB) subsystem. These may include a support application for an ecommerce site, some general help pages on the company web site, and FAQs on a mobile application. For internal purposes, there might even be an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system with information for contact agents to use but that are not published externally. Of course the normal situation for a service agent is to work on more than one channel. This means that depending on the nature of the inquiry, agents need to use and update multiple knowledge bases. This results in additional, redundant work and information. Furthermore, information gets easily out of sync—resulting in confusion. Similarly, customers need to navigate through different knowledge bases and FAQs. Apart from being highly inefficient and ineffective, this has an impact on both employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction. It leads to frustration because customers who do not find their solution need to relay the same information multiple times, and they could be put on hold while the agents research different databases,...