Transforming Customer Experience: A Tech-Powered Evolution in Customer Support

Customers are the lifeblood of any business. But with today’s customers having more choice than ever before, this is putting pressure on organisations to deliver a strong customer strategy that sets them apart from their competitors. Any organisation that wants to live by a strong customer service philosophy needs to make a financial and cultural commitment to go the ‘extra mile’ for their customers. However, what constitutes good service varies from company to company.

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We spoke to a range of industry experts to get their best practices for delivering excellent customer service and to understand how technology is redefining the customer experience at every level.

First, understand the customer

Everyone knows the customer support and help desk functions of customer service, but in reality, this is just one cog in a much larger customer service wheel. “Truly great customer service can only be achieved if you put the customer at the heart of your business, ensuring clear communication that enables the business to truly get to know your customer, and vice versa,” explains Richard Sampson, CRO at Tax Systems.

"If we want to support customers, we need to build relationships with them – and this is not a one-time tick-box exercise. It is an ongoing activity that requires consistent monitoring of current situations and constant communication to determine varying needs and recognising when these need to change.”

“Getting to know your customer’s preferences and desires is crucial to maintaining satisfaction and loyalty – and can also steer the business in the direction it needs to evolve,” adds Hugh Scantlebury, CEO and Founder of Aqilla. “But, exceptional customer service goes beyond simply listening to customer needs; it’s about genuine engagement and creating a community who feels their voices are heard and respected.”

He explains that at Aqilla, the team actively and regularly listens to customer feedback and uses those thoughts and opinions to frame their updates and releases throughout the year.

“After all, our customers are the ones using our software on a daily basis. Through their observations and feedback, we can gain valuable insights into their nuanced needs and hurdles that they are facing. This helps shape product development and, if necessary, allows us to address any immediate day-to-day issues.”

The impact on industries

In today’s digital age, customer service is constantly changing as a result of technological innovation. In response, businesses across industries are keen to explore new ways to improve the customer experience.

Pavlo Khropatyy, VP, Global Head of Delivery, Financial Services & Insurance at Intellias, explains how banks are using gamification in banking apps to target customers according to their specific needs:

“Games appeal to people’s desire for fun, entertainment, simplicity, social interactions, rewards, and competition. And it’s an especially good way considering the proliferation of smart devices, the mass popularity of gaming, and the hobbies of tech-savvy millennials and Gen Zs. These digital native generations expect everything to be available via smartphones and are naturally attracted to the Gamification approach.

“This is why Gamification apps in banking is becoming a serious matter to consider and is becoming the latest and smartest technique banks are adopting to deliver the best CX experience, be connected with their customers and stay ahead of their competitors.”

The retail industry is also set to see a huge drive in personalised customer experiences in 2024. Rob Shaw, SVP and GM EMEA at Fluent Commerce, highlights: “Today’s retailers will utilise technology like AI to learn much more about consumer behaviour, likes and dislikes, informing predictive recommendations. Retailers are already spending on enhancing online experiences, making the most of channels such as social media to advertise products and services. The focus now will be how to utilise these platforms to get more ‘eyes on’, making more people want to shop with the brand.”

Technology is changing the game

Since its launch in November 2022, ChatGPT and other generative AI tools have acted as a catalyst for the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence within business processes. One department that has benefited from the utilisation of AI is customer service teams.

“Within just two years, it is estimated that 95% of interactions between brands and customers will be powered by artificial intelligence,” notes Claire Rowland, Head of Client Experience at Node4. “These changes don’t need to come at the cost of a frustrating, limited and impersonal interaction with a ‘robot’, through the offering of tailored recommendations, solutions, and incentives, businesses prove to customers that their needs are known and understood, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.”

“AI doesn’t need to be a threat to the customer service industry or put distance between businesses and customers. Embraced and utilised in the correct way, it can help us get to know our customers even better.”

“Using sophisticated AI and machine learning tools, a comprehensive workforce performance suite can make it easier to truly get to know your customer,” agrees Dave Hoekstra, Product Evangelist at Calabrio. “Through a combination of speech, text, and desktop analytics, it compiles raw data from all interactions – whether chatbots, calls, emails, texts, or tweets – to capture a comprehensive story about each customer and transforms it into actionable customer intelligence.”

In fact, recent research from Calabrio found that 20% of contact centre managers said that AI’s ability to predict and analyse customer actions and behaviours was the top benefit of utilising the technology.

Hoekstra adds, “when everything works as designed, the customer shouldn’t even notice which channel they are using, but the goal should always be to help contact centres delight their customers, regardless of which channel they choose. Making the customer feel heard and supported strengthens customer loyalty whilst also enabling the business to make data-driven decisions into how to evolve operations to keep pace with changing customer needs.”

“We encourage all businesses to examine how they could be using the latest technology to strengthen their customer,” Node4’s Rowland concludes. “The future is now, and we shouldn’t shy away from the latest developments that could put us on the path to success.”

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