In a recent session at Pegaworld iNspire, Paul Greenberg, best-selling author of CRM at the Speed of Light and The Commonwealth of Self Interest was talking with Pega’s Vice President, CRM Product Marketing, Jeff Nicholson about the future of customer service. In that session, Greenberg commented that “Customers don’t think in terms of channels.”
What, I believe, he meant by that is that while a customer may use more than one channel (phone, text, message, chat, email, social) to contact a brand to try and solve a problem or answer a question they have, they are not thinking in terms of how many channels they have used. They are thinking in terms of having a conversation to help them accomplish something.
Moreover, despite having used multiple channels, in their mind, they are having one joined-up conversation with the brand.
The reason behind this is that many customers treat and see an organization as being a single organism. Thus multiple contacts across multiple channels are part of one big conversation.
Given that, it frustrates them then when brands don’t act in the same way.
This is a problem that plagues many organizations.
NTT’s Customer Experience Benchmark Report 2020 report found that only 24.5% brands claim “good or complete consistency…..across contact channels.” That may be up from the 8% that was reported in 2017 report of the same name, but it still represents a lot of unconnected experiences for customers.
Mads Fosselius, CEO of Dixa, believes that what we are seeing is the emergence of a conversational age of customer service and that a ticketing approach is no longer cutting it.
Joseph Ansanelli, CEO of Gladly, agrees and believes that brands should, like a friend, be able to reference past conversations and purchases, and pick up the conversation seamlessly across channels.
Gladly’s research supports this with 86% of respondents to a recent survey saying that customer service agents should know about their previous interactions when switching from one channel to another. Ansanelli goes on to say that “Customers want to feel known, and as they flip across channels, and they expect brands to be able to follow suit.” Doing so he says will cement trust and brand loyalty and ultimately drive sales.
Their client results speak for themselves.
Interflora, a Dixa client, reports that after they implemented this approach, they were able to increase the number of orders processed by 10% and reduce both their abandonment rate and average wait time by 22% and 46% respectively.
Meanwhile, JOANN, a craft retailer and Gladly client, was able in the first month of its adoption of this new approach and technology to reduce their email backlog by 93% and decrease email response times by 70%.
With economic and budget conditions set to tighten over the coming months, the pressure on brands and organizations to reduce waste and improve both efficiencies and outcomes will only intensify. Taking a conversational approach to service could go a long way to helping with that.
This post was originally published on Forbes.com.