Last 08 February 2023, we concluded our successful webinar “Customer Engagement Strategies for APAC Leaders in 2023 and Beyond” – done in partnership with Microsoft and Whispir. Speakers Shuh Hun Tan (Commercial Business Lead at Microsoft) and Andrew Fry (Global Vice-President for Strategic Partnerships at Whispir) shared their insights on customer experience (CX) within the region, alongside our very own Allan Ong (Head of Business Development and Partnerships). Below is a summary of key points discussed during the event, as well as some additional insights around the topic of customer engagement.
The CX landscape is changing rapidly. While companies are benefitting from the growth of their customer base, the ratio of service agents to customers subsequently gets stretched. This means customers may not get the kind of service or attention that they need, when they need it. There’s also a growing mismatch between how customers want to be served and the channels that are available to these customers. This further adds to the frustration that customers feel when they are trying to resolve an issue.
The answers to these issues lie not simply in technology, but the smart application of relevant solutions at the right stages. The foundation of any CX strategy should be the customer journey map. A well-thought out map includes customer touchpoints and the channels that can best serve customers at those points. Only then should brands start thinking about how they can craft messages that are relevant and meaningful – interactions that will build brand strength and recall.
Critical to informing the design of customer conversations and interactions are the data collected from past interactions. Voice data is often difficult to leverage because in its raw form, it is unstructured and disparate. But voice AI technology can bridge that gap, enabling companies to draw insights from a wealth of data that was previously untapped. The new challenge is making sure that the right people get access to this data in a secure manner, so that customer communications can be refined and personalized.
Status – make customers feel valued, respected, and worthy of special treatment
Certainty – design communication to be clear, transparent, and working as expected
Control – prompt response, help customers feel in control of the situation and feel they are in the driver’s seat
Localization – speak or communicate in the customers’ language; create a sense of familiarity through language and tone
One key issue plaguing CX professionals these days is the fragmentation of customer journeys. This is often the result of siloed activities and a hard separation between channels. FAQs might be answered on the website or through chat or messaging apps; service or technical issues might be handled by a hotline or voice channel. A customer might come to your help site looking for assistance, only to be told that they need to call a helpline to address their issue.
What if, from the automated chat, the bot recognizes the need for a live agent and automatically connects the customer to a live agent via voice call? How delighted would that customer be? And yet customers today don’t expect that kind of seamless handoff and omni-channel communication, because companies have yet to offer that level of service. We need to be able to deliver connected conversations across channels and this starts from making sure our customer journeys are no longer fragmented. We need to join things up better with the help of smart tools.
Fry also mentioned how expectations of customers are now higher than ever. Post-pandemic, after a boom in digital transactions, expectations of immediacy, personalization, first-time resolution, and respecting consent have risen to all-time highs.
Against this backdrop, customer engagement is now even trickier. There is so much more pressure for organizations to get things right – to respond in time, through the right channels, with targeted messaging and quick resolution while respecting the customers’ preferences in terms of being contacted.
This is where technology comes in. Technology can help businesses better understand their customers, empower their employees, and optimize their operations. Solutions like voice AI-powered automation can help enterprises reach individual customers with targeted, personalized messages at scale. AI technology can empower brands to answer specific needs more efficiently or offer relevant services in a way that is secure, respectful of consent, and regulatory-compliant.
Even as new solutions are introduced into the CX toolkit, the fundamentals remain the same. Brands need to develop content that resonates with their audience, independent of specific channels or touchpoints. Doing this enables companies to continue delivering personalized experiences to customers regardless of how devices or channels evolve.
Understanding how technological solutions interface with human workers is key to long-term success. As Ong points out, companies need to leverage human-machine collaboration to increase overall productivity. Identify what machines are good at, and what people can do better – creating a customer experience that is both efficient and human.
Whether you’re a cutting-edge fintech or a well-established traditional, AI solutions should be in your future-proofing arsenal. And adopting a pre-built solution is one of the easiest ways to get started on your AI journey.