The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is having massive impacts on how businesses engage with their customers. Regardless of how the crisis evolves, customers still expect to receive a high level of service that’s responsive to their needs. Effective response in a crisis requires that businesses deploy operational agility in delivering customer engagement and support. You will need the capacity to adjust your customer experience strategy and planning in order to dynamically address evolving customer needs.
Whether you get things right or not with your customer engagement and support, and no matter what COVID-19 might bring, one result will remain certain: your customers will remember for a long time, what you do now. These uncertain times place unprecedented strain on your ability to engage and support your customers, but the way forward remains unchanged. Offer them the help they need and expect, and make sure you do it quickly and in a manner that is personalized to their needs. Being helpful earns customers for life.
Redefine Customer Engagement
Because of social distancing working from home, the new normal that has impacted everyone across the United States and also the globe, your approach to the customer experience must change. Organizations should move away from physical, face-to-face channels and towards digital, self-service channels. These days, even your customers are utilizing remote, digital channels to deliver and access services. The digital transformation trend was here long before COVID-19, but the pandemic has greatly accelerated it. Here are two imperatives:
Companies must empower their employees by providing them with the tools and training they need to work effectively from home.
Companies must mobilize a rapid response in communicating with customers alike, doing so through digital channels and tools. Consistent, timely and accurate information is essential to keep individuals engaged, particularly in a crisis.
The faster you can adjust to the new normal in how you engage your customers, the faster you’ll build the trust and credibility necessary for your ongoing relevance in their lives. Customers are turning to self-service tools, in the form of chats, messaging and conversational bots, so you need to enable these tools in order to deliver great customer experience while reducing legacy dependencies on brick-and-mortar and live events that aren’t feasible in a time of social distancing.
How Chatbots help in Customer Engagement
The good news is, even during a period of physical distancing, your customers still want to interact with you, but now they’re demanding that those interactions be different. Businesses using self-service have six times greater annual improvement in lifetime customer value, seeing much higher customer satisfaction and retention rates. As much as possible, you need to empower your customers with self-service tools that are available 24/7.
For example, if your customer-facing and internal websites and applications aren’t robust enough, you can expect people to flood your call centre and human agents, who can quickly become overwhelmed. The impacts on service quality and customer churn are clear and will damage the future of your company.
As one business executive on the front lines of customer engagement recently told The Atlantic: when self-service tools aren’t sufficient, the “customer is at a point where they’re pretty angry, so the problem has gotten really intense. It takes a toll on agents” who gets treated like human punching bags. The outcome is an employee’s breakdown and a downward spiral of dissatisfied employees and frustrated customers who will escape your company.
Chatbots can help in easing the burden and prevent churn for both customers as well as employees. Chatbots quickly answer simple questions of the customer and thus divert traffic away from your overburdened agents. This is very important presently as call centres are seeing a huge volume of traffic because of COVID-19 disruption. Chatbots allow companies to put a friendly personality on the front lines 24/7 in order to quickly respond to basic questions and execute simple transactions for customers.
AI Chatbots as Human Representatives
AI Chatbots are chatbots with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning capabilities and are also known as smart chatbots. With the help of AI & ML, they become smarter and more customer-centric over time, by responding more effectively to customer inquiries and driving even better customer engagement. These smart chatbots take the workload off your human representatives, liberating your people to perform higher-functioning tasks that drive stronger engagement.
AI Chatbots can also work seamlessly across channels, escalating more complex interactions to human agents for resolution, while also providing agents with full contextual data about the interaction and even “following along” with the escalated “agent and customer” interaction in order to provide even more data and support when required. The more workload chatbots take on, particularly in doing simpler, repetitive tasks, the better your human agents perform and the more engaged your customers alike will be. In challenging times like these, where seamless “load-sharing” matters more than ever, chatbots can surely act as a perfect tool.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aashish is currently a Content writer at Martech Cube. He is an enthusiastic and avid writer. His key region of interests include covering different aspects of technology and mixing them up with layman ideologies to pan out an interesting take. His main area of interests range from medical journals to marketing arena.