Much has been written about how omnichannel engagement platforms that include live chat and AI-powered chatbots can improve both the customer experience (CX) and the employee experience of customer service agents. While companies across all industries have begun adopting these solutions, the benefits of tracking and optimizing the customer journey have largely been contained to the marketing and customer service departments. Although these departments get the most face-time with customers, this same data is vital for making strategic business decisions across the company and needs to be more broadly used.
By 2020, customer experience will overtake price as a key differentiator for consumers. Today’s consumers are no longer just comparing experiences across competitors, but against the best experiences they’ve ever had. Customers today have more options within easy reach, and the first step to securing customer loyalty—and, in turn, increasing revenue—is understanding how they prefer to interact and harnessing data from those interactions.
Customer Data in the C-Suite
It’s time for senior business leaders to take advantage of the insights gathered from the tools that support CX to inform and help meet overall business goals. Customers are the heart of a business and their feedback is a direct indicator of the organization’s health. Customer feedback shouldn’t just inform how CX platforms are run; it can also lead to changes that reverberate throughout other departments. For instance, understanding where potential customers experience frustrations along the customer journey is critical to deciding what changes need to be made to a product or service.
Live chat, which can be used to manage conversations on any digital channel including social media, texting and email, can help brands engage with customers they’re not currently hearing from through more traditional channels like phone and IVR (Interactive Voice Response). Customers who are native Instagram and Twitter users will not—in most brands’ experiences—pick up the phone to talk to a customer service representative but might reach out if they have a digital option. But while reaching a broader subset of customers is a step in the right direction, it isn’t enough on its own. The data gathered from all of a brand’s real-time channels, such as live chat, social media and phone, must be integrated with “anytime” data from channels such as email and self-serve knowledge bases in order to form a more complete and therefore, more useful snapshot of customer interactions.
When a higher percentage of customers reach out, a brand’s customer data becomes more statistically valid. This leads to better data-driven decisions made by business leaders about product and service offerings.
Chatbots Gather Actionable Data
Data gathered via live chat, which includes customer feedback and demographics, is one of the most effective ways for a business to get close to its customers and give the C-suite a more thorough understanding of customers’ needs. Business leaders can then ensure that the organization as a whole is better responding to customer needs, meeting sales goals and optimizing business performance.
Additionally, newer technologies like AI-powered chatbots with Natural Language Processing (NLP) have matured and can get to the heart of what customers want faster. AI-powered chatbots also help make agents smarter and more informed when they are handling customer inquiries by feeding the agents information about the customer’s last visit to the website, previous conversations with support staff or purchasing history. Armed with a full picture of the customer’s journey and previous customer service interactions, an agent can provide better and faster service.
All conversations via chat, whether with a human agent or a bot, produce data about customer interactions — for example, the time it takes to resolve the issue, whether the customer was satisfied and whether the conversation needed to be elevated to a live agent — that can also be distilled into data that the C-suite may use in its evaluation process. While this data is available from interactions with both human agents and chatbots, because an AI-powered chatbot can handle upwards of 20 to 50 percent of all conversations on its own, it can gather the data at a larger volume more efficiently.
Marketers can convey this information to C-level business leaders by showcasing exactly how using data to improve customer experience connects to overall business goals. The sooner customer-level data makes it to the C-suite, the sooner business leaders can gain a critical understanding of their target audience and make appropriate changes across the organization to efficiently respond. While day-to-day tasks might differ, ultimately, all companies are working towards the same goals of growing the business and ensuring customers are satisfied. Bringing customer-level data to the C-Suite will guarantee that the entire organization is working toward the same goal: Putting the customer first.
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