Access to customer service has become more and more important to today’s consumer.
As COVID lockdowns virtually eliminated in-person service options, customers were forced to rely on traditional channels like contact centers, which left many yearning for more convenient digital experiences on modern platforms with self-service options.
For many consumers, their business is earned through convenience. According to a study by NICE inContact, over 65% of Americans prefer to have more of their brand experiences online.
“Online” has become a rather all-encompassing word in today’s digital landscape. It’s relative to the customer. For some, it means social media channels; for others, it translates to self-service options on a company website or even a mobile app.
No matter the interpretation, it’s safe to say that customers want things to be quicker, easier, and more convenient. They don’t want to have to repeat themselves after being passed from one department to another, nor do they want to be stuck on their laptop waiting in a long queue for a chat agent. Unfortunately, with many digital customer service experiences, that’s still the case.
In this final installment of our blog series on digital-first service, we’ll examine the role of hyper-convenience for both customers and agents in a digital-first service strategy and how it can help companies differentiate themselves from their competitors.
What’s convenient for a customer isn’t necessarily convenient for the company. But rather than designing processes solely for organizational efficiency, hyper-convenient service is about making everything as easy as possible for the customer, which can also help set your company apart from the rest in the process.
Automation is key to hyper-convenient service. According to the same NICE inContact study, 84% of consumers are more inclined to do business with organizations that offer self-service options. Self-service options, like looking up an order status, changing personal information, or rescheduling an appointment, are convenient ways to deliver service and leverage automation to remove friction points for customers.
Digital assistants have become more like digital concierges for customers and are increasingly popular across industries. They’re intelligent and capable of so much more than answering a handful of generic questions.
Oracle’s Digital Assistant has self-service capabilities that can help you automate service for your customers. Create a menu of digital options that leverage back-office systems like order management and asset management systems to offer convenient services. With access to so much customer data, you’re able to better understand your customers’ needs and proactively offer assistance, preventing them from having to repeat themselves during the service journey—a situation 64% of consumers say they’ve experienced when switching from self-service to a live agent.
Not only does this technology improve the customer experience, but it also reduces traffic to live agents. And even if an agent is required, the data collected through automated systems offers them context for the situation. Agents have access to valuable customer information at their fingertips, which helps them ask fewer questions and resolve customer concerns more efficiently.
Customers have come to expect a fluid transition from chatbot to live agent. According to Nice Incontact, 94% of consumers want seamless access to a customer service agent even if they use self-service, and 83% say that if they use a chatbot, they expect to switch to chat, text, or phone in the same interaction.
To accomplish this, you need be available to customers via the channels they prefer. Oracle Messaging currently allows companies to offer service through SMS, Wechat, or Messenger.
While having a presence on multiple platforms is good, however, consistency is also key. Imagine a customer is communicating with service via live chat on their laptop when they’re interrupted and have to leave the conversation. Ideally, the customer should be able to seamlessly continue the conversation with an agent via SMS, for example, in an asynchronous fashion. Thanks to these tools, customers and agents are free to communicate on flexible timelines and platforms.
It’s often easier for businesses to streamline and automate processes that operate within a distinct domain, such as sales, complaints, billing, core CRM, etc. These teams may each operate under different standards, charters, technologies, methodologies, cultures, databases, regulations, cost centers, policies, and so forth. The processes involved affect just one team and the tools they use.
While it’s perfectly rational for the business to have each department run its own operations, for the customer, it’s not. Customers don’t see (nor do they care about) departmental delineations and silos; in their mind, they’re simply dealing with the brand. When customer service experiences involve multiple departments, data silos, and complex processes, automation can become more difficult—and the service experience suffers.
Offering hyper-convenient service requires a customer-centric perspective at the core. By deliberately considering the experience from the customer’s point of view, it becomes clear where processes are disconnected and lead to friction and customer frustration. Redesigning them can uncover opportunities for automation while keeping any organizational complexity hidden from the customer.
Think about one-click ordering, or better yet, the one-click return. Imagine a single five-minute digital interaction that collects all required compliance documents from various departments. Consider the power of recommending that customers optimize their service settings by simply replying to a text or file a dispute just by taking a picture.
Hyper-convenience is a long-term, deliberate strategy that allows customers to work with service on their terms, not necessarily what the business prefers. It requires an investment in automation and accessibility to deliver successful service experiences where customers reach a resolution in minutes—if not moments.
To learn more about Oracle’s latest vision for delivering holistic brand experiences with digital-first customer service, check out the previous installments in our blog series.
Watch the replay of the Oracle Virtual Summit, “Deliver Service That Meets the Moment,” to hear the latest insights on the new digital-first customer service reality.
Looking for powerful and intelligent B2B, B2C, and field service solutions that connect relevant customer data across your organization to help you predict the need for service and deliver personalized customer experiences? See why you should choose Oracle Service over Salesforce or Zendesk.
Piers Conway comes from a strong background in digital transformation. Having spent the beginning of his career at Forrester Research helping companies adopt essential businesses practices, he transitioned to work at Amazon Labs to work on a new product, the Astro. Piers joined Oracle working under Daniel Foppen, Director of Outbound Product Management, to build and manage the digital-first service strategy.