Delivering Satisfying Customer Conversations
As Vonage's latest customer engagement research shows, businesses that don't communicate well with their customers end up deeply frustrating them. Specifically, far too many companies still make the mistake of assuming one-way communications gets the job done, when a conversation is what really makes customers feel heard, valued, and appreciated.
If customers can't directly reply to a message they've received from a company, they feel like the company is talking at them. Customers often have to repeat themselves to an agent after they've already shared their problem with a chatbot or another human representative. What's more, customers can't understand why businesses don't allow them to switch communication channels while interacting with the company — for example, by moving from phone to text and back. Customers reason that people do this all the time with colleagues and friends, so why are brands lagging behind?
CX leaders know that it's possible to improve customer experience by turning communication into conversation. They create opportunities for two-way conversations by enabling responsive AI or providing customers with options to speak to human agents. CX-savvy companies also offer customers multiple channels for engagement, including chat, social media, messaging apps, and video. That way, they make it easy for customers to switch between these channels when needed, and they can keep the conversation going.
Using AI to Create a Next-Level Customer Experience
AI might sound like it would be robotic and impersonal, but it can actually create a satisfying customer experience. Businesses are deploying chatbots to serve their customers 24/7, even when their human agents are fast asleep. These digital customer service representatives can answer customers' questions, place orders, and provide assistance in real time. And when a particular request is too complex for the chatbot, it can hand that request off to a human agent who has the right expertise to handle it.
AI customer experience technology helps human representatives work smarter, too. Machine learning tools can help contact center agents find answers to customers' questions more quickly, and they can even give agents valuable contextual insights as to why customers are reaching out in the first place. AI-powered real-time sentiment analysis also flags when customers are becoming upset, helping businesses resolve customer complaints before they become full-blown frustrations.
Companies are even using AI to understand customers better by having digital helpers transcribe and analyze customer calls, recognizing patterns in customer conversations so the contact center team can improve its processes and deliver better service. They can use AI-enhanced conversational surveys to proactively ask the customer for feedback on the service they received and their feelings about the company, gaining rich insights into what they're already doing well and improving customer experience even further.
Enabling an Intuitive CX With CPaaS
CX leaders are also driving sophisticated customer conversations through communications platform as a service (CPaaS). This technology enables companies to create customizable communications using application programming interfaces (APIs) that can flexibly engage customers on their favorite channels. These APIs allow a smoother customer experience by relieving customers of burdens they often face and dread.
For example, it's not uncommon for a patient to begin a conversation with a healthcare organization using one channel — such as an app for scheduling a telehealth appointment — only to get an email later notifying them that the desired date and time are not available. To change the booking, they might have to get on the phone with a customer service representative. Without realizing it, the healthcare provider has actually forced the patient to use three separate channels just to schedule an appointment. In the process, they've also unnecessarily tasked a human contact center agent with handling a process that could be automated.
With CPaaS streamlining the path, the healthcare provider can simply send the customer an app notification that lets them know the original date is unavailable and then guides them to a calendar of available appointment dates to choose from. This CPaaS-powered experience is faster and more intuitive, respects the customer's channel preference, and reduces the volume of incoming calls.
Customer Experience Is an Everyday Priority
Improving CX begins with meaningful conversations, but too many companies commit the three no-no's that make for a bad experience: forcing customers to repeat themselves; failing to answer customer calls or let customers contact them on alternate channels when the main channel is unavailable; and struggling to engage customers according to their preferred schedule.
Nobody wins when companies fail to prioritize customer experience. The customer doesn't feel heard or respected, and the company soon finds itself at risk of customer churn. Winning businesses turn this dynamic around by celebrating customer experience every day, engaging customers in conversations, and leveraging smart technologies such as AI and CPaaS to create more intuitive and responsive experiences. By recognizing that every day is CX Day, they're making bold advancements that set themselves and their customers up for success.