Oct

Building 24x7x365 Customer Support and Online Sales... FOR FREE (Almost)

                                                             

We’ve all seen the numbers and they tell us that customers are more likely to make a purchase if they’re able to speak to a representative at the time of purchase. Study after study shows that if you can prevent even the smallest percentage of customer defection revenues and profitability can literally skyrocket as much as 80%. Just as important, the faster is your service the better is customer experience.

The same can be said for customer support. More than 70% of customers say that responsive customer support providing fast, courteous, relevant and contextual answers to their inquiries are the most important factors in determining the quality of customer service and the likelihood of that customer doing business with the company in the future.

As our world becomes even more “on-demand” and global, providing around the clock sales and customer support is quickly becoming a key differentiator. Customer’s desire to do business with companies on their own schedule and terms are driving financial growth and customer loyalty across all sectors and industries. Companies that neglect this “always on” requirement not only lose out, but need to find ways to be competitive.

Unfortunately, only the largest companies have the financial resources to deliver 24x7 customer support and sales operations. Still many of the largest companies can’t justify the expense of building out and staffing a 24 hour contact center. While outsourcing to a BPO is always an option, statistics show a diminishing return for outsource customer and sales support operations.

As customers continue to drive up the use of chat and social communications for customer support and sales, along with the incredible growth in Artificial Intelligence technology, smart companies on the forefront of customer service now have the ability to offer around the clock service for a large portion of their customers.

Think about this: While the average phone support call has previously been measured at almost 6 minutes, the average chat session lasts just 42 seconds, indicating that the vast majority of customer support issues are simple and only require limited information in order to leave a customer informed and satisfied with the interaction.

Today Artificial Intelligence can deliver a personalized, informed, and contextually relevant response to just about any question related to most customer inquiries. Add on the fact that AI actually “learns” as it interacts with people and information and the value to the customer and the vendor actually increases over time.  Wouldn’t we all like to have immediate service with zero wait times and fast, courteous response that immediately addresses our needs? I know I would.

Implementing Artificial Intelligence for customer service comes down to an application cost that, when amortized over the number of chat or social sessions it can handle, reduces customer support costs to as little as 10% of traditional contact center and agent expenses.

The one objection to relying on Artificial Intelligence in the contact center is the customer experience. There’s enough bad press out there about Chatbots and broken, robotic responses that are sometimes irrelevant that some customer support professionals are wary of any form or automation. My response to that is, while those were valid concerns; just take a look at Siri today vs. 2 years ago. The quality of responses has dramatically improved, as has the customer perception and usefulness.

What are your thoughts about Artificial Intelligence in the contact center? We’d love to hear from you.

Interested in reading more? Check out our other blogs:

Social Strategy for B2B Companies

                                                 

I am regularly approached by businesses that sell to other businesses to help them market and promote their brand on social networks.

And so I noticed that some of them have a vague idea of how social media works and the sustainability it offers. They often see social marketing as yet another way to advertise and sell their products, in the same manner they are accustomed to do on traditional marketing mediums. Not surprisingly it usually results in frustration.

While I saw companies successfully sell on social, they are typically limited to mass consumer oriented B2C verticals, such as fashion and apparel, travel and hospitality. There is a segment of online shoppers, sometimes called ‘impulse shoppers’, that makes purchases straight off the Twitter timeline, yet the majority of us go to social networks for different reasons. Certainly no one is buying an insurance policy, or a house, or a CRM solution there.

The success of social media and its importance for business is in its unique ability to build trust.

For B2B, as well as for the majority of consumer-oriented businesses, this is where the real value of social marketing lies. A more detailed discussion here

And so that means approaching social media strategically.  First know precisely why you want to engage, understand clearly how it will help you grow the business. Then, if you are convinced of social media’s importance for the success of your business, start taking practical steps.  Obviously very company is different, but here are some observations that are pretty generic:

- Plan long-term. Don’t expect results after one month. Not even after two months.

- Do not do social media just because ‘everybody’ is doing it.  When people have strategy their choice is between social tools X or Y or Z. It typically comes early in the conversation. And when people say ‘I’ll try it for a month and see if it brings results’ or ‘I want to see how my friend/my competitor is making out before deciding’ it usually indicates a lack of strategy, because it implies a choice between tool X and doing nothing. In that case, better do nothing.  

- Social media does not substitute sales. It is however one of the most efficient ways to grow sales Here is a good explaination

Social media’s importance for B2B business is increasing. More and more owners and executives are inquiring how they can succeed in the new environment. As usual, the earlier you start the better are the chances.

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Abundance of Information Often is a Liability

A massive change has occurred in the world during the last ten to twenty years. Until recently and throughout the history of mankind information was hard to access. Obtaining and sharing information was either a laborious process or impossible, and the underlying assumption was that information can never be enough.

Today, of course, we have the opposite picture. Not only information is easily available, it keeps pouring in from a growing number of sources, and we continuously find ourselves in situations when there is more information than we want or able to process.

A major task we, as species, are facing is therefore how to reduce or filter out relevant information. It is, to repeat, in direct opposition to the task we’ve been accustomed to during all previous centuries, which was how to obtain information.

Since this change took place only recently, within a lifetime of one generation, we didn’t have time to develop efficient set of procedures to address the new problem. But the work has started and will only accelerate with time.

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