There has been a subtle change in language regarding the treatment of customers and it’s one that’s important for organisations to embrace if they want their customers to stay loyal, and their business to remain relevant. The term ‘Customer Service’ doesn’t fully reflect how businesses and customers interact in a digital economy – we need to look at ‘Customer Experience’ too.
What’s the difference?
Customer Service implies that the customer is receiving a service from another person – food being brought to a table; advice being given on a purchase; help being offered when something goes wrong.
Customer Experience on the other hand covers every touchpoint that a customer might have with your organisation – whether online or offline, physical or virtual – and can ultimately determine whether they’re likely to continue to buy from you or recommend you.
Minor irritations become massive issues
Voice recognition that doesn’t recognise your voice is pretty high on the list when it comes to a poor experience. The majority of YouTube clips illustrating this contain language that is inappropriate for LinkedIn, so let me instead offer you the following sketch about a voice-activated lift that does the job: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FFRoYhTJQQ
This lack of being understood, and inability to successfully interact with something that should make your life easier, is at the core of poor Customer Experience today. Webforms that fail; FAQ’s that don’t answer your questions; having to jump through tens of pushbutton hoops or dropdown boxes only to be placed in a queue to speak to an agent – they all add up. It’s experiences like these that put people off engaging with an organisation, and the reason why companies that get this part right are doing so well.
Behind these poor experiences sit processes that haven’t been thought through (or haven’t evolved), datasets that can’t talk to each other, and software being used purely to make the volume of requests more manageable for employees. It’s the same as being made to stand in a two-mile queue at a theme park, just less entertaining.
Customers want a frictionless experience when it comes to technology, and a rich experience when they speak to a person.
A frictionless workforce
The solution to these minor irritations as I see it is to get the processes and technology sorted, and fast. A few years ago, this would have been easier said than done. Process re-engineering and creating bespoke code to connect applications can be extremely time consuming and expensive, and figuring out how to do it whilst maintaining business as usual has given many CTO’s a headache. But not anymore.
Using Robotic Process Automation, companies can introduce, without disruption, processes that instantly connect disparate systems, massively speed up the rate at which queries can be processed, and reduce the amount of manpower required to think about code. There’s no need to rip out your existing software, and no re-training of staff required.
What about the people?
Newspapers are having a field day with stories about jobs being taken away – The Times runs a feature most weekends on how people are about to find themselves without any work to do – but in this instance I disagree. Using Robotic Process Automation makes digital interactions friction-free which creates happy customers – and happy customers spend more money and buy more often. A company with a booming business thanks to its great customer experience may find it has to employ more people to fulfil product demand, or create new service lines.
This also doesn’t mean that everyone in the call centre has to go, what it does mean is that the people that the company employ are focusing on real value add, not calming down frustrated customers. So when a customer does reach an agent, they have done so not because they’re attempting to go around the system, but because they need something that only a person can deliver – real customer service.
Thoughtonomy’s Robotic Process Automation and Virtual Workforce can deliver happier customers, smoother workflow and a more productive workforce. To book a demo, click here. To discuss what difference Robotic Process Automation could make to your business, get in touch.
Dean Chapman, Commercial Director