For the present-day consumer, choice is anything but an illusion. Consumers today have the world at their fingertips—or keyboards, to be more precise. Gone are the days when someone had no choice but to go to a physical store to get what they needed. Today, they can get deliveries from the Safeway down the road in just a few mouse clicks, a steak dinner for two with just one phone call, and a nice, robust red wine to go with it in just a few taps on their phone. As the options and choices for consumers continue to burgeon, the onus is on companies to step up and differentiate themselves from the field.
Our CEO, Joseph Ansanelli recently sat down with the founder of Execs In the Know, Chad McDaniel, for his podcast, Customer Driven, to talk about the growing pressure on companies to provide exceptional service, as well as:
- Why tickets and cases don’t work for the modern consumer
- What challenges companies are facing as they try to deliver world-class service
- Gladly’s approach to automation and self-service
- What the future holds for CX come 2019 and beyond
I don’t like to be called a case number, do you?
Consumers today have higher expectations that the brands and companies they buy from will know who they are. As evident from the customer service statistics in the field, they expect a personalized experience, and value that personal experience more than expedience.
“I had a monthly subscription with a company for over 10 years. They were able to get me my bill every single month. They were able to send me very targeted marketing on things I might be interested in. But as soon as I engaged with their support team, they referred to me as a case or ticket number. And that level of personalization immediately was lost. That’s the challenge (for companies), figuring out how to deliver personalized service in the context of the contact center.”
Blame the software, not the agent
Before they started Gladly, Joseph and his co-founders visited about 50 contact centers that they saw as leaders in customer service. In shadowing the agents, they realized the biggest obstacle to the seamless experience the consumer wants (and that they enjoy in their personal communications) came down to the customer service software these companies were using, and their reliance on ‘cases’ and ‘tickets’ as the organizing principle. ‘Cases’ and ‘tickets’ were a holdover from hospitals in the early 1900s, when case files were used to manage patients in hospitals, which worked because there was only just one thing to keep track of. But they don’t work when trying to keep track of the modern-day consumer, and the multiple channels they use to communicate with brands, and the personal experience they expect from the brands they buy from.
“Cases and ticketing systems, the (mindset around them) is “I have a work item, I need to route that work item to a worker. I want to track how long it took the worker to get the work done. I want to check that it’s done. And then I want to give them more work.” That’s not the way you really think about empathetic relationships. In this world that we live in today, with the Amazon effect, the way companies are going to compete is going to be on the strength of the relationship that the consumer has with them and the brand.”
Don’t make your customers the guinea pig for chatbots and self-service
For large companies especially, there’s an ever-increasing pressure around keeping the cost of operations low and increasing efficiency. For Gladly, that’s achieved by empowering agents with tools that make them more productive (such as automatically suggesting answers for agents to use to respond to customers). And when it comes to chatbots and self-service, companies need to be mindful to roll it out in a strategic, measured way that doesn’t come at the expense of your customer’s experience.
“If you’re right about half the time when suggesting an answer to an agent, they love you because you’ve just made their job that much easier half of the time. But if you’re only right 50% of the time with a customer, that’s a horrible experience. The key thing around automation, self-service, and bots is to make sure that you don’t put the burden on the end consumer while you’re figuring it out. Try to figure out how to deliver the quality (experience) to customers as the last step (in your process), (instead of) trying to tackle it as the first.”
A look into 2019 and beyond
One of the things Joseph that has noticed is the divergence in requirements between B2B and B2C support. In the coming years, he expects that divergence to widen further, spurring the birth of more companies dedicated to making the B2C support experience better (one of the big reasons Gladly was founded).
He also sees much greater expansion around the way that we use messaging services and apps. Rather than just using it as a means of communications, the next decade will see people in the US using messaging apps to conduct transactions with companies as well, and that engagement is going to have a fundamental impact on how consumers engage.
Hear this and more in the Customer Driven podcast featuring Joseph Ansanelli and Chad McDaniel.
Gladly is reinventing the customer service to put the customer back at the center. With a customer service platform that enables B2C companies to focus on people talking to people throughout a lifetime of naturally productive conversations, Gladly is helping brands communicate with their customers seamlessly across all channels from voice, email and messaging to chat and social media. Agents are empowered, customers feel known, and companies build love and loyalty through consistently positive experiences. Companies like JetBlue trust Gladly to help them deliver exceptional experiences and drive ongoing revenue. If you’d like to learn more about Gladly, and what we do, talk to us. We’d love to hear from you.