Customer Service Is No Longer Just A Phone Call Away In The Digital Age

Chuck Koskovich, Chief Operations Officer, TELUS International

Chuck Koskovich, Chief Operations Officer, TELUS International

According to Walker, by 2020, customer experience (CX) will surpass both price and product as the key differentiator, becoming the primary point of competition between brands in a crowded marketplace. In fact, looking back a decade to 2010, only 36 percent of brands said CX was their main point of competition, while today’s number has sky-rocketed to 89 percent.

The heightened importance of CX has led many of today’s brands to rethink their approach to customer service delivery, prioritizing a mobile-first approach, personalization, and omnichannel experience to attract and retain customers. However, some are encountering difficulties creating and executing enhanced CX strategies due to their reticence or inability to undertake the necessary digital transformation and move away from aging platforms, outdated technologies, and antiquated processes.

Telcos are Ripe for Innovation in the Digital Age

Due to the inherent nature of their business models, customer interactions, and large legacy portfolios of voice customer support, telcos have a significant opportunity with respect to the adoption of digital services to enhance their CX. By investing in advanced analytics to deliver actionable customer insights, robotic process automation (RPA) to automate standardized processes, and chatbots to handle routine inquiries, telcos have the ability to stand out amongst their industry peers.

Additionally, artificial intelligence (AI) can be leveraged to support their customer service agents better. According to the 2019 CCW Market Study: Contact Center Success in the Automation Age, two of the top five priorities for today’s CX teams are: coaching agents on making “connections” with customers and improving the agent desktop/dashboard experience.

Traditional CX Strategies are Falling Short

The differences between CX strategies that have

embraced digital and those that have not are becoming increasingly apparent. Where traditional models are typically characterized by:

● Siloed data across channels;

● Manual handling of data entry and status updates

● All enquiries being handled by agents regardless of complexity

● The need for agents to toggle between multiple screens on their desktop.

In a next-gen digital model, they are characterized by:

● Integrated data and omnichannel interactions

● RPA bots handling routine work

● Cognitive bots handling low- and medium-complexity queries

● Desktop automation eliminating the need for screen switching and robots assisting agents in selecting the best course of action.

Collectively, these digital innovations reduce effort and result in happier agents and happier customers who want to remain engaged with a brand.

Digital Transformation Drives Business Benefits

The benefits of a digital customer experience (DX) model extend far beyond driving exponential customer and employee satisfaction. A successful DX, whether executed internally or with the support of a trusted vendor, also drives tangible business results.

As an example, at TELUS International, we recently built a cognitive bot to help our telco client intercept repetitive support queries on chat and provide appropriate fixes by drawing information from a comprehensive knowledge base repository that we also developed. This resulted in 45 percent of all support requests being handled by the bot and a 24 percent reduction in call volume to live agents, which drove operational efficiencies and reduced their costs.

The Same, But Different

At the end of the day, we have the same challenges to address today as we did ten years ago - minimize customer effort to provide the best customer experience to drive customer loyalty. The difference is that today, we are leveraging next-gen technology to deliver the highly-coveted personalized, anticipatory, and seamless customer experiences that customers have come to expect in the digital age.

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