At CCW Vegas 2022, the world’s largest contact center event, Bright Pattern presented an informative workshop discussing the future of customer experience technology and how to adapt technology to meet the needs of the new digital age. The workshop featured an esteemed panel of experts, including Othmar Mueller von Blumencron, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at VIP Desk, and Jessica Osborn, IT Support Services Operations Manager at Randstad. The workshop also featured insights from the audience about the various topics presented on screen. In this multi-part blog series, we recap the key points from the Bright Pattern workshop.
Topic: What’s Next with SMS, Chat, and Messengers
To start off the presentation, Ted Hunting, SVP of Marketing at Bright Pattern, presented key stats. Here are the key stats that were presented during the presentation.
- Greater efficiency is more important now with inflation
- ‘Performance Data’ and ‘Cost Related Data’ emerged as the top themes in 2022 (COPC study) – a shift from revenue focus last few years
- 95% of Customers prefer self-service but want it low-effort, fast (convenience and speed)
- Love Self-Service IVRs? Traditional IVRs are considered “Bad IVRs” with high friction and rigid long phone trees
- Conversational IVRs are considered “Good IVRs” where customers can speak freely for fast and easy resolution
- Self-service where you are on mobile devices (eg. SMS, Messengers)
Ted commented: It is interesting to see the latest COPC stat, which now shows a renewed emphasis on cost savings as revenue growth has been a top topic in recent years, perhaps due to inflation concerns. This speaks to the need for lower costs on self-service options. Customers want self-service, but it must be low-effort, fast, and easy. Traditional IVRs were mentioned. The audience was asked about how many people love their IVRs, and less than five hands went up! Traditional IVRs force the customer to go down rigid trees that take time to get to your option. This contrasts with conversational IVRs, where you can speak freely. We also discussed that dumb bots are bad self-service. The current best practice recommended by both CapGemini and Gartner is for narrowly defined bots that each perform a particular function, but can be orchestrated or used together so the user does not realize they are being routed to a particular bot (v.s. one bot that does it all and does nothing well). This would be similar to skills-based routing with the right bot for the right inquiry. We also discussed United Airlines as example where in the airport, you can scan a QR code to reschedule a flight, talk or video chat with someone in a virtual call center as opposed to waiting in a long line at the airport, or check on a bag as great self-service examples that also take advantage of the mobile trend. We then shared a video of a high effort old IVR (link here) v.s. a much easier “speak freely” conversational IVR (link here).
Jessica commented: Self-service will become more and more of the future. And a good test is to see how you like your own company’s self service, because if you don’t like it then your customers will like it even less. If it doesn’t meet your quality test, then scrap it and start over. Jessica also mentioned that you should continually look to what you can do better, such as minimize button pushes or transfers, because reducing effort in everything you present to customers is key. Think of all the steps and make little improvements to always make it easier. And once you have initial self-service use cases operational and easy for customers, make it a habit to add new ones over time. The goal is to continually improve based on what customers want to do with your guide.
Othmar commented: Self-service is fundamental, and the most important thing you can offer for every single brand. And due to inflation and the need to minimize costs, self-service is even more important in today’s world. Othmar also noted that at a recent conference, only 2 people raised their hands and said they had a great bot. Based on this, Othmar added that people shouldn’t deploy a bot or AI just to have it, but need to make sure it has the desired impact on improving CX.
Othmar noted that as a BPO to many high end brands, it is important that they eliminate unnecessary conversations. Companies need to focus on better, easier CX interactions, and companies should consider generational differences too. For instance, he noted that his son would never pick up the phone to call but would browse for self-help. The biggest and best brands like Amazon showed us initially what is possible with simple, easy self-help. Othmar noted “the best customer service is when you don’t need customer service by making it easy for your customers”. Make customer service invisible with great self-service options.
Jessica added: It’s less about budget much of the time too, however costs are still important. In her business, she noted that it is more about the customer experience and making it easy and efficient. Ted added: The easy example we all see of effective self-service is when we flew out to Vegas. Airline companies now let you change seats in their mobile app v.s. making you call and wait. Easy and simple. Almost like a visual IVR in many respects, which is also another self-service option companies should consider. A visual IVR lets you send a link and an easy-to-navigate mobile app opens for selecting options.
Jessica and Othmar both noted that it is important to look at your interactions and customer journeys and focus on certain use cases that see the most traffic. Then look from there as your first area to automate with easy, low- effort self-service. Then keep building on it over time as part of a continual improvement process.
The Full Bright Pattern “Future of CX – What’s Next?” Workshop E-book
The full recap of the Bright Pattern “Future of CX – What’s Next” is available for download. Click here to access the full ebook.