May 16, 2018 | By

Successful Customer Engagement: Look Beyond the CRM

Customer service is changing. Today’s customers have expectations that previous generations couldn’t have possibly imagined. When it comes to connecting with brands – we want choice and flexibility. Phone calls and email just don’t cut it for many anymore. We want to engage with brands where we are – not where they are. Accessibility through mobile, social networks, live chat, these are all quickly becoming basic requirements and brands are struggling to keep up.

Why? Because what worked for customers yesterday, just isn’t cutting it today. This includes how brands keep tabs on customer interactions. Customer relationship management systems (CRM) were an early solution to managing customer data, but were developed to capture data from a single point in time through single channel (phone). And while, over time, these systems have done their best to evolve, alone they still fall short in delivering the immediate and personalized service customers have come to expect.

Most customers today don’t want to be anonymous or tied to a phone number or product serial number. They expect the companies they do business with to know who they are, the product or services they have, their history with the brand, and the context of the interactions they’ve had leading up to the moment they get to a live agent. Having to repeated the details of the issue or query as it is escalated to various resources and departments is annoying at best and at worst has become a deal-breaker. While CRMs have helped reduce this pain point to some degree – they haven’t been able to eliminate it. Context around each interaction is often missing and data from various channel engagements often live in separate systems.

With customer expectations rising at a rapid pace, the need to modernize the customer experience is becoming a board room conversation. Forrester, recently referred to this as The Second Coming of Digital-First Customer Service Solutions. This updated approach to customer engagement leverages the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to help brands focus on providing customers the right content at the right time and through the right channel. Drawing on historical information and connecting intent, these AI-fueled engagement systems empower customers to self-serve where appropriate through chatbot assistants as well as help live agents by providing real-time context around an interaction.

No matter the channel, AI connects data that was once siloed in disparate systems (or hidden in plain sight) and stitch it together to help support teams provide personalized and efficient support. Additionally, having real-time insights into customer issues helps brands better understand customer needs, the journey they take (and where they often fall down) so they can improve products, services and the overall customer experience.

The times, they are a changing. Brands need to adapt to meet customer demands or risk becoming irrelevant. To learn more about how AI-fueled customer engagement platforms can deliver personalized interactions, no matter where your customers are, check out Forrester’s report: The Second Coming of Digital-First Customer Service Solutions.

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