It’s Time to Get Emotional About Customer Experience
Last week the Bold360 team headed out to the Forrester CX conference in San Francisco where the CEO of Forrester, George Colony, had me reaching for my resume when he told attendees that we are all slowly going out of business.
He went on to explain that those empowered consumers we often talk about – millennials with their smart phones and high expectations of service – are “behaviorally difficult to predict,” especially at scale. Successful businesses will bring the customer experience and artificial intelligence (chatbots and the like) together to create an emotional connection with customers – one that will draw them in and keep them loyal for years to come.
But the question remains – how can we rely on an emotional connection, when much of our experiences are going to be driven by bots? I’m the first to admit that it can feel a bit counter-intuitive, but AI really can help us create that connection that customers are demanding. Here’s how:
- By paving the way for proactive support. Companies have a goldmine of data on their customers – but most don’t know how to use it effectively. By infusing AI into the customer experience, we can harness the power of that data to create rich profiles of our customers. These profiles can then help both the agents and bots anticipate the customer’s need, helping to create a better, more personalized experience.
- By making time for human connections. Most customers simply want their question answered or problem solved quickly and don’t necessarily care if they are talking to a human or a chatbot. When implemented intelligently, AI can be a great first line of defense to quickly help solve less complex, frequently asked questions. Think: “how do I change my password” or “what’s my account balance?”. AI enables us to quickly meet the needs of the customer – lessening the burden of the contact center – and reserving more time for agents to have conversations that require a deeper, more empathetic dialogue.
- By helping agents go above and beyond. AI is a great solution to help agents recommend the next best action to take. Whether that’s helping them solve the issue at hand, upsell customers on another product they might like, or as noted above, proactively begin providing service. By helping agents truly understand their customers – and provide little nudges on what the best way to serve them may be – AI is helping brands create the “wow” moments that build long-term customer loyalty.
As we move into this next generation of customer engagement, technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and the like are going to play a bigger and bigger role in the customer experience. Ultimately, the role of technology – whether legacy or emerging – is to help foster deeper, more meaningful customer relationships. And we need to look at technology decisions through that lens. The emotional tone of brand interactions is indiscernible when we bake empathy into our digital experiences. In doing so, we dispel the myth that these experiences are less emotional than physical ones and hopefully ward off “going out of business” sales.
For the foreseeable future, we are all still in business. It just may be that our roles and priorities are changing.