Conversational Customer Experience – Delivered by CXPaaS
“Customer experience” is a term that’s taken on a life of its own throughout the past year. At its core, it’s all about establishing relationships; and it could easily be compared to building bridges – to an archipelago with islands of single inhabitants in today’s hyper-personalized world.
But how do relationships form? Historically, it has been through conversations that resonate, add value, are meaningful and delight the participants. And this is no different in the context of customer engagement by businesses.
How does a brand appeal to someone?
Effective communication strategies suggest that we must first listen. Top sales strategies encourage that we seek to understand the intrinsic motivations and desires of customers. In addition, observational study techniques widely employed in fields such as psychology, social sciences and epidemiology, underpin marketing research and coach us to understand how and why customers behave the way they do. So, how can brands translate all of these into practice?
Tune in, get to know: We, as individuals, send “signals” all the time – at every single touchpoint with a brand, or even otherwise, in our everyday digital and physical interactions with those around us.
Businesses need technologies that allow them to simply monitor and capture these “signals,” glean insights out of those, and take action to increase their brand appeal. To make it actionable, businesses need the ability to build a first-party customer data platform (CDP) best suited to their customer engagement needs, approach and preferences.
For the technically-inclined – such a first-party CDP should be the hub in a “hub-and-spoke” data architecture specific to customer engagement. It should naturally lend to ingestion of signals, classification/aggregation, meta-data creation, segmentation and activation – all enabled through industry-standard web services and API/SDKs.
Essentially, this should host living 360-degree profiles of every customer. Effectively, the bottom line is to constantly evolve your understanding of every single customer – keep your eyes and ears open. Isn’t that how we naturally behave as humans anyway?
Make it easy to engage: Some of us often take time to smell the roses, while the rest of us are speeding through life as if we are constantly on a treadmill. Businesses should help free-up time for their customers, allowing them a few extra moments to smell the roses.
This can be achieved through easy discovery of relevant information, proactive recommendations to enable decision-making, easy sign-up/purchase, and relevant and timely communications to meet latent/signaled needs.
In a nutshell, companies should offer self-serve capabilities powered by intelligent engines (e.g., AI, NLP, predictive analytics), yet provide a seamless handoff to manual customer service if/when required. From a technology standpoint – this implies self-serve avenues infused into digital marketing/customer engagement automation and orchestration, as well as customer service offerings that support end-to-end customer journey.
Have a meaningful conversation: Humans in general are more satisfied after certain conversations than others, across all aspects of their lives.
A meaningful, value-add conversation results in higher customer satisfaction (CSAT). When a customer calls into a contact center, leveraging lightweight yet effective Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and automatically routing them to the best service agent to support (based on language, region, query topic, etc.) sets the stage for optimizing CSAT. Providing the service agent with single-pane-of-glass visibility that includes configurable aspects of a customer profile, historical conversations and insights from past engagement/transactions – helps ensure a seamless value provision to the customer.
Overall, ensuring a well-trained and emotionally intelligent workforce, and also equipping them with a state-of-the-art Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) solution, will go a long way in transforming “contact centers” into true “customer experience centers” that can consistently offer contextual, meaningful conversations that drive customer conversion, retention and loyalty.
The core lego blocks of an effective CXPaaS solution.
1) A true omni-channel CPaaS as the underpinning platform;
2) First-party CDP build capability to bridge/cut across data silos and serve as the foundational data layer for conversational CX;
3) Natively integrated, omnichannel digital marketing/customer engagement automation and orchestration facility – that enables behavioral event-triggered contextual, personalized communications based on “customer signals”;
4) A CCaaS module for efficient customer service that allows seamless switching of conversation from one communication channel to another; 5) No-code automation build capabilities (e.g., chatbots/live-chats, event triggered campaign automation, etc.).
In summary, a CXPaaS solution with the foundational building blocks cohesively integrated into a holistic solution is key to delivering a conversational customer experience – one customer at a time.
4Meet the customer where they are: As an example – while on a business’ website, it would certainly be easy to look up the closest location and schedule a service appointment using an online chat facility. If required, one might want to have the ability to text message (SMS) regarding a potential delay en route to the appointment. The conversation might lead to the customer switching from SMS to a rich-media capable communication channel (e.g., WhatsApp, Apple Business Chat, etc.) in order to better engage with the business. Provision of such a unified, omnichannel customer engagement capability – through a robust, natively secure, high-quality CPaaS technology – is a must in the current-day “experience economy”.
Conversational Customer Experience Delivered: In short, delivering a great customer experience is all about building deep personal relationships at scale, by being an attentive companion throughout the entire customer journey. Engaging in resonating conversations enabled through the four “bridges of value” (image below) will ensure a brand’s success. In my opinion, CXPaaS is the foundational technology platform that brands can leverage to design, deliver and continually optimize seamless conversational CX.