The future is here, are we?
The largest transformational lifestyle changes we are experiencing are related to huge advances in data communications and storage technologies. Come to think about it: it is much easier to search today than memorize - we find ourselves memorizing search queries instead of what we are looking for. Even worse, we have to weed out the noise out of the overwhelming amount of information surrounding us, cope with communication overload, and prioritize.
Most importantly, though, it becomes harder and harder to find time for anything.
Where are our customers?
Not surprisingly, they still care about the things they cared about yesterday and the day before, for example:
- 78% still voice “takes too long to resolve my issue” as the top reason of their frustration (survey by [24/7])
- 39% still frustrated about not being able to get through to talk to a real person (survey by Nuance)
- Ultimately, across generations 32-46% don’t want to waste their time (Nuance survey)
Interestingly, the patience is still there: we still don’t expect our replies to SMS notifications to reach anybody or even anything, for example. The future technology is not making much of a dent in raising our expectation? Or is it?
Amazon is raising that bar, and more people shop there (Prime subscriptions are at 40 mil in 2015), among other things, because of using the technology to make contacting them easier: they don’t use IVR and you don’t even have to dial their number, to mention just two.
Future tech to raise the bar today
So, can technology help us improve the customer experience today?
Amazon is offering an e-mail, chat and phone callback from a logged-in user profile and a specific order screen, effectively having the full knowledge of who is contacting them, and their reason even before the interaction is initiated. We at Bright Pattern also believe that a customer is entitled to any combination of text, voice and video, as well as picture exchange during a conversation.
What else? Start accepting texts - the privacy of text communication allows people to have a customer care contact while waiting in public, e.g. on a train, carving some productive time from an everyday commute.
Accept text from anywhere - when connecting via SMS, social messengers, or from a mobile app people don’t have to wait for a representative, they can get back to their life, and get alerted when an agent is ready. They could send a picture of an issue, or a document instead of trying to describe what they see, or hunting for a fax machine. They could get identified faster, by mobile number, messenger username, or a mobile app profile. They can send their location at any time by pushing a button.
Perhaps the easiest way to enable rich communications without asking customers to install a mobile app is using a social messenger that is already installed on their phone - this is why we, at Bright Pattern are working to support all of them in our cloud contact center software system.
And yes, you can respond to those SMS notification replies too - and exceed your customer expectations today, so they would expect more the next time, forcing your competitors to scramble keeping up.