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Highlights of CX Summit

...and Global Best Practice Outsource.

A few months ago, one of our service tech partners, Zendesk, held a Future of CX summit. It was an outstanding day of quality CEO and Exec speakers, who shared their CX stories both good and bad.

Lewis Pullen, one of our principal consultants, attended the day and we thought we would share some of his key takeouts.

CX Research

The CX insights came from Mike Barnes, the VP of Research at Forrester. They surveyed over 9,000 online consumers over the age of 18 in 2017 and found that ‘CX had hit a wall” in Australia; 75% of consumers are just ‘okay’ with their customer experience and this had not improved from 2016. Only 17% rated their experience as good and zero per cent excellent. So much for the Jim Collins notion of ‘good to great’.

Interestingly, 68% of firms had an aspiration of leading in CX in their category, yet only 17% of their consumers rated them well. More worrying is that Customers are four times more likely to leave a service interaction disloyal than loyal. (Harvard Business Review)

This was supported by a recent letter by Jeff Bezos to his shareholders “One thing I love about customers is that they are divinely discontent. Their expectations are never static. I see that cycle of improvement happening at a faster rate than ever before.”

CX Good to Great

The CEO of Zendesk, Mikkel Svane describes "Great as being the company your customers want you to be". He believes that the three things that brands must deliver to become great are:

  1. Do not lose the thread,

  2. Do what you say you will do, and

  3. Be ahead of the customer

Don’t lose the thread

Probably the most frustrating contact centre experience is repeating yourself every time you are passed on to another agent in another department. Sometimes you must repeat your account or membership number, even when the IVR has asked you to pre-enter this from your phone keypad. My record is seven handoffs from a leading Australian telco and seven repeated explanations. Can you imagine what the omni-channel experience would have been if they can’t connect the thread in one voice channel?

Robert Glennon, Group Director of CX at MyRepublic (6th largest telco on the NBN in Australia) helped me understand why it is so hard. Although not the size of some of the majors, MyRepublic have some 600 systems that they are trying to reduce to 60. These systems were designed to support the operation, not the customer.

They have partnered with Zendesk, as the platform has its own operational CRM. This avoids the need for full integration into their legacy back-end systems to deliver this improved customer experience

Using Zendesk, they can tag and hand over the call, overcoming “Channel and Episode amnesia”. They know if their customer’s service has been disrupted or a customer has already made multiple calls without resolution. The call is then re-routed to the front of a queue and to their best-performing agents (skills-based routing). This simple strategy has improved first call resolution by 50% and reduced cost to serve by 72%.

The benefits are clear. It can cost MyRepublic $60/$70 to solve a complex problem over the phone, compared the $20 for a simple enquiry. In addition to cost to service improvement, there are the additional longer benefits from improved NPS.

MyRepublic’s service ambition is to get down to one call per customer a year. Given 73% of customers don’t want to phone in with an issue (Zendesk research 2018), this goal makes sense. The key will be self-service and digital engagement through Webchat and messaging.

"In my view this is an opportunity for offshore contact centres, as voice becomes less of a sensitivity when servicing customers via web-chat, messaging and other digital channels. CCI, our partner in South Africa, has developed significant capability in this area, with experienced voice agents now able to multi-task and manage webchat and messaging."

Self-service and answer bots

Both Bingle and are seeing good results from both self-service and answer bots. According to Gartner and Forrester research, 75% of customers prefer self-service and this can reduce serving costs by more than 25%. Both have invested in online ‘guides’ powered by answer bots for first stage resolution. Since launch, Bingle’s answer bot has handled 15,200 enquires with a 12.2% UCTR (Unique Click Through Rate). If manual intervention is required the agent will then update the bot post call resolution. Customer satisfaction with the answer bot has been 89% (from a 25% response rate)

The trial has seen 3,100 attempts with 241 resolutions and a UCTR 18.8%. They are seeing more engagement with answer bots every month.

This is a good example of the Bridge’s Triple play of customer, cost and culture. Using technology to improve the experience, at a lower cost, while engaging the agents in the problem-solving process and building a customer first culture. CCI are also using their agents feedback to configure and optimize the chat bots.

The Group Head of Afterpay talked about the next generation’s expectations of self service via mobile. They want to be in total control, but also speak to an agent/person when they choose. Afterpay see themselves as a retail enablement company combined with a great service company and are using Zendesk to respond rapidly to their customers in the channel they choice and enabling them to scale rapidly.

Be ahead of the Customer

Zendesk believes that the “next generation of customer experience will be enabling proactive and predictive engagement so companies can get ahead of their customers’ needs and questions.” Clearly this will need to be enabled by machine learning.

The food brand, Freshly, are testing the new Zendesk ‘Connect’ service, which sends an email to their customers who have cancelled their subscription asking for feedback on how they can improve the service. In the first month of the pilot, this generated 130 new follow up conversations. These conversations are teaching Freshly that people with dietary concerns benefit from getting more nutritional information earlier in their customer journey. Interestingly, 58% of total conversations are not about the cost of meals. The feedback from these conversations are helping Freshly shape their offering to provide proactive support and reduce churn.

The Future of CX

What is the future of Customer Experience? There were two great references from PWC’s CX survey in 2017/2018.

The first shows the importance of the service to the customer verses their level of satisfaction. There is a gap across all industries and in the brand's leadership view of the CX they are delivering to the market and how they are performing in the minds of their customers.

Finally, people are still critical despite the growth in self-service. In the same survey, bad employee attitude and unfriendly service were still the top two factors that drive customers to churn.

In our experience of South Africa, offshore contact centres are staffed with people who really want the job, want to learn, perform and solve customer issues.

It is not seen as a temporary or fill-in role, but as a career opportunity. With the growth of the BPO industry in this country, the contact centre agents can see the pathway into leadership positions, which is further motivation to deliver exceptional customer service, whether this be online or offline.

Global Best practice outsourcing and BPO

If you would like to understand more about the South African omni-channel contact centre option please contact us.

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