How many times while using a product have you run into an issue and the site redirects you to another website? Then you’ve had to scramble through some support database content, and a chatbot has popped up and asked you to describe your problem all over again? Finally, after much back and forth you get through to a live agent and you’re again asked to describe the issue?
Data Silos and Legacy
Companies of all types have made investments in tools and technologies to help them understand their customer events more deeply and to gain the advantages of superior customer experience. Despite this, customer support departments still struggle to get the complete picture of customer issues and behaviors at every interaction. On top of this, they do too little to empower the customer service agent with all the insights when and where they need them. Often, they have to react in real time, taking notes and capturing information, instead of proactively helping customers in a time of need.
Resolving or staying ahead of customer issues is all about having a real-time correlated engine in the backend, one which is learning from user journey clicks, errors within logs, and past interactions. It’s about finding the hidden nuggets across data sources and contextualizing them within seconds to be proactive and preventative.
In the Digital World, Why is Support Lagging Behind?
All the data exists within the tools and technologies that companies have invested in – it is just spread across support tiers, engineering, and DevOps and frequently lost during collaboration. Your service agents are the public face of the company, especially in the digital world, and first point of contact for anything going wrong. They have a huge impact on the success of your business. They need to be empowered with real-time insights.
According to Microsoft, 58 percent of consumers believe customer service affects their choice of brand, and 61 percent have gone elsewhere because of poor service. Salesforce research reveals that 84 percent of consumers believe that the experience a company delivers is as important as the products or services it offers. It has been argued that during periods of crisis, the customer support experience is even more important for ongoing trust and loyalty.
According to a 2021 IDC report, by 2023 more than 500 million digital applications and services will be developed and deployed — an explosion of apps in just two years that equals the number developed over the previous 40. Yet even with digital at the forefront of innovation, businesses lack the ability to connect product signals to customer issues.
What Does the Future Hold?
Customer support is no longer about reacting to customer complaints, passing them on to technical teams and hoping for the best. It's about making decisions, and providing advice via data-driven insights that can provide the ultimate experience to the customer. Those support organizations with their eye towards the future are looking to beef up their support operations by boosting their data and analytics capabilities, and harness predictive insights to connect more closely with their customers. This means anticipating behaviors and identifying customer issues before they face them in real time.
In the new digital landscape, agents need to be able to take ownership of the end-to-end resolution process and empathize with the customer. This starts by providing them with contextual information from the integrated tool stack to support real-time data sharing within the tools they are used to using. Visibility of success metrics is also important to track performance over time. Finally, it is vital that we ensure customer service and engineering teams are working in sync to drive cost efficiencies and productivity.
Here are two ways to get started:
- You can start by integrating your tool stack to support real-time data sharing and ensuring it has open APIs so agents can access their preferred enterprise tools for full organization-wide context on issues.
- Next, ensure customer service and engineering teams are working in sync to drive cost efficiencies and productivity.
These small steps can have a huge impact and drive competitive advantage in what is currently a rapidly changing business environment.
Somya Kapoor is CEO of TheLoops, which provides intelligent support operations for modern SaaS businesses.