Originally posted on TechTarget
Customer experience innovation tries to evolve quickly enough to meet the continuously changing needs of the consumer. So how can back-end systems help improve the customer experience?A service center and its agents are the backbone of customer support. Consumers continue to have evolving expectations, and customer experience innovation needs to change to meet them. As their needs evolve, communication channels have proliferated, putting additional pressure on companies to provide a seamless customer experience.
But according to recent survey data, companies may not be taking full advantage of the technology tools available to create a seamless customer experience, particularly as customers traverse multiple communication channels -- from company websites to social media to email to phone.
In the Bluewolf Customer Service Quiz, more than half of survey respondents said they do not use Service Cloud for customer service management -- and the majority that use Service Cloud don't use it to its full capabilities. Whether your company currently uses Service Cloud or another platform, here are some suggestions on how to be a customer service innovator, and how to get the most out of Service Cloud.
1. A single interface is key to successful customer serviceOne key obstacle for customer service reps in handling customer information is having to toggle between multiple applications to get a full view of a customer's problem. A single-user interface makes agents more efficient and prevents wasted time logging into and toggling between different systems. Most of the Bluewolf survey respondents are moving toward single-system case management and more than 65% of survey respondents already use one to three systems to manage a customer service database.
A tip for Service Cloud customers is to use the Lightning Service Console, which allows agents to manage all customer interactions -- that are generated from chat, social media, email and more -- in a single-user interface.
2. Embrace an omnichannel case management philosophyCompanies that use omnichannel case management create a consistent experience for customers regardless of their communication device or channel. So any member of the company can record and see customer interactions on a unified contact record, regardless of the customer's original contact channel. Despite these benefits, only 25% of survey respondents classified their case management process as omnichannel, and 75% store customer service information in multiple, disconnected systems.
As a tip for Service Cloud customers, they should rely on tools such as Salesforce Case Feed or Omni-Channel to help the company manage multiple channels in a single location. Case Feed allows agents to view all interactions related to an individual case in a single view. Omni-Channel enables managers to automatically assign cases to agents based on an agent's listed expertise, priority of cases, or agent's presence, reducing the amount of time cases are sitting idle in a queue.
3. Have an escalation process that can be improvedWith improved clarity and an automated system, the time it takes to answer questions or research escalation could be spent elsewhere.A defined and automated system will improve case management accuracy. To get this off the ground, organizations must first define how cases should be routed to agents, how often agents interact with cases and how agents know when to escalate a case. By setting up service-level agreements and escalations, the cases can then be auto-assigned or escalated based on designated timelines. The best customer service organizations use automation to program cases to pop back into queues when open and route escalated cases based on agent experience and availability.
More than 40% of respondents don't understand the full escalation process at their organization and need to ask a team member or manager before moving forward. Similarly, over 70% of survey respondents employ some sort of manual process to determine when and how to escalate a case, rather than having an automated process. With improved clarity and an automated system, the time it takes to answer questions or research escalation could be spent elsewhere.
As a tip for Service Cloud customers, use Entitlements and Case Milestones in Service Cloud. With Entitlements, you can easily verify whether customers are eligible for support, create and maintain service contracts for customers, and enforce service levels with automated processes that instruct agents on how to resolve cases. Case Milestones allow you to define critical steps in the service process and create alerts for deadlines throughout -- ultimately giving agents insight into what your organization expects of their resolution process.
4. Define knowledge and make it accessible in one placeCustomer service team representatives are inundated with requests every day and need to be able to quickly answer any questions that arise. Relevant and easily accessible knowledge -- via a repository of articles, sometimes known as a knowledge base -- makes their job easier. More than 55% of survey respondents said that their agents currently have to sift through several sources when looking for information about products. Less than 20% have agent knowledge consolidated in one source.
With a single knowledge database, as agents use knowledge, edit it and improve it, the idea is to track success and bring the best knowledge to the top. Ensure agents can attach articles to each case, rate the articles and see which articles are being used the most.
As a tip for Service Cloud customers, Salesforce Knowledge now allows users to access knowledge through a single interface without bringing every content repository into the platform. Structure this matrix to include the location of all knowledge articles, who owns each article, whether it is internal or external, and the knowledge type, all of which becomes the basis for future enhancements.
5. Ensure data quality and controlThe best companies invest in an automated process that continuously checks data quality and alerts customer service managers to potential problems. This allows teams to customize rules for data quality management that suit their needs as well as run reports and be notified of errors themselves instead of relying on IT.
Data quality continues to be one of the biggest obstacles across the board. While 76% of companies struggle with integration and data quality, only 25% of our respondents are using an automated process to ensure data quality.
As a tip for Service Cloud Customers, you do not have to start your data quality monitoring system from scratch. Depending on the complexity of your needs, there are services, from free data quality analysis dashboards on the Salesforce AppExchange to full-featured master data management solutions from consultancies like Informatica, that integrate with Service Cloud.
At the heart of customer experience is frictionless, seamless interaction. While customer experience can be fragmented or cohesive, that experience is often based on how well integrated back-end systems are with one another and how well this integration yields a comprehensive picture of customers. Tools like Service Cloud, if used deftly, can bring this consolidated view to service agents.
Originally posted by SearchCRM
Contact Center agents can better approximate on omnichannel customer experience with the right tools, such as a single user interface for customer information.
For companies today, omnichannel customer service has become a must-have. Companies need to be able to reach customers wherever they happen to be -- whether that’s on a mobile phone, on a company website or on social media. These communication channels have proliferated, which has made the task more challenging, but no less important.
The goal of omnichannel customer service is to give customers access to seamless, high-quality service, regardless of their communication channel. For companies to achieve this kind of customer experience, however, they need new tools that consolidate information, particularly for agents, so they can have a 360-degree view of customers.
Today's customers rely on emerging channels for communication, and, as a result, they have come to expect a pain-free omnichannel experience. A couple of years ago, mobile media time surpassed laptop media time. For the first time ever, Web self-service surpassed voice channels as the most widely-used channel for customer service. Plus, with smartphone usage in the U.S. nearing 80%, mobile customer service has become the new standard. No matter which industry you are in, your organization needs to plan for how customers will interact with your brand from their channel of choice.
While customer expectations continue to rise, so do those of employees. For today’s top organizations, it is clear that employee experience matters, and more companies are investing in internal improvements. In a recent Bluewolf report about Salesforce, based on survey data gathered from more than 1,500 Salesforce customers, 1/3 of companies cited an employee-facing initiative as one of their top objectives of 2016. We're seeing a renewed effort in the employee experience within all departments, from mobile-enabled sales teams to the empowered, data-driven marketer. For customer service, the biggest improvement in the agent experience is the hub for the case management process: the agent console.
If you work in customer service, ask yourself how many systems agents have to use to manage an individual case. If the answer is more than one, it's time to rethink your process. Logging into multiple systems to access information makes it more difficult for agents to do their jobs quickly and efficiently; yet consolidating multiple systems into a single system is a tall order. But just as successful, and much easier to implement, is a single user interface.
To be a successful omnichannel service provider, anyone from service, sales or marketing should be able to record and see customer interactions on a unified contact record, regardless of the customer's original contact channel. The key is to create a consistent experience -- for both the agent and the customer. From a customer's standpoint, nothing is more frustrating than having to repeat your problem to multiple service agents as your case is routed to the appropriate agent.
A single user interface (UI) is key to a successful omnichannel contact center. The top organizations take an outward-in approach, bringing all customer service information, from various systems and various channels, into a single agent console. Agents benefit by becoming more efficient; they no longer waste valuable time logging into and toggling between different systems, and new agent onboarding gets faster because new agents have to be trained on only one system. Ultimately, it speeds up the case management process, making the agent and customer experience easier, faster and more satisfying.
In my work at Bluewolf, our clients have seen great improvements in their omnichannel service management by using Salesforce Service Cloud. The new Lightning Service Console, announced at Dreamforce 2015, allows agents to manage all customers' interactions -- from chat, social media, email, among others -- in a single user interface. The tabbed environment also lets agents look at many different groupings of records, even from different systems, on one screen.
Relying on Service Cloud tools such as Case Feed or Omni-Channel will help your organization manage multiple channels in a single location. Case Feed allows agents to view all interactions related to an individual case in a single view; Omni-Channel enables managers to automatically assign cases to agents based on an agent's listed expertise, priority of cases, or agent's presence or ability, reducing the amount of time cases are sitting idle in a queue.
The primary goal of any omnichannel service organization should be to establish a consistent and single user interface. No matter the channel or type of case, agents should almost never have to log in to a different system or request information from an internal group to complete a case. Marketing, sales and service should have full visibility into one another's interactions with the customer, creating a cohesive agent and customer experience.
Don’t let omnichannel become an omnipresent problemWhile Service Cloud makes it easier to integrate all types of customer information into a single system or console, data monitoring still needs to be a priority. The top omnichannel service providers invest in an automated process that continuously checks data quality and alerts managers to potential problems. This enables customer service managers to run reports and receive notifications about errors directly, instead of relying on IT to do so and report back.
Deploying self-service tools allows managers to customize data management in two ways. First, they can customize their own rules for data quality management, such as flagging case entries without a phone number. Second, they can incorporate human tasks into the workflow, such as pausing automation to review, correct and approve data quality exceptions throughout the process.
You do not have to start your data quality monitoring system from scratch. Depending on the complexity of your needs, the Salesforce AppExchangeoffers services, from free data quality analysis dashboards to full-featured master data management solutions, like Informatica, which integrate with Service Cloud. Once robust data management structures are in place, service agents can trust in the accuracy of customer data and can take steps toward offering customers proactive, more personalized service across all channels.
If you're wondering what to prioritize, always put the projects that will have the most positive impact on the agent and customer experience at the top of the list. Some will be simple, quick wins, some will be complex and completed in phases, and some won't be discovered until the next set of projects are completed -- but any project that drives toward cleaner data, a single user interface and a 360-view of the customer is a step in the right direction. Soon, your service center will begin to realize the promise of omnichannel customer service -- happy consumers and satisfied agents.
Originally posted by Smart Customer Service
Have you found your name on a Coca-Cola bottle yet? Not long ago, the beverage giant's Share a Coke campaign highlighted 750 of the country's most popular names on their beverage containers.
To stand out from the noise, modern marketing campaigns from companies, large and small, are seeking new ways to surprise and engage customers. By bringing them unexpected value and fostering emotional connections, companies are actively creating brand loyalty and customer evangelists.
At the service level, we interact with the same customers our marketing counterparts woo every day, but the hard truth is that simply solving their problems isn't enough to surprise and engage them. How can service borrow from marketing's playbook?
Proactive Service: The Welcome IntrusionWhat always makes customers happy? Well-informed and personalized service underpinned by good data. With clean and connected data, agents can provide proactive service and take actions sooner. This is the service center's version of surprise and engage.
You might ask, "But won't we bother customers by reaching out to them unsolicited?" Research shows the opposite. Seventy-three percent of customers who received positive or pleasantly surprising incoming calls from service providers reported positive changes in their perceptions of those organizations.
But what qualifies as positive and proactive? A sales pitch thinly veiled as customer service does not qualify. There must be some immediate value to the customer. Notifying customers of a service disruption, sending the top new customer FAQs when they are most likely to need them, and acting on customer feedback (no matter the channel) are all good options.
These proactive service tactics might appear simple, but for many companies, bad data hinders effectiveness. For example, it's hard to notify customers about service outages if contact information is outdated or if it's unclear which service the customer is using. And while clean, connected data is certainly the answer, even the best companies struggle with data spoilage.
Don't Let Good Data Go Bad: A customer had a poor service interaction and is considering leaving negative feedback on a visible portal like Yelp. Then an agent contacts this customer with an up-sell or added-value offering based on data that isn't current. In this case, the incorrect assumption is that the customer is pleased with the previous service experience. The end result is that the customer will likely defect, leave the negative feedback, and even give the service agent an earful.
Good data goes bad faster than you think, but the consistent care and feeding of data can avoid these negative outcomes. To ensure the quality of service center data, the best companies invest in processes to continuously check data quality and alert managers to potential problems. Waiting for an external department to validate or enter data adds the unnecessary risk of scenarios like the above. Deploying internal self-service tools allows managers to customize data management by flagging incomplete case entries and incorporating human tasks into the workflow, like pausing automation to review, correct, and approve data quality.
Three Strategies to Improve Data Quality
Up-to-date, accessible data is key to achieving positive customer interactions, period. At Bluewolf we often find ourselves helping service centers create new data-governance programs to keep data quality high. Based on our experience, below are three strategies the best enterprises are using to build and maintain data standards:
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