Customer service is becoming more and more unpredictable. Supply chains have been completely disrupted and shopping habits are following less predictable patterns. While customers may have been more understanding about limitations at the start of the pandemic, the “Covid” excuse of long wait times and poor responses is no longer playing well with customers, despite the fact that retailers are struggling to staff up after a year of downsizing.
Understandably, this leaves brands scrambling to keep up with shopper demands. In fact, research shows that 63% of customers will leave a company after just one poor experience and nearly two-thirds will not wait more than two minutes for assistance. With brand reputation and loyalty hanging in the balance, brands can’t afford to not invest in CX. So how can businesses directly address the unpredictability of customer service while meeting the needs of customers at every point along their journey? The answer is elasticity.
Elastic customer service is key.
Now, more than ever, it’s imperative to invest in elastic customer service. Elastic CX operations, which can expand and contract based on fluctuating market conditions, creates a more fluid, flexible business model that empowers customer service agents to meet the changing demands of both customers and the organization, no matter what is happening.
Currently, support teams are bogged down with manual, routine tasks that consume agents’ time and effort, and result in long response and resolution times that frustrate customers. Notably, 50% of customer service agents’ time is spent searching for information and performing repetitive, manual tasks, which is no longer sustainable. By embracing a more elastic customer service approach, brands can lean on empathy and technology as important tools to deliver the personalized, automated and contextualized interactions modern customers are seeking.
Happy agents mean happy customers.
Building trust with your customers can be difficult — especially after something has already gone wrong. But by empowering agents to address problems with empathy and humanity, and training them to truly listen and act on customer concerns, brands are able to communicate how much a customer truly means to them. Happy agents often do directly translate to happy customers. Making sure that agents can stay agile when facing unpredictability in the industry or the bigger marketplace is essential.
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Technology enables added elasticity.
It’s equally important to ensure that agents have all of the necessary technology at their fingertips to ensure that they can deliver a stellar and seamless customer experience. For example, artificial intelligence (AI) can play an integral role in eliminating the menial, repetitive, and time consuming tasks in favor of intelligent automations that can detect intent, collect relevant information, automate agent interactions, and route conversations based on customer data or request type. In addition, intelligent chatbots are now able to deliver contextual and personalized information that feels human, and can seamlessly hand off to agents when necessary.
By leaning into these types of tools and technology, brands have experienced sizable improvements in their customer service agent productivity. According to a recent Forrester Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) study, providing agents with a unified customer view and customizable AI-driven workflows based on real-time customer data drove a boost in agent efficiency by up to 30%. Furthermore, using AI to detect intent, determine next action, collect information, and trigger relevant workflows, organizations eliminated the overhead associated with manual triage and increased agent productivity by 50%. With the right technology agents can focus on building enduring relationships with customers and fixing complex or unexpected issues in a timely manner.
The pandemic was a wakeup call for modern customer experiences, uncovering flaws and challenges within the existing system. The unpredictability that ensued has further taxed the volatile world of customer service. Investing in more elastic customer service strategies now will help build the type of dynamic, ever-evolving customer service organizations that today’s environment demands. The more expansion and contraction your customer service operations can exercise, the more agile your agents and business can remain, even when faced with the most unpredictable of circumstances.