Artificial intelligence (AI) is not only popular in headlines these days – but there is also an increasing number of published research papers on subjects pertaining to AI, making it an all-round hot topic. Although there is a lot of hype and anticipation about forthcoming implications, there still aren’t many everyday AI business solutions in use. What if changes were made now to apply the current technology in a smarter way?
Natural language processing (NLP) is not a new topic; however, recent advancements in AI, applied to machine learning in NLP, have not only improved accuracy but also made NLP more cost-effective. In fact, nowadays, almost any company can start utilizing text analysis to at least some extent.
Let’s consider the implications and benefits in relation to customer experience. AI with NLP can contribute in three ways:
(1) Customer insight
(3) New services
By utilizing text analytics, companies have the ability to analyze unstructured data sources, such as customer surveys and social media. This data can then be combined with existing data to provide even deeper customer insight. Text analytics brings efficiency to analysis work, but it can also be applied to something like message routing, where it would eliminate the need to perform manual tasks.
Alongside AI’s value in contributing positive benefits to customer insight and efficiency, another huge opportunity is in utilizing AI with NLP for the development of totally new product.
Ville is a founder of Helsinki Intelligence and a customer experience professional focusing on artificial intelligence and analytics solutions.
By Lauren Todorovic
Word of mouth over time can either make or break any business. If customers have a good experience, they will tell others about how you made them feel, what you did to make them feel or how satisfied they were with your product.
But if a customer has a bad experience, research tells us there’s a higher chance that they’ll tell even more people about a bad experience than a good one.
With the evolution of technology, in particular, the rise of the Internet, word of mouth has grown beyond merely talking to one another directly.
Social media, review platforms and directories, and digital media are an example of how customers have more power than ever now.
As a business, there’s one thing that everyone dreads – a customer complaint.
According to research by Esteban Kolsky, 13% of unhappy customers will share their complaint with about 15 or more people.
Whist only one 1 in 26 unhappy customers will complain directly to you. And it might seem like an outlandish idea, but that one customer is doing you a favor.
No one wants to get negative feedback about their product or service – but this can be one of the best ways to know what you need to improve and what your customers expect of you.
A customer complaint highlights a problem, whether that’s a problem with your product, employees or internal processes, and by hearing these problems directly from your customers, you can investigate and improve to prevent further complaints in the future.
In fact, research suggests that if customer’s complaints are handled in a proper and prompt manner, that customer can actually become, not only loyal but a brand advocate.
Resolving a customer complaint doesn’t just save your reputation and branding, it can actually draw in more customers.
How to handle customer complaints
Receiving a complaint is nothing you need to hide from. Yes, it can be confronting, but there is a right way of handling complaints. No business is perfect, but it’s important to show your customers (as well as potential customers) that you are trying to improve.
Some tips to keep in mind:
Listen and understand
It is always important to listen to your customers. They haven’t made their complaint about no reason – you need to understand why they have made the complaint and what it means for you.
Research shows that customers care more about a quality service than a fast response. In this case, you should take the time to listen and understand the problem and to come up with the best solution.
Don’t be afraid to apologize for a mistake. There’s an age-old saying in business – “the customer is always right”, and whilst this may not always be true in your eyes, it’s how you made the customer ‘feel’ is what really matters.
While some customers may want action to be taken, many are simply looking for an apology and an acknowledgment that they have been heard.
Research by The Nottingham School of Economics found that unhappy customers are more willing to forgive a company that offers an apology as opposed to being compensated.
The research showed that 45% of customers were willing to withdraw their complaint of an organization if they received an apology, while only 23% of customers withdrew their negative evaluation in return for compensation.
Find a solution
However, it’s important to keep in mind that apologizing isn’t simply enough. To ensure you do not receive a second complaint, you need to find a solution to your problem and resolve it.
As an organization, you need to band together and come up with a viable solution – how can you improve the product/service?
This may seem like it takes time, money and resources, but it will be worth it if it ensured you never hear that complaint from another customer again. By appeasing one customer complaint, you can be pleased with many more potential customers.
Follow up with the customer
Once you have apologized and implemented a solution, it’s important to give feedback to the customer in question. Let them know what changes you have made and how your business has acknowledged what their complaint was.
It’s important to follow up with customers to make sure they are satisfied with the solution.
Almost 70% of customers leave a company because they believe you don’t care about them. Following up shows you care. And this makes the customer feel important.
Once you have acknowledged the mistake, fixed the problem and followed up, you think you’re done, right?
Well not exactly, this is your opportunity to go beyond your customer’s expectations.
This could be anything from an handwritten thank you note or checking up with them in a few months to see if they are still satisfied with everything.
By doing this, the memory of whatever complaint they had about you will be a distant memory compared to the memory of how you cared for them as a customer.
By Lauren Todorovic
Customers hold the key to the success of any company. So it’s vital that for your organization to get ahead of the competition, you need to listen to your customers.
It seems that everyone knows this – and yet most organizations struggle to keep the customers at the forefront of the business.
Those who do take on such a mentality – and are scaling customer focus – are the ones who are seeing the biggest growth in the customer base and in profit.
Did you know that happy customers are five times as likely to repurchase and three times as likely to recommend a business than unhappy customers?
So how can you ensure that your organization is ahead of the bunch? There’s plenty that can be done, and some are simpler than you think. Putting the customer first doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal – but it does have to be a well thought out one.
The Six Key Ingredients
One of the most vital parts of any organization is the role of the leader. Look at a successful organization, chances are there was a strong leader at the helm of the company.
It is the responsibility of those at the very top to create a customer-centric culture. Without this kind of leadership, the chances of creating the maximum are low.
It’s a domino effect – if the leader believes in putting the customer first, then it will be followed by the lower managers and eventually all the staff in the organization.
Remember, leaders, set the tone for the organization.
Vision and Clarity
Going hand in hand with strong leadership is having a vision that is clear and simple to follow.
It needs to be specific so that everyone within the organization can easily understand the common goal.
The language that you use is crucial as it is a part of the “vision” you are trying to convey. Short simple statements are recommended.
It’s important that the vision you create is something that everyone – staff and customers – can support.
Engagement and Collaboration
While it is important to put the customer first and value their experience, you cannot ensure happy customers without a happy staff.
Employees need to engage and committed to sharing the vision you and your organization are hoping to achieve.
To truly engage your workforce, you have to understand them – what do they like about their work? What do they dislike? Get feedback from them about what they think might make the customers happier.
If staff feel like they are involved in the implementation of better customer service, they will be more engaged.
Listening and Learning
This is one of the simplest steps that so many organizations get wrong – listening to your customer and learning from what they say.
The best way to do this is by having a systematic method for monitoring and collecting customer feedback.
This process is only half done when you have collected this information – if you want to see real improvements in your customer experience, organization has to adapt to the customer.
With that collected information, really analyze what people what and how those changes and improvements can be implemented in the organization.
Alignment and Action
For an organization to succeed – all the different “parts” need to be aligned and working together.
If the organization is marching towards the same vision, and everyone knows what role they have to play, the more likely the organization to find success.
In terms of action, these are measurable steps that are taken to improve the customer experience. This requires a clear plan of what needs to be done and by who.
If everyone involved in not aligned, then you’ll find the actionable steps that are taken will be less effective.
Patience and Commitment
This is probably the most challenging step that organizations deal with – have the patience to see results.
You’ll often find that most places want a quick band-aid fix, they want to see improvements and real results overnight. But that’s not how it works.
The right customer culture cannot be done quickly and it cannot be outsourced.
Like it or not, the most successful customer-centric organizations in the world are built in an iterative fashion over a number of years.
This organisation is not rigid in their method either – it is slowly altered, practices are refined, and action becomes widespread and aspirational.
It takes all six of these “key ingredients” to truly a success in customer culture. It is imperative that all along this journey, leadership must demonstrate patience and commitment to the process and vision.
The customer journey will be reborn and start breaking the silos
By now the concept of the customer journey has already been known for quite some time. But what we are seeing based on thousands and thousands of customer engagements is that the ideology is re-emerging. Companies will also reel their KPIs and metrics to service customer journeys but also use the same ideology for innovations and service improvements as well as improving their internal well being! This said I think that the year 2019 will be the year when companies really start breaking their data silos and stop using separate systems to collect the data. A single touchpoint approach has already been living far too long. he realm of customer experience that focuses on the customer journey and sentiment as they traverse through the product/service is helping define the lifetime value of a customer. There are a tremendous opportunity and emergence of customer data platforms that go beyond the 360-degree view of a customer to enable cohorts and clusters to enable better targeting for up-sell/cross-sell.
How are we doing – the second coming of the employee experience
Many times in the hassle of trying to improve the customer experience we tend to forget that it is our own people that create those experiences. Happy employees create happy customers. And finally, this seems to be catching off! For the first time in 10 years, we can see lots of investments in measuring and improving one’s employee experience and companies are taking this matter more and more seriously.
Digital integration continues
Companies will continue to take the next steps in using integrations and automating their process also in customer experience. This is a global phenomenon and cannot be neglected in cx world. Data will move more frictionless from system to system but also e.g. tricking the surveys throughout the customer journeys and managing the entire process automatically is turning into everyday life for marketers and cx professionals.
New CX leaders will emerge
Still to hear that someone is ”A chief customer experience officer” is rare and it will still continue to be. Mainly because there are very few people on the market that actually understand through experience have to lead customer experiences on a strategic level. Now, this is of course controversy because companies are racing to bring CX to be their main strategy for competitiveness. This said, there will be more and more incompetent CX managers on the market and it will take still more time for them to gain experience. But also it warms my soul to say that there are more and more really high-level professionals among customer experience and they are moving to senior positions faster than ever!
ps. An interesting trend we are seeing inside CX leaders and managers is that they are starting to call themselves the “Journey managers” or “Journey leaders” which is furthermore emphasizing the importance of customer journeys in the field of CX.
Connecting to business results
This might sound a bit obvious but during my career, I have seen countless companies and leaders who do CX “Just because you need to” or “Because it is trendy right now”. From my perspective, I see that this phenomenon is finally declining and companies are requesting and also trying to also understand better themselves how they try to connect CX into their other business objectives. It might be as simple as bringing it together with the simple sales data and see some correlation or something a bit more complex depending on the industry. Still, for most companies in the market, there is still a lot of educating to do!
One of the best ways to harness CX data can be to link it to increased sales (NPS trend X sales trend), exposure (How much reviews are we creating?), and loyalty are as a predictor of future consumer behavior. This becomes increasingly important as promoters are extremely likely to recommend the company to others. In contrast, detractors are extremely unlikely to make recommendations and are responsible for 80% to 90% of a company’s negative word of mouth. This said I can also add that about 73% of the promoters spread positive WOM!! So in the end, the most important thing is that you ask yourself “How does this support my business goals?” and act accordingly.
The next generation of AI
Surprise! With the help of new technologies and AI, businesses are going to be able to take more action on their data – real actionable insights. Machine learning, AI, and heuristic neural networks are giving this technology the ability to combine scenarios, increase understanding, and make real-time predictive decisions but the most impact we will see when natural language processing and intelligence categorization are combined for the help data analytics. This development is still baby steps but crucial to get it right at first. If intelligent categorization does not work, it is merely impossible to move to the next step of predictive analytics.
With these, it is good to go towards the end of 2019 and full on to 2020 and rock your customer’s world even bigger and better!
Whether your business is an online store or a storefront downtown, providing excellent motivation for your staff will determine if you succeed in the long run. In today’s economy, the businesses that will survive and thrive will be those that give each and every staff a better working experience than the competition. Win that battle. Grow your sales and your business by fine-tuning your staff motivation and we all know that motivated staff works better and harder. But how do we ensure we motivate staff? Here are a few tips.
Happy work force = happy customers
Offer a great environment to work in and take care of your staff the way you anticipate that them will take care of your clients. Why would it be a good idea for them to be pleasant to clients in the event that they are getting a crude work at works themselves? Keep workers cheerful by giving what they require in terms of training (soft aptitudes and specialized knowledge) and real backing with positive messages where proper and valuable criticism where development is required.
Manager feedback and conversation
You don’t have to spend a ton of cash to make your staff feel motivated and valued. Frequently phone call from a senior director complimenting a colleague on a ‘good week’ is similarly as compelling as an offer of an training course or gift voucher. It can be as simple as weekly a message saying “thank you” for answering the employee feedback survey. You can’t be seen to pull back investing in your people. Obviously, you may need to make choices to protect the profitability of your business that may not be well known so the messages you convey are critical. We should keep on celebrating achievement, mentor individuals on particular difficulties and address any troublesome issues they confront. In big picture and in a big company this might be complicated but there are also HR survey and conversation systems to help you.
A positive attitude
It is crucial that recruitment team managers realign their desires and mull over the economic climate when setting targets and goals. While I don’t trust it is all fate and misery out there, it is unquestionably harder to convert leads into sales and there are fewer opportunities. So, team leaders must urge their staff to raise their game and offer themselves out of the credit crunch. Even when giving feedback, you can be positive and constructive.
The right tools and skills for the job
Despite whether you are working amid a credit crunch or not – staff motivation is affected by the following variables: having the ideal individual in the who is fit for doing it; preparing them to carry out the job by giving them the right tools and support and finally setting realistic targets that they know can be accomplished. We have kept on investing into sales and marketing amid these troublesome times and have launched a number of new product lines. This shows our staff that we are reacting to the difficulties of the marketplace and supporting them in every way we can.
Using temporary workers
The advantage of having temporary workers is that the clients can flex here and there relying upon their necessity. So obviously in the course of recent months, we have seen a decline sought after for temporary workers across a number of our customers. Normally organizations are likewise hesitant to permanent recruitment and are even subject to headcount freezes.
Without good staff motivation, each working experience or transaction would be a boring monotony. Breaking up someone’s day by being friendly, open and creating an atmosphere that is somewhere they will want to do wonders for their attitude, which in turn does wonder for your sales.
If you want to hear more or discuss how you can also set up goals for your staff and measure them easily and effectively let us know! Hope you guys enjoyed!