A customer engagement platform (CEP) optimizes all touch points throughout the customer journey. By doing so, it enables smoother interactions with more streamlined and personalized service contributing to increased satisfaction rates.
Something for everyone: The wide-reaching benefits of a Customer Service Platform
In 2015, IT research firm Gartner estimated at least half of organizations would revise their business models by 2018 to deliver superior customer experiences. The most popular specific initiatives among IT and business leaders were focused on creating more consistency across channels, capturing and integrating relevant data and feedback, and providing additional self-service capabilities on their sites and apps – in other words, all efforts that would benefit from the power of a Customer Service Platform.
The right platform is mutually beneficial to customers and the agents who help serve them. The former see more consistency and immediacy in how they interact with an organization. Meanwhile, the latter can stay engaged, since they have what they need at their fingertips, even as the number of touchpoints in the typical journey keeps growing, creating more complexity and raising the risk of exhaustion for both agent and customer.
It isn’t any single touchpoint that usually wears customers out – it’s the cumulative experience of having to jump between so many disconnected channels, often re-entering information and needing to spend significant time to get an answer. Satisfaction frequently declines over the course of journeys, despite a high likelihood of a discrete positive interaction at each step.
To keep up, agents needed more insights into new journeys spanning a huge range of possibilities. It’s now common for customers to start a purchase or begin their product research on a smartphone, and then continue it on a PC. Likewise, they might initially contact customer service via phone but then resort to chat since the wait time is so long. Such workflows benefit enormously from the power of a Customer Service Platform.
A modern Customer Service Platform can draw upon multiple data sources, applications, and services. The ubiquitous customer relationship management (CRM) software is often a key component, along with others including but not limited to:
• Omnichannel or multichannel software for reaching customers consistently on multiple platforms.
• Conversational UI (chat), including software integrating the use of chatbots to handle routine inquiries or routing.
• Self-service tools, such as knowledge bases and easy site search, to reduce workloads on agents fielding direct calls, messages, and emails.
• Marketing solutions, from email marketing to search marketing, that synthesize data into personalized offerings.
• AI platforms for analyzing users and performing tasks such as lead-scoring to help sales agents focus on the right contacts.
• Social media management platforms for automating and streamlining campaigns and interactions on major social networks and responding to customer posts on social channels.
Combining all of these capabilities within a Customer Service Platform is a proven way to gain more insight into customers, personalize their experiences, and increase loyalty. However, many organizations don’t see these benefits since they haven’t implemented platforms. For instance, while 86 percent of consumers say personalization plays a role in their purchase process, one-third of marketers say they can’t personalize messages.
Customer Service Platform implementation doesn’t have to be difficult, and there are plenty of resources for making it practicals. The actual problem often lies in not recognizing, at an early stage, the real benefits of a Customer Service Platform to address recurring problems in engagement, resulting in preventable lost opportunities.
How to know if the time’s right for a Customer Service Platform
We’ve put together this checklist of symptoms that might indicate the need for a Customer Service Platform. Let’s take a look at these common warning signs:
1. You don’t have a 360-degree view of the customer
A comprehensive picture of the customer remains elusive for many organizations, hobbling their efforts to cross-sell products and meet expectations. A 360-degree view requires full visibility into why and how a customer got in touch in the past, the results of those interactions, and how they felt about experiences.
One way to think of the 360-degree view is as a combination of hard and soft data. You’ll want factual records of their interactions (hard data) along with supporting materials like agent notes on how they sounded and how fast they were speaking (soft data). Unfortunately, the sources containing this information are often siloed and the data itself is “dark,” because …
2. … you have issues with data integration and real-time analytics
Most organizations already have the data sources and systems necessary for sustaining a modern Customer Service Platform. However, they’re often kept in disparate databases or limited-access legacy systems, which hinders their overall utility.
According to a survey by Forbes Insights and Treasure Data, 47 percent of marketers said it took more than a week to know the effects of a change to the customer experience. Over half (52 percent) of respondents also said there wasn’t enough coordination between the tools they were using, and only 19 percent said they currently had robust analytics.
A well-implemented Customer Service Platform can connect separate data sources into one coherent system that provides multifaceted insights and benefits like real-time analytics , while also avoiding …
3. … lack of personalization in marketing and customer service
We mentioned earlier that many marketers feel like they can’t adequately personalize their campaigns. The inability to really understand and target specific customers or demographics shows up in other places, too, from the online shopping experience to customer service interactions.
Not making relevant product recommendations, or not immediately knowing that a customer is contacting you for the third time about the same issue, is a recipe for frustration. It’ll drive customers away and frustrate your teams. Speaking of which, be on the lookout for…
4. …exhausted agents, who regularly jump between disconnected systems
Agent attrition is a frequent byproduct of the disconnected customer experiences that thrive in the absence of a Customer Service Platform. Manual processes in particular can test agents’ patience by requiring them to perform repetitive actions during an outbound marketing campaign or waste time hunting for account details that should have been easily retrievable.
It doesn’t have to be that way. A Customer Service Platform streamlines the customer journey. Learn more about how Logic20/20’s customer engagement solutions can address your specific business challenges with the right technologies and services.