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Top 10 customer service KPIs and metrics

Faisal Sayed
Faisal Sayed
January 18, 2021

Let’s say you’ve ordered three cartons of toilet paper from Amazon. The cost: $88.77. Then you’re charged $7,455 for the delivery. Yikes! You’d think that’s not possible, but that’s exactly what happened to Barbara Carroll from Georgia, USA, as reported by USAtoday. 

It took more than two months, but Barbara finally got her amount refunded after a battle that stretched her patience thin. 

Everyone might not agree with this oft-quoted phrase, “The customer is always right!” but in this case, the customer was beyond right; she was wronged!

It is always easier to break a relationship than build it; hence why customer service is a cornerstone of every successful business.

And this is also why you should define customer service KPIs and encourage your employees to stick to them. Customer satisfaction KPIs and metrics also tell a lot about a business; they tell us how an organization conducts business with its customers.

This brings us to our topic for the day: What are customer service KPIs and how do we measure them? Let’s get into it without much further ado.

What are customer service KPIs? 

Customer service KPIs are performance indicators used by customer support or customer service teams to track, monitor, and enhance customer relations by closely monitoring every interaction point with customers to improve customer experience. 

Customer support is a discipline that thrives on human interactions. It’s necessary to have KPIs and metrics to measure how well your team performs. Elevating customer support to exceptional support is possible only when you have the numbers, and in this article, we are going to break down what you need to track to stay on top. 

Here’s a list of top 10 customer service KPIs that every business needs to know and monitor closely.

  • First Response Time (FRT)
  • First Call Resolution rate (FCR)
  • Average Handle Time (AHT)
  • Average resolution Time (ART)
  • Ticket volumes 
  • Customer churn rate
  • Customer retention rate
  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) score
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Customer Effort Score (CES)

Key performance indicators (KPIs) for customer service

First Response Time (FRT) 

First Response Time (FRT) is an indicator that shows how long your agents take to make the first response to your customers.

FRT is a critical metric to track because it is a way of acknowledging the customer. The longer the FRT, the higher the chance of customers switching channels or altogether to a different business. It also helps you see if you have enough agents to deal with the volume. 

FRTs are different for each channel. For example, a phone channel may have an FRT in seconds, while a text-based communication channel like email may have a higher FRT. Your goal is to keep your FRT as short as possible because this assures the customers that someone can look into their requirements.

Best practices: 

The industry standard for the FRT for each channel is:

Channel Good  Better Best
Phone 3 minutes or less 1 minute or less 20 seconds or less
Email 12 hours or less 4 hours or less 1 hour or less
Social media 2 hours or lee 1 hour or less 15 minutes or less
Live chat 1 hour or less 5 minutes or less 1 minute or less

Source: Zendesk, Customer experience trends report, 2020

First Contact Resolution (FCR)

First Contact Resolution is defined as your agents’ ability to resolve your customers’ query in the first interaction itself. It measures the efficiency of your team to resolve an issue in the first call. 

It is one of the most important customer service performance metrics to track. It indicates how well your agents understand your customers’ problems and resolve them in one go without needing to transfer or return the call. The higher your FCR, the happier and more satisfied your customers will be.

While FRT indicates speed, FCR indicates resourcefulness and higher satisfaction. Both are essential for providing a happy customer experience. Hence, FRT+FCR, FTW (For the Win 😉 )

Best Practices:

  • Train your agents to handle the most common scenarios, and enable them to use their skills and instincts to handle the ones that they haven’t come across
  • Provide live call scripts to handle known issues

Average Handle Time (AHT)

Average Handle Time is the total time taken for the interaction, starting from the wait time, hold time, and interaction time (or the time taken from the opening of a support email to when the agent clicks send).

Average Handle Time = (Wait time + Hold time + Interaction time) / Total number of calls/emails

Providing unbeatable customer service lies in the little details. Shaving a few seconds off the total handle time adds up to substantial time savings. The goal is to reduce the AHT over time, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of quality. As a manager, you should look for methods to optimize and streamline the existing process to reduce the overall wait time and hold time to bring down the AHT. 

Best practices:

  • Optimize routing methods to reduce the overall wait time
  • Provide training on standard hardware and software issues to enable your agents to handle them effectively
  • Build a comprehensive self-help portal to enable customers to solve their issues, like a robust KB.

Average Resolution Time (ART)

Average Resolution Time is the average time taken by agents to resolve a customer issue completely. 

Average Resolution Time (ART) = Sum of time taken to resolve each issue / total number of issues resolved

A short resolution time indicates effective support, which in turn contributes to better customer satisfaction. Every customer expects a quick and consistent support experience, and providing that in the shortest time possible will lead to higher CSAT.

Best practices:

  • Link to knowledge base articles within replies to help customers resolve their issues on their own
  • Foresee what other underlying issues may confuse your customers and provide materials to resolve the same

Ticket Volume

Ticket volume is the total number of support-related conversations in an agent’s inbox.

Tracking this metric will give you an overall idea of how many customers reach out to you on a day-to-day basis and what kind of issues they’re looking to solve. You can track this over time to check for trends and see how the product or support changes affect this number. Ideally, this number should be as low as possible; no tickets to solve indicate that your customers are not facing any issues and are happy with how the product works.

Best Practices:

  • Have a well-built KB to manage the ticket volume. 
  • Enable customers to solve little issues on their own with self-help articles

Customer churn rate

Customer churn rate is the percentage that indicates how many customers have stopped using your product/services.

Customer churn rate gives you the percentage of lost customers within a defined period. Following the churn rate is critical because, in general, it is much less expensive to retain existing customers than it is to acquire new ones.

Best practices:

For a SaaS company that targets the SMB segment, 3-5% monthly is an acceptable churn rate. Track churn trends to see what makes customers drop off and improve your product/service based on their inputs.

Customer retention rate

Customer retention rate is the percentage of customers who have continuously used your product/service over a defined period.

Customer retention rate = ((CE – CN) / CS) x 100, where
CE = no. of customers at the end of a particular period
CN = no. of new customers acquired during that period
CS = no. of customers at the beginning of that period

Customer loyalty plays a fundamental role in any business’s success as it contributes directly to your CSAT and NPS scores. Businesses should focus more on customer retention rather than acquisition. 

Churn rate and retention rates are interconnected: The higher the retention, the lower the churn rate. For example, if your churn rate is 15% over a year, that means that 85% of customers stayed with your company. Thus the retention rate is 85%. 

Best practices:

A growing retention rate is what every business should aim for. Keeping that in mind, here’s what you can do:

  • Collect feedback and fix problems
  • Acquire customers that match your product size
  • Increase product adoption through onboarding

Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT)

Customer satisfaction score is the number that says whether a customer experience was good or bad.

% of satisfied customers = (No. of customers who responded positively / Total no. of customers surveyed) x 100

You can gather this number by presenting a CSAT survey at the end of every resolution to gather customer sentiment. 

Angry customers are more vocal in general, which may tend to skew your CSAT score. Encourage your happy customers to complete the happiness survey to get an accurate measure of your CSAT score. 

Best practices:

An 80% CSAT score is considered excellent in the customer service domain. You can ask CSAT questions like:

  • How satisfied were you with our product/service? (Answers can be a slider bar on a scale of 5)
  • Were you satisfied with our product/service? (Yes/No)

Your CSAT scale can include numbers, smiley faces, colour variations like red/green to indicate sentiment, etc. 

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Net Promoter Score is the percentage of customers indicating their willingness to recommend a product/service they’ve just tried to a friend or colleague. 

This score is widely regarded as a tool to measure loyalty to a product/service/brand. The NPS helps you gauge how likely your customers are to refer you to their friends and relatives. NPS scores are calculated from questions that are targeted more towards intention rather than emotion. While CSAT focuses on customer emotion/sentiment, NPS is targeted more towards a customer’s willingness to remain loyal to your business/brand. 

Customer responses are usually categorized into:

Promoters (9-10) – They’ll continue buying from you and refer you to their contacts

Passives (7-8) – They’re satisfied customers but may not actively promote your business

Detractors (0-6) – Unsatisfied customers who negatively impact your brand through reviews/word of mouth

Best practices:

You can find out your NPS score with this key question, where users can slide their responses on a scale of 1-10: “How likely are you to recommend this product/service to a friend?”

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Customer Effort Score is a customer experience metric that measures how easy it is for a customer to do business with you. This can be determined through a CES survey, just like it is done for CSAT and NPS scores. 

It helps you understand whether your product/service is easy to use. A high CES score will have your customers complaining about how bulky your product/service is, and they may even end up churning. The CES is directly linked to customer satisfaction, and hence it is necessary to keep this metric as low as possible. 

Calculating the CES usually involves sending out a survey question just like CSAT and NPS, and customers will rate you on a scale of 1-5. 

Best practices:

Ask questions like, “How much do you agree with the following?”

  • The company’s service made it easy for me to make a purchase
  • The company’s website made shopping easy for me
  • The company’s product helped me resolve my issue easily

So why is it important to measure KPIs?

Measuring customer satisfaction metrics provide a more in-depth insight into how happy customers are when dealing with your business. Support leads can have a set of KPIs and measure them to help your team adhere to the performance standards and provide a happy customer experience.

But, tracking metrics alone won’t be of much help. It’s essential to track these metrics and derive actionable items from them to build a customer service experience that works. It is necessary to set KPIs based on every customer touchpoint to track and improve service across all these touchpoints.

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Eight core principles of customer service in 2021

Faisal Sayed
Faisal Sayed
January 18, 2021

The success of any business is governed by its underlying principles. However remarkable the product/service you offer may be, what matters is how you make your customers feel.

For example, consider that you want to learn Japanese. You could start by downloading an app that teaches you the Japanese letters and keep at it daily until you get better. Well, that’s what I did. Did that help me? Sure. But how could I have done it better?

Let’s say you enroll yourself in a professional Japanese language course where a mentor/tutor guides you by teaching you the core principles of learning a language. Before starting with the alphabet, you’d need to know the types of scripts, how many letters of the alphabet are there, and where you should start learning.

Understanding where to start is essential to achieve continuous improvement, and having in place a set of principles will help you achieve that. When it comes to customer service, this is no different. You could start with the definition of customer service and interact with customers based on that, or you could build principles and abide by them to provide your customers with that ‘wow’ moment.

Here is a set of 8 principles of customer service for your business to abide by:

  1. Be accessible
  2. Be prompt
  3. Be clear
  4. Be transparent
  5. Prioritize quality over quantity
  6. Provide the human touch
  7. Learn the ins and outs of your product/service
  8. Be ready to go the extra mile
  9. Why do you need customer service principles and practices?

Be accessible

How easy is it for your customers to reach you? 

This is the first question your customer service team should ask themselves. If your customer wants to reach you, can they do it through a channel of their choice?

Some of your customers might prefer to call you, while others may choose live chat, and a third group may prefer to email you. This does not mean that you must go out of your way to have a presence across all channels. 

CEB Global showed that customers value fast resolution over their choice of a communication channel. 

The best way to be accessible is to survey your customers and find out which is their preferred way of contacting you. This is where omnichannel support could come in handy; invest in a solution that will help you provide your customers with a holistic experience.

Be prompt

Respond to a customer, even if you can’t provide a solution immediately. It helps a customer feel valued and provides acknowledgment that someone is available to look into their problem. Promptness of response has the highest impact on both customer satisfaction and frustration. 

Can you ever think of a situation where you’ve switched from one telecom service provider to another due to a lack of acknowledgment? If yes, then you have your answer there.

The average American spends 13 hours per year and 43 days per lifetime on hold for customer service resolutions.

Customers hate to wait, and they hate it even more when you put them on hold. So if you want to improve your customer service, providing a prompt response is the right place to start. 

Response times are usually measured using metrics like:

  • First response time
  • Average response time
  • First contact resolution rate

Be clear

While response speed is important, you also need to be clear in what you communicate. Clarity is about how processable your communication is. 

When sending out a first response email, you have to ensure that your sentences are not wordy. Be as crisp as possible, and you can explain the issue at a later stage when you resolve it. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to communicate clearly:

Conciseness

Talking or typing in a concise manner isn’t easy. The less mental effort it takes to process a sentence, the better the customers’ understanding will be. The problem with detailed responses is that people tend to tune out after a specific limit, and you may have to repeat yourself to make it understandable. This ultimately leads to wasted time and effort.

Structure

If you’re sending out a response email, structure it in a way so that it’s easy to process. Address the what, the why, and the how-to. This makes it more consumable.

Analogy

When it comes to new concepts, nothing works better than an analogy. When you explain any complex or new use cases, structure it so that even a layperson can understand. While this may increase the length, it will help you ensure that customers get what you’re trying to convey.

Be transparent

You’ve ordered your food, and you’re waiting for it to arrive. The seconds are ticking by, and there’s no sign of food coming your way. 

“What the hell is taking so long?” is the worst feeling ever, especially when it comes to customer service. 

Keep your customers in the know; transparency in customer service is as important as speed. No one likes to wait, and being transparent may help you take some of that bitterness off the waiting period. 

Tell your customers what is taking so long, why it’s taking so long, and how much longer it will take for them to get a resolution. For example, when you receive a ticket, instead of just sending out an acknowledgment mail, keep sending periodic messages to indicate what you’re working on, how long you’ve been on it, and what you’re doing to get it resolved. This will reassure customers that you’re on their issue and help take the bitterness and frustration out of that waiting period.

Prioritize quality over quantity

Speed and accuracy don’t go well together most of the time. 

While speed is important to acknowledge your customers, accuracy is what will determine the quality of service. Your focus should be on how well you could resolve your customers’ issues, rather than on how many customer issues you were able to resolve. 

While quantity is important for efficiency, it should not come at the cost of quality. 

Your reps should not hurry customers off the call so that they can resolve more issues. No one likes to be dismissed, and the quality of service matters when it comes to overall customer satisfaction. Train your agents to serve your customers better even when there are multiple other issues to resolve and focus on quality rather than quantity.

Provide the human touch

No one likes to keep pressing one button after another for eternity. Keep your IVR simple so that customers can talk to an agent if they need to. While enabling your customers to serve themselves is crucial, it should not come at the cost of human interaction.

75% of customers feel it takes too long to reach a live agent – Harris Interactive

Encourage agents to show their personality in the emails they send and fill up any quiet time with small talk to help customers feel that they are getting a personalized experience. Add elements that bring a friendly face to your support teams; after all, however intelligent AI becomes, customers always prefer a human touch. 

Learn the ins and outs of your product/service

If your reps have enough knowledge about your product’s working, then there won’t be many issues that they can’t deal with. The more your agents know about your product/service, the better they’ll be at providing service for it. It is crucial that customer service reps learn and understand every nook and corner of your product so that they’re equipped enough to address customer issues. 

This will help increase speed, and your reps can answer questions with accuracy, providing an overall excellent customer experience.

Make training a key part of your customer support operations. Enable them to try out each feature, enable any integrations/add-ons so that they can address any query that comes their way. 

Customers love people that know what they’re talking about, and providing product training is one great way to help your reps build their confidence.

Be ready to go the extra mile

Always try to go above and beyond; don’t just stop with providing a solution, but go one step ahead and offer them something that would turn a support ticket into a support experience.

A small gesture that shows that you care for the customers’ needs helps cement your brand image in your customers’ minds. Seeing and serving beyond what is just needed helps elevate customer experience to a whole new level.

Learn to give customer experiences rather than solutions. Offer them something that goes beyond the expected – something that gives them the ‘wow’ factor. Personalization is one way you could achieve this; it lifts customer support into the more holistic customer experience space.

Why do you need customer service principles and practices?

Customer service is always about the customer, and it’s never about your company. The core principle that you need to stress is to be customer-centric. Principles help give a name and structure to the service you provide, and sticking to them will help you elevate customer experiences to a whole new level.

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The key elements of good customer service

Faisal Sayed
Faisal Sayed
January 18, 2021

Time for an anecdote.

7-year old Luka Apps was a longtime Lego fan, and he lost a Christmas present – a Jay ZX Lego character. Losing a toy is devastating for any child, and Luka was no exception. He bought the toy while on a shopping trip and lost it promptly as his father had predicted. 

Luka was so upset about his new toy’s loss that he wanted to write a letter to Lego explaining his predicament. 

This is what he wrote to Lego’s customer service:

Hello. My name is Luka, and I am seven years old. With all my money I got for Christmas, I bought the Ninjago kit of the Ultrasonic Raider. The number is 9449. It is really good. 

My daddy just took me to Sainsbury’s and told me to leave the people at home, but I took them, and I lost Jay ZX at the shop as it fell out of my coat. I am really upset I have lost him. Daddy said to send you an email to see if you will send me another one. 

I promise I won’t take him to the shop again if you can. Thank you.

The response he received from Richard, a customer service representative at LEGO, was terrific. Richard told Luka that he spoke to his boss, Sensei Wu (a Ninjago character), and wrote:

Thanks for sending us an email!

We are very sorry to hear about you losing your Jay Minifigure; it sounds like your dad might have been right about leaving it at home. It sounds like you are very sad about it too. 

Normally we would ask that you pay for a new one if you lose one of your Minifigures and need it replaced. My bosses told me I could not send you one out for free because you lost it, but I decided to put a call to Sensei Wu to see if he could help me.

Luka, I told Sensei Wu that losing your Jay Minifigure was purely an accident and that you would never let it happen again. He told me to tell you, “Luka, your father seems like a very wise man. You must always protect your Ninjago minifigures like the dragons protect the Weapons of Spinjitzu!.” Sensei Wu also told me it was okay to send you a new Jay and include something extra for you because anyone who saves their Christmas money to buy the Ultrasonic Raider must be a huge Ninjago fan.

So, I hope you enjoy your Jay Minifigure with all his weapons. You will actually have the only Jay Minifigure that combines three different Jays into one! I am also going to send you a bad guy for him to fight!

Just remember what Sensei Wu said: Keep your minifigures protected like the Weapons of Spinjitzu! And of course, always listen to your dad. 

You will see an envelope from Lego within the next two weeks with your new Minifigures. Please take good care of them, Luka. Remember that you promised to always leave them at home.

Happy building!

Richard, LEGO consumer services

What are the elements of customer service that help you provide a great experience like above? Keeping the example in mind, let’s break down the key elements that go into the customer experience.

The key elements of good customer service are:

  1. Respect your customers
  2. Listen to your customers
  3. Empathize with your customer’s problems
  4. Respond to your customers
  5. Serve – Go above and beyond for your customers
  6. Always give customers more than what they need

Respect your customers

It is essential to respect your customer, as they are the ones that ultimately help your business to thrive. The above scenario is a prime example of this. 

Relationships are built on respect, and it is no different when it comes to customer service.

Luka is a 7-year old, and Richard is a customer service rep with LEGO. When Richard addresses Luka, he ensures that he directly addresses Luka, not Luka’s father, even though the email id may belong to Luka’s father. This sends out a message that no matter who your customer might be, it is important for reps to understand who they are talking to and respond accordingly.

Listen to your customers

Being a good listener is a critical trait for someone in customer service. It is important to keep your ears – and eyes – open to be a good listener. Identify customer needs by listening to them and asking questions to understand what their problem is about.

This helps your customers understand that they’re being heard and their problem is being looked into. 

Listening is often the only thing you could do to help someone.

Image ref: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/banner-social-listening-man-leaned-his-692809948

In Luka’s case, Richard reads his email and tries to understand his customer’s issue. When it comes to providing customer support through live chat or the phone channel, listening is even more critical as customers derive conclusions from your tone of voice and response speed. 

With most transactions happening online now, there is no way for the customer to know if they are being heard. As a customer service rep, you must ensure to put your customers at ease and acknowledge their problems by the way you speak. 

A great customer experience usually starts with an enthusiastic greeting. Reps should express their interest while listening and convey a positive attitude when dealing with customers. Pay attention to your tone, and if you’re providing support through the phone, smiling can often help portray a positive attitude.

Empathize with your customer’s problems

Empathizing enables you to become the customer and see the problem from their point of view. When you empathize with the customer, you see your product/service through their eyes and explain the issue to them based on their knowledge. Without empathy, you might see their problem, but you might be unable to explain it to them to match their level of understanding. 

Customers don’t just buy products or services anymore; they buy solutions to their problems. 

The better you know your customers, the better you can solve their problems. Empathy helps you see the situation from their shoes, and you can tweak your product/service accordingly to provide a solution to their problem. 

Ref image: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/serious-company-employee-male-formal-suit-1418790872

In Luka’s case, Richard empathized with him and reinforced his father’s words. He was able to provide a great experience due to his ability to empathize. Richard could relate to 7-year old Luka’s problem because he could see and feel what Luka felt due to losing his Jay Minifigure. And that helped him connect to Luka’s situation, and Richard even went so far as to ask Sensei Wu (another character) to replace Luka’s lost figurine. This shows the level of empathy and dedication Richard had; he wanted Luka to learn his lesson while keeping him happy.

Customer support members are the representatives of customers, and you must fulfill that requirement. Empathy is often understood as an emotion, but it is a trait and something to be acted on when it comes to customer service. Richard understood Luka’s problem and offered a solution for it, and that is how empathy works in customer service.

Respond to your customers

As a customer service/support rep, your primary responsibility is to provide a solution to your customers’ problems. 

Look for ways to make it easy for your customers to do business with you. 

Let’s say a customer came to you with a relatively simple problem that you may immediately know the answer to. In your perspective, the problem and the solution to it may be simple. But it may not be the same for the customer. Instead of sending out a help document, offer to help them resolve the issue on their own if they would prefer it. 

Some customers may not like hand-holding and may prefer to solve the issue independently with a help article. So always ask questions, and try to understand your customers’ preferences. If they’d like a support document, then respond accordingly. Or if they would like you to resolve it for them, then set up a time to work out the solution over a call.

It is always important to respond, even if you may not immediately have a solution to the problem. Even if some requests appear unreasonable, offer to look into them and get back to them within a period. 

In Luka’s situation, Richard responded by initially empathizing with Luka’s problem. This immediately helped Luka understand that they acknowledge his problem, and they will respond to it, even if he may not find a solution.

In most cases, requests will be fairly straightforward and achievable. Even if they are unreasonable or appear impossible to fulfill, offer to look into the matter and promise to come back with an answer within a specified period.

Serve – Go above and beyond for your customers

This essentially means that you have to strive to fix your customers’ problems. Your product/service may be good at solving issues, but if your customers don’t understand how it’s done, they may end up being frustrated. 

Always try to go above and beyond; don’t just stop with providing a solution, but go one step ahead and offer them something that would turn a support ticket into a support experience.

Ref image: https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/life-quote-typography-handwritten-letters-vector-1263448129

In Luka’s case, Richard did precisely that. He could have stopped at replacing the lost Jay Minifigure. But he wanted Luka to remember their service, so he went one step forward and offered Luka another Minifigure for Jay to fight. 

This is not required, but a gesture like this helps cement your brand image in your customers’ minds. Seeing and serving beyond what is just needed helps elevate customer experience to a whole new level, and this is the point at which your customers start advocating for your brand.

Learn to give customer experiences rather than solutions. Offer them something that goes beyond the expected – something that gives them the ‘wow’ factor. Personalization is one way you could achieve this; it lifts customer support into the more holistic customer experience space.

Always give customers more than what they need

“We’re not competitor obsessed, we’re customer-obsessed,” says Jeff Bezos. “We start with what the customer needs, and we work backwards.”

This is how you win customers for life. Rather than acquiring new customers, focus on retaining customers and making them your brand advocates. 

Invest in marketing, and you can sell anything to anyone. Invest in good customer service, and you can not only sell to the same customers, but your customers will sell your products for you.

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What is Frictionless Customer Experience | ChatGen.ai

Faisal Sayed
Faisal Sayed
January 8, 2021

What Is a Frictionless Customer Experience?

The Big companies have taken the customer experience to the next level that the customers expect more-or-less the same treatment from the small companies. The customers no longer want old, boring treatment. They demand more attention from you that might not reflect the services that you provide to them. The treatment bigger companies provide to their customers is an example of a smooth, customer experience that has less friction.  

To reduce friction, companies should adopt new technologies that can help to reduce the friction of the customer experience and make life easier for both customers and employees. Companies have to constantly update themselves, and make themselves smarter so they can walk step by step with their customers. Along with customers, your employees should get the same experience. They should not have to open 15 tabs to get the work done when in place of that 15, 1 could work. As Trefler commented, “All of this has to be connected – one place has everything; the end-to-end experience for both customers and employees.” 

Frictionless customer experience should answer the following questions to your customers:

  • What’s your customer experience, when they use your product?
  • Do they have to wait an unreasonable amount of time to make the decision?
  • Do they have to repeat themselves regularly?
  • Do they have a self-service solution where they can take control?

Let’s understand what customer friction is?

Customer friction is any barrier that stops the customer from completing the customer journey. They can be small obstacles like waiting for a longer period, shipping costs, or escalated service inquiries. It’s not only limited to the service sector. Customer friction can be found in the marketing and sales department as well. Like, your customer faces any download issue while downloading any eBook. This will make them frustrated and they will turn to your competition. 

That’s the job of the frictionless customer experience. To remove all the obstacles that your customer faces during the customer experience. The process is to identify the roadblocks and remove them and make the customer journey as smooth as possible. 

Why Is It Important for Business?

Less friction means a better customer experience. Customer experience is very important in the digital age. 

  • The annual digital trends report by Econsultancy and Adobe stated that 20% of B2B companies said the single most exciting opportunity for 2020 is customer experience.
  • To get a better customer experience, consumers are willing to pay more. 46% percent of consumers said they would pay more for a friendly and welcoming experience, and 55% said they’d pay more for fast and efficient service.
  • Approximately 52% of consumers have made impulse purchases after receiving a personalized experience. 

One way is to reduce friction in the customer journey is by: 

  • providing high-quality personalized content to your customers, 
  • providing them every information that they need so that they don’t have to look elsewhere, 
  • reducing the need for products that aren’t a match for your customers. 

According to Temkin Group, companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn an additional $700 million within three years of investing in customer experience. Even if you’re not a $1 billion company, you can still expect to see a marked increase in your earnings by investing more heavily into the customer experience.

Credit: Photo by Alex Kotliarskyi on Unsplash

Steps To Create a Frictionless Customer Experience 

1.  Identify Customer Touch Points

Customer touchpoints refer to the brand points where your company contacts the buyers throughout the signup and purchasing process. 

  • The contact form on your website.
  • Newsletter subscription button or bar.
  • Free product demo.
  • Client testimonials.
  • Live Chat.
  • Customer service agents and call centers.
  • The Comments section on your website or social media post.
  • Your social media profiles.
  • Blog posts on your website, LinkedIn, or elsewhere.
  • Surveys.
  • Contact page.
  • Marketing emails.

All of these can be identified as a touchpoint. Customer touchpoints are the first step in creating a frictionless customer experience. With every touchpoint, the goal is to engage with customers, nurture them, and convert them into buying your product or service.

Another important thing is to provide a consistently good experience throughout channels. You have to always remind them they are on a customer journey with your brand. According to Marketing Week, consumers typically used two touch points when buying an item 15 years ago, with only 7% using more than four. Today consumers are using almost six touchpoints, and nearly 50% of people regularly use more than four.

2.  Pay Attention To The Details

The next step, after identifying your customer touchpoints, is to start analyzing the details of every touchpoint and look where the problem lies. You have to look at things like: 

  • How many steps there are in the buying process.
  • How long a customer has to wait for a response (in the case of chatbots, live chat, and customer service agents.)
  • Whether your brand remains consistent across all touchpoints.
  • How easy is it to get to that touchpoint? For example, is your Contact Us page prominently displayed on your website so it’s easy to find? Once on the page, do customers have all the information they need on that page, or do they have to click multiple links to get to specific contact details?
  • If your marketing emails have a Call-To-Action, is it easy for customers to take action?
  • Do you include a Signature on your emails so your customers know who the message is from and who they should contact if they have any comments or complaints about the content of the emails?

These are some of the examples which you can check out to identify the problems in the touchpoints. There might be many frictions on different touch points but the thing is to figure out and pay attention to them.

3.  Analyze and Plan

You have to closely analyze each problem that you figured out in the touchpoints. The thing is to create a solid plan and work on it. The goal is to reduce friction and make the customer journey as smooth as possible. While creating the plan, try to put yourself in the shoes of your customer and think accordingly. Evaluate how effective your solution is and whether your customer will find it useful or not. One thing you can do is to create more channels of communication. Creating more channels of communication will accommodate all the customers of different preferences. 

For customer service, a good way to reduce friction and frustration is to offer more communication channels. Only having Live Chat may not be suitable for people who struggle with technology, or people who prefer to talk on the phone. Likewise, only offering call channels will likely further frustrate customers who prefer not to talk on the phone. If you don’t provide effective communication channels, then you risk further frustrating your customers before they even come into contact with your agents. You should strive to offer as many communication channels as possible to accommodate all customer communication preferences. Reducing redundancy across channels should be your top priority. Rating your customer touchpoints out of 10 will help you to reduce friction in this case. 

All these things will help you to create a plan that will focus on the important things first. 

Credit: Photo by Arlington Research on Unsplash

4. Execute

Now, it’s time to execute. Another important part. While executing your plan, you have to focus on implementing the things that should be taken care of first. You can also invest in new technology that will help you in reducing friction across customer touchpoints.

5. Continually Review

Review your customer touchpoints regularly. Make it a habit of reviewing the touchpoints every six months, every year, or every 18 months. Reviewing the touchpoints will help you to reduce the friction and make the customer journey friction-free.

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Customer Engagement Model

Faisal Sayed
Faisal Sayed
January 8, 2021

A connection with the engaged customer base is fundamental to growing a fruitful SaaS business. Furthermore, there’s an immediate connection between expanding customer engagement and improving customer retention. Indeed, engagement can be more significant than securing for the drawn out solid development of your business. Solid engagement builds your customer lifetime esteem, makes your customer base more joyful, and causes you to improve your item quicker. To effectively draw in your customers, you need to comprehend the key engagement switches of your item, and afterward distinguish proactive strategies that will drive engagement and upgrade the customer experience. In this guide, we’ll cover seven diverse engagement approaches across onboarding and retention. 

What is a customer engagement model? 

A customer engagement model is a cycle that you use to move toward your continuous relationship with your customers. You’ll in some cases see this cycle characterized as one that starts post-deals, however, we accept that a comprehensive engagement model should start with your first communication with an expected customer. You can consider customer engagement regarding a couple of various stages: pre-deal, post-deal onboarding into your item, and afterward progressing item appropriation and use. There might be various stages that bode well for your specific item, however, we’ll zero in here on onboarding and retention. 

Phases of Customer Engagement 

A customer engagement model beginnings with a comprehension of the customer excursion and afterward moves customers through the phases of customer engagement. We’ll diagram five phases of customer engagement underneath. While you may decide to utilize altered stages dependent on your specific item and customer venture, these standard stages give a decent beginning stage. The main small bunch of stages in the model adjust to an average customer pipe or purchasers’ excursion, while the later stages center around making profound and enduring associations with your customers. The stages that you decide to oversee will likewise advise the customer achievement measurements that you track. 

Unawareness

At this stage, a customer (or in fact, an imminent customer) knows nothing about your organization or your item. They may even be unconscious of the arrangement space in which you work. To catch the consideration of possibilities and raise their mindfulness, you should zero in on building content and making a brand. To do this successfully, it’s basically critical to comprehend your objective personas, their problem areas, and how they contemplate expected arrangements. 

Discovery

In the disclosure stage, imminent customers are starting to find out about your organization. Likewise, with mindfulness, you’ll need to create a convincing substance focused on your possibilities. Consider the inquiries they may have or the arrangements they’d be searching for and tailor your substance system properly. During this stage, you may start to gather data about who these possibilities are, their jobs, and their organizations. As you find out about them, you can additionally focus on your engagement. 

Consideration

During the thought stage, forthcoming customers are genuinely pondering putting resources into an answer, yet they’re probably contrasting your answer with those of your rivals. This presents an occasion to ensure that each communication a possibility has with your organization is a positive one and to situate yourself in a manner that is unmistakably separated from your rivals. Substance, for example, tributes and contextual investigations from existing customers can help improve your odds of winning new customers. 

Conversion

On the off chance that you’ve effectively persuaded a forthcoming customer that your answer is the best fit, they will “convert” to a customer. Because you’ve won another customer doesn’t mean your work is finished! Indeed, to construct fruitful SaaS business charming and holding customers is much more significant than securing them in any case. So ensure that the onboarding experience is a positive one. What’s more, set up clear objectives and an unmistakable cycle for how the onboarding excursion should stream to guarantee that customers are rapidly getting an incentive from your item. 

Ongoing engagement (making evangelists) 

When your new customers are on boarded and fully operational, you will likely drive expanding engagement and to make your answer a fundamental piece of your customers’ life. Ensure that you’re tuning in to and successfully dealing with your customers’ criticism, which will help you make your item or application better quicker. Glad drew in the customer will convey more lifetime esteem, and will become evangelists for your image, assisting you with procuring customers. 

How would you pick the right engagement model? 

Since we’ve covered the phases of customer engagement, how would you pick the correct customer engagement model for your business? What’s the correct method to draw in customers and drive customer achievement? As we’ll cover underneath, there are high touch models, low touch models, and mixture draws near. The correct customer engagement model for your business will be dictated by the multifaceted nature of your item, the expense of your answer, and your objective customers. For instance, high touch models are expensive to work, so they won’t bode well, nor are they required, for minimal effort, moderately straightforward items. Then again, in the event that you have an extremely intricate model that needs a ton of involved help or joining to get fully operational, a low touch model won’t work. How about we take a gander at some unique engagement models. 

Onboarding models 

Diverse onboarding models will bode well contingent upon the idea of your item and value point. A few items will utilize a low touch model, which regularly bodes well for higher volume, lower estimated contributions. Others utilize a very involved, high-contact model, which can be more fitting for more unpredictable and exorbitant items. Also, numerous organizations receive a crossover of the two methodologies. We cover each beneath. 

High touch models 

High touch models will in general bode well for moderately significant expense items, given that high touch models are a lot costlier to help than low touch models. As agreement costs increment, so does customer lifetime esteem, defending the portion of more assets in the onboarding cycle. We regularly observe high touch models utilized by complex programming arrangements that probably include numerous partners across various groups. 

High touch models influence live cooperation between your group and your customers. Onboarding regularly begins with a warm acquaintance from the business group with a usage or achievement group. The high touch experience at that point may incorporate live on the web or in-person preparing and a multi-step onboarding achievement plan, with standard live checkpoints. Preferences of this methodology incorporate the capacity to tailor onboarding and achievement standards to every customers’ particular necessities, just as the adaptability to change the onboarding associations dependent on how the customer reacts. This methodology guarantees that your customers are set up to be fruitful and it’s additionally an opportunity to develop your associations with your customers. 

Low touch models 

A low touch engagement model will in general bode well for lower evaluated, higher volume arrangements, which are typically less perplexing. While the objective is still to guarantee that your new customers are on boarded and prepared to be effective in your item, it’s normally done through restricted 1:1 human collaboration and depends more on mechanized, adaptable onboarding and preparing assets. 

To build up a powerful low touch onboarding model, you need to comprehend the phases of onboarding and how you will quantify achievement. Your low touch or computerized onboarding experience is then intended to convey the connections and assets that new customers need to effectively advance to each stage. Since this model is frequently utilized for organizations with higher quantities of cheaper agreements, you’ll have a higher volume of information to use to quantify effective advancement to each stage. 

Parts of a low touch onboarding experience may incorporate a robotized agenda of steps planned to the achievement measures, self-guided internet preparing, and self-serve uphold materials. An all around constructed low touch onboarding model will bring about high customer engagement from new customers of your item. 

Hybrid models 

As its name recommends, a crossover onboarding model consolidates components of both high touch and low touch onboarding. You can consider onboarding models as crossing a range from high touch to low touch. Actually, most organizations utilize a mix of the two. Where they fall on that range will probably be controlled by the expense and intricacy of the arrangement. 

A few organizations may apply an essentially high touch approach, however, supplement it for certain robotized messages and preparing materials. Others may utilize a principally low touch model, however, make live onboarding backing or preparing accessible for customers who are battling with fruitful onboarding. Likewise, with the models we covered over, a definitive objective is to drive high engagement from new customers. 

Retention  models 

When you’ve effectively onboarded new customers and set them up for beginning achievement, you need a cycle for guaranteeing their progressing engagement and accomplishment on the stage. Solid customer retention is as significant, or much more significant, than a fruitful customer securing system. 

Retention models ought to incorporate schooling to prepare customers to be fruitful, conveying item updates to your customers, observing engagement to comprehend the wellbeing of the customer relationship, and progressing engagement of customers to constantly improve your item. 

In the event that you can effectively make your item an ordinary and significant piece of your customer’s work process (that is, plan a tacky item experience), you can be certain that high retention will follow. There are a handful of different models that can be used and they can be used and, as with onboarding, these models can be used in combination with each other. We’ll cover CSM-driven retention models, automated models, as well as ways to engage your customers in developing your product roadmap.

CSM-driven

As with onboarding models, the resources that you can allocate to retention strategies are dictated by the nature of your product and the cost of the contract. One common high-touch model involves assigning a dedicated customer success manager (CSM) to each account. The ratio of accounts per CSM will be driven but the cost and complexity of your product. For very high value contracts, a CSM may only manage a handful of customers. 

These CSMs will work directly with customers to ensure that they are getting value from the product. CSMs will monitor usage metrics for their owned accounts and then create programs customized to the needs of each account. So if one account is showing unhealthy usage metrics, the CSM may increase their interactions with that account to get them back on track.

A CSM-driven model makes the interactions between product and customers more human, strengthening this relationship and ultimately increasing engagement and lifetime value.

Automated Retention

For less complex, lower price point solutions, automated engagement models can work well. The goal is still to drive ongoing engagement and retention. Automated retention models will include monitoring the engagement and health of the account and delivering continuing education and support.

In CSM-driven models, CSMs monitor the engagement and health of each account. An automated model will likely use software to monitor engagement across the large volume of accounts. Exception-based reporting processes can flag any accounts that are showing dangerously low engagement and in need of extra attention.

Automated email nurtures can be built to provide continuing education resources to customers. And tools like chatbots can automate much of the support process. Product announcements can also be delivered through automated channels such as email, or better, right in the app. The key is to make sure that you keep your users aware of changes to your product, and show them why they should care and provide the information necessary for them to understand and use the new capabilities.

Collaborative Product Roadmap

A collaborative approach to building your product roadmap is a powerful way to show your users that you care about their input. Your users know your product best, so why not provide easy ways for users to make product suggestions? You can unburden your support team from having to triage feedback by routing feedback directly to your product team. And then use feedback management software to surface themes, prioritize them based on business impact and then validate with your users. 

Even though you can’t build every feature that your users ask for, enabling them to give input into your roadmap will make users feel valued. Providing transparency into upcoming releases will help users understand what improvements you’re focused on, and will show them that your product is a living, constantly improving thing.

Hybrid

A hybrid approach combines different elements that we covered above. As with onboarding, most companies tend to adopt some mix of these retention models, based on their unique user needs, the product complexity and the price point. Whatever approach you apply, it should be designed to make your users successful, help your product become an essential part of your customers’ workflows and allow users an easy way to provide feedback about your product.

The right customer engagement model for your business

An engaged customer base is an essential part of a successful SaaS business. The onboarding and retention models that we discussed in this post can be applied as part of a customer engagement strategy, but each company has a unique product and unique customer’s needs. So the most important thing is to build a model that works for your business. An effective customer engagement model will result in happier customers, increase retention and lifetime value and help you improve your product faster.

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A guide to nlp bots in 2021

Priyanka Bhaskar
Priyanka Bhaskar
January 6, 2021

Internet is the new home, and chatbots, our new 3-am friends! 

Unlike the buggy and stilt chatbots of the good old days, the present-day chatbots are sleek and dynamic. Yes, We are talking about the advanced NLP-based bots. These intelligent AI-based bots of today are adept at performing and delivering successful results.

‘According to Statistics, the chatbot market will reach around 1.25 billion U.S. dollars in 2025’

With the advent of Conversational AI and NLP, chatbots have become smarter and dynamic. Every chatbot is different. Be it the “i-make-and-follow-my-own-rules” Rule-based bot or an NLP-based bot. Understanding how they work is crucial, as they are the frontline representatives of your company.

What is Natural Language Processing (NLP)? 

Natural Language Processing is a subfield of Artificial Intelligence or AI that simplifies the communication between humans and machines. NLP technology helps computers understand the natural human language. It is also a subfield of machine learning, which uses different statistical models and algorithms that enable a computer to perform tasks nobody thought could even be accomplished.

What is an NLP chatbot?

In simple words, chatbots that rely on Artificial Intelligence and NLP are classified as NLP chatbots. These bots are first ‘TRAINED’ to converse like human beings through machine learning. The chatbots undergo several interactions and multiple conversations to get a broader understanding of the human language. Later, with the help of NLP, these chatbots self learn from various user inputs.

Without further ado, let us get to the nucleus of how these intelligent bots work.

How do NLP chatbots work?

  1. Utterance

    Utterance is a user’s input. It can be anything from alphabets, numbers to special characters. 

  2. Intent-Recognition

    Intent is nothing but a goal or an intention of a particular user. For example, if a user types, ‘ search me a hotel room in New York ‘, NLP helps the chatbot chop down the input into pieces and eliminates any punctuation. This chopping of the user input is called tokenization, and we term the broken pieces as tokens.

  3. Normalization

    Next, the chatbot omits any misspellings, typos, or slangs in the text and converts it into a ‘standard’ or ‘normal’ format.

  4. Entity-Recognition

    Entities are categories like date, time, location, type of object. For example, in the above text, New York is an entity. 

  5. Dependency Parsing

    In this step, the bot cleaves the text into different parts of speech like nouns, verbs, adjectives, phrases, and clauses. 

  6. Response Generation

    Based on the user input and all the data processing, the chatbot generates the most appropriate response for a user’s inquiry. 

  7. Session

    A conversation frame from beginning to the end is termed as one session. 

Difference between NLP and other chatbots:

NLP Vs. Rule-based Bots:

Rule-based bots are the archaic type of bots that work on a pre-defined set of rules. The user’s input has to adhere to the pre-set rules of the bots to get an answer. Generally, in such cases, buttons are used as input from the user side. Another name for rule-based bots is menu/button based bots. 

The major components that separate NLP from Rule-based bots are intelligent capabilities and their use cases.

Chatbots that use NLP have a more excellent scope like customer support, healthcare bots, HR bots, lead generation, and many more. Because of their conversational trait, they are more suitable for a wider range of tasks to be performed. 

Apart from accepting user inputs in a natural language, these intelligent bots understand what a user’s goal is. These bots are a boon since they can self learn the natural language without any programming requirements. 

Salient Features/Benefits of an NLP Bot:

Natural Language Processing:

The technology that allows these bots to function across diverse industries with the help of semantics, language structures, and parts of speech help them in converting unstructured data into a structured one.

Reinforcement Learning:

With reinforcement learning, a chatbot develops its ability to respond in more suitable ways based on past interactions. They learn, store, and apply human language in a more well-bred manner. 

Dialog Management:

An attribute that follows conversational ai, makes all the conversations more human and intriguing. These bots are smart enough to memorize a visitor’s name, past conversation history, making them highly adept. It puts ‘CHAT’ in the chatbot, quite literally! 

Higher Customer Satisfaction:

Millennials and Gen Z believes in instant replies, and neither of them wants to wait for the long tiresome conversations. They seek instant solutions for all their queries, and this is where these intelligent bots come to the rescue.

Cost Reduction:

NLP bots can cut down the wages of human labor required for repetitive tasks. Also, they can handle infinite queries/conversations simultaneously without getting tired like a human body. 

Our Esteemed Clients:

1. The ELS Golf Club

The golf paradise is also known for its exuberant lifestyle experience. Adding to that, it is one of the most successful companies in Malaysia and holds a spectacular position in the hospitality industry. Even after having huge traffic on their website, the leads generated were not up to their requirements. Chatgen’s Conversational Campaign Landing Page solution helped them generate quality and 20% more leads. 

2. Puraniks

A popular real estate brand in Mumbai was failing to increase the engagement of its website visitors and increase leads. Chatgen’s 24*7 bot deployment helped them increase their lead generation by 66% by handling various queries about all available property, their configuration, property, etc.  

We, at ChatGen, take pride in building both click-based and pioneering workflow-based chatbots. We have and do work with organizations from a diverse and wide range of backgrounds. We equip our smart bots with features such as automatic scheduling, intelligent routing, extensive analytics, CRM integration, and a host of other features.

We have an experienced team of IIT’s, IIM’s, and experts from E-commerce. To date, we have delivered many chatbots in the marketplace to reputed organizations such as Eureka Forbes, Tata Value Home loans, Thyrocare, PC Jeweller, Senco Gold, and many more.

Visit chatgen.ai to know more about chatbots or build one for your business in less than an hour!

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Omnichannel vs Multichannel Marketing. Explained With Examples 2021

Faisal Sayed
Faisal Sayed
January 6, 2021

At the brink/dawn of 2021, rethinking strategy has become vital and you know why.

The aftermath of the pandemic has slumped spending massively. Whether demands for services will return to pre-covid times through 2021 is still uncertain. Both retail and online business have to be up to speed and adapt to any requirement. The adaptability is now a survival tactic and no longer an exclusive luxury. At the cusp of such confusion, businesses are faced with some fundamental yet monumental challenges – “What is the right approach to their marketing?”, “Which channels do they use?”, and “How do they get across their message?”. Since most businesses are going to have a tough time choosing between “Multichannel marketing vs Omnichannel marketing” as their strategy for 2021, in this blog we understand what each of them mean, their differences, their pros and cons and a few examples along the way for better understanding. At the end of the blog we will also tell you which approach you should be taking in 2021.

Before we delve into Omnichannel vs Multichannel marketing, it is important to understand what a marketing channel is. While most of you readers might know what it means, for the benefit of first time visitors to our blog – “A marketing channel is a medium through which a brand or a business either delivers a message to the customer or creates an opportunity for a sale”. Click right here for more info on marketing channels. Now that the basics are out of the way, let’s get to the actual stuff.

Multichannel Marketing vs Omnichannel Marketing – What do they mean ?

Multichannel Marketing

When a brand delivers their messaging across many channels independently it is called multi-channel marketing. That is, the messaging or customer interaction that happens in one channel, does not affect the other channels. The brand’s messaging is at the strategic center of this approach. How the customer perceives the message might vary from channel to channel since each channel operates in a siloed manner.

Example:  Starbucks’ rewards/loyalty program strategy. Starbucks effectively uses both their app and the emails of their customers to deliver coupons and information about their new products. However, what the customer does in a starbucks cafe seldom affects the user’s experience on their app. Unless there is a conscious tie-up between the app and the in store purchase in any form of a survey or an inventory update or a user id, the experience is going to be siloed. Of course customers can use their credits and coupons anywhere but their experience is still going to be independent in the app, in the store and in any other food delivery platform that delivers from starbucks.

Omnichannel Marketing

When a brand develops their marketing strategy and their messaging with customers at their strategic center and aims to deliver a unified and personalized experience for the customer, it is called omnichannel marketing. The game-plan entirely depends on the customer’s interaction at different touch points and the integration of customer experience across marketing channels.

Example: Disney is a great example of how companies can leverage omni-channel marketing. It is no surprise that a company that thrives on imagination is considered a pioneer in omnichannel marketing. As Disney’s customer, when you’re at Disneyland, they go to all lengths to make your experience as pleasant as possible. The sales executives at Disney take time out to understand where you’re coming from, why you’re visiting Disneyland, who’s accompanying and much more details. It is only after that do they proceed to give you a personalized recommendation on the routes you must take, what are the passes you’ll need and everything needed for “your” visit. Instead of just putting up banners and handing out catalogues with an overload of information and suffocating their visitors, they just give you what you need. The best part? Every person you interact with, their mascots, their public staff, counter gate-keepers, security staff all of them know the exact experience they have to create for you. The entire experience is seamless. Truly ‘Magical’.

Omnichannel vs Multichannel – The key difference

It is quite natural to think both methods involve delivering messages through multiple channels and therefore must be synonyms. However, that is far from the truth. Both the marketing approaches are divided right at their nucleus. While multi-channel marketing aims to deliver ‘the brand’s message’ to their customers through different channels, omnichannel aims to deliver a unified customer experience across different channels and deliver a smooth, personalized experience. In an omnichannel marketing strategy, the business does not shy away from editing their messaging according to customer action triggers at every touch point whereas in a multi-channel marketing strategy, the business sticks to the conceived message and tailors it according to the customer outreach channel and not the customer.

In the following table we take a look at  the pros and cons of each of the marketing approaches

Multichannel Marketing Omnichannel Marketing
Pros Cons Pros Cons
Simple and easy to maintain Does not deliver a unified experience. Delivers an effortless experience for the customer. Since a plethora of variables are involved, they are laborious to ideate and execute.
Works independently of channels, hence technical complexity is minimal Since each channel operates independently. Both repetitive and drastically different messaging can put off customers. Since each of the channels responds to the customer’s actions, the information delivered is always relevant and holds the attention span for longer. The technical complexity keeps increasing exponentially with each added channel and variable. Backlining new channels to customer trigger points also requires careful planning.
Does not eat much into the share of retailers, so is not seen as competition by in-person sales staff. The siloed messaging can cause a rapid wave of misinformation that can easily manifest into mistrust. The integration of channels and a central messaging theme weeds out any misinformation.  Seen by retail staff as a method that plucks away their sales commissions and sometimes even their employment. So the implementation is met with stiff resistance.
Can be implemented independently and is more economical both during implementation and maintenance. Effectiveness is limited by the capacity of the chosen channel It is extremely effective with customers. According to this list on Forbes, 36% of consumers wanted retailers to deliver a  more personalized experience to them. The technical complexity demands an entire unit to ideate, implement and maintain various factors of the approach. Since a problem in one vertical can easily bleed into the others, downtimes caused by failures can be much longer.

Which marketing approach is the best for you ?

According to our predictions, omni-channel marketing is the way to go irrespective of industry and size. Although initially it might be expensive and exhausting, the returns fetched by the omnichannel approach in terms of better customer responses and increased profits will easily compensate for the initial struggles. Moreover, the open endedness and the adaptability of the strategy might prove a key differentiating factor between your brand and the competitors. Your ability to scale up marketing when the opportunity knocks could easily be your rise to the top of your industry segment’s pyramid. 

Confused about how to implement omnichannel marketing and if it will work for your business? Get on a free consultation call with our marketing experts and they would be happy to help answer your queries. Looking for a solution that can help you kick-off your marketing approach? Chatgen is your place to begin. Don’t take our word. See what our clients say about us.

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Examples of Frictionless Customer Service in 2021

Faisal Sayed
Faisal Sayed
January 6, 2021

What is customer friction?

Customer friction is any barrier that stops the customer from completing the customer journey. They can be small obstacles like waiting for a longer period, shipping costs, or escalated service inquiries. It’s not only limited to the service sector. Customer friction can be found in the marketing and sales department as well. Like, your customer faces any download issue while downloading any ebook. This will make them frustrated and they will turn to your competition. 

That’s the job of the frictionless customer experience. To remove all the obstacles that your customer faces during the customer experience. The process is to identify the roadblocks and remove them and make the customer journey as smooth as possible. 

Examples of Frictionless Customer Experience

Faire

Faire is a wholesale marketplace and store. It connects artisans to retail shop owners. It’s a bit difficult for artisans to find the right place for their product. They have to make sure that their products sell because many of them are responsible to pay back retailers for any returned items. Faire reduces this friction by offering free returns. Retailers can return the products to Faire’s warehouse, instead of sending them back to the artisans. Faire seems like the returned items at a discounted price. This solves the major problem for both buyers and sellers. 

Vacasa

Vacasa is similar to Vrbo and Airbnb. It focuses more on eliminating problems for the homemakers. Vacasa helps homemakers in rating out their space. It works on an algorithm that figures out the price of the unit, determines if the prices need to be higher or lower depending upon the time and the popularity of the location. Vacasa also offers to refund the difference, who doesn’t earn $5,000 in their first year. 

Domino’s Pizza 

Domino’s Pizza is considered one the industry giants in the food and restaurant industry. They seem to work on innovation, paying close attention to customer behaviour which helps them to provide the most frictionless customer experience. Some of things they focus on are:

  • From start till end, tracking the online orders
  • Big Domino’s branches has set up in-store booths for easier/accelerated ordering
  • They have created the mobile order bot known as, ‘BOT’ who responds to voice commands.

Dennis Maloney, Domino’s Chief Digital Officer said, “The consumer experience is where differentiation occurs. It’s the people keen on implementing technologies that will benefit customers that both brands seek.”

Domino’s Pizza excels in creating the balancing between restaurant innovation and frictionless customer experience. Even when they don’t exchange any human interaction customers will still get the perfect experience. To keep creating the frictionless customer experience, companies have to befriend with technology. You have to create a culture that creates a personalized solution for your customers. Nurturing a “start-up” mindset in order to continuously tailor their solutions towards the winding needs of customers.

Credit: Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

MOD Pizza

In order to create a frictionless customer experience, MOD Pizza offers voice assisted ordering over the phone, to make the process faster and the bot keeps reminding you of your previous orders. They are also known for their speedy start to finish pizza creation process, which goes well with their tagline, “super fast”.  Customers who enter the store are often greeted by the entire staff (up-front) with a universal, “hi, welcome in”. The pizza is made right in front of the customer (that’s similar to the Subway sandwich creation) before it’s laced in the brick oven. The customers have also the option to use reward points from the MOD Mobile App which significantly reduces the cost of their pizza.

KBC

KBC Mobile App allows the customers to park in any Q-Park-parking without any need for ticket, payment or any manual action. The only thing you have to do is to link your car’s plate number to your KBC account. Now, you can drive in and out of the parking buildings easily, the barriers will open up automatically, when you leave, the amount of your stay at the parking is automatically reduced from your account.

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Customer service process – Why do you need it and how to customize it for your business

Faisal Sayed
Faisal Sayed
January 6, 2021

Customer service is the cornerstone of every successful business, and your customer service needs to be unbeatable for you to build a successful business. 

93% of customer service professionals agree that customers today have higher expectations than ever before. – State of customer service in 2020, Hubspot

Even if you have all the right tools for providing a happy experience to your customers, there could be small gaps in your process that could end up negatively impacting your customer experience. There’s a lot to handle when it comes to providing a good customer experience, and no matter if one process works, there’s always room for improvement. 

Process management has become a necessity today, with today’s customers being more aware and demanding more than ever. Companies need to focus on what customers are looking for and tailor their processes accordingly to meet those needs. 

What is the customer service process?

The customer service process is the set of activities that a business carries out to provide a satisfactory customer experience. It aims at providing a satisfactory experience to the customers, and it usually involves integrating multiple teams and departments to guarantee a solid customer experience. 

This set of activities are usually pre-defined, and it begins from the moment a business receives the first contact from the customer until the business solves their problem completely. A customer service process usually involves multiple phases that aim at providing a happy experience at every stage of the resolution process.

Why do you need a customer service process? 

Customer-facing roles are usually fast-paced, and having a process in place will help you have a structured approach. Lack of structure or procedure may result in multiple agents contacting the customer for the same issue, leading to frustration. Processes provide structure, and they help you get work done quickly and effectively. Documented procedures can help your employees get their job done without any errors. Processes involve instructions at every step of the way, and this minimizes doubts and mistakes. 

Ensuring a good customer experience is the main objective of every customer support/service team. Without a standardized process, agents may not know how to approach an issue, leading to wasted efforts and delayed responses. With a customer service process, you define what your agents do in every step, eliminating any need for back-and-forth situations. This will help you ensure that your customers receive a completely streamlined experience. 

When it comes to customer service/support, it is always all about the customers. As a customer support leader, you must ensure that your customers have a happy experience at every interaction point. 

Benefits of the customer service process

While the benefits of having in place a customer service process are manifold, they are mostly intangible. You may not be able to project the benefits as increased revenue or such, but it ultimately helps with your business’s brand image. Here are a few intangible benefits that you can reap from having a defined process in place:

Your agents are better equipped to handle non-common situations.

Let us consider a scenario. Your support agents clock in for their day, and things are normal. Their inbox is suddenly flooded with multiple complaint emails stating that the help articles provided on the website are all appearing in Spanish. While your Spanish customers may be unfazed by this incident, even delighted, others may not feel the same. Now, this is not something that your agents deal with every day, and this is where having a process would help you resolve the incident quickly. 

A process in this situation may involve escalating this to managers, looping in the product owners, developers, and whoever else may be responsible for dealing with website changes. A lack of structure in this scenario may lead to your agents being confused as to what’s going on and being clueless about how to deal with this, while you may end up losing customers every minute the incident goes unchecked. 

Your customers get a consistent experience.

Your customers always expect to receive effective service, no matter what changes your business may be going through internally.  

Nine out of 10 consumers want an omnichannel experience with seamless service between communication methods. (UC Today)

No matter through which channel you interact with your customers, you need to provide a consistent experience. Considering the speed at which today’s customers switch channels in the hope of receiving a response, having a process in place will help your agents be aware of their experience on each channel and interact with them accordingly. Customers today interact with a business across multiple channels like phone, email, live chat, etc. Processes help your agents stick to the book and provide a resolution that’s consistent across all channels.

Your business reputation improves. 

Customers expect a speedy response when they contact a business. Having a customer service process in place will help you set Service Levels, through which you can define the maximum time within which an agent has to respond to a customer query is. Lack of SLAs may lead to unanswered tickets and frustrated customers, leading to loss of business. 

Even if your customers can’t see what goes on behind the screens, they can gauge how you conduct business by the way you respond to their queries.

By having a customer service process that includes the right responses, the steps that agents need to follow, and an approximate resolution time, you can give customers a timeline of when they can get their issues resolved. This leads to better overall satisfaction, thereby leading to a happy customer experience.

How to set up a customer service process for your business

Every customer interaction involves 4 phases. Defining each phase and what steps go into each of them will help you determine what processes you should set up to have a smooth workflow.

  • First contact

This is when your customers contact you through any of your communication channels. And their expectation at this point will be to be treated with kindness and have their issue resolved. So when you define the process for this phase, you must keep the above points in mind.

For example, this is where you set up SLAs on how soon an agent must respond to a customer and the first message’s tone. 

  • Listening and gathering information

At this stage, your customers will know how long their issue might take to get resolved. So the process setup must involve steps like listening to the problem with patience, gathering information, logging them, and getting back to the customer on what the resolution steps are. 

  • Resolving the issue

This phase is where the agent will work to get the issue resolved. At this stage, the customer would expect to have their system back to normal mode again as soon as possible. 

So when you define the process for this phase, you need to outline what steps the agent must take to resolve the issue, how the agent can ascertain the severity of the issue, and how long it will take to fix it. And you also need to include steps on how to communicate the same to the customer.

  • Bidding farewell

This defines the endpoint of the interaction, and your process here must involve steps to gather customer sentiment and satisfaction. The steps here can include sending out a short satisfaction survey and a feedback section to capture what could be improved.

Customer service process – A boon for every service/support team

Microsoft reported that 60% of customers stopped using a brand or business after having just one bad experience involving poor customer service. Customer service is all about human emotion and interaction. Having a customer service process in place will help you provide exceptional service to your customers and ultimately boost your sales. 

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A Guide To Omnichannel Distribution In 2021

Faisal Sayed
Faisal Sayed
January 6, 2021

The pandemic has catalyzed the e-commerce market and pressured the industry to deliver convenience at a never before pace. There is no dearth for the volume of orders handled by e-commerce giants but even smaller players now face an increased demand. While that may be good for the e-commerce organizations, the pressure to deliver might topple their business if their products do not reach customers quickly and in shape. Omni-channel distribution has become a necessity to deliver value to customers. The effective distribution strategy is scalable, effective and most-importantly is customer-centric. In this blog, we delve into omnichannel distribution, the supply chain method’s significance in 2021 and also how you can start with implementing or fine-tuning your distribution strategy in 2021[a].

What Is Omnichannel? What Does Omnichannel Mean?

In supply-chain management, omnichannel refers to more than one channel for forward and backward systems. Not to be confused with multichannel. The key difference between multichannel and omnichannel[b] is the integration between channels present in omnichannel distribution. The key contrast omnichannel distribution has is the integration it offers between various channels. Now that we are clear on “omnichannel” as a term, let us move on to omnichannel distribution.

What Is Omnichannel Distribution?

Omnichannel distribution is a seamless integration offered between retail, wholesale and the ecommerce wings of businesses. The borders between the verticals are virtually wiped off as the customer can enjoy continuity of their purchases at any of the verticals unhindered.  The omnichannel distribution also offers an amalgamation across both forward and backward distribution systems. Here’s what each of the systems mean.

Forward Distribution System:

The system where product moves from vendor towards customer. It includes warehouses, retailers, quality check stations and all touch-points that move the product closer to the customer at every level.

Ex: Delivery of clothes ordered online.

Backward Distribution System:

The system where product moves from customer towards vendor. It includes pickup of product, quality check of product, error-correction in distribution channel if any and more. Ex: Return or replacement of faulty or defective products.

Omnichannel distribution effectively minimises the number of variables required for forward and backward movement of products between vendors and customers making it quick, accurate and cost-effective. However, the method also has its trenches. More on that later in this blog.

A good example of an organization with a robust omnichannel distribution network is the delivery system of e-commerce giant, Amazon.

What Does Omnichannel Distribution Cover ?

The types of omnichannel distribution can be summarized into 6 broad types:

  1. Order online, pick-up from physical store.
  2. Order online, delivery to customer location.
  3. In-store purchase, product delivery to desired customer location (either their home address or anyone else’s address incase of a gift)
  4. Order online, return online (incase of defects or wrong order)
  5. Order online, return at a physical store or online.
  6. Drop-ship method, where product is delivered to customer location directly from a warehouse or a storage center, that is, without involving a retailer.

An effective omnichannel distribution strategy is achieved when the omnichannel supply-chain framework accounts for the use-cases of all 6 logistical types extensively once implemented.

How Omnichannel Distribution Helps Your Business?

A good omnichannel distribution network once implemented, virtually obliterates the distance between vendor and customer. The accessibility of products to customers plays a vital role in the decision making of customers. They seldom choose a product that has very high shipping costs or takes a long time to reach them. Apart from that, they also need to be sure that in case something goofs up they will receive a quick resolution and will not have to wait an eternity for a refund or replacement. Omnichannel distribution holds key to all customer requirements, thanks to its smooth unification of customer journeys across channels.

Businesses that do not invest in building an omnichannel distribution strategy put themselves into the monumental risk of shrinking their prospective customer pool. 2020 has already given global consumer spending a blow. Whether spending patterns will return to normal in 2021 is still speculative. In such uncertain times, making it harder for consumers to access your products is unquestionably a blunder. Omnichannel distribution is a proven way to deliver balance covering cost, accessibility, accuracy, and time. Irrespective of which vertical your business falls under (online, retail or wholesale), having an effective omnichannel distribution system is essential for continued business success in 2021 and beyond.  However, omnichannel distribution has its snags too. Making a cautious effort to mitigate the impact of the downsides will help your business capitalize on the distribution channel much more effectively. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of omnichannel distribution systems.

Pros And Cons Of Omnichannel Distribution

Pros

Cons

Truly customer centric approach:

Buying a product from an organization that has a sturdy omnichannel distribution system is a delight to the customer. They rarely have to worry about their order and also have the luxury of returns and replacement at amazing speeds.

High implementation cost:

While the customer hugely benefits from the channel, implementing a robust distribution channel and integrating them across all verticals is at best a tough job and at worst a logistical night-mare. The provision to add new channels to the existing framework has also become a must but actually adding a new channel explodes the complexity monumentally.

Increases profits in the long run:

Omnichannel distribution helps customers buy more from the business thereby increasing revenue. The system also allows for business owners to get a bird’s eye view of what’s working and what’s not. These insights can later be used to optimize the business strategies and minimize operational costs.

Inconsistency of inventory:

The seamless integration of verticals in omnichannel distribution gives rise to the complex problem of inventory management. For example: Factoring in “Cart abandonment[c]” becomes a menace while calculating available inventory across channels giving rise to delivering false hope or inconsistent information to the customers.

Growing pool of customers:

The effectiveness and the expansion of distribution channels enable businesses to expand their regions consequently expanding their pool of prospective customers.

Laborious error-correction:

In case customers run into an issue, their customer experience is effectively tampered across all verticals. Since the verticals are closely integrated, issues arising in one vertical will most likely affect more than one touch-point. Although issues are quite rare, resolving the ones that pop-up are tiresome, error-prone and time-consuming.

Omnichannel Distribution In 2021

It is clear the omnichannel distribution is the way forward in 2021. If you’re looking to implement an omnichannel distribution channel or optimize your existing distribution channels, you can contact our supply-chain experts[d]. They would be happy to answer your questions and help you tweak your distribution channels according to industry standards. If you’re confused between multichannel and omnichannel, you can read our blog[e] explaining the differences and much more.

[a]CTA link to product feature page or another blog here.

[b]Inter link to the other blog.

[c]Interlink to the earlier blog.

[d]CTA to product page or demo.

[e]CTA to other blog.