Posted May 16, 2017
Whether a company is a start-up, an established brand or somewhere in between, Webit Festival Europe had something for everyone. One of the largest and most influential digital and technology events in Europe, this year’s theme was ‘re: Inventing Europe’s Future.’
On April 25, TELUS International President and CEO, Jeffrey Puritt, delivered an opening keynote. His message? How to effectively leverage technology to make a human connection with consumers in the age of an increasingly digitized customer experience.
In case you weren’t one of the 5,000 attendees at the sold-out event, here are a few of the ways to make high-tech, ‘high touch.’
Human vs. digital channels
For any company that invests heavily in the tools and technology expected to maintain a world-class contact center operation, it’s critically important to keep up with high-tech trends.
But, at the end of the day, what matters most is the human touch that only engaged and inspired agents can provide. In fact, a recent study by Accenture found that 83 percent of consumers prefer dealing with human beings over digital channels when it comes to solving their customer service issues.
Technology is great, but brands need to be more thoughtful and deliberate about how they leverage it to inspire loyalty, create passionate advocates and ultimately drive their top-line growth. Three ways to leverage that technology include implementing an omnichannel strategy, embracing artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, and collecting and using big and small data in the right ways.
Omnichannel is the new competitive imperative
The three elements work hand-in-hand, with AI and data analytics supporting an overall omnichannel strategy. According to a study by the Aberdeen Group, companies with an omnichannel strategy – where customers experience a consistent brand experience across channels – retain on average 89 percent of their customers, compared to 33 percent for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement. They also experience an increase in average transaction size.
Everest Group, in partnership with TELUS International, recently published a report: ‘From Multichannel to Omnichannel Customer Experience‘ that can help companies determine the key technology and human capital considerations as they start to think about evolving their customer service delivery. The report provides a checklist for organizations to assess their readiness to pursue what is quickly becoming the new competitive imperative.
Technology to support rather than replace customer service agents
Even as omnichannel becomes omnipresent, the future of technology in customer service relies on directly supporting — rather than replacing — contact center agents. More than ever before, customer service agents are the key to providing a world-class brand experience. This is why IDC research predicts that overall customer service agent numbers will rise over the next two to three years, with many firms reporting an expected increase between 10 to 50 percent.
Not only will companies need more agents, but they will see a need for more highly-skilled agents who can solve more complex inquiries and provide cross-channel consistency of service.
For those organizations that understand the increasingly critical nature of the customer experience, keeping high-tech, ‘high touch’ will enable their brands to thrive both today and into the future.