Are We Ready For The Future Customer?

Are We Ready For The Future Customer?
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In this guest post, VERSA CEO Kath Blackham (pictured below) says AI is set to have a huge and positive impact on the entire customer journey…

Customer service has changed, it’s a good thing. As an optimist and leader of the world’s leading Conversational AI agency, we’re embracing the change too.

In a digital first-future, we can’t put one another on-hold, we need 24/7 access through smarter customer service solutions. The solution isn’t about employing more or less staff, or even a better website, it’s about helping your organisation have frequent quality conversations and better data analytics to drive personalisation, through Conversational AI.

Conversational AI is a programmatic and intelligent way of offering better customer service through a powerful ‘Customer Engagement’ engine that delivers personalisation at scale. Having better and more conversations with customers to drive growth.

At VERSA, we build platforms that are ready for the future customer.  Here are just a few of the concepts that we believe everyone should be thinking about now to prepare for the future.

Introducing the Digital Concierge

We believe the websites of tomorrow won’t have any navigation. A chat or voice enabled platform whether it be a website, app or digital sign, will ask the user one simple question – “how can we help?”.  A ‘Digital Concierge’ can quickly navigate customers to the information they are looking for, whether it be to change their password, apply for a loan or understand more about their insurance policy.

Navigationless platforms where we use AI rather than a traditional menu structure allows users to access information more easily, especially for sectors of our society that may have been isolated or excluded in the past. Conversational tech helps non-English speakers and those with low levels of literacy, the elderly, vision impaired and people living with disability, mobility and dexterity issues. We call it reaching the unreachable.

One huge benefit to this new way of navigating through platforms is the rich data that you can gather along the way.  There is no better way to gather accurate data than by asking your customers exactly what they want to do, as soon as they arrive on your site. That’s why we implemented it first on the VERSA website. 

We believe that this is the future of platform design and will transform how organisations communicate with their customers moving forward.

Omnichannel – The future customer is everywhere

Being a customer in the early 1990’s was hard, at the whim of my service provider and the limited technology we had available. Today, we have the power to choose, it’s a customer’s market.

Since 2000 innovation in service has gone into hyperdrive. Customers of tomorrow demand brands come to them, so we need to speak with them across all the channels they prefer to use.

Virtual assistants can and should go well beyond transferring you to the right person and handling basic FAQ’s. The technology has the capability of handling complete transactions – anything from changing passwords and address details, to canceling payments or credit cards, even applying for a home loan, and being quickly transferred to a friendly home loan specialist. All these conversations can easily be handled within the messaging platforms that customers are already using day to day, platforms such as WhatsApp, Viber, Apple iMessage, WeChat and Facebook Messenger.

Hyper Personalisation- Using customer-first data

There are benefits in collecting and using data, but we need to make those benefits customer-first.

In developing solutions across industries, we recently digitised the banking experience with BankVic. Launching a new website and Headless CMS framework, a foundation for transforming BankVic’s future digital customer experience.

BankVic introduced product personalisation through a dynamic CMS that allowed their customer service team to facilitate the right products to suit different personas who visited their website. Just like a concierge in-store presents you with the best products suited to your needs. Early results have delivered a 26% increase in time spent on the website by non members, 10% decrease in bounce rate and 11% improvement in engagement on product pages.

This is an example of small data-driven improvements that are designed to benefit the customer and the stakeholder simultaneously, a small step in the right direction that created customer satisfaction

We need to find better ways to benefit customers with the data they share. The customers of the future are demanding more conscious and considerate businesses who truly put them first.

Starting today and learning tomorrow

We need to reset the way we think about our channels and platforms — big platform builds are gone. Businesses of the future are spending more time and money on better data frameworks and customer communication.

Preparing for the future with your current, or belligerent customer is about delivering trust and personalised value. Taking small steps internally, by adapting a ‘test and learn’ approach to each planned iterative improvement is critical to adapting and preparing for the future customer.

Customer service staff put the customer first, I think it’s time customer service design follows suit. Let’s put the future customer first.

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