Hundreds of customer service and customer experience practitioners gathered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at Sitel Group’s annual EmpowerCX event to discuss advancements in experience technology and strategy. Here are three key takeaways from the event, all related to the theme of human-to-human interactions, that your business can start (or continue) employing immediately:
1) Get to know your customers. Author and speaker Joey Colemanshared this quote by writer Dale Carnegie during his keynote presentation: “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Although Carnegie died in 1955, the quote is just as relevant today, both to marketers clinging to the old-school broadcast mentality vs. today’s co-creation mentality and to customer experience professionals who understand that to really know someone, the exchange of information has to be two-way.
Coleman added that many companies refer to their customers as “family” but they don’t really know much about them. He challenged marketers, salespeople and client success professionals to find out if their customers are married, have kids, where they went to school, what their major was, their favorite hobbies and sports teams, and more. After developing a fuller picture of who customers really are, it is easier to create personalized experiences based on that information.
2) Make sure your employees feel like they’re part of the team. Speaker and employee branding expert Karen McCullough told the audience that understanding generational differences between employees is critical to job satisfaction which then translates to customer experience.
For example, members of Generation-Z are now entering the workforce and will be the largest generation at 86 million, McCullough said. Second in size is the opposite end of the generational spectrum – Baby Boomers. This means that many organizations will be tasked with keeping employees of both generations happy and fulfilled. Luckily, the Baby Boomer generation “built business relationships in person,” according to McCullough, a strategy which is back in vogue as marketers continue to strive for one-on-one relationships with customers.
“When people are embedded in an organization, they feel three things – connected, protected and respected,” said McCullough.
3) Chatbots have arrived, but they aren’t replacing humans entirely. In the three years since Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the arrival of “bots” in Facebook Messenger, companies have poured millions of dollars into high-functioning chatbots that can act as digital personal shoppers – Sephora’s Facebook Messenger bot actually lets you “try on” makeup with your smartphone’s camera – and service a decent share of customer inquiries.
Isabella Mongalo, director of digital care strategy at TSC Americas, a division of Sitel Group, said that current chatbots are “in the third generation,” meaning that “machines can learn without human intervention.” Some chatbots have achieved a better than 80% resolution rate to customer service inquiries, she added.
Mongalo said that chatbots must avoid failures, create a great customer experience, launch and reiterate quickly, automate complex tasks and integrate learnings in order to keep creating value for both companies and customers.
Sitel’s CEO Americas Mike Small also mentioned “Human CX” as an emerging trend, noting that “when it comes to innovation, the associate experience is the customer experience.” This suggests that while chatbots will continue to learn how to do more and more, the human-to-human connection isn’t going to be eliminated anytime soon.
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