Enjoy the Ride by Switching to Kustomer with Eric Chon

Enjoy the Ride by Switching to Kustomer with Eric Chon TW

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In this episode of the Customer Service Secrets Podcast, Gabe Larsen is joined by Eric Chon and Vikas Bhambri to learn about making the switch to Kustomer to service their users. Eric is the Community Support Manager at Zwift – an MMO cycling and running game for exercise at home. Listen to the full episode to learn more.

Enhancing a Zwifter’s Route with the Ultimate CX

Zwift is a physical training program that allows users to exercise from home and tour maps with other Zwifters on stationary bikes. Each player’s avatar is displayed on screen in a virtual world with varying levels of terrain difficulty. What attracts cycling and running enthusiasts to Zwift is the option to stay home and still have a great, sweat-inducing workout. As inclines change in the virtual world, cycling becomes more strenuous, which gives the game a more realistic feel. The game also has incremental awards that entice players to cycle more often, to join teams, and to interact with others throughout the trails. Because of this user collaborative environment, Zwift needs a strong CX backing to support users throughout their gameplay. Eric and his team made the switch from Zendesk to Kustomer and the benefits to their customers have been endless.

The Making of a Seamless Integration

Change is hard, especially for big brands like Zwift that require an entire support team of expert representatives to provide the best experience for users. For Eric’s team; however, changing from Zendesk to Kustomer was a seamless transition and they recommend that all leaders make the switch ASAP. The reason for switching CRMs, according to Eric, is he believes that CX is a human-to-human interaction and a platform that encapsulates those beliefs into one space is vital for customer success. Eric often finds that other leaders overuse buzzwords like omnichannel to gain attention in the CX world, causing such terms to lose their true meaning. Many companies think they’re qualified as omnichannel simply for offering multiple communication routes between customers and agents. For a brand to be truly omnichannel, their CX teams need to have the ability to switch between communication channels seamlessly to continue the conversation, rather than only offer direct messaging, emails and phone calls as chat routes on their own. “So for example, you send me a chat or an SMS, but I’m trying to get you to fill out a document. You’re not going to do that on your cell phone. I’m going to email you a PDF that I need you to fill out. You can, that is true omnichannel.”

Throw Tickets Away – It’s Time for Human Interaction

Customer culture is constantly changing. Long gone are the days of customer delis where each ticket represents a person and the transaction is done quickly without much regard for customer satisfaction. When agents have a ticket counter or “deli” mentality, they don’t truly understand the why behind CX and how it helps brand loyalty in the long run. This is the responsibility of the leaders – to train their teams to have empathy for the why behind their roles, and to help them understand how each role impacts the company. The use of platforms like Kustomer helps teams maintain a sense of self and identity with their brand because it doesn’t force companies to adapt to new processes, rather, it works for the company as is. This way, leaders don’t have to copy and paste from an old system to a new one to make their processes more efficient and pretty. “When you start seeing everything click, when you really start to see the advantages in the process, your mindset is going to change.” Changing how agents approach CX by having an understanding of the why and taking advantage of modern CRM platforms like Kustomer will surely enhance the customer experience and result in lasting loyalty.

To learn more about Zwift’s transition to Kustomer and Eric’s work, check out the Customer Service Secrets podcast episode below, and be sure to subscribe for new episodes each Thursday.

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Listen to “Switching CX Gears with Zwift | Why They Decided to Transition” on Spreaker.

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Full Episode Transcript:

Switching CX Gears with Zwift | Eric Chon

TRANSCRIPT
Intro Voice: (00:04)
You’re listening to the Customer Service Secrets Podcast by Kustomer

Gabe Larsen: (00:11)
Today. We’re going to be talking about switching CX gears with Zwift. We’ve got special guests: Eric Chon, Vikas Bhambri. Eric, let’s start with you. Can you give us kind of just a quick introduction, who you are and a little bit about Zwift?

Eric Chon: (00:26)
Hi. Yeah, sure. I’m Eric. I’m the Community Support Manager at Zwift. Zwift is a online cycling platform and running, multi-sport to kinda get you off your keister and exercising. It’s a sports MMO, so you’ll be running and cycling with basically everyone else in the world that’s currently running or cycling on our many, many courses.

Gabe Larsen: (00:52)
I love it.

Eric Chon: (00:53)
It’s pretty cool.

Gabe Larsen: (00:53)
And then would you tell us just a little more about some of the things you do in that role as the community leader over there at Zwift?

Eric Chon: (01:02)
Oh, sure. So I set a lot of the policy regarding our support initiatives. I lead a team of 15, 16 people located all over the world: in London, in, well now definitely distributed all over the world. In Australia and Japan. And we basically handle all the volume that’s coming in and act as a kind of a liaison between what our members are saying and how our game is developed.

Gabe Larsen: (01:32)
Love it. Alrighty. Well, again, it’s exciting for you to join Eric. Excited to get into the conversation. Vikas, real quick, over to you.

Vikas Bhambri: (01:38)
Yeah. Vikas Bhambri, Head of Sales in CX here at Kustomer. Eric, I guess my one question for you, is there any truth to the rumor that the Tour de France is going to be done through Zwift this year because of the pandemic?

Eric Chon: (01:51)
Well, actually the Tour de France happened through Zwift actually. So it was the month of July, we hosted the first ever virtual Tour de France. We did two races every weekend and it was also the first time that there was an officially sponsored Tour de France for women.

Gabe Larsen: (02:11)
Very cool.

Vikas Bhambri: (02:11)
There’s a big Zwift event coming up, right, in the fall? I was reading something about it, but yeah, I think it was a big global virtual race, right? That you all are hosting and coming up in either the fall or winter?

Eric Chon: (02:27)
I believe so. The big thing that’s really coming, I will say this, is what we call is Zwift Academy. And Zwift academy is our big initiative where we have these training plans all set out and then through this grueling process, anybody can join just to either increase their fitness, one man, one woman have a shot at becoming part of an actual pro team. And we’ve been running this for several years as well.

Gabe Larsen: (03:02)
It sounds like Vikas, you’re an avid. You’re a, how do you know all this stuff?

Gabe Larsen: (03:06)
Look, I’ve known Eric now for a couple of years and I’m a big fan of Zwift. I can’t lie and say, look at me. You can tell I’m not as –

Gabe Larsen: (03:13)
I was going to say, yeah definitely don’t exercise. I can tell you that. We actually only want to see your head.

Vikas Bhambri: (03:20)
Fair enough.

Gabe Larsen: (03:20)
Well, awesome. Well let’s get into it. So today we’re going to talk a little bit about switching CX gears with Zwift. You obviously made a platform change recently, Eric, where you guys jumped onto the Kustomer platform from a different platform. And today I wanted to just hear a little bit about the why, the what, and the how. So if you can, maybe start with the big picture and just tell us, why did you even start looking for a different platform? What were some of those pains you started to feel that maybe brought you to ultimately partnering with us?

Eric Chon: (03:56)
Well we wanted a platform that’s a little bit more human, that allowed us to interact with our members and potential members in a more organic way. The old ticketing kind of system made me feel too much like, I’ve used this analogy a lot, but like a deli counter, right? You pull a ticket, you get answered, you throw the ticket away and then you move on. And if you write back, the tools to know like where, like what problems you faced in the past, weren’t great. You kind of had to search for it. So we’re definitely looking, everyone always says omnichannel, omnichannel, omnichannel. That was the buzzword for a long time. And nothing really truly delivered what we were looking for.

Eric Chon: (04:39)
When we came upon Kustomer. Actually it was mentioned to us through FCR as a potential to take a look at because they knew that we were kind of dissatisfied with what we were at. So we checked it out and it was kind of weird to see like, this timeline is exactly what we want. This is exactly what we’re looking for. Every conversation, every email, phone call, chat, text message, it’s all in a line. You can kind of see the whole history the customer’s journey, right? From one day saying, “Hey, I want to join your platform,” to like, “Is this the right thing to get to? I can’t connect this thing because Bluetooth is all messed up.” And so any agent or colleague that kind of reads through that gets a complete picture. And that’s fantastic.

Gabe Larsen: (05:23)
Yeah interesting. So originally you were, you had this kind of ticket-based program and you were feeling needs to be a little bit more customer centric. And then some of these things started to hit you in the right spot. This omnichannel. I got to just click on that real quick. That is a buzzword, right? And you kind of hit on that, “Omni, omni, omni.” What makes the solution not Omni channel because everybody says, “We’re omnichannel,” and everybody thinks they’re omnichannel. And what does omnichannel mean for you? And how did you kind of find that then in the Kustomer platform?

Eric Chon: (05:54)
It’s kind of interesting also because I haven’t heard it until everyone started talking about it and I’m like, “Oh, that makes sense.” Like what you want, you want all of your contacts to be in one spot and you want it to, if you want to switch, the idea to me, the idea of an omnichannel is where you’re supposed to meet the customer where they want to be contacted. And where we were before the chat program is very robust, but it was a completely separate program. It was an acquisition. So to pull data or to see things, it was, you’d have to have a separate tab, have a separate window. Same thing with the phones, cell phone support. All of this stuff was separate and it was harder for our agents to kind of tie that information together.

Eric Chon: (06:41)
What I really like is how Kustomer handles it again, like I said, it’s all in one timeline. If we’ve discovered that someone really wants to have us text them, we don’t technically offer text support yet, but the capability of like, “You know what, the last time you wrote in, you’re like, ‘Hey, I’m just sending you an email, but could you text me a follow-up,'” you can do that. And it’s all part of the, it’s all part of the flow. You can reach out and connect with that person the way they want to be connected. There’s the golden rule, which is to treat people the way you want to be treated. But there’s the platinum rule which is to treat people the way they want to be treated. And I feel Kustomer allows us to follow that platinum rule.

Vikas Bhambri: (07:22)
Yeah, Gabe. I think this is one of the things that whatever Zwift’s moving to is what a lot of the traditional vendors, old vendors, to call more traditional is much more respectful I guess, is they just rebranded multi-channel to omnichannel. And for them, what that meant is we have all these channels and you can use email, you can use chat and you can get them into one ticketing platform. What they were missing were two key things that Eric alluded to. One is that ability for either the customer or the agent to change the channel. So for example, you send me a chat or an SMS, but I’m trying to get you to fill out a document. You’re not going to do that on your cell phone. I’m going to email you a PDF that I need you to fill out. You can, that is true omnichannel. Being able to go to these traditional ticketing platforms that market themselves as omnichannel; you get an email, you’re responding an email; you get a chat, you’re responding and chat. That’s not true omnichannel.

Vikas Bhambri: (08:19)
The other thing that a customer jumps in the middle of that same issue from a chat to an email or vice versa is merging that together. And what we, we look at it as a conversation into a single conversation, and we call it a multichannel omnichannel conversation where you’ve got different touch points that have come in, but the conversation is around the same topics. Really look, you can call something whatever you want, right? But at the end of the day, I think the true principle of what omnichannel is, is what Eric’s alluding to.

Gabe Larsen: (08:50)
Interesting. Interesting. I like that, kind of bringing it all together. Eric, it sounds like that struck a chord. Let’s be on the [inaudible] piece for just a minute. So I don’t know if it was the, kind of mentioned multiple screens, right? But also disability too. Now that sounds like a couple of different data sources in one view. Were you bringing in a couple of different pieces of data to kind of optimize that customer experience?

Eric Chon: (09:16)
So prior to that, yeah, it was, I’m going to use, I’ll use chat as an example here for sure. In order to get our chat information from one to, because everything was done in GoodData, which is a heck of a platform to try to understand. It’s very powerful, but we had to create a separate ticket for each chat that came in so that it would be funneled into the system. I don’t know if that’s still the case but that was a huge pain process to try to get that. And then to get the relevant data across, it really was hours and hours and hours of my time to even get it to some kind of semblance of understanding how many chats came in, where they were coming in, what they were asking for, and could we tie them to the same user?

Vikas Bhambri: (10:10)
One of the things, Eric, that we often hear from folks that are using ticketing platforms is that the ticketing platform is kind of the source of the inquiry from the customer. But a lot of the data that resides about the customer sits in other systems, they kind of, we call the swivel chair where I’m living in a ticketing system like Zendesk and the inquiry comes in from the customer, but then I’m going to another system to go and research it, or maybe find out more about them. Like for instance, what were the kind of the different systems that you were using that the support team had to kind of pivot between? And then were you able to bring any of that into one single view in the customer platform?

Eric Chon: (10:54)
Yeah, well between chat phones, our three main lines of contact, they were all separate systems. So getting them all together and one was a challenge. In Kustomer, they’re all in the same platform. And so they all filter into the same data set. It’s a lot easier for us to kind of see, “Okay, well, how many calls did we get? How long were they? Which teams worked on them and did that call turn into a chat? Did that chat turn into an email?” We can see that transition. We can see how many of those there are and have the tools to be able to see like, well, how often are we channel switching, right? From one to the other, that kind of information is just readily available at Kustomer.

Vikas Bhambri: (11:35)
And one of the things is, from your perspective as being this leader, change is hard, right? And particularly in the support world and you guys have gone through explosive growth and you have a lot of projects on your table. So the last thing you want to do is go in and implement a new customer service platform. What were some of the things that you considered in that as you were going through this process, the retraining of agents, the migration of data, and then how did that actually transpire as you were moving from Zendesk to Kustomer and working with the customer implementation team?

Eric Chon: (12:16)
I mean, we were younger, this is two years ago. I wouldn’t say we’re able to do riskier things, but for us, it’s a constant state of experimentation. It’s like, we want to find what’s best for us. And if we know we have the known quantity and we had all these known pain points and you’re like, “As we scale, this is not going to work for us.” We saw in Kustomer a huge potential to address every single one of those. And we knew that it was going to be, to switch from one to the other that we’ve been in for several years, it’s always going to be tough. But we know that the potential there was to not only just, I don’t know how to put this, to create a support platform that works for us as for us, instead of us trying to adapt to the platform itself was high.

Eric Chon: (13:11)
And that was one of the main reasons why we did it. That, and of course all the ability to keep everything on one channel. The implementation team led by Christina was phenomenal. Really, really smooth over a lot of the things that we had issues with. To be fair, I’m going to say with her experience, she even allowed us to improve our own internal processes. Taking advantage of what Kustomer had to offer and allowing us to think about things in a different manner that we didn’t think were possible before.

Gabe Larsen: (13:42)
Yeah. So it sounds like the implementation went very smooth. As we, as you think about other customer experience leaders, community leaders, service leaders who are thinking about making that switch, I think you said it right, you were kind of embedded, it’s a little hard, no one wants to change, it feels uncomfortable, what advice do you have for them? What kind of things would you leave for that audience as they contemplate the same decisions you went through just a little bit ago?

Eric Chon: (14:16)
Document everything and it’s always going to be, it’s harder and easier than you think it’s going to be, right? Obviously, any kind of big switch, it’s always going to be harder than you think. But when you start seeing everything click, when you really start to see the advantages in the process, your mindset is going to change. How we decide to approach customer support evolved and that is huge. We are, it’s not just about the metrics, although of course the metrics are very important, right? But satisfaction with the ability to handle these things, customer satisfaction, customer effort, they all improved. So, you keep your eye on that and you’ll understand that it’s worth it. It’s worth it.

Gabe Larsen: (15:03)
I like that. Short-term, sometimes things can be harder. Long-term it does pay off. Vikas, what would you add? I mean, we’ve kind of experienced this. Coach people through it. What are they going to be thinking about as they switch?

Vikas Bhambri: (15:14)
You know, I think Eric started at the beginning, right? Which is you’re entrenched with whatever ticketing or system you’re using today. So first of all, being cognizant that change is hard, right? And it’s something, that whole change management process around educating your team as to the why. Eric was really articulated well. Why are we doing this, right? And it helps people understand why you’re going to go on that journey. And then it’s to really map out, we’re not just trying to cut and paste what we’re doing in an old system into a new system and make it a prettier screen. It’s using this as an opportunity to actually improve something. So whether it’s working with somebody like Christina on the Kustomer implementation team, or whether it’s even sitting back and revisiting some of the decisions you maybe made two, three years ago when you first implemented that other system, is there a better, or is there a different way that we could do today? But I think there’s really some unique opportunities, not just changing technology, but also not only changing the process, but in some cases seeing people talk about changing with people and helping inform the people, because it’s a very different world when you come in and you’re now interacting with humans. It’s human to human, as opposed to what Eric was saying, you’re this guy at the deli counter just taking these numbers or tickets. Right now, you’re dealing with human beings. You actually get to be more empowered. So we’ve actually heard from customers that their retention has gone up and people actually enjoy their role because they’re actually being able to get all this data and being empowered to deliver an amazing experience. With the ticketing systems, it’s really about that immediate transaction that you have with that particular customer.

Gabe Larsen: (16:59)
Awesome. Awesome. Alrighty well, Eric, really appreciate you jumping on. Vikas, likewise. For the audience, hope you understand. Hope you’ve got a great make the switch week. As we coach companies, as we think about helping leaders make the change, you can see Eric did it and he turned out all right. We’d advise you to do the same. So have a great day and we wish you the best.

Eric Chon: (17:24)
Take care. Thank you for having me guys.

Exit Voice: (17:32)
Thank you for listening. Make sure you’re subscribed to hear more Customer Service Secrets.

 

How Kustomer’s Latest Platform Features Increase Agent Efficiency Through Streamlined Customer Data

For every CX organization, the ability to effortlessly collect, organize, and analyze customer data is foundational to success. As a customer service CRM, Kustomer has always understood the importance of data. Whether it’s easily ingesting information into a customer timeline, delivering instant resolution through self-service, or helping an agent understand a recent customer conversation, Kustomer uses data to make magic happen and save your business countless hours.

That is why our product team is always working on new ways to leverage data to support your needs. Today, I’m excited to introduce three new features — conditionally required attributes, customer picker and user picker — that, when combined, help you not only streamline data but also get more value from the Kustomer platform. After all, no feature is an island; the real power of the platform is unlocked when features are used together.

Let’s begin by exploring each feature and how they can work together to paint a more complete picture of your customers.

Customer and User Pickers

Put simply, user picker and customer picker attributes track relationships. They help you ensure that agents have the full range of information needed to best service customers and identify the right team member for additional support.

For instance, let’s say you want to track which customers refer new accounts to your business. To do so, you could create a customer picker attribute for Referral Customer on the Company object.

How Kustomer's Latest Platform Features Increase Agent Efficiency Through Streamlined Customer Data Inline 1

Similarly, if you want to track which person on your team is the Purchasing Manager for a particular type of order, you could create a user picker attribute for Purchasing Manager on the Order object. Or, if you want to track the main point of contact for clients, you could create a user picker attribute for Customer Success Manager on the Customer object. As you can imagine, the range of relationships you can track using customer and user pickers are endless.

Conditionally Required Attributes

While customer and user pickers let you capture more data within the Kustomer platform, conditionally required attributes let you simplify the agent view and display certain attributes only when they’re needed. A typical example is only displaying a State attribute if a Country attribute is set to United States.

How Kustomer's Latest Platform Features Increase Agent Efficiency Through Streamlined Customer Data Inline 2

By requiring that the attribute value be set before a conversation closes, Conditionally Required Attributes promote data consistency. For instance, let’s say that for any product issue that is reported, you want to know which stock-keeping unit (SKU) had that issue. You could display the Product SKU value and require its value to be set before a conversation closes only if a Product Issue attribute value is set. As a result, agents will have greater insight into the customer’s product issue, so agents can tailor support accordingly. You’ll also be able to identify trends across product issues and escalate matters to other departments more efficiently.

How These Features Work Together

When used together, the customer and user picker attributes and conditionally required attributes can help you streamline your agent workflow and uncover new insights. For instance, let’s say you run an e-commerce website that sells computer parts and you want to assign a specialized agent to any customer who is reaching out with a technical issue.

First, you will need a Contact Reason attribute to track why a customer is reaching out. Multi-level list attributes are great for these:

How Kustomer's Latest Platform Features Increase Agent Efficiency Through Streamlined Customer Data Inline 3

Next, you’ll need to create a Technical Agent attribute with a user picker:

How Kustomer's Latest Platform Features Increase Agent Efficiency Through Streamlined Customer Data Inline 4

Once these attributes are created and added to the Insights Panel Details, you can configure your conditionally required attributes! For this use case, you’ll want to conditionally display Technical Agent when Contact Reason is set as Technical Issue. You’ll also want to make Technical Agent required, ensuring that every conversation with a technical issue has been given a technical agent before it is closed.

How Kustomer's Latest Platform Features Increase Agent Efficiency Through Streamlined Customer Data Inline 5

These simple changes help you optimize your workflow and promote good data hygiene among agents. But there are so many more opportunities for insights and automations that lay ahead.

Leverage the Rest of the Kustomer Platform to Amplify Benefits

Since each conversation with a technical issue has been given a technical agent, you can easily report on, or create automations based on, these attributes. For instance, you can create a Custom Report comparing conversations with a technical agent assigned and those without. Or, you can create a Business Rule that automatically assigns conversations that require a technical agent to a different queue.

The important thing to understand is that data-driven features like attribute types or conditionally required attributes are at the foundation of the Kustomer platform, with additional features built on top of this foundation. Being thoughtful and thorough in your configuration of Klasses and Kviews and combining platform features such as the ones we covered today are some of the best ways to get the most out of the Kustomer platform.

 

The Future is Ticket Free with Brad Birnbaum

The Future is Ticket Free with Brad Birnbaum TW

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In this episode of the Customer Service Secrets Podcast, Gabe Larsen meets with Brad Birnbaum, the founder of Kustomer, to learn how teams can adapt to accelerated growth and advancing technologies. Listen to the full episode to learn more.

It’s All About Building Relationships

Brad Birnbaum has years of experience working in the world of CX, leading companies to excellence with the proper tools. His reason for founding Kustomer is he regularly notices that many companies lack skills in the relationship department. Meaning, that the relationships brands should forge with customers simply are nonexistent. He took note of how customers are treated, many like tickets or numbers and to Brad, this is a big misfortune and missed opportunity. Thus, Kustomer was born. “The thing that we observed was so many companies were not treating their customers like people, right? They weren’t establishing the relationship with their customer that they should.” Kustomer is a customer service CRM platform created to make experiences seamless. Brad explains the three founding principles upon which Kustomer stands. One, to know everything there is to know about your customer and use that knowledge to your company’s advantage. Two, having the correct omnichannel to make it possible for streamlined conversation across multiple platforms. Three, making the agent’s job easier and simplified by removing unnecessary steps with automation.

Start Early with Omnichannel Conversations

For optimal growth, leaders should take omnichannel communication into account when creating and selling a product. The modern customer has various resources such as: email, cell phones, chat bots, and Facebook Messenger as a means of grabbing an agent’s attention. With the communication explosion, adopting omnichannel early on to the CX toolbox is a great practice for service effectiveness, especially since this is difficult to implement further down the line. Brad believes that omnichannel often gets overused and consequently loses its meaning amongst CX leaders. He prefers the term “megachannel” to describe how proficiently the Kustomer platform closes the gap between customer and agent by using multiple forms of messaging. “Which to us means being able to converse with your customers in all the different channels that you support in a seamless, single threaded conversation. Which by the way, sounds pretty obvious, but nobody actually really does and I challenge any of our competitors on that.”

Why You Need Data Automation

The current CX climate is “adapt or die,” as Brad says, which is due to technology advancing at an accelerated rate. Brands that refuse to adapt new principles and technologies simply won’t survive with the modern customer. Antiquated services don’t allow agents to work efficiently, as they often have to copy and paste data across multiple screens. With a CRM like Kustomer IQ, teams have proven to be up to 25% more efficient at their jobs, meaning that more customers are helped and more time and money is saved for the company – a win, win, win situation. “Let the computer think for you. It can do it…Let your systems do the work for you.” Another plus to data automation is fewer accidents made by human error because these platforms gather helpful data and store it for agents to use at any given time. “Having that data to enhance and enrich those support experiences is invaluable, right? It’s necessary, as a matter of fact. Customers expect it.” When CX agents have access to the proper tools and data, NPS scores are sure to skyrocket.

To learn more about how Kustomer can help your business, check out the Customer Service Secrets podcast episode below, and be sure to subscribe for new episodes each Thursday.

Listen Now:

Listen to “The Future is Ticket Free | Brad Birnbaum” on Spreaker.

You can also listen and subscribe to our podcast here:

Full Episode Transcript:

The Future is Ticket Free | Brad Birnbaum

TRANSCRIPT
Intro Voice: (00:04)
You’re listening to the Customer Service Secrets Podcast by Kustomer

Gabe Larsen: (00:11)
And we are live. Welcome, welcome everybody. We’re excited to get going today. We’re going to be talking about this idea of a ticket for your future and to do that, we brought on CEO and co-founder Brad Birnbaum. Brad, thanks for joining. How are you?

Brad Birnbaum: (00:24)
I’m doing great today, Gabe. How about yourself?

Gabe Larsen: (00:27)
So we’re excited to jump into the topic. For those of them who maybe don’t know you as well, can you give us just a quick background on yourself and a little bit on Kustomer and then we’ll dive into some questions?

Brad Birnbaum: (00:44)
Sure. I’ve spent my entire career building customer service software. Started in the nineties, had a bunch of great companies along the way, a bunch of good exits along the way. Most recently co-founded Assistly, which was a SMB SaaS customer support software. We ultimately sold it to Salesforce a couple of years later and spent a few years in Salesforce and saw the value of their platform. So the aging nature of the technology and the capabilities of the platform and knew the world needed something better, needed something modern. And took all the learnings of these past 20 years, took the learnings of kind of seeing, seeing what archaic products do and realizing there’s just a better way to service and support customers. And that’s what we’re all about here.

Gabe Larsen: (01:29)
I love it. I think you answered kind of my first question. A little bit about why you ended up founding Kustomer in the first place. Let’s jump to the second thing I had on my mind.

Brad Birnbaum: (01:39)
Well, actually, hold on. I think we could go longer. The reason we founded Kustomer is not because of my prior history as much, but it’s the things we observed, right? The thing that we observed was so many companies were not treating their customers like people, right? They weren’t establishing the relationship with their customers that they should, right? As you and I have gotten to know each other over the past year we’ve learned where they’re from and how many people in your family and your likes and dislikes, and that’s just how people form relationships. In businesses and customers, no different, right? And so many of the traditional systems of yesteryear didn’t think that way, right? They treated customers as a single transaction, right?

Brad Birnbaum: (02:25)
They treat them as a ticket and we just don’t believe that’s the right way to do it anymore. So when we created the Kustomer platform, Kustomer with a K of course, we knew we needed to revolutionize that and everything about the product and the platform we created had that in mind, right? How to make the relationship at the heart of the interaction and to know everything about the customer and to be able to understand their likes and dislikes and be able to action that. So for us, Kustomer platform was founded on three principles. One, knowing everything about the customer and be able to use that to have an amazing relationship and support the customer properly. Two, having proper omnichannel. Which to us means being able to converse with your customers in all the different channels that you support in a seamless, single threaded conversation. Which by the way, sounds pretty obvious, but nobody actually really does and I challenge any of our competitors on that. And three, taking advantage of RP, like business process automation and machine learning and artificial intelligence to automate the routine and mundane tasks of a customer support agent so that the agents are able to have those relationships and focus on the important thing at hand with supporting their customers and not go into five different screens and copying and pasting data, doing all those monotonous tasks, which are just not necessary anymore. So we knew we needed to solve all of those things. And in doing so, the Kustomer platform has really revolutionized the way companies are supporting their customers. And we’ve heard this time and time again over the past few years about how C-SAT levels have increased, of how agents are more productive and effective, right? Sometimes as often as 25% more productive than on legacy systems. So it just works. And it makes sense actually, if you think about it.

Gabe Larsen: (04:03)
I like the pillars. I think that’s a nice overview of a ticketless environment. I want to dive into maybe though, just real briefly, let’s do the omnichannel. You touched on that one. What does it mean to be truly omnichannel?

Brad Birnbaum: (04:18)
Sure. So first off, all of our competitors were created before this thing ever existed, right? They’re creating a different generation, a different era. They didn’t really grow up with the need for omnichannel. So it’s not ingrained in their product. And it’s really hard to add after the fact, right? So most of our competitors will say, “If you send me an email, that’ll be a ticket.” And then to have a ticket ID, you get assigned to a particular agent. And if you don’t get a response fast enough, maybe you send them a text or have a chat session and maybe ultimately phone call then. In our competitor’s products, those will all be three separate tickets. They will have three separate ticket IDs. They will possibly, probably be assigned to three separate teams. God forbid you get three different answers when you respond, right?

Brad Birnbaum: (05:04)
Which happens. We call them agent collisions. They happen all the time. And what you got is a frustrated customer because they’re now having multiple different discussions with different people around the same problem across different channels. You’re wasting time, right? Because many of your agents are basically servicing for the same customer and it’s just not a good experience. The way we solved it is all of that will aggregate into a single, what we call conversation. And you can context switch between any of the channels we support. We support an immense amount of channels. And in real time, at the same time, you and I can be on a phone call right now and you can say, “Hey, Brad. Can you just like text me the user, the page that shows me the user on it?” I could just send you a text with that, right? I just want a phone call. How else would I? And I’m texting you in that conversation at the same time. And again, through all of the channels, we’ve got the synchronous channels, the asynchronous channels, the voice channels: WhatsApp, texting, chat message, Facebook Messenger on and on and on, and it works really, really well. And it’s been game changing and it makes you realize, how could you do this any other way, right? It’s like, how did you do it before –

Gabe Larsen: (06:14)
[Inaudible] I think, right?

Brad Birnbaum: (06:19)
Yup. And I will say this, like we probably do ourselves a disservice by using the term omnichannel because everybody’s used the term omnichannel. So it’s like omnichannel, omnichannel. We see it so differently that, as I said, I do think we’re doing ourselves a disservice by calling it omnichannel. I think we should call it megachannel, but whatever we call it, it is different, right? It is different than everybody else’s definition of omnichannel.

Gabe Larsen: (06:41)
Yeah. Yeah.

Brad Birnbaum: (06:42)
It’s important. Most important, it’s the way your customers want to communicate with you, right? They do context switch as we all communicate with one another, we and the business world, we’ll text and we’ll Slack and we’ll email and we’ll phone call and that’s just normal on a day to day. Even you and I, Gabe, like, that’s how we’ll converse, right? Many different ways. I’m sure we’ve emailed, Slacked and phone call at each other at least once today already, right? Like, and that’s normal and often around the same topic. So it just, it just makes sense when you think about it.

Gabe Larsen: (07:14)
To bring those all together under one roof. Okay, that’s omnichannel. CRM is a loaded term. It’s been used in many different instances. It’s obviously in sales, it’s in marketing, it’s in service. Why do you think CRM is such an interesting and important component of a modern ticket lists and service solution?

Brad Birnbaum: (07:34)
Yeah, well CRM is, the term’s been around forever. People often equate it to SFA, sales force automation, right? Just on the sales front. And I think the more generic definition is not that it’s customer relationship management. It’s how the business interacts with the customers and the data around them. So for us, we absolutely are a CRM system because we have a tremendous, we can have a tremendous amount of data about the customers, whatever the business provides. So if you’re a retailer, very often we’ll have your full customer record. We will have orders. We’ll have information about those orders, perhaps billing exceptions or delivery exceptions, or when it got delivered, you name it. Across the board. Having that data to enhance and enrich those support experiences is invaluable, right? It’s necessary, as a matter of fact. Customers expect it.

Brad Birnbaum: (08:22)
They, when I call whomever it is that I call for support, whether they’re using my product or not, I expect them to know everything about me, or if I call them by cell phone, they already have my number. I expect you to know my profile. I expect you to know I’m calling because I ordered something four days ago and it hasn’t yet been delivered. I can’t find it, right? I don’t want to have to say, “Hey, I’m Brad. Here’s my date of birth and my address. And I’m calling you because you see that order I placed four days ago? I never got it.” I expect you to know that about me. You should. In today’s day and age with computers and data, there’s no reason not to. And that needs to be applied to customer support and customer service. It has to be applied to it.

Brad Birnbaum: (09:02)
It’s expected at this point in time. It’s table stakes. And you’d be surprised how many companies support their customers without that data, right? Where they’re like, “Oh, all right. Let me, I see that you’ve reached out to me and system A. Let me try and look you up in system B. Let me try and find why you might’ve called.” Let the computer think for you. It can do it. Of course it can do it right. Let it do the work, let your systems do the work for you. And for us, CRM is fully understanding the relationship the business has with the customer as I said earlier, and leveraging data to do that. And we’ve got a very, very robust CRM platform. It’s enterprise class in terms of permissioning, object level permissioning, record level permissioning, field level permissioning, who can see and do what to any objects, right?

Brad Birnbaum: (09:46)
And data validations, and really incredible whizzy wave view builders that we call k views. Everything’s with a K. So k views around these objects and being able to action these objects. You can run business process automations on an object. As an example, let’s say it was a shirt and you needed to return it for a larger size. You would see that object in your timeline, you could just hit return on or exchange for a larger size. And one of these automations that’ll talk to all the back office systems take care of that seamlessly. Instead of taking the human, many screens, and many minutes, it takes a computer milliseconds and boom, you’re done. Everybody wins. The customer gets the resolution faster. They’re happier. And by the way, automated so less accident prone. So it’s more likely to be correct. Agents service you faster, as they’re more productive and effective, and they’re not wasting their time on things. Businesses, money, C-SAT levels go up. The agent productivity goes up. It’s just a win, win, win across the board.

Gabe Larsen: (10:40)
Yeah, well it definitely feels like it’s different than CRM. Maybe you’ll get that KRM. Maybe you’ll be able to rename –

Brad Birnbaum: (10:45)
One day, one day, we’re going to coin KRM.

Gabe Larsen: (10:48)
Well, let’s go to AI. One of the things people are talking about a lot as we move into this next generation of customer expectations is the automation side of the house. It’s the data side of the house. How does that create that modern service experience and how does it eliminate the ticket?

Brad Birnbaum: (11:05)
Well, in the spirit of knowing everything about the customer and understanding all the ways you like to communicate and having that omnichannel communication, you want to take advantage of machine learning and artificial intelligence in several ways. One way might be for deflection, right? Customer reaches out through email or text, or any of the asynchronous messaging channels. We have an amazing chat bot and we want to be able to take advantage of that, right? So try to service the customer through a chat bot, right? It could be a simple search in our knowledge base and deflection could be more advanced, full chat bot experience where you’re actually conversing with the chat bot. And then that ultimately gets to leverage the CRM data that we know about you, to say, “Hey Brad. We noticed that you ordered a shirt a couple days ago and had it delivered this afternoon. Is this what you’re reaching out about?”

Brad Birnbaum: (11:55)
You say, “Yes, it is.” And then it’s like, “Cool. We noticed it’s set to be delivered tomorrow. Anything else we can help you with?” “No, thank you.” Boom. That’s a pretty incredible experience and one that we all expect nowadays. But then you can do other forms of AI right? We have customers that use machine learning for routing, right? To make sure the right customer, the customer gets to the right agent, right? Sometimes their businesses are so segmented that different agent teams can’t really service all customers, right? They’re only training with certain capabilities and we’ve got some customers using the machine learning capability of our platform to make sure that the customer conversations get to the right group of agents regardless of how they might’ve self-selected. The machine learning is way better than that. And we’re seeing it with incredibly high success rates in the mid to upper nineties of high levels of accuracy. So really great stuff.

Brad Birnbaum: (12:44)
Suggesting responses. Once a day, if an agent is engaged with the customers, suggesting response, which for us is also the next action, right? So you can suggest how to respond to the customer and are using what we call shortcuts. And our shortcuts do a lot of different things, right? Not only do they send texts, but they can even do actions in our system. And you do that and it does categorization, classification. So there’s so many things that you could use with intelligence, with machine learning and AI. And we’re just touching the tip of the iceberg with what we’re doing in the customer platform. As a matter of fact, we’ve rolled out an entire offering, which we call Kustomer IQ and it’s going to be pervasive through our entire product offering. We’ll see it in predicting reporting trends. You’ll see it potentially one day in helping analyze fraud. There’s so many potential use cases, but right now, we’re working on various forms of self service, various forms of incredible chat bots, various forms of making agents more productive.

Gabe Larsen: (13:44)
Yeah. Well, we hit a lot of topics today. I want to see if we can get kind of a summary from you. Obviously consumer expectations have changed. People are frustrated with ticket-based systems. Today was all about a ticket-free future. If you think about leaders who are really trying to up their game when it comes to customer service, what do you leave them with today?

Brad Birnbaum: (14:04)
Well look, the world is changing faster than anybody, any of us ever expected, right? The pandemic has increased the rate of digital transformation by many, many, many orders of magnitude. We’ve all seen the charts. Some say it’s digital accelerate. Digital transformation accelerated five years like that. We’re seeing e-commerce, the drive to e-commerce move at rates completely up. Just nobody thought it could ever happen at the rate of increase that’s going on. So you’ve got to adopt your business, right? Business is moving online faster than ever. We’re seeing so many traditional companies converting to almost becoming modern, direct to consumer companies. You have to adapt, right? It’s kind of adapt or die, right? You have to adapt. And that is how you do business in every facet of how you do business. Customer service is of course a critical part of it, right?

Brad Birnbaum: (14:51)
You can have a great product, but poor customer service, and you probably will not have repeat customers. You won’t have customer advocacy and in the end you probably won’t win. So you can’t have a great product without great customer service and why not take advantage of the most modern ways to do so and the best tools to do it. And you need to really rethink that, right? And the world has evolved in so many ways, why shouldn’t the way you support and service your customers evolve?

Gabe Larsen: (15:15)
I love it. Well, Brad really appreciate you taking the time. Everybody, this week is make the switch week. We are empowering leaders who have been frustrated with these ticket-based systems, upgrade to a modern customer service CRM. So Brad, thanks again for joining. For everybody else, have a fantastic day.

Brad Birnbaum: (15:32)
Thank you all. Have a great day.

Exit Voice: (15:40)
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How to Fix the Gaps in Your Customer Experience Strategy

How the Right Customer Service CRM Can Make Your Customer — and Agents — Happier TW

Every business understands the importance of good service, but few are able to deliver an excellent customer experience that gets your most dedicated followers raving about you. Consumers value good customer service, and they’re much more likely to buy from a company again when they’ve had a good experience with a company representative., But how do you perfect the science of CX and deliver a consistent experience to every person who interacts with your brand?

With so many resources being focused on top-line revenue growth strategies, companies are really missing the mark by not optimizing their front-line experiences with their buyers. In order to deliver an excellent customer experience, you have to first take a look at what is missing in your organization and what is preventing you from delivering a stellar customer experience.

What’s the Difference: Excellent Customer Experience vs. Customer Service

The key difference between these two is that customer service is just one part of the puzzle. Customer service is directly serving a customer one-on-one and dealing with their unique challenges. The customer experience, however, takes a holistic view of everything the organization is doing to bring a joyful experience to the entire customer journey. This is the key piece that brings buyers back for more and turns a pseudo-buyer into a raving fan that can’t get enough.

When you create a strategic customer experience strategy, you’re no longer leaving each customer interaction up to chance. An excellent customer experience also increases brand trust, consistency, and trackability. People don’t just value good customer service, they value the personalized service a brand can bring into their experience. People want to feel like the brand cares about them and that the products and services are matching their needs and pain points.

However, brands are falling short in this department. A good customer service experience often falls to the bottom of the investment queue, while marketings and sales budgets take center stage. But don’t worry, there are ways a brand can maintain an excellent customer experience without breaking the bank.

The Importance of Good Customer Experience

A study by Nielsen showed that 73% of millennials were willing to spend more on a product if it was a socially conscious brand. This means a large demographic wants the companies they do business with to care about them and the types of products they’re bringing into the world. In another study conducted by Porter Novelli’s 2020 The Business Imperative For Social Justice Today, they highlighted that 71% of Americans believe companies have more responsibility than ever before to address social justice issues and 56% of participants said when companies do not talk about social justice issues in their marketing or communications, they’re perceived as out of touch. When you deliver a good customer experience that incorporates your core brand messaging and its values through impactful communication, it resonates and builds a stronger brand connection with your audience.

There are also devastating impacts to a business when they deliver a bad customer experience. It is estimated that more than $62 billion is lost each year due to a bad customer service experience, and roughly only 10% of buyers say that brands meet their expectations when it comes to a good customer experience. It’s not that these buyers have high expectations; brands are unconsciously making their customer experience services difficult to use, and not user-friendly.

An excellent customer experience strategy doesn’t involve reworking your entire organization top-to-bottom or even require excessive retraining of your support team. You’d be surprised how small incremental steps in the right direction can move the needle ten-fold. For example, putting yourself in your buyer’s shoes and going through ‘a common problem’ they experience can reveal interesting insights into how your brand can improve and lessen the frustration a customer may experience.

4 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience in Retail

Get to Know Your Customers

Do you know what’s important to your customers? Are there social issues they’re fighting against? Brands who stand up and advocate for the very same causes your ideal customers care about can earn more money, more praise, and more brand loyalty. Customers want to know that their brand is a part of a bigger vision than themselves. They do not want to support a company that’s just about the bottom line. There is a huge buyer sentiment shift happening, where modern consumers want brands to be transparent, they want employees to be treated fairly, and they want to know brands are supporting their local community.

By understanding what’s important to your customers, you can offer a personalized service that they haven’t seen or experienced anywhere before. You can do this by incorporating important initiatives throughout the customer service experience, whether that might be having one of your agents proactively explain the company’s values and social missions, or incorporating relevant statistics or facts within your website materials. This attention to detail ends up earning you a loyal customer who is happily recommending your services to their friends and family.

Develop Protocols to Quickly Act on Agent Feedback

Your customer service agents are on the frontlines, and can spot common themes and trends with your customers. What are your processes right now to help capture customer sentiment and data point they’re collecting “on the ground’? By quickly incorporating regular agent feedback, this can actually be the easiest way you can turn an ‘okay’ customer experience into an excellent customer experience.

Capture Customer Feedback in Real-Time

How happy are your customers after they’ve interacted with you? This is a critical piece in understanding more about your customer and what type of experiences they’re having with your brand. With the right technology, organizations can send an immediate and automatic feedback survey each time a customer has finished an interaction.

Provide a Unique Shopping Experience

Through the use of reporting and analytics, businesses are able to determine how satisfied a customer was after their shopping experience. You can re-engage your customers based on their preferences at a future time and get them to come back for more. Personalization is key in the digital world where every business is trying to grab your buyer’s attention. If you already know what your buyer likes, values, and believes in, it becomes an easy entry point to offer the right products and services..

How We Can Help Your CX

Companies are having a hard time finding unique ways to deliver a personalized customer experience, but through automation, AI, and machine learning, you can free up agent time to build more meaningful relationships with your customers, instead of being bogged down in busy work.

Kustomer can help identify key gaps within your systems and processes and help you fill them. Through our CRM platform, CX organizations are able to access customer history across channels and platforms seamlessly, resulting in a dramatic improvement in customer satisfaction. Consumers want to know you care about them, and by offering personalized service, leveraging effective systems to collect feedback, and the ability to act quickly on that feedback, you will earn your customers’ trust and drive more sales.

Don’t miss the chance to  improve the customer experience. Through strategic implementation of the right tools, you can cultivate a loyal customer base that will never forget you.

Kustomer offers a seamless CRM platform that helps easily track and deliver on your brand promise across multiple channels. Interested in learning more? Check out this handy (and free!) buyer’s guide.

 

What Is Live Chat and Why Is It Great For Your Business?

The Undeniable Power of Chatbots TW

Consumers want options more than ever before and, more importantly, they want them quick. If you look at the three biggest customer service trends for the future, they all point toward automation and AI handling simpler tasks, and human agents dealing with complex issues.

Our buying trends have evolved too. More people prefer to shop online and have their packages delivered right from the comfort of their own home, rather than travel to a physical store. Digital natives have also grown up with technology, and interacting with this tech has essentially become second nature. Consumers are used to getting the answers they need in an instant, and they expect online businesses to fulfill these expectations.

Unfortunately, businesses are slowly adapting to this online trend and, even if they do incorporate some form of live chat, they’re only using a fraction of its full functionality. If you’re looking to get ahead of your competition, then providing a business live chat service directly on your website will be one of the key strategies to help you stand out and convert skeptical buyers into happy fans.

The simple fact is: e-mail is too slow, and very few people want to be put on hold and wait to speak to a customer representative when they can quickly ask the question in a chat widget right on the site. Chat allows consumers to get help directly on the platform they are using, while also allowing them the flexibility to continue browsing the internet while having a customer service conversation. Phone wait times can vary, and many people don’t like having one ear ‘on’ as they wait for customer support.

Millennials report feeling less stressed and pressured when they interact with a live chat feature, and users who engage in a chat and quickly get the answers to their questions are also more likely to spend more money. This means a business could be losing 30% in additional customer buying power just by not having a chat feature!

Live chat is definitely here to stay and it’s in every organization’s interest to adapt to the changing times of what their customers prefer.

What Is Live Chat?

A live chat is when a customer support agent is helping a customer in real time through a chat widget on a company’s website. Agents can quickly answer a customer’s questions based on their needs and provide a more customized experience. This live chat experience is somewhat different from an automated chatbot experience because chatbots already have a pre-determined and pre-filled response repository for them to use and can quickly recall commonly asked questions. Live chat is a step up, for when a customer needs individualized support and wants to talk to a real person.

Live chat offers a competitive edge because customers feel like the company they are doing business with cares about their time and needs. The biggest source of frustration for many customers is the inability to speak to a live person. The chat box provides a low cost way to deliver that experience to their customers, and it’s incredibly simple to use, both for the customer and the agent.

How Does Live Chat Work? A Quick Walkthrough

For those who might be unfamiliar, a live chat interaction would look something like this: there is a popup on the client website, usually located at the bottom of the right-hand side of the webpage, that appears when a user or customer lands on that page. Within this automated chat popup, you will typically see a friendly customer agent profile picture and they will ask the user, “Hey there, how can I help you today?” This allows the user to quickly engage within chat if they are having trouble finding the right information they’re looking for. After that, the conversation with the customer has started and a personalized relationship with the customer gets built with a live agent.

On the back end, what the live agent sees is slightly different: They should have access to a single, holistic timeline view of the customer where the agent can quickly view aggregated data particular to that individual, and provide a personalized service to that customer.

Your live agents will actually have insights into what their potential customer is interested in, how long they’ve been a loyal customer, and utilize templated responses within the system to help respond faster to multiple customers asking for similar things.

When using a customer service CRM, businesses can integrate different apps and platforms into one central workspace, making it quick and easy for agents to service a customer on chat. Customers can be intelligently routed to the most appropriate representative at the beginning of the conversation, spam bot conversations can be automatically flagged with the help of AI, and customer feedback can be measured directly within the chat conversation.

What Are the Benefits of Live Chat on Your Website:

It’s Convenient

The biggest live chat benefit: it’s the most convenient channel for customers. They don’t have to switch platforms or switch ‘contexts’ in order to get the information they’re looking for. For example, if they’re forced to call a customer service agent, they’d have to get out their phone or switch applications on the phone (if they’re already on mobile), and wait in a queue for an agent to help them. For the average user, that’s a lot of frustration and wasted time. The same applies to e-mail. Although you don’t have to talk to someone, waiting 24 to 48 hours to get a response to a simple question can sour their experience.

Increases Purchase Conversions

Customers love to get an answer to their question within a few minutes, not hours, and often hop on chat to get what they’re looking for right away. This means the role of the customer service agent has changed. They no longer simply provide solutions to problems, but instead are offering upfront advice to customers and clearing any roadblocks they might have with the product or service. After having their queries answered, customers are more likely to make their purchase right then and there, leading to more purchases.

Cart abandonment is one of the biggest challenges an online store has, but if you have a live customer service agent ready to answer any questions, you give customers a real-time incentive to buy from you.

Low Cost … and It’s Personalized

It’s become rather inefficient to have a CS agent answer a phone call live: it doesn’t allow them to service more than one customer. Afterall, you can only speak to one person at a time on a call. With chat, this is no longer the case. An agent can manage multiple conversations at the same time while they’re waiting for customers to find their order number or look up additional information for the agent.

The power of personalized service also goes a long way for the customer; it gives them a sense of confidence and trust when they know there’s a real person on the other side of the conversation. When you have an increase in customer satisfaction, customers are more likely to buy from you again.

Removes Language Barrier

According to the U.S. Census, roughly 21% of the American population are non-native English speakers. That means a large swath of your customer base may not feel 100% confident in their speaking and writing ability. E-mails can appear too formal and nerve-wrecking for someone who speaks English as a second language and they may be overly critical of incorrect grammar. The same can happen with phone calls.

With the right customer service CRM, AI can identify the language the individual is speaking in during the live chat and route them to a native speaker. It gives non-English speakers a better, more informal way of communicating with a customer representative. If you don’t have a representative that speaks the customer’s native language, that’s okay too. Through technology, live chat can take translatable snippets of typical questions and answer it in the customer’s native tongue. Chat provides a more relaxed way for a non-native speaker to communicate, and it’s also very forgiving of any grammar mistakes too!

How Effective Is Live Chat?

We know the benefits of live chat, but what does the data say on its effectiveness? Based on research conducted by Econsultancy, live chat has the highest satisfaction levels compared to any other customer service channel at 73%. This compares to 61% for e-mail and 44% for phone.

According to data collected by Invespcro, 63% of consumers are more likely to return to a website that offers live chat, and 42% of customers prefer giving their contact information within chat, which is higher than any other lead generating method. People who engage in chat are also spending about 60% more per purchase than those who do not.

Do you have high shopping cart abandon rates? Live chat can help fix that. According to Baymard Institute, the average cart abandonment rate is 69.57% And another report from Barilliance shows that cart abandonment rates are even higher on mobile devices, up to a whopping 85.6%!

This research is further confirmed by Forrester: 57% of participants said they’d abandon a purchase if their questions weren’t answered quickly enough and 44% of consumers said that having their questions answered by a live person was “one of the most important features a company can offer.”

Business Benefits of Live Chat

Study after study has shown that live chat is an effective way to prevent cart abandonment, increase customer satisfaction, and customer loyalty. By having a live person on the other line, your buyers can have their complex issues fixed and you can give your customers a more personalized experience based on their unique challenges and needs at one of their most critical times: when they’re ready to buy.

Despite all the benefits of live chat, there is also a huge business disconnect happening right now. Only about 25% of customer service organizations are currently using chat, which means 75% of businesses are not leveraging the power of this amazing tool, resulting in money and opportunities literally slipping through the cracks.

Cart abandonment is a huge problem for businesses everywhere in the online world. A live agent is like having a personalized salesman to talk to your prospect and give them the boost of confidence they need in order for them to buy. It answers their questions and any objections they have in real time, which means purchases happen on the spot. You have the unique opportunity to guide a user through a roadblock, something that is not always possible with other forms of customer service communication.

Another benefit to providing a service in real-time is that the world is a very busy and distracted place, if a user has to ‘come back later’ to make a decision, chances are they’ve moved on completely, and once you’ve lost them, you’ve lost them forever.

Think about all the effort that goes into marketing and sales, but what about customer service? You have the people already knocking at your door, it’s just about taking that extra personalized step and leading them to the right place that will help solve their core problem.

Interested in Getting Live Chat on Your Website? Connect With Kustomer

If you’d like to find out more about Kustomer and how we can help, get in touch for a demo. You can also check out our handy (and free!) guide about The Undeniable Benefits of Live Chat, if you’re looking for more information on how to deliver superior customer service through the use of live chat, chatbots and more!

 

4 Ways to Relieve Customer Service Agent Friction

How the Right Customer Service CRM Can Make Your Customer — and Agents — Happier TW

Customer service agent friction can be a major pain point for many businesses, because there are innumerable variables in the customer journey that can be hard to account for. However, if businesses want to scale, they need to remove as many roadblocks as possible that might be preventing the customer from purchasing, resolving their problems, or having a seamless customer experience.

Customers have reported that they’d completely leave a website and abandon their cart if their questions or concerns weren’t answered quickly enough. More consumers value the ease of communicating with a brand than ever before, and customer service agents are on the forefront of representing a brand, becoming the single source of truth for customers to depend on.

If you have poor systems and processes in place during the customer service handoff, your customers will notice and become easily frustrated. With so much money going into marketing and sales budgets, it’s important to tighten up the backend so that your dollars go further and your customers report high satisfaction rates, finish the buyer cycle with ease, and are excited to come back for more personalized service.

What is Customer Service Agent Friction?

Customer service agent friction is when customer service agents are having a hard time fulfilling customer requests and getting to their conversation backlog quickly. This can be a big contributor as to why a customer might not have a pleasant experience. Many people prefer a frictionless experience, and if agents are struggling to keep up with inbound conversations, customers will get frustrated and potentially leave for the competition.

What is Customer Friction?

Customer friction refers to everything that a customer might face that brings their purchasing decision to a halt or prevents them from completing a transaction. It can also mean common questions or problems a customer might have, but can not find the solutions to. The goal in the end is to remove all obstacles a customer might face when they interact with your brand. There can be many factors as to why customer friction might occur. For one, the quality or usability of a brand’s website may not be up to par. The business might have limited operational hours, or it could be difficult for the customer to get to the payment form. Customer friction can also occur when dealing with uninformed staff or excessive customer service wait times.

Why Reducing Agent Friction Matters

Businesses need to take a hard look at their internal processes. Fifty-seven percent of consumers said they’d completely abandon their cart if their questions weren’t answered quickly enough. Delays can happen when a service agent doesn’t have all the information they need, and this leads to people taking their money elsewhere. Sometimes this information is dependent on other departments, like the fulfillment center or finance department, and agents need to individually reach out to a different team. You can prevent this from happening through the incorporation of CX software that already has an internal knowledge base that houses critical company information to help agents with their information roadblocks.

If customers aren’t satisfied with their customer service experience, they’re more likely to be vocal to their friends and family about it, and make a point to deter others from doing business with the brand. They are also less likely to return to a brand if they’ve had a negative customer service experience. Valuable dollars and additional revenue could be saved just by investing in a streamlined process to help agents be more efficient and effective.

The Most Common Agent Friction Problems

Many businesses operate on an old-school, or traditional CS model. A customer comes to the brand with an issue, a ticket gets created, this ticket gets assigned to an agent, and then they work on it until there’s a resolution. This all sounds great in theory, but we’re living in a more evolved world and customers are actually contacting brands on more than one platform. Here are some of the common problems CS teams face:

Conversation volume

Under the traditional CS model, there is a common issue that occurs: duplicate tickets get created for the same customer when they reach out on different social platforms. This often leads to having two customer service agents dedicated to the same problem, causing the customer to repeat themselves more than once. It also causes the customer a lot of frustration because they might get two different solutions to their problem, and this gives them a dissatisfactory and disjointed brand experience. With an omnichannel solution, CX organizations can prevent this duplicate ticket creation right away because the customer is at the center of every interaction.

Customer conversation backlog

Agents might be diligently working through conversations, but because the internal processes on the backend are broken or not intuitive, your agents might actually be spending too much time on repetitive tasks that could be automated. This holds up the conversation with the customer or requires the customer to wait a long time for their problem to be solved. In this fast-paced world, customers do not want to wait 3-5 days to see if they’re eligible for a product exchange, refund, or whether their item will be back in stock.

A backlog of conversations is costly for any organization because it holds up not only the customer’s time, but the agent’s time as well. By reducing this agent friction, customers receive faster service and agents are able to focus 100% of their time on complex problems without having to waste resources on low-level, repetitive tasks. This is one of the easiest roadblocks to remove, and will set your agents up for success.

Long Wait Times

In conjunction with the problem above, customers hate long wait times, even when they know their agent is working in the background to help them. Customer service agents might depend on external factors or other departments in order for them to answer their customer’s question knowledgeably. The good news is that technology and automation can help you determine where you can shorten the process, reduce handoffs within the team, and get those response times down so that your customers leave feeling happy.

Lack of Data: What’s Working? What’s Not?

The biggest problem for companies when it comes to reducing customer service agent friction is due to the fact that they do not have the data to see why a customer might be slipping through the cracks. Many companies are going in blind when they’re interacting with their most important asset: their customers. Why leave it up to chance to see whether your customer leaves happy or not? By tracking key data points, you can use that data to improve your process and better prepare your CS team.

Kustomer – The Solution for You

If you’re tired of not having the data to make smart decisions and service customers quickly, Kustomer is your ally. Our omnichannel solution helps relieve customer service agent friction and gets you the data you need to see where you can optimize your internal processes. Our holistic customer view, knowledge base integration and powerful automations, allow customer service agents to focus on the most important issues without having to toggle between systems and tabs.

If you’re interested to know more, request a live personalized demo for free!

 

Introducing Kustomer University, The New Virtual Learning Platform

Introducing Kustomer University, The New Virtual Learning Platform TW

Are you someone who likes to get the most out of their CRM? Are you someone who likes to learn new things? Well, we have great news for you! Based on customer feedback, we have created a team dedicated to learning and training to help our customers get the most value out of Kustomer and deliver best-in-class customer experiences. Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of our brand new learning management system, Kustomer University.

Kustomer University will house courses on platform navigation, configuration, and best practices. New admins will love our guided program, Kustomer 101, which will take you through everything you need to know about managing your Kustomer instance. Experienced admins will enjoy our advanced courses and certifications launching later this year. Onboard your newest agents with our Kustomer Agent Training course, which gives them a platform overview and best practices for supporting customers using the platform.

Just as Kustomer is customer-centric, Kustomer University is designed with you in mind. Built with realistic expectations of your day, Kustomer University delivers microbursts of training to help you level-up your platform proficiency in the time it takes to drink your morning coffee. Our training team layers content into need-to-know bite-sized learning guides that deliver new information in a fun, easy-going way that will challenge you just enough to make it stick. Our courses are typically less than 15 minutes, comprised of two to four minute lessons. We mix engaging video, best practices and activities to make the most of your time with us.

We’re committed to investing in training for all users of the Kustomer platform. Later in 2021, keep an eye out for more advanced content on our most powerful features, training for supervisors and team leaders, and in the second half of the year, we’ll be launching our first certifications. We’re also excited to explore in-person workshops and custom training options later this year.

We’d love to know what else you’d like to see in Kustomer University. Admins can submit and upvote training requests directly in Kustomer so we know how to best prioritize our roadmap. Head to Settings > Feature Requests and select Training as your request category.

Log in to Kustomer University today by going to your avatar menu in the platform, or visit us directly at university.kustomer.com. Log in with your Kustomer credentials —there’s no need to create any new passwords or add any bookmarks.

 

Your Help Center Software Could Use a Facelift. Here’s How.

Two people discuss selecting a new help center software while working on a computer. Modern help center software aims to streamline customer service professional workflows.

Growth creates growing pains. And often, high-growth brands struggle to scale their contact centers while also managing an influx of shopper queries, such as returns or locating an item. Balancing these forces — scale and volume — often starts with reviewing your help center software and removing manual, time-consuming tasks, including sifting through queues, escalating issues and processing transactions.

What Is Help Center Software?

Simply put, help center or support software enables conversations between customer service professionals and shoppers, who submit support inquiries. The software fields, stores and organizes these queries and displays them to the agent. Within this interface, staff have access to a variety of customer communications and data, allowing them to make more informed decisions. Perhaps most importantly, help center software powered by AI and machine learning can automate agent work and process inquiries without agent intervention, freeing up agent time to tackle more complex requests.

As DTC markets grow — and with them, consumer expectations and inquiry volume — technology must keep up. Modern help center software eliminates low level tasks and deflects repetitive questions, empowering customer service professionals to be more focused and reducing per-contact costs. What makes great software? Read more below.

Why Focus on Help Center Software?

Few business facets are more important than customer service. Speaking about 2021 customer service trends, Allegra Ubbes, a senior advisory specialist at Gartner, summarized the market this way:

“Customer service and support leaders face increased pressure from leadership on the role of the service function in improving operational excellence and growing the business. Given this environment, it’s unsurprising that customer service and support leaders’ top 2020 priorities are rooted in customer experience (CX), managing talent and data.”

Adding to their analysis, Gartner surveyed service executives about their priorities. Topping their lists: digital channels and functions. “Customer service leaders feel a distinct pressure to meet customers’ expectations for digital service channels and keep pace with competitors’ service offerings,” analysts write. “As a result, service leaders spend a disproportionate amount of time adding or integrating channels.”

However, research finds this creates a “costlier, more complex network of channels to manage without improving the customer experience and insufficient reduction in live volume.” Put another way: not every help center software – and the channels they facilitate – can power the sleek shopping experience that buyers want. On the contrary, that software may damage customer relations and the company’s bottom line.

Make Friends With Customer Experience (CX)

Simply sidestepping help center software all together isn’t going to solve this issue. Indicators suggest brands can anticipate a sustained surge of digital customer queries. And the National Retail Federation (NRF) found there’s a good chance 2020-based forces have permanently altered the CX industry. As such, brands should take notice.

Training their sights on the November-December holiday season, NRF found retail sales rose to $789.4 billion, an 8.3% increase over 2019. Online and other sales outside of traditional brick-and-mortar stores grew 23.9% over the previous year as well.

Greater sales activity creates a cascade effect on business operations: starting with increased urgency placed on customer service professionals and their tools, such as help desk software. How great a spike in activity? Just under 70% of respondents said they fielded more customer queries in 2020 when compared to the previous holiday season.

And there’s a price tag attached to excellent CX. Researchers found an overwhelming 86% of buyers said they’d pay more for a product when that shopping experience comes with superior customer service. When there’s demand for — and more money to be made — with great customer service, avoiding help center software isn’t an option.

Help Center Software of Your Dreams

Alright, so those are the stakes. But what factors should a customer service professional weigh when evaluating different help center software? Look no further than software that leverages the latest technology to make agents more efficient and effective.

Additionally, there are five pillars of every modern support software:

Holistic Customer View. See the whole picture. Often answers are found by combining information from different sources. Opt for a software that uses a holistic customer view, and displays every item of internal and external data into one actionable interface.

Powerful Automation. Give your agents more bandwidth to focus their energy on pressing tasks with AI and machine learning, which completes small, easy tasks that don’t require a human touch.

True Omnichannel. Endlessly toggling between engagement channels burns valuable time and energy, which could be spent delving into customer queries. Choose a help center software with omnichannel features that empower agents to switch between channels without ever leaving the conversation.

Sentiment Fluency. Customer service can be a huge source of data. Let AI do the hard work. Software with sentiment fluency interprets shoppers’ feelings and turns them into actionable insights.

Customization. It’s a bad idea to add tools that aren’t a good fit for your operation. Cumbersome solutions burn resources, and can ultimately harm a customer’s shopping experience. Choose a software that seamlessly integrates with your existing operation.

Help Center Software Solutions

Want to see these fives pillars in action? Check out Kustomer’s customer service CRM platform for managing high support volume. When there’s a surge of customer queries, not just any help center software will do. Delve deeper into this topic, and discover how artificial intelligence can reduce time spent on minor tasks and create a more enjoyable shopping experience for customers.

 

Video: How to Deliver Stellar CX Remotely

Woman engages with customer service queries at home on laptop.

Have you and your teams struggled with the transition to remote customer service, and want more control on how you’re delivering a stellar experience to your customers? The Kustomer Platform bridges the gap between addressing accountability problems (are my agents really working?), giving you a seamless way to track important data points about your customer.

What is Remote Customer Service?

With an uptick in people working from home and being online more than ever before, consumers need and expect customer support 24/7. Your remote customer service agents should do everything an in-house CS rep can do: take calls, process high-level customer questions, and be attentive to your customer’s unique needs. The good news is, your brand can offer a completely remote customer service experience and you don’t need to rent costly office space to deliver an exceptional experience.


Here Are 4 Simple Ways To Deliver Stellar Remote Customer Service:


1. Easy Access

  • All you need is an internet browser and standard wifi, and you’re good to go!

2. Seamless Collaboration

  • Through easy integrations, you can loop in cross functional teams and use tools like Notes, @mentions, followers, and more.

3. Easy Oversight

  • Remotely manage your CX tool with confidence.
  • Quickly get a bird’s eye view of customer service agent availability & capacity.
  • Jump into active conversations and manage queue assignments easily.

4. Stay Efficient & Effective

  • Finally! You can leverage a true omnichannel CRM to create a detailed picture of every customer and help them stay engaged on any platform.
  • Easy automation of repetitive tasks.
  • Access all the data you need in just one place!

Want To See What Effortless Remote Customer Service Looks Like?

You can request a 15-minute live intro call with one of our representatives here, or you can see the Kustomer platform in action by getting a behind-the-scenes look here.

 

The Power of Data for a CX Organization

The Power of Data for a CX Organization TW

Data. The buzzword we can’t escape. The subject of many a podcast, workshop, TEDTalk — you get it. By now, most organizations understand the impact of acquiring, analyzing, and modeling data to drive business decisions. And while many like to wax poetic about how data is changing the world of customer service forever, there’s not much talk about actionable ways to architect or use your data. The phrase “data modeling” might feel like PhD material, but it really just refers to a process for using data to help you predict business performance (even if you’re just working from pivot tables in a Google Sheet).

When you want to use data to address a business challenge, it’s important to ensure that you fully understand the problem at hand. This concept might feel like a no-brainer, but I often find that companies don’t spend enough time trying to understand the issue. As a CX Director or team lead, you may feel like you have a solid grasp on the problem, but that problem may be understood differently by your agents — or even your customers! Lean into this step to fully understand all facets of the issue as you begin to sort through existing data and identify gaps in the data that need to be filled.

As a Customer Success Manager at Kustomer, I have the privilege of seeing firsthand how companies big and small are integrating data-centric strategies into their operations. Below are some of the most recent use cases that inspire me.

Using Data To Understand International vs. Domestic Performance

The Power of Data for a CX Organization Inline

One of my clients wanted to explore how their business performed internationally, and how that performance compared to their work in the United States. They have always gathered contact reasons for each of their conversations. They also possessed the country info for each of their customers (primarily gathered through their shipping addresses). Segmenting customers into international vs domestic audiences — and breaking down the count of unique contact reasons within these segments — yielded interesting conclusions for their CX team. It’s probably not a huge surprise that “where is my order” topped the list of contact reasons for each segment, but there was a clear divergence in the data after that. Their team was able to dive deeper into these reasons to build a more tailored content strategy for their international customers and improve international sentiment.

Using Data To Understand Which Products Are Most Likely To Be Damaged During Shipping

Another client wanted to examine which of their products were most likely to be reported as damaged in transit to the customer. While they collected whether a customer reported a damaged item through the conversation’s contact reason, they did not collect the product SKU that was associated with each of those “damaged” contact reasons. The business began training their agents to fill out SKUs for specific contact reasons, and they reinforced that training by building logic into the Kustomer Platform that required the SKU to be provided when the “damaged” contact reason was selected for a conversation. As they’ve begun collecting this data, they’ve been able to determine which of their specific products are damaged at higher rates, and adjust their shipping and packing strategies to better protect those items. Not only does this work increase sentiment and trust for their customers, but it also helps the business to save money spent on replacements and refunds.

Using Data To Understand How Sales Team Consults Contribute To Revenue

One of my clients has a sales team that helps customers navigate the company’s inventory and acts as consultants through the buying process. However, that sales team is not involved in every experience — they’re simply present if the customer wants or needs their expertise. My client wanted to understand how these consults were contributing to the company’s revenue; what was the ROI for these consults? In order to get this insight, the company began to automatically tag customers as “sales influenced” for 24 hours after a consult was completed with their sales staff. If that customer places an order in that 24-hour window, then the sale is attributed to the sales team’s efforts. This process allows the business to better understand how effective these consults are, and whether to update the process or continue forward.

Interested in learning how the Kustomer Platform can uncover more data-driven insights for your business? Schedule a demo here.
 

Get to Know These Common Customer Service Problems and Solutions

Benchmarks: What We’re Seeing For Average Handle Time and First Resolution Time in Q2 & Q3 2020 TW

As the direct-to-customer market grows, many brands continue to adopt traditional approaches to customer service and stumble over the same obstacles again and again. How should customer service professionals rethink client care? And where should brands even begin this process? Let’s unpack some common customer service problems and solutions.

Below, we outline common obstacles, such as adapting to new customer preferences and gauging success, and cover modern solutions.

Customer Service Basics: What’s the Problem?

Despite popular wisdom, a majority of buyers do not want to speak to a support agent. That’s according to a survey by market research company Forrester. Analysts found most customers simply want accurate, relevant and complete answers to their queries. Why does this matter?

Returning to the study, more than 50% of U.S. adults said they’re likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.

Speaking to only those one-in-two shoppers for whom speed is a factor, whether or not a brand closes a sale depends on how quickly customers can locate answers related to a product.

Delving deeper into this topic, 70% of adults said valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.

Customers are increasingly using self-service and agent-assisted digital communication channels for customer service, which apply less friction to the shopping experience, Forrester researchers write.

Examples of these channels include:

  • Web or mobile self-service.
  • Online forums or communities.
  • Live chat.

Of course, now’s not the time to unplug and retire the landlines. What this report points to is a more nuanced, tech-forward approach to our customer service problems and solutions — an approach that is more vital now than ever.

How Did COVID-19 Shift Customer Service

COVID-19. Social distancing. Virtual connections. With an eye on the upcoming year, Forrester suggests customer service centers will adapt to a shifting market, one shaped by the pandemic. There’s a “need for a more empathetic service experience,” analysts write. Additionally, customer service will become a lifeline for an estimated 33 million consumers.

“With U.S. unemployment peaking in April [2020],” they write, “millions of individuals found themselves struggling to pay for food, bills, and other necessities.” They suggest responsible organizations provide high-quality, emotionally sensitive customer support in a form that meets customers’ needs.

Concurring with the above trend, Forrester predicts a sharp, 40% spike in virtual customer support cases, placing greater scrutiny on brands and greater urgency on their support agents to meet shoppers’ preferences: namely a demand for self-service and agent-assisted digital communication channels.

Finally, Forrester projects the creation of hybrid store/contact center roles. While brick-and-mortar stores have been hurt by the pandemic and subsequent social distancing guidelines, they haven’t been erased. Assuming a hybrid posture towards customer service problems and solutions creates the greatest opportunity for brands to meet shoppers’ needs.

Tackling Customer Service Problems and Solutions

As we covered in a previous blog post, customer service agents who aim to improve their care face a unique challenge. So often, the starting points for new solutions are major issues that may be intangible and tricky to define, such as:

  • Inefficiency.
  • Feeling ineffective.
  • Immediate need to deflect conversations.

Equally challenging is gauging the benefits of your customer service. Of course, a five-star review on a public forum is a clear sign. Generally speaking, these kinds of signals can be few and far between, creating gaps of time without concrete feedback to indicate how well a service center is performing. Where should you look to get a sense of how your service is affecting consumers?

First, look within. Everyone benefits from excellent customer service, not just shoppers. When buyers are happy, that can radiate to an entire organization, boosting morale and — potentially — translating to sales. And in that way, a company’s bottom line becomes a clear, tangible gauge of customer service efforts.

And second, check your workloads. Customer service takes time to perform, especially when done well. As such, professionals may find themselves overburdened when fielding a large volume of easy to answer conversations, and unable to attend to more serious cases. Often, giving agents the freedom to deflect avoidable queries is a matter of implementing tech solutions, such as self-service and agent-assisted digital communication channels.

Customer Service Solutions

Here are just a few options that are available to customer service professionals:

  • Providing shoppers with resources, such an easily accessible FAQ section.
  • Installing an AI chatbot.
  • Implementing a proactive outreach strategy, allowing agents to address customer concerns before they arise.

Learning how to tackle customer service problems and solutions doesn’t have to stop with this blog post. Trust Kustomer as a source of invaluable tactics for honing your custom service center strategy. Learn more.

Scaling Customer Service as your Business Grows

Scaling Customer Service as your Business Grows TW

There’s nothing quite as exciting as growing — and scaling — your business. Along with the excitement comes an all-important need to stay focused on scaling your customer service offerings to meet the needs and expectations of your ever-growing customer base. As your business grows, it’s essential to prioritize providing the best possible service that aligns with your organization’s core competencies, without breaking the bank.

Utilizing a CX CRM platform, such as Kustomer, allows you to focus on three key areas: communication, automation and documentation. By prioritizing these three tenets, you’ll be able to successfully scale your customer service offerings as your business continues to grow.

Communicate

As with any organization that prioritizes the customer above all else, accurate and instant communication is essential to ensuring that you’re able to provide an exceptional customer experience. A true omnichannel CRM aggregates all channels into one single view, so customers are able to communicate seamlessly on their preferred platform, and agents have all the information they need to provide a personalized experience. With access to a knowledge base, agents have up-to-date information at their fingertips to ensure they’re providing accurate answers to customers’ concerns.

Automate

Automation can be leveraged in many ways in intelligent platforms like Kustomer. Businesses are able to tap into the power of queues and routing to automatically route specific conversations to the most appropriate agent. Utilizing business rules ensures proper actions are taken on conversations automatically, and when combined with documentation, CX organizations can ensure that all conversations are properly tagged and ready for a thorough review at a later time.

With AI, businesses now have the opportunity to provide more self-service opportunities. Think about chatbots. They are growing in popularity with both businesses and consumers, and can be used to collect initial information, and solve low level inquiries like business hours, policy questions and “where is my order” (WISMO) inquiries. While there is always fear of losing personalization when using AI and automation, with the right data, businesses can actually do the opposite. For instance, if a business leverages customer data properly, chatbots could ask personalized questions based on an individual’s purchase or browsing history. These interventions save time for both the customer and agent, and increase the time spent on the actual issue rather than information gathering and low-level support.

Document

Documentation is performed in a few ways within CRM platforms like Kustomer. First, you are automatically documenting your correspondence with your customers. This allows you to see past engagements and find areas where your team can improve while you scale. A solid QA program of past conversations is imperative for any organization scaling their customer service organization. Second, this documentation allows you to search across your interactions to find trends. Are you answering the same question(s)? If so, you can uncover those insights through reporting functionality, and then you can update your knowledge base to get that answer into your customer’s hands quicker, or adopt chatbots to automate those conversations. Lastly, utilizing pre-built messages for common inquiries allows agents to engage with customers quickly, accurately, consistently and efficiently.

Scaling a customer service organization doesn’t need to be a scary task. Business growth means you are succeeding, but you must remain focused on delivering the customer service experience that your customers expect. Prioritizing communication, automation, and documentation will allow you to succeed in this endeavor.

Want to learn more about how to scale your CX org? Download our definitive guide to scaling your customer service, without losing the human touch.

 

Introducing Kustomer App Marketplace & Developer Platform

Introducing Kustomer App Marketplace & Developer Platform TW

We’re very excited to announce today the release of our third party app development program and the launch of 20 new apps.

The “app store” concept is not a new one. While its most recently reached global popularity by Apple and Google, companies have been making digital marketplaces for others to develop, package and distribute applications online since the early days of the internet. The same way that Airbnb provides more choices to consumers by providing housing options from a global network of homeowners, an apps platform enables customers to benefit from the work of thousands of developers around the world.

One of the main reasons businesses choose Kustomer is because our product provides a “single pane of glass” into many different systems a business might need to provide world class support. However, there are thousands of systems, both third party and home grown, that businesses could potentially use to provide quality support. And our CRM platform has an endless array of use cases and functionality that could be leveraged to build these integrations. While our product and development teams do build things very quickly, our team alone will never be able to keep up with the demand of the various integrations our customers need.

So we’re extremely excited to invite our partners, customers, and third party developers to now build integrations and experiences inside of Kustomer’s CRM platform at a scale that we could never dream of internally. However, in order for this initiative to be successful, there are three key components that we have been investing in, and will continue to expand:

    1. First, apps need to be able to have a wide range of functionality in order to provide value to businesses. Thanks to the hard work of our apps platform team, apps can now install custom objects, connect to OAUTH-based third parties, create cards, custom views, custom attributes, webhooks, workflows, and more. We’re confident this work will result in features and automations that ultimately make support teams work more efficiently, and deliver delightful experiences to their millions of end-customers around the globe.
    2. Secondly, partners need to have the proper documentation to know how to build an app. Today we’ve announced our third party apps documentation, which has already been leveraged by both our internal apps team and some early partners to develop apps that many of our customers are using today.
    3. Finally, partners need to be incentivized to build the app. Today, we’re working with integration partners to build experiences that benefit all three parties involved — Kustomer, the partners, and the companies that use these integrations. Over the next few months, we’re going to be rolling out more features to make app submission easier, and revenue sharing programs to continue to foster and incentivize a wide array of integrations to be safely and securely built and distributed from any developer in the world.

This is obviously just the dawn of our apps vision, and we need your help to make Kustomer a better tool for thousands of companies and millions of customers worldwide. If you’re interested in building an app, the best place to start is by reading the Kustomer Apps documentation and filling out our developer form to get a test account and start building. And as always, if you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team on whatever channel you prefer!

 

Kustomer Launches New App Marketplace, Making It Easy for Businesses to Connect Tools, Processes and Data Into a Unified Customer Experience

Kustomer Launches New App Marketplace TW

Curated Set of Integrated Apps Helps Businesses Streamline CX Operations to Improve Agent Productivity and Customer Satisfaction

 

New York, NY – February 23, 2021Kustomer, a top-rated CRM for modern customer experiences, today launched the Kustomer App Marketplace, a curated set of applications and integrations that can be easily added to the Kustomer platform for a unified, omnichannel customer experience. By integrating communications, ecommerce, social, productivity, advanced analytics, and other best-in-class apps with the Kustomer CRM platform, businesses can activate omnichannel CX operations more quickly and efficiently.

“Businesses are racing to integrate new communications channels, artificial intelligence, chatbots and other innovations to create seamless, bespoke customer experiences at every step in the customer journey. This can be challenging when legacy technologies and complex integrations get in the way,” said Brad Birnbaum, Co-founder and CEO of Kustomer. “With the new App Marketplace, we are making it easy for businesses to extend the value of their Kustomer CRM platform with plug and play apps that modernize and unify omnichannel operations. Businesses can now tame their CX ‘frankenstack,’ creating the seamless, agile operations they need to connect in more ways with more customers.”

App Marketplace Provides Measurable Benefits To Brands and Partners

The Kustomer Marketplace makes it easy for businesses to better inform customer interactions, boost agent productivity, streamline operations, and reduce total cost of ownership with these features:

  • One-Click Install Apps: Businesses are using the App Marketplace to assemble and adapt their CX ecosystem without the need to engage expensive development resources.
  • Full CX Ecosystem Integrations: Businesses can tap into a large and growing list of integrations to unify their customer service systems, connecting every element of an omnichannel customer experience.
  • Seamless CX Operations and Unified Customer Visibility: By linking every element of CX operations and data, CX organizations can put a single view of the customer at agents’ fingertips. Agents can quickly find, share and act on information across the tech stack by creating one central place to stay focused and get work done.
  • Centralized Tools Management: Customer Service Operations can now go to one central marketplace where admins can install, integrate and maintain third-party apps with the Kustomer CRM platform.
  • Fast Track to a Growing Marketplace: Partners can tap into new revenue streams with a comprehensive app development platform and resources to join an established marketplace of qualified buyers.

“Streamlined operations and unified customer experience are imperatives today as businesses scale to deliver more personalized service on tighter budgets,” said Vasili Triant, Chief Operating Officer at UJET. “We are proud to be selected as one of the first apps featured in the Kustomer App Marketplace and believe it will become an essential hub for businesses looking to build the modern CX operations needed to serve today’s increasingly digital and mobile consumers.”

In November 2020, Kustomer signed an agreement to be acquired by Facebook, subject to customary regulatory review. Once the acquisition closes, Kustomer will continue to serve its customers and work with its partners as part of the Facebook family. With complementary capabilities, more people will be able to benefit from customer service that is faster, richer and available whenever and however they need it–via phone, email, text, web chat or messaging. In particular, Kustomer will be able to enhance the messaging experience which is one of the fastest growing ways for people and businesses to engage.

About Kustomer
Kustomer is a top-rated CRM, helping top brands deliver modern customer service that creates customers for life. Through AI-powered automation, Kustomer scales to meet the needs of contact centers and businesses, enabling companies to deliver effortless, consistent and personalized service and support through a single timeline view. Today, Kustomer is the core platform of some of the leading customer service brands like Ring, Glovo, Glossier and Sweetgreen. Headquartered in NYC, Kustomer was founded in 2015 by serial entrepreneurs Brad Birnbaum and Jeremy Suriel, has raised over $174M in venture funding, and is backed by leading VCs including: Coatue, Tiger Global Management, Battery Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Cisco Investments, Canaan Partners, Boldstart Ventures and Social Leverage.

Media Contact:
Cari Sommer
Raise Communications
cari@raisecg.com

Join us for our webinar on February 25th, 2021: How to Unify a Modern Tech Stack for Seamless Customer Service

Register Now

 

How to Decrease CX Costs by Improving Agent Productivity

How to Decrease CX Costs by Improving Agent Productivity TW

In today’s economy, external pressures demand that customer experience departments service more customers and solve more problems than ever before. In fact, during the 2020 holiday season, 68% of CX organizations dealt with far more issues than they did the previous year, speaking to this overwhelming new normal for service professionals around the globe. CX teams often spend immense amounts of time sorting through tickets and routing them to the correct agent, or hunting for information in disparate systems. This can be both time consuming and brain-numbing work, and takes away time that would otherwise be spent building relationships with valuable customers. A CX organization must develop a productive environment, with a proper CRM system, to make agents more effective and efficient.

Step One

The first step to lowering your CX costs is to make your agents more effective. Effectiveness means your agents do a better job of servicing your customers, delivering on ever-growing consumer expectations. Providing your agents with a CRM system that intelligently routes issues to the right person ensures that problems are resolved based on the skillset of the agent. As the agent learns news skills, routing rules can be updated based on their capabilities. Productivity improves because those issues are resolved accurately.

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It’s also essential to arm your team with the information they need to instantaneously service customers. This means aggregating all information about a customer’s history into one single view, so agents can treat customers like people and not tickets. Additionally, make sure your CRM can intelligently surface relevant information from a knowledge base, so all agents are delivering consistent and high-value service.

AI support technology can also suggest messages to send to customers based off of historical conversations and customer attributes, which can become more accurate and personalized over time in conjunction with a machine learning model. Sentiment analysis is another benefit of AI technology. By looking at the words and tone in a customers’ messages, the technology can identify how satisfied, or dissatisfied, a customer is, and escalate the issue accordingly.

Step Two

The second step to lowering your CX costs is to make your agents more efficient. Efficiency means ensuring your agents have the tools in place to service more customers, in the same amount of time. Providing your agents with a CRM system that has all information in one place eliminates the need for multiple browsers and hunting for information in disparate systems. It can also provide an instantaneous view of all past conversations and the complete customer history. This means the agents have all of the information they need in one screen to resolve issues, leading to an increase in productivity.

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Average Handle Time (AHT) is the average duration of the customer conversation, from the time the conversation is initiated to the time it concludes, including all hold times and transfers, as well as after-conversation work. Wall Street, investors and even corporate executives look at AHT as a productivity measurement, and organizations are often measured on handle time, against industry standards and competitors. The directive from above — more often than not — is to improve productivity, lower costs and improve the average handle time.

Imagine a CX organization with 50 agents paid at a fully burdened rate of $50,000 annually for a total payroll cost of $2,500,000. A simple twenty percent productivity improvement from more effective and efficient agents would add $500,000 in business impact OR ten additional agents! As agent handle times improve, so does the business’ bottom line.

Want to learn how Kustomer can help your business lower CX costs? Request a demo here.
 

Kustomer Tops G2’s Leaderboard Throughout 2020

 

Kustomer Tops G2’s Leaderboard Throughout 2020 TW

Built on the premise of excellent customer experience, it’s no surprise that the Kustomer team has been focused on our own customers from the start. Baked into the foundation of our company, our “customer-obsessed” krew is the backbone of our happy clients.

As we reflect on the whirlwind that is 2020, one thing is certain: if customer service wasn’t already a top priority, it’s now indispensable for businesses across the globe. The importance of customer service is at a point of paradigm shift and we’re working alongside our customers to ensure they have the best tools in place to deliver game-changing experiences in today’s customer-first landscape.

Tuning into our customers’ reviews about their experience with our krew and platform, allows us to bake their feedback into our product and services in the future. G2’s consistent reviews and — more notably — quarterly reports, are the best way for us to know how we stack up against our competitors. Which is why we’re excited to share that over the course of 2020, quarter after quarter, we were named a category leader.

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G2’s quarterly reports are based on aggregated reviews from our customers, and compares Kustomer to other customer service platforms. Over the last seven quarters, Kustomer’s ability to be at the top of the customer service software leaderboard has remained true.

Additionally, throughout the year, Kustomer earned recognition in the following categories:

  • Leader
  • Momentum Leader
  • Best Meets Requirements
  • Best Meets Requirements Mid-Market
  • High Performer
  • Leader Mid-Market
  • Highest User Adoption
  • Users Love Us

We’re leading the pack across Help Desk, Live Chat, and Conversational Customer Engagement, but don’t just take our word for it, check out a few examples of what Kustomer’s customers have to say about their own recent experiences:

Kustomer Tops G2’s Leaderboard Throughout 2020 Inline 2

 

Gaining outstanding recognition from our customers, when we’re in the business of customer service, might seem like a dead giveaway. But it’s these awards that carry the most weight with our leadership team, and the entire Kustomer krew. We can’t thank our customers enough for helping us achieve our mission of being the best modern CRM platform for customer service, and we’re looking forward to working with our clients throughout the new year.

Ready to see Kustomer in action? Schedule a demo here.

How Smart Technology Can Power Efficient, Digital-First Experiences

How Smart Technology Can Power Efficient, Digital-First Experiences TW

In 2020, the whole world went digital at a rapid pace. While it is inevitable that commerce and customer service will partially shift back to brick and mortar once things go back to “normal”, there is now a massive new pool of consumers that are comfortable shopping online, and you can expect this increased volume of e-commerce and digital inquiries to continue. Many organizations are tapping into the power of technology to deliver on this digital shift, and scale without sacrificing their quality of support.

Artificial intelligence still sparks some suspicion or nervousness that robots will take all of our jobs. But instead, AI in customer service can truly enable businesses to be more efficient and productive by eliminating menial work. International delivery company Glovo knows this first hand. After implementing Kustomer IQ, the artificial intelligence tools embedded throughout the Kustomer platform, Glovo was able to instantly solve 84% of their inquiries through pure self-service and chatbots, versus contacting an agent.

 

Beyond AI-driven efficiency tools, leveraging a true customer service CRM, where all information is unified and actionable, is the only way to deliver a modern experience. Legacy CRMs were built to manage cases, not customers. Many digital disruptors, who put the customer at the center of their business models, realized this early on and put a CX CRM in place to deliver a seamless, customer-first experience. Says Lauren Panken, Senior Systems Manager at UNTUCKit, “For us, the CRM is the place that we get a full view of our customer in regards to customer service. It’s honestly just been such a great addition to the way that our team functions… and has improved the way that we’ve been serving our customers.”

 

More “old school” organizations are also quickly realizing that in order to service their customers effectively, they need to move into the twenty-first century, with modern technology. Ernest Chrappah, Director of the DC Department of Consumer & Regulatory Affairs, chose to work with Kustomer to ensure they were putting their best foot forward. “It was simply about finding a way to respond to our customers by elevating the services that we provide to meet the needs of customers in the digital age,” said Chrappah.

 

Before switching to Kustomer, Ritual was using a system that didn’t allow them to scale. Instead of logging into half a dozen different systems in order to solve a single ticket, Ritual found a modern CRM that would allow them to be both efficient and effective. “Having everything under one roof was really the driving factor,” said Andrew Rickards, Director of Customer Experience at Ritual.

 

A modern CRM like Kustomer can not only allow businesses to scale by unifying all data and making it actionable in a single screen, but it can also surface data points that can make your business better. By understanding data-driven trends, shortcomings, issues and wins, and putting technology solutions in place to better your operations, a true customer service CRM can transform a business from a cost center into a profit center, says Amy Coleman, Director of CX at Lulus.com:

 

Want to learn more about how switching to Kustomer can power both efficient and exceptional experiences? Explore how we stack up to Zendesk here.

 

How the Right Customer Service CRM Can Make Your Customer — and Agents — Happier

How the Right Customer Service CRM Can Make Your Customer — and Agents — Happier TW

You know the phrase “Happy Wife, Happy Life”? Well, here at Kustomer our motto is “Happy Customers, Happy Life”. It may not have the same catchy ring to it, but any CX professional can attest to its truth. Creating happy customers resonates far outside of a customer service organization — customers can act as unpaid marketers, they can give insight into product development and campaign plans, they will undoubtedly drive more revenue and positively impact your bottom line.

But what often gets overlooked, is the direct correlation between agent happiness and customer happiness. It’s immensely clear to anyone who has ever called a cable company or visited the DMV, that when agents are forced to jump through hoops, use outdated systems, and deal with a bombardment of unhappy consumers all day long, they likely won’t be providing the best service. But when agents feel empowered, feel their jobs are valued, and — most importantly — have the right tools and technology in place to do their jobs well, they are able to be efficient and effective in a fast-paced and rapidly changing environment.

Ultimately, agent happiness directly translates to customer happiness. The more information that agents have at their fingertips, and the more they are able to focus on quality instead of quantity, the happier they will be, and the happier they will make your customer base. Andrew Rickards, Director of Customer Experience at Ritual, has experienced this first hand.

Legacy CRMs were built to manage cases, not customers, and siloed third-party data means an abundance of wasted time. Agents have to look in a multitude of different systems, on different platforms, just to service a single customer inquiry. A true customer service CRM should connect seamlessly with your other data sources and business intelligence tools, while taking the place of your support platform, contact center routing software, and process management solution. With all information centralized, agents don’t have to waste time searching for the information they need to service an already frustrated customer.

How the Right Customer Service CRM Can Make Your Customer — and Agents — Happier Quote

Amy Coleman, Director of CX at Lulus.com, agrees that switching to a true customer service CRM, from an old-school ticketing system, is a game changer for both agent happiness and development. When agents are stuck in the minutia of complicated workflows and a never-ending sea of tickets, they are unable to focus on what’s most important, and find value in their work.

Agents have a difficult role. They are the voice of your brand in every customer interaction, yet when they start that interaction they often barely have enough information to authenticate the customer, much less provide differentiated service to every customer.

To personalize a customer’s experience, you have to know the customer—and that requires data. A platform that brings all the data about a customer into one place helps customer service agents understand the context of a customer’s conversations and helps them deliver more efficient, proactive and relevant service. There’s no need to waste the customer’s or agent’s time by asking for repeat information. Instead, that information is available at the click of a button, allowing the agent to personalize the customer’s experience by giving fine-tuned advice, addressing problems proactively, and suggesting other products or services the customer might enjoy. The result? An efficient but personal interaction that builds a lifelong customer relationship.

Want to learn more about how switching to Kustomer can create happy customers and happy agents? Explore how we stack up to Zendesk here.
 

How Modern, AI-Driven CRMs Power Intelligent Customer Experiences

How Modern, AI-Driven CRMs Power Intelligent Customer Experiences TW

If the events of this year taught those of us in the customer experience world anything, it’s that we can never stop innovating to be more customer-centric. We can’t hope that we will “get by” just a little longer with legacy CRMs and support tickets. We must embrace change and adapt quickly to meet today’s consumer expectations for a smart, omnichannel experience powered by a modern CRM—the key to scaling CX, meeting explosive growth, and adapting to change.

Some argue that 2020 has signaled the decline of ticket-based support systems. Why has the pandemic emerged as the straw that finally broke the legacy CRM camel’s back? The data tells the tale. Recent analysis of e-commerce trends shows a staggering 10 years of growth in just 3 months at the beginning of 2020. And that was just the early stages of lockdown. As chaos and uncertainty took hold, CX teams were inundated with customer calls and support tickets as they struggled to keep up with questions, changing plans, requests for assistance, and the demands of going direct-to-consumer.

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But that’s only where the challenges begin. 2020 also forced organizations to accelerate digital transformation by 6 years to adapt to the “new normal” of stay at home orders, remote workforces, supply chain disruptions, shipping delays, and the economic slowdown. Along with this digital transformation, many CX leaders are realizing they need to follow the lead of the direct-to-consumer disruptor brands that are differentiating themselves, and thriving, by delivering a modern consumer experience.

The DTC Disruptor’s Secret Weapon: Intelligent CX Focused on the Whole Customer

As the pandemic took hold, most direct-to-consumer innovators were many steps ahead and better prepared to deal with the curveballs 2020 delivered. These businesses started with the right culture, philosophy, and customer-centric CRM platform. They built their business to connect with customers at scale. A great example of this is The Farmer’s Dog, a company dedicated to delivering safe and healthy pet food, who totally nailed the customer-first approach. Their customer service agents connect on an emotional level with their buyers using whatever channel the buyer selects to educate and foster authentic relationships. This takes a level of insight tickets can’t provide.

UNTUCKit is another great example of a customer-centric brand. They ensure their stellar shopping experience is supported across every customer touchpoint, especially support. Team members have a virtually seamless process for seeing customer history, gathering the right data points, and resolving customer inquiries.

What Makes a Modern CRM?

If tickets aren’t the ticket, what is the secret to direct-to-consumer success today?

Visibility to Care for the Whole Customer

Now more than ever, customers feel they’ve lost control and trust. Zappos and Amazon have set the bar high with proactive, rapid, data-driven customer experiences. Modern CRMs can help brands rebuild that trust through data-driven conversations informed by a view of the whole customer. Agents must have complete visibility across systems to understand the consumer and their entire situation. But with a plethora of data, and a growing number of channels to monitor, we need AI to unlock these insights. Efficiency is the name of the game in customer service, and AI is a true force multiplier, enabling customer service teams to work more efficiently and focus on the customers who need the most help. Contact centers using ticket-based systems, while relying on siloed customer data, simply cannot deliver the type of experience customers demand today.

Omnichannel Customer Experience

Omnichannel support means a customer can connect with your business anywhere, anytime, and with any method—or even with multiple methods or channels.  If a customer wants to reach out via email and then switch to chat, so be it! It’s the experience a new generation of consumers expect. This requires companies to break down silos and integrate their data for a picture of the whole customer across channels. Consumers must be able to switch channels mid-conversation and leverage the best channel for each conversation’s purpose. Our research shows that nearly 90% of customers are frustrated when they can’t contact a company on the channel they prefer. That shouldn’t be a surprise—we all know customers want what they want.

Omnipresent, Guided Self-Service

Just as customers expect more tailored and personal communications, they also demand self-service options for immediate resolution. As our new AI e-book explains, AI is being rapidly adopted in contact centers to act as the first line of defense, amplify performance, and create strong efficiencies. The volume, velocity, and variety of customer data today overwhelm organizations without the technology, processes, and operational capabilities to integrate siloed data and personalize communications. AI is transforming customer experiences, and for good reasons.

Happy Agents, Happy Customers

Research shows companies with excellent CX have employees that are 1.5X more engaged than employees at companies with less satisfactory CX; additionally, companies with highly engaged employees outperform their competitors by 147%. AI is also vastly improving agent productivity and reducing churn for contact center leaders. AI can have a dramatic impact on the customer experience and satisfaction, which in turn makes the employee experience far more interesting and exciting.

AI makes jobs more meaningful and less frustrating by deflecting much of the grunt work and alleviating manual and repetitive tasks agents hate. Agents don’t need to waste time transferring and redirecting customers. Rather, conversations can be automatically classified and routed to the appropriate agent for a speedy and personalized resolution. Not only will this reduce wait and handle times, but it will also maximize team capacity by directing real-time conversation traffic to the right person at the right time.

Realizing the Intelligent Customer Experience

You need a modern CRM to help you execute your digitally advanced, customer-first approach. Leading contact centers have indicated that integrated platforms and data analytics are important in gathering insights into the customer journey. Enter the Intelligent Customer Experience, a culmination of all of the improvements we just discussed.

Intelligent CX means leveraging a modern customer-centric approach and advanced AI to create a smarter, faster, and more enjoyable customer experience. It’s about delivering results fast using the power of AI and data from all channels, whether that be via a call, chat, email, tweet, or all of the above. Your customer service agents will feel more informed since you’ll be empowering them to provide real value, not just closing a ticket or processing a transaction. AI uses context and conversations to make it easy for customers to get help, while allowing agents to provide more personalized service at scale.

We’ve seen dramatic changes since March of this year that have accelerated every aspect of digital transformation. We recently launched Kustomer IQ for omnichannel deflection, sentiment analysis, and intelligent routing. Check out more details here.

Customer Care Delivered in a Remote Environment

The pandemic has certainly upended the notion of the traditional 9-5 office. Companies are racing to adapt to a distributed work model, and technology is the biggest driver in adjusting to operating remotely. The next generation of customer service CRM does more than just manage support conversations. It enables the delivery of the customer experience from anywhere, through remote work orchestration and oversight. Taming the CX frankenstack is another step toward easing the remote transition. Modern CRMs must allow organizations to streamline integration of platforms, data sources, and channels to make remote work.

Collaboration is key to delivering an exceptional experience, so the modern CRM should provide a platform for customer service representatives to work together, to deliver service and support more efficiently and effectively. Collaboration between agents enhances the quality of answers provided to the customer by leveraging subject matter experts. At Kustomer, we believe the collective knowledge of experts makes your customer service organization stronger overall. In fact, we’ve embraced the use of Collaborators, users from other teams outside of support that can view conversations, customer history, and searches. By setting up Collaborators, other team members or departments can help you solve customer questions with internal notes and @mentions, see customer feedback, and more.

The Demise of the Dreaded Ticket

2020 will be the beginning of the end for legacy CRMs and transactional ticketing systems that were built to manage cases, not customers. Personalized support has been a key tenet of the business-and-buyer relationship from day  one. Every customer wants to feel like they are known, respected, appreciated, and well-served. They certainly don’t want to be insulted by an interrogation. Traditional ticketing systems will be left behind, as customers expect more and the world continues to converge quickly.

Intelligent, modern CRMs enable true connections to be made with customers in their greatest times of need, by making it easy for agents to come from a place of understanding and context, consistently. This requires unlocking the value of data shared between different teams (such as marketing and customer service), creating new roles to act on the data, and leveraging new and modern technology.

Download the AI for CX e-book to learn more, and take a look at how Kustomer can provide the tools you need for exceptional DTC customer service.

 

4 Key Takeaways From #MakeTheSwitch Week

4 Key Takeaways From #MakeTheSwitch Week TW

In case you missed it, last week Kustomer hosted a series of events all around switching from traditional ticketing systems to a modern CRM for customer service. The week was action-packed, filled to the brim with insights from Kustomer executives and customer-centric brands like Lulus and Ritual.

It’s not too late to gather insights from the week. Below you can find four key takeaways from #MakeTheSwitch week, and what they mean for your brand.

1. Treat Customers Like Humans, Not Tickets

Many companies are still relying on the old model of customer service, where they treat each new interaction as a separate event handled by different people across a variety of siloed platforms. To personalize a customer’s experience, you have to know the customer—and that requires data. A platform that brings all the data about a customer into one place helps customer service agents understand the context of a customer’s conversations and helps them deliver more efficient, proactive and relevant service.

Amy Coleman, Director of CX at Lulus.com, thinks that the humanity of customer service is often lost in call center environments. “I think that one of the downfalls to old school ticketing systems is that it’s no longer about people. It almost becomes like data entry for those agents that are working on the same thing. It’s how many tickets there are,” said Coleman during a Thursday afternoon webinar. “We were never thinking in terms of the human beings that are on the receiving end. And I think that’s what Kustomer has really done for us, it’s allowed us to spend the time with the human beings that are on the other line and spend more time developing our team.”

Eric Choi, Community Support Manager at Zwift, said during a Friday afternoon LinkedIn Live that he made the switch to Kustomer because his team was looking for a platform that was more human, and allowed them to interact with their members in a more organic way. “The old ticketing system made me feel… like a deli counter. You pull a ticket, you get answered, you throw the ticket away and then you move on.”

When all customer information is available at the click of a button, agents are able to personalize the customer’s experience by giving fine-tuned advice, addressing problems proactively, and suggesting other products or services the customer might enjoy. The result? An efficient but personal interaction that builds a lifelong customer relationship.

2. Unlock the Power of Data Through a Customer Service CRM

As Kustomer CEO Brad Birnbaum said in his Tuesday afternoon LinkedIn Live, an effective CRM should allow you to fully understand the relationship that your business has with each and every customer, and leverage data in order to do that. Legacy CRMs were built to manage cases, not customers. And you shouldn’t have to pay more for operational solutions AND modern communication tools in order to provide effective support.

Coleman agrees that e-commerce companies “absolutely have to be able to access data around what your customers are contacting you” about. Before making the switch to Kustomer, Lulus didn’t have any data because their platforms weren’t talking to each other, and that was a big issue. A modern customer service CRM should be designed to connect seamlessly with your other data sources and business intelligence tools, while taking the place of your support platform, contact center routing software, and process management solution.

3. Cut Down on Tickets With an Omnichannel Approach

In a multichannel support environment, each channel lives in its own silo with its own dedicated team of agents, with limited communication or sharing of information between channels. As a result of this fragmented experience, customers will have to take the time to repeat to the second agent what they told the first agent. In addition, multichannel support leads companies to focus on resolving tickets, rather than building stronger customer relationships, because agents lack a holistic view of each customer.

After switching to Kustomer, Coleman truly realized how many omnichannel conversations were taking place within Lulus’ customer base. With a truly omnichannel customer service CRM, Lulus “ended up merging or cutting [their] tickets down significantly.” Agent collision never occurs when communication channels are integrated, because agents can view the conversation and maintain context even as customers engage through multiple channels.

Michelle McCombs, Vice President of Safety and Support at HopSkipDrive, has now structured her team so they are all omnichannel. With Kustomer’s timeline view, and intelligent queues and routing, her team doesn’t have to go and find what they need to do next. All of her agents “live right there in their one space and… and get to work.”

4. Make the Agent Experience Effortless and Fulfilling

Ultimately, agent happiness directly translates to customer happiness. The more information that agents have at their fingertips, and the more they are able to focus on quality instead of quantity, the happier they will be, and the happier they will make your customer base.

Andrew Rickards, Director of Customer Experience at Ritual, has experienced this first hand. “It goes without saying customer service can be a thankless job and even … the best spirited individual can find those tougher days. So for me, it’s looking at the agent’s experience and understanding what the points of friction are and removing them, so what is already a tough job doesn’t have to be any tougher,” said Rickards. “When I talk about agent happiness, if you look at the internal surveys we do, to see just how people are on a quarterly basis, a lot of the questions that would indicate day-to-day stressors…we improved on those results post-Kustomer switch.”

Coleman agrees, and sees how making the switch to a more effortless platform can impact agent development. “I do feel that we’ve had less turnover due to the fact that the platform is easier, to the point where we’ve been able to actually focus our leadership on actual leading instead of micro managing,” says Coleman. “And what I feel is the most honorable and noble career, which is the service of helping other people, it gets lost in the abyss of really complicated workflows. And so Kustomer has given us, has given me as a leader, so much value, because I’m actually able to lead people for who they are based on their individual strengths and opportunities.”

Click here to learn more about how making the switch could be a gamechanger for your team.

 

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