Kustomer Tech Recap: New SLA and Custom Workflow Rules Capabilities

Our engineering and product teams have been busy launching new features, improving integrations, and making your top requests a reality. Here are the highlights of what we’ve added to Kustomer over the past few weeks:

Platform
  • Added ability to use custom message attributes when building workflow rules and searches.
  • Added ability to use queue assignments when building SLA rules.
  • Ensured previously-assigned conversations are allocated to an agent’s capacity when they make themselves available.
  • Added exporting of “Conversations Viewed” events data to better understand agents productivity and occupancy within the platform.
  • Added support for Twi language in Global Languages, Snippets, and web chat.
  • Added support for creating Snippets in Belarusian and Kazakh.
Channels
  • Eliminated a customer’s need to refresh the chat window to immediately view a message sent by a Proactive Messaging campaign.
  • Improved syncing of multi-level list options in Conversational Assistant flows, so that options deleted by the admin are removed from selection in the customer view.
  • Improved translation accuracy for the “End Chat” prompt in chat window.
  • Added a new notification for agents when sending a Twitter Direct Message (DM) that is not delivered due to customer privacy settings that block DMs from sources they are not following and have not DMed.
  • Ensured that the unread message count indicator will update properly when a customer leaves their chat window open and idle.

 

Doug Jarvis is the Director of Product Marketing at Kustomer.

Scale-Up Your Digital Experience for Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday 2017 was the largest online shopping day in history. Consumers spent over $6.59 billion, a growth of 16.9 percent year-over-year, with $1.59 billion coming from mobile. Cyber Monday is the biggest opportunity out there for North American ecommerce companies, and your customer experience organization needs to be ready for it. This is a time when you can turn one-time shoppers into loyal, repeat customers, and that requires great CX. A seamless digital experience that still feels human will help build a bond between you and your customers that will last long after the Thanksgiving leftovers are gone.

Prepare Your Agents to Deliver Incredible Service

Today, customers do most of their holiday shopping online. In 2017, shoppers planned to spend 51% of their holiday shopping budget online versus 42% in stores, Deloitte found in a survey of 4,000 consumers. While many customers line up for sales at brick-and-mortar outlets, it’s just as important that your digital experience is up-to-date during the holidays.

Step back and take a look at your experience: Increasing efficiency can depend on a lot of small fixes, but analyzing the data and finding common agent and customer sticking points are the first steps towards making a difference. Take the time to look at your digital experience as a whole before the busy season starts to ramp up. Small fixes to things like your exchange process or the information customers can access on your site will add up to big efficiencies. This can have a huge impact on the number of customers they serve, and their ability to do so.

Triage your customer requests: Your customer service agents are at the vanguard of your CX during any busy period, so they need to be hired and trained well in advance. If you can equip them more information about your customers, making it easy to access their history with the brand, they can make better recommendations and provide a memorable experience during this hectic time. You should train new or temporary agents to answer the easier questions and perform more common, routine tasks for faster resolution. Save the more complex interactions between experienced staff, or these issues will have to be elevated to them anyway, drawing out the process for agents and customers alike.

Automation with a human touch: To take out some of the pressure, automation can help whittle down the massive volume of inquiries and requests during this busy time. Chatbots are one solution brands are exploring, but you have other options. Simply updating your self-service helpdesk, providing clearer product information, or equipping agents with a tool that suggests relevant responses or knowledgebase articles to share with customers can go a long way towards cutting out the short, simple questions that pile up and distract them from bigger tasks. But you shouldn’t lean on these solutions without considering how they can be used to empower your staff. To deliver a memorable, emotionally resonant experience in the long term, you need a human touch. Use them to help customers connect to agents more quickly, and make sure that agents know everything about your customers. Automation exists to empower employees, not replace them. Any way that automation can speed up service and take busy work off of agents’ desks will pay dividends for your CX.

Have a mobile mindset: Also, keep in mind that many customers will start their journey on mobile, using it to find deals and coupons, inspiration on social, competitive prices, and to read customer reviews. According to Salesforce, mobile made up 64 percent of shopping visits during Cyber Monday. This information needs to be easy to access and find on mobile—if it’s not, your customers may end up getting answers from your competitors instead. Ideally, the same agent should be able to respond to and SMS messages, chat with the same customer on desktop, then call them on the phone on the phone and back. Mobile experience is a deciding factor at this time of year, and shouldn’t be neglected.

Be ready for anything: You should be ready for something to go wrong. The holidays will push your team and your technology to their limits. More than likely, something will give—and even if it doesn’t, your team should be prepared for it. Train for the worst-case scenario, like your site going down, or a major storm disrupting shipments. Proactive outreach can help handle some of these issues before they get out of control, allowing you to make contact with customers before they have a chance to reach out. Leading up to Cyber Monday, make a list of common customer complaints or problems, and make sure every agent knows the solution. If your agents are prepared to diffuse holiday stress and help out no matter the situation, your customers will thank you.

Cyber Monday is overwhelming for even the most prepared ecommerce brands. However, every step you take now to ready your customer experience organization now will pay back tenfold for your agents and customers alike. By the way, this year Cyber Monday is November 26th—but you already knew that, right? Mark those calendars, and start making progress towards an amazing online shopping experience for this year, and the years to come.

Where are CX Leaders Investing Their Budgets to Reach Millennials?

In NGCX’s latest Benchmark Report, decision makers at the top of their customer experience organization shared their projections for the year to come—specifically, how they’re planning to reach Millennial customers.

Analyzing the results, it’s clear that most are choosing to invest in different forms of technology to reach the soon-to-be largest generation in the workforce. 30% of those polled ranked mobile as their #1 priority for their budget plans this year, and 21% ranked social media at the top. This is a natural move, as Millennials are the most mobile-empowered and social-connected generation in history (though Generation Z may very well top them).

24% named social as their #2 priority as well, so clearly it is a channel that is delivering on investment for reaching and influencing Millennial buyers. It’s yet to be seen which specific social platforms are carrying the weight of this investment—whether it’s newer channels like Twitch and Snapchat, or the still reliable Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Also, it would be interesting to break down how this budget is being spent—is the majority going towards creating content for each platform, or distributing messages via paid advertising on each?

Interestingly, 22% put down their in-store experience as their #1 priority, but 52% also named it as their lowest priority. What might be causing this discrepancy? Is it based on industry or business model—perhaps half of the respondents don’t have physical storefronts—or does this denote a split in strategy, with almost a quarter of organization prioritizing the physical retail experience while others are looking to bolster their digital presence first. 14% did note that their in-store experiences were not effective at all, so that is definitely contributing to the high number of respondents who aren’t making it a priority.

How do these investments fit into the larger picture? When asked if they have a strategy in place that is specifically engineered for boosting Millennial customer satisfaction/retention, these were the results:

The majority of CX experts are targeting Millennials, but only a third are making it a top priority. If you can figure out how to effectively target Millennials across channels, you’ll have a distinct advantage. 34% of the organizations that responded to the survey are not or cannot target and prioritize their experience for Millennials—whether that’s due to the nature of their business, or the limitation of their platforms, it might well hold them back as Millennial purchasing power increases. If you can understand the full history of every customer within your experience management platform, then you can tailor your interactions and service based on any persona—whether they’re Millennials, VIPs, first-time users, or any other segment you want to reach—so that you can become more relevant and increase their lifetime value. This should be a priority for every business, no matter the audience.

To learn more about the latest trends in the CX space, download the full benchmark report.

How CX Can Increase Bookings for Travel and Hospitality

For travel and hospitality brands—airlines, hotels, online travel agencies, and more—their businesses triumph or suffer based on the number of bookings their customers make. The online travel market is expected to reach $1,091 Billion Globally by 2022, and in the US there were up to 65% more daily bookings in the first quarter of 2017 over the previous quarter. There’s a huge amount of business to be won, but also fierce competition. If companies can even get a fraction of their users to complete a booking when they otherwise wouldn’t, that’s a huge incentive to invest in a full CX strategy. How can travel brands deliver an experience over digital that will encourage customers to follow through and book that hotel room, flight, or tour?

Follow customers across platforms and sites.

Travelers don’t like to stay in one place—whether that’s on vacation or their customer journey. They often bounce from site-to-site doing research while switching from mobile to desktop and back before booking. More than a quarter (28%) of bookings via online travel agencies are preceded by a click on another device, while the same is true for almost a third (32%) of direct bookings, according to Criteo. That means you need to have a platform that can follow your customers wherever they go, and make it easy to provide support or answer questions over the phone, SMS, proprietary chat, or email.

Mobile is especially crucial for sudden bookings.

Up to 80% of last-minute bookings and purchases are made on mobile devices. Whether this is because a customer missed their flight or had to book an extra night in a different hotel, your mobile experience has to be streamlined to easily and quickly surface the information customers need when they need it most. It also helps if agents can know the context of a customer’s recent order, because helping to book the next flight out when a customer is on their way to the airport requires more urgency and different insight than if they’re calling about a trip that’s been planned months in advance.

Desktop is still where customers make their final decision.

When given the option, it seems like customers are just more comfortable hitting “buy” when they’re at their work or home laptop or desktop computer, rather than a phone or tablet. While the data shows search and evaluation takes place across multiple devices, a strong two-thirds of travelers (66%) prefer to book accommodations on their desktop, with only 34% favoring a mobile device or tablet. If you know which device customers are using, then you can adjust your service and experience accordingly. You can even use proactive chat to encourage them to book something they’ve been looking over on one device when they get back to their screen of choice.

Make sure your experience is transparent and straightforward.

Hiding important information isn’t going to encourage your customers to finish booking. If anything, it will do the opposite—prolonging the process and increasing the chance that they’ll abandon the interaction entirely. Be upfront with costs and extra fees, doing so will streamline your experience and decrease the number of requests to your support team asking for clarification. Also make sure that when those requests do come through, that your agents are equipped to clearly describe the ins and outs of your pricing and regulations.

Pair customers with the right team members.

With a robust understanding of your customers and their needs, you should be able to route them to agent or subject matter expert who can help them with their specific request, no matter who that might be. If a customer begins a conversation about billing with an agent through your site’s chat function, it should be easy to route them to the accounting department if needed. An advanced customer engagement platform should be able to track every conversation and the associated data across any channel—your site, on mobile, over email, and across your contact center. This is the only way to create a real-time data repository that your CX team can use to deliver even better service and booking experiences.

There is a great deal of opportunity out there for travel brands of all types, and all it takes is a bit of innovation and inventive spirit to gain an edge in the market and get more customers to convert. The travel experience starts long before a customer reserves their flight, and it’s crucial to pay just as much attention to your CX before your customer books their trip as you do after.

To see how Kustomer can improve your experience, request a demo.

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