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:
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.
In this episode of the Customer Service Secrets Podcast, Gabe Larsen is joined by Matt Lombardi to discuss the secrets of shaping and scaling the Customer Experience, especially during a worldwide pandemic. Tune in to the podcast below to discover how Matt successfully implements three tactics to build a successful CX program.
Step 1: Gaining Executive Buy-In
Head of Customer Experience and Strategy at ServiceNow, Matt Lombardi has developed a foolproof method to building and scaling CX teams in three simple and easy to follow steps. By identifying these three critical needs that CX leaders should embrace, he has helped lead teams to excellence. The first being getting executives to buy into the CX process early, preferably within the first 90 days. Matt says, “I think under investing in this area is both the most common mistake CX leaders make and it’s also the number one reason CX teams fail to get the resources they need to be successful.” When teams are able to gain executive support and investment, they are more inclined to succeed. As Matt mentions, “CX improvement opportunities can get hidden under massive growth,” meaning that it’s greatly important for CX leaders to develop and present an attention-grabbing business case to executives. In order to build a business case, there are two main areas leaders can turn for information. The first being understanding customer service metrics and how those metrics affect retention and growth. The second is to utilize customer feedback to improve the CX. “When you put those two pieces together, you can then start telling a really compelling story about how to drive long-term growth of your company.”
Step 2: Finding Value in Metrics
The second step of building and scaling a customer experience program is to “track and report on the value” the team brings to the company. A question some CX leaders might have is how to measure the effects CX metrics have on business revenue and customer retention. To this, Matt says that it doesn’t matter who in the company puts together the financial metrics about CX. What really matters is that CX teams have the right resources put into place beforehand so that those metrics are possible. This second step is especially helpful for leaders who are creating a business case to present to executives, as it adds monetary value to the team itself, rather than simple facts or statistics. On this, Matt adds, “Right off the bat you have to be balancing quick wins and longer-term, high-impact projects so that you can kind of create and show proof points along the way.” When numbers that demonstrate how much money is saved and how much money is earned, executives are sure to listen. Noting that no other part of a company has to fight as hard as Customer Experience to prove its worth, Matt urges CX leaders to push their business case to the executives to gain support from organizational leaders.
Step 3: Staying Relevant Through Adaptation
The third and final step to scaling a CX team is to stay relevant and to consistently look for areas of improvement. It’s no secret that the customer landscape is constantly changing. It seems that every day, there is a new customer need. Identifying areas of improvement can be done through listening to customer needs and modifying processes or products to better fit those needs. To further explain this step, Matt shares an example of a customer interaction his team used as the means to improve different aspects of CX. In this example, Matt discusses how some of their loyal customers had previously purchased only one product, but as the brand expanded and more products became available, they found that those customers also expanded their purchases with the company. He goes on to say:
So what we found was there were some major problems where our products were not integrating in a way that was meaningful and helpful for our customers. We also didn’t have a really good service experience. And so customers were then dealing with and managing multiple account managers across multiple product lines.
From this experience, Matt’s team was able to alter their processes in ways that helped them remain relevant to their customers. CX leaders would do well to identify areas for improvement that will contribute to their overall relevance with their customers.
To learn more about shaping and scaling the customer experience, check out the Customer Service Secrets podcast episode below, and be sure to subscribe for new episodes each Tuesday and Thursday.
You can also listen and subscribe to our podcast here:
Full Episode Transcript:
Build and Scale a CX Program | Matt Lombardi
Intro Voice: (00:04)
You’re listening to the Customer Service Secrets Podcast by Kustomer.
Gabe Larsen: (00:11)
Hi, welcome everybody. We’re excited to get going today. We’re going to be talking about how to build and scale a CX program, even during a pandemic and to do that we brought on Matt Lombardi out of Customer Experience and Strategy at ServiceNow. Matt, thanks for joining. How are you?
Matt Lombardi: (00:26)
Hey, doing great. Thanks for having me.
Gabe Larsen: (00:28)
Yeah, really appreciate you taking the time. Give me the quick overview. Tell me a little bit more about kind of what you’re doing over there, your history and what you do over there at ServiceNow.
Matt Lombardi: (00:35)
Sure. Great. So I’ve been building and scaling customer experience teams for the past decade. It is a passion area for me and at ServiceNow, I joined about a year and a half and I’ve really been focused on one critical question. How do we create a world-class customer experience and how do we create the most satisfied, loyal customers out there?
Gabe Larsen: (01:03)
Love it, love it. And then outside of work, I usually like to ask, do you have any hobbies or crazy stuff, but I was curious about the name Lombardi. You go back to the famous coach or no?
Matt Lombardi: (01:16)
Yeah. So there’s family lore that we do, but I have not seen the proof yet, so I can’t make that claim.
Gabe Larsen: (01:24)
Well, that doesn’t count then. So any kind of hobbies outside of work? Any crazy stories outside of the name?
Matt Lombardi: (01:30)
Yeah, so I’d say the last six months or so, have been pretty wild as they’ve been for everyone. My husband and I have a three-year-old daughter. And so kind of taking her out of preschool has been a really fun, wild ride and that’s really taken up most of our free time and has been a full time job slash it’s been full of really funny happenings. So –
Gabe Larsen: (02:05)
And then she’s currently out of school right now as well?
Matt Lombardi: (02:10)
She is, yes.
Gabe Larsen: (02:10)
Well, good. We’re all fighting the same fight, man. More power to you. Good luck with it. But there are some pros, right? You do get to see her more, well there’s some pros and there are some cons let’s leave it there.
Matt Lombardi: (02:20)
There are a lot of pros. I think that there hasn’t been a day that’s gone by where she hasn’t made a cameo on my Zoom meetings and where she hasn’t cracked up my entire team.
Gabe Larsen: (02:30)
Yeah. Hey, we just had it happen. We had my seven year old to jump in here, so Matt, thankfully he’s ready for it. This is take two for our podcast here. All right, well, let’s jump into the topic at hand. Obviously a lot of wealth and experience, but as you think about CX, how did you start to craft this and shape it is you wanted to really scale from where they were and where you want to go?
Matt Lombardi: (02:54)
Yeah, so that’s a good question. So in my experience, building strong CX teams and really growing them, I found that there are three critical needs that every CX leader has to embrace. The first one is getting executive buy-in early and often. And in my experience, this is the number one priority that has to happen in the first 90 days.
Gabe Larsen: (03:27)
Matt Lombardi: (03:27)
Number two is track and report on the value that your team is creating for the business. And that ties in to number one, but there’s a lot of balancing of quick wins and longer-term, high-impact projects that you have to be constantly juggling and think about. And then number three is continuously adapt and improve to stay relevant. And that’s especially true now when our customer needs are changing every day.
Gabe Larsen: (04:03)
No kidding, right? Yeah. Amen to that. Well, let’s double click on each of these for a minute. I mean, number one, I feel like a lot of CX leaders, maybe it’s gotten a little easier with all the commotion that’s been going on. But certainly, if we were kind of polling our audience not too long ago, CX executive buy-in, talking different languages, getting necessary funds, misunderstandings, speaking different languages, these were all things that really came out as we were asking, again, the audience for sample talk tracks. How did you go about that? Any examples, stories or recommendations people should take to make the knowledge of reality?
Matt Lombardi: (04:41)
Yep. Yeah, absolutely. And I think under investing in this area is both the most common mistake CX leaders make and it’s also the number one reason CX teams fail to get the resources they need to be successful. So when I’m thinking about the last few times, I’ve led and grown a CX team, including at ServiceNow, there’s really one big question that I focused on for my first 90 days. And that was, how can I create a business case for investing in CX? And especially at a company that’s taking off like a rocket ship. That adds an extra layer of complexity because CX improvement opportunities can get hidden under massive growth. So I tend to be a bit of an impatient person. And so it takes a lot of discipline to not immediately jump in to CX improvement initiatives, to actually step back and focus on that one question. So there’s a few steps that I like to take to help answer –
Gabe Larsen: (06:02)
Yeah. Double click that on that, if you can. How do you think about a business case? Because I think that’s where we want to go.
Matt Lombardi: (06:08)
Yeah. Yeah. So, I think that the first step is to understand how it’s possible years and years of customer satisfaction metrics impact retention, upsells, and cost to serve. Once you have that down, and I know that can be a lot of work, connecting a lot of dots across different silos, but when you get there, you then need to move to a phase number two, which is to drill into customer feedback. Lots of unstructured customer feedback is ideal to understand what levers can be pulled to improve the customer experience. And then when you put those two pieces together, you can then start telling a really compelling story about how to drive long-term growth of your company. And at that point, the power of experience management becomes clear.
Gabe Larsen: (07:09)
Yeah. Yeah. I mean that first part of just tying the soft measures to the hard measures, like how much does call time or handle time or NPS or whatever, it kind of, or customer truths, how does it all affect top and bottom line metrics? Is that, did you work with your finance team on that? Did you do it yourself? Like how do you, how do you tie those? Because I think that’s the gap. We know we care about revenue for example, or the CEO cares about revenue or the financing, ARR or whatever that metric. And we care about voice of the customer effort score, NPS, but –
Matt Lombardi: (07:51)
Yeah. And then, so my position on this is it doesn’t really matter who gets that job done. What’s most important is before you start leading this kind of endeavor, you need to make sure the other right resource is in place to actually do that work. And that should be a top priority first hire is getting someone with the right business acumen who knows how to do that kind of modeling to support your business case. And so for me, just looking at my team’s trajectory over the course of this pandemic, we’ve more than doubled over the last six months. We’re going to continue to grow into next year. And a large reason for that is because we built out the right business case.
Gabe Larsen: (08:45)
You nailed it on the, I can’t, I almost don’t want to go passed this one because I just feel like it’s, you can’t, you just can’t win if you don’t do this and you don’t do it right, you guys. So the first one was, and now I’m forgetting because I was going a little bit deeper, but you kind of said get the metrics and tie them to, this hard metrics tied to the soft metrics. And then what were, what were you, there was a part two to that. Apologize, I –
Matt Lombardi: (09:06)
Yeah. Yeah. So get the metrics, number two, understand what levers you can pull that then create a better experience and impact your bottom line. And it’s when you meld those two together where you can make that business case.
Gabe Larsen: (09:23)
Okay. Then that feeds nicely into number two, which was really tracking and reporting, I assume, on some of those levers. So that now we’re getting kind of a continuous flow. Is that correct?
Matt Lombardi: (09:32)
That’s right. That’s right. And so it’s one thing to know if I can convert my unhappy customers into happy customers, this is what the bottom line impact is going to be. You need to take it to the next level to understand these are the top customer pain points that are slowing down our growth. And these are the ones where I think we can have the best ROI. Once you have that full story together, and you bring the executive team on board to get full alignment on what the top opportunities are, that’s when you can start having some fun.
Gabe Larsen: (10:13)
Yeah. Interesting. Interesting. And are there certain metrics that you find that are more important that you try to kind of watch or you found to be interesting in your own business that you’d be open to share?
Matt Lombardi: (10:24)
Yeah, sure. So, I mean, I think for me, it always comes down to what is the top-line CX measure for the entire company? And for me, that’s often NPS, it doesn’t necessarily have to be, but then taking it down a few levels and understanding what is driving that top-line score. And there it’s, typically around what is driving value for customers and figuring out, what kind of metrics will help you get there.
Gabe Larsen: (11:04)
Hmm. Got it. Okay, so you get those kinds of tracking and metrics is the big second piece, right? And that’s tying into this bigger business case vision. You make sure you get the right metrics, understand where the strengths and weaknesses are and dive into that. That number three was this iteration concept. That’d be good. Double-click on that. How have you seen that affect your business? What some examples there?
Matt Lombardi: (11:27)
Yeah. So there’s a few things that I think about there. I think just simply building the case, getting executive alignment around what things should change, where resources should be spent, and then being able to show what kind of bottom-line growth that will lead to that, that is that is really the first and most important thing that you need to be focused on as a CX leader. And what I see time and time again, is CX teams that fail to connect what they do to revenue growth and cost savings that executives actually care about, they can expect to see job cuts. Especially during times when companies are looking to tighten their belts. I see, again and again, CX teams are often the first that get snipped. So once you get the organization kind of moving in the same direction, it’s then, kind of my point number two, is focused on tracking and reporting on the value that your team is creating for the company. So what I think about there is, and I think I referenced this already, right off the bat you have to be balancing quick wins and longer-term, high-impact projects so that you can kind of create and show proof points along the way. And so, yeah, so for me, it’s kind of, what’s interesting about being a CX leader is I think there’s no other role in the organization that is forced to prove its value again and again, continuously. If you’re in sales, your numbers kind of show what kind of value you’re adding. In CX, you really need to do that hard work of rolling up the sleeves and prove it every day, every quarter.
Gabe Larsen: (13:47)
How do you keep that kind of iterative mindset? I mean, it is hard. You do it once and you don’t, you let it stay stale. How have you found ways to kind of continue to innovate, continue to iterate and continue to find those kinds of ways to improve the customer experience?
Matt Lombardi: (14:00)
Yeah, so I’d like to keep track of both smaller proof points as well as larger showcase items. And so I’ll give you an example of a sort of smaller proof point example. So a strong NPS program should be the engine for your customer reference program. So one easy way to show continual improvement in value, it can be as simple as tracking how many references are generated as a result of CX, and then how many deals have been closed as a result of that. So that’s just one tiny proof point that can be really powerful as you’re kind of building out your larger ROI story. And then thinking about a bigger example, at a previous company, my team identified a really puzzling CX problem. So we identified a trend that showed that our largest, happiest customers who at the time just had one product, as soon as they started to expand and purchase other products, and they became even larger customers, they all of a sudden became a lot less happy. We saw that churn was becoming a bigger and bigger problem. And so that’s obviously the kind of worst case scenario when you’re trying to grow your largest customers. So what we found was there were some major problems where our products were not integrating in a way that was meaningful and helpful for our customers. We also didn’t have a really good service experience. And so customers were then dealing with and managing multiple account managers across multiple product lines. So our research and our work ultimately led to a services transformation project that then ultimately led to incredible retention growth and customer experience gains that we could see through NPS and other metrics.
Gabe Larsen: (16:25)
Matt Lombardi: (16:25)
So that’s sort of a larger example that takes a long time to actually be able to prove out what value you added. But having those smaller proof points along the way goes a long way towards continuing to prove out your team’s value.
Gabe Larsen: (16:44)
Yeah. I appreciate that. I like the approach, Matt. I think it’s well thought out. It’s nice and structured. Thank you for the example. I think that definitely highlights some of the areas you focused on and found that are necessary to win. So as we wrap, if somebody wants to get in touch with you or learn a little bit more about some of these thoughts or suggestions, what’s the best way to do that?
Matt Lombardi: (17:07)
You can reach me through LinkedIn and I’d be happy to connect.
Gabe Larsen: (17:13)
Cool. Cool. Awesome. Well, we’ll make sure we put that in there. Again, thanks so much for joining. Fun talk track on shaping and scaling the CX organization and for the audience, have a fantastic day.
Matt Lombardi: (17:23)
Exit Voice: (17:30)
Thank you for listening. Make sure you’re subscribed to hear more Customer Service Secrets.
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
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.
We’re back again for our SECOND blog in a series about how CX organizations tackle every day challenges with the help of the Kustomer Platform: CX Stories From the Frontlines. There is rarely a magic bullet to our CX problems, but it’s helpful to understand how other companies are tackling similar issues.
In this month’s edition, we discuss how a business was able to understand BPO performance through Kustomer, how reporting can identify top contact reasons in specific geos, and the power of unifying disparate systems in one go-to platform.
Subscription Service Implements Effective BPO Performance Tracking
A subscription service, delivering science and art kits to kids, has a robust team of agents through a BPO. It is absolutely critical for them to understand agent performance, efficiency and customer satisfaction, as the team is not in-house. Additionally, these metrics inform the BPO’s bonus payouts. Through the Kustomer platform, the subscription service has several tools to ensure goals are being met and quality of service is sustained. They leverage Kustomer’s Queue Report to view overall agent performance at a glance, Team Pulse to supervise agent activity in real time, and a custom report on agent CSAT averages.
Beauty Brand Uncovers Top Contact Reasons for International Customers
A cosmetics and personal care company had a key business objective for 2021 to focus on their international customer segment. As part of this focus, the CX team was mandated to breakdown the top contact reasons for their international customers. The company worked with Kustomer to build a basic workflow that copied the “international” attribute from the customer profile and populated it on the customer’s conversation. After backfilling about three months of data through a CSV upload, the beauty brand was able to see historical information and build a custom report that could visualize and export this information for the leadership team. Next up the team will be implementing conditionally required attributes so they can see which products are most associated with refunds and damages.
Insurance Company Increases Efficiency By Unifying Disparate Systems
Agents at a home insurance provider used to have part-time jobs as detectives, spending endless amounts of time attempting to find the information they needed across multiple applications. They were aware that, as a business built on data, there was information floating around that was inaccessible to them. To solve this, they brought the data from all of those disparate systems together into one go-to platform. Essentially, Kustomer became their one-stop shop. Now they can view their customer and policy information alongside their Gong recordings and customer interactions. Since launch, they’ve seen various improvements across teams — their sales team has noticed an increase in contacts, likely a result of having new channels for engagement like chat, their support team now has more visibility through the Kustomer + FullStory app, and their management team has more transparency than they’ve ever had before. As new apps continue to be released in the Kustomer platform, this will only continue to make agents more efficient and remove their need to look anywhere else for information.
We want to hear from you! Let us know if you’re tackling CX problems in an interesting way and we will feature you in the next CX Stories From the Frontlines.
CX can be a complicated business. Whether you’re juggling dozens of channels, looking to scale, or want more insight into your team’s performance, it can be complex and intimidating to even know where to start. Do you hire more agents? Do you ask for more budget? Do you invest in new technology? Is there REALLY a magic bullet to your problems?
There is never a clear “right” answer or strategy to any given question, but it’s helpful to understand how other businesses approach their problems. And that’s why we are introducing CX Stories from the Frontlines, a blog series that will showcase how REAL brands are tackling REAL problems with Kustomer.
Online Fashion Company Increases Chat Adoption With Additional Entry Points
A subscription fashion service had a big goal for 2021: to increase their chat usage for their platform in order to increase efficiency. According to recent Kustomer research, chat is the second most popular channel for consumers, and among the top three cheapest for brands to manage. Kustomer performed an audit on the business’ use of chat and helped them implement chat throughout different entry points on their site. This makes it easier for customers to reach out to the support team without having to search their site or switch channels, while also increasing adoption of the method. The brand also wanted visibility into when chats were coming from web vs. app, and to be able to capture and report on missed chats. Since the project has launched, they have increased their chat penetration to 17%, putting them well on their way to achieve the 21% goal for Q1 2021.
Men’s Wellness Company Unifies Data to Simplify the Agent Experience
This leading online brand creates personalized hygiene products for men, but they were finding it difficult to locate the information they needed to service customers efficiently. Kustomer integrated with their e-commerce platform so that all of the customer’s data, including subscriptions and orders, was in one place. Next, Kustomer suppressed the unnecessary notifications from their e-commerce platform that did not add value. This allows their agents to quickly find the information they need without digging through the noise that they don’t. Finally, the brand was able to implement automations that turned some of their frequently used processes into a simple button click. Updates to subscriptions and refund processing can now be updated directly in Kustomer without having to ever leave the platform.
Online Retailer Measures Impact of Logistics Changes on CSAT
A US-based, online women’s retailer wants to improve the customer experience for their international consumer base in 2021. As part of that, they switched couriers for international orders at the end of 2020. Kustomer suggested that the brand implement a multi-query custom report to get a better sense of how they’ve been performing historically, and understand how CSAT may shift once these operational changes take place. Kustomer put together customer report templates for the brand, and the information was eye-opening for them as it had never truly been examined. These reports also put the foundational blocks in place for the retailer to keep an eye on international customer satisfaction, and shift strategies as needed.
We want to hear from you! Let us know if you’re tackling CX problems in an interesting way and we will feature you in the next CX Stories From the Frontlines.
The pandemic essentially caused a meteor storm of change, crisis, chaos, and challenges that created unprecedented customer service issues. Consumers sought out new, more convenient ways to connect with brands. Brands were forced to keep up to maintain trust, earn a reputation for excellence, and serve customers in the ways they now expect.
At Kustomer, we strive to help brands effortlessly keep up with quickly shifting trends, and work to deliver products and features that have helped them orchestrate an intimate, effortless connection with customers.
We launched more than 80 products and features in 2020 — here are some highlights of what we’ve launched this year, followed by an introduction to our product team that made this possible.
New Channels To Meet Customers Where They Are
Instagram Support: With the rapid growth in social commerce, we launched support for Instagram Messaging that allowed you to respond to @replies, Direct Messages, Stories and Comments directly from the Kustomer platform.
Turnkey Integrations for Voice Apps: With voice still being the top channel for support, we launched turnkey integrations with various voice contact centers such as Aircall and UJET, to help you deliver hyper-personalized support for those users.
Spam Filters: To keep spammers at bay and your teams productive, we released spam filters to block emails from certain addresses or domains.
We welcome your ideas for new features, so we can make the Kustomer platform even more useful to you. By popular request, we’ve released Dark Mode for Kustomer to help reduce eye strain and screen fatigue. To submit your idea, head to Feature Requests in Settings.
Top Stories of 2020
Kustomer to Join Facebook: Kustomer has signed an agreement to join Facebook, pending regulatory review. Both Kustomer and Facebook are committed to helping brands extend the value of the Kustomer platform as part of their omnichannel customer service strategy. Learn More
Kustomer Acquired Automation Technology Company Reply.ai: We believe artificial intelligence is essential to helping today’s enterprises scale customer service and efficiently deliver exceptional results. We rolled out Kustomer IQ to meet the growing need for companies to have access to the power of AI, and continued our investment by acquiring Reply.ai to bring self-service tools and intelligence capabilities to our clients. Learn More
Kustomer Joined the Shopify Plus Certified App Program: The only enterprise customer service CRM platform in the program, Kustomer seamlessly integrates with Shopify in one click, empowering e-commerce businesses to efficiently resolve conversations across all digital channels in a single platform. Learn More
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.
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:
Best Meets Requirements
Best Meets Requirements 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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
Ensured “agent created by” status is always present in all initial outbound chat messages, while maintaining workflows and business rules.
Optimized Kustomer Web SDK to now only store one cookie on a website, which helps improve site and chat widget performance.
Enabled users to seamlessly toggle between multiple Twitter handles when responding within a single conversation thread.
Enhanced Kustomer’s Twilio Co-Pilot integration to now use more than one SMS number.
Created a new filter to display all notes within a customer’s timeline.
Improved accessibility when sorting and selecting results in dropdown fields in Settings searches and Knowledge Base forms. You can now scroll through results using up/down arrows and choose an item from the dropdown using the ‘enter’ keystroke instead of only a mouse click.
Streamlined the search functionality in the team section of standard reports by removing the duplicative “Search by Team” option and keeping the more widely used “Filter by Team.”
Latest iOS SDK Release: Version 0.1.39. Recent updates include, HIPAA compliance, improved message delivery speed when sending attachments, and support for numbers in chat assistant.
Latest Android SDK Release: Version 0.1.33. Recent updates include HIPAA compliance, improved message delivery speed when sending attachments, support for numbers in chat assistant, and updated send button for Android versions 5.0 and below.
Doug Jarvis is the Director of Product Marketing at Kustomer.
Online chat is everywhere these days, but many companies are still figuring out how best to manage chat conversations at scale. This is why Kustomer’s Chat function—available over both web and mobile—now includes a few features that makes life easier for support teams.
Kustomer Chat now includes the option to “End Chats”. Now agents can permanently close a chat conversation once it’s over. This will happen when an agent marks a conversation as Done—locking the ability for a customer to type a reply back to the chat (they can always open a new chat, of course).
This also adds an “end chat” button to the customer experience, allowing the customer to end a conversation when they are done communicating and notifying the agent. In addition, it sets customer expectations regarding agent availability, so customers aren’t replying to chat messages when agents are not available.
Single Chat Sessions
Another option available to companies is to allow only one chat conversation from a customer at a time. This feature ensures that every customer is matched with one agent, and limits the number of teams the customer may work with at once.
Support teams that choose to activate the above feature will also be able to better track open and closed conversations and more accurately analyze their chat volume. For example, if you collect the contact reason, every conversation will (usually) have a single reason for contact (unlike chat conversations that are opened again and again, for a different reason each time), so you can look at a definitive number of closed chat conversations per specific topics.
Kustomer Chat is always evolving. Our latest updates to Kustomer Chat include:
Conversational Assistant: a pre-conversational feature that helps your team collect information from customers automatically, before reaching the agent.
Chat Availability: a feature that incorporates Business Hours into the chat experience, allowing admins to determine what the after-hours experience will be for chat users.
Chat Deflection: helps to set proper expectations for your customers with estimated reply times, and diverts traffic when your Chat team doesn’t respond by directing your customers to other channels.
Kustomer Chat is used by online marketplaces and direct-to-consumer brands like Slice, Zeal, UNTUCKit, LOLA, PetcareRX and more. Schedule a demo below to see how Kustomer Chat can work for your business: