3 Reasons Kustomer’s Amazon Connect Integration Will Revolutionize Your Contact Center

Kustomer has just announced it’s newest integration with Amazon Web Services’ Amazon Connect to deliver next-level omnichannel support and experience for enterprises and contact centers.

Amazon Connect is the cloud-based contact center voice solution created by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and based on the same technology used by over 70,000 Amazon customer service associates around the world. Kustomer’s integration with Amazon Connect seamlessly pulls AWS’s robust technology into a single convenient timeline view.

Not only will this help contact centers and support teams deliver a more personal and memorable experience over all of their channels, but agents can stay in a single screen uninterrupted while answering calls.

The integrated solution is already live in enterprise-level contact centers in companies such as Ring, the global home security provider. As COO Jon Irwin noted, “Moving forward with Kustomer’s Amazon Connect integration was one of the best decisions we have made for our community support team as well as our end customers, or ‘neighbors’.”

“We’re excited to be using Kustomer’s robust platform, which is not only reliable, but increases service efficiency, giving us an edge in providing unparalleled neighbor experience.”

You can see our native Amazon Connect integration in the video below. To see more of our integration in action, register for our webinar on November 15th.

Personalized IVR Experience

 Customers expect more personal and convenient experiences, even when they get an automated response after calling your customer service number. With Kustomer’s Amazon Connect integration, IVR can become more responsive and personalized than your customers ever imagined. Because Amazon Connect’s IVR data-dips directly into Kustomer’s CRM database, contact centers of any size can easily customize their phone trees based on customer information. You can route customers based on their interaction history or previous issues, create a shortcut for VIPs or those affected by a specific outage, present different options for customers with open orders, and more.

Everything in a Single Screen

Consolidating all your platforms into one intuitive interface massively increases agent efficiency and improves the experience for your customers, because agents have all the information they need at their fingertips. Once agents accept a call from a customer, they can see the full timeline and history of whoever is calling in. Then the call recording and relevant data is automatically saved as part of the conversation, along with the agent’s notes, and agents can easily follow up over SMS, Email, Phone, Chat, and more.

Streamline Service with Multichannel Routing

Kustomer and Amazon Connect provide the modern features omnichannel team managers expect. Amazon Connect is the only voice integration that syncs with the Kustomer router, giving managers the utmost flexibility in building and monitoring their queues. Kustomer includes reports and live dashboards, providing managers with a real, live look into the performance of their contact centers. That makes it easy to ensure the right agents are handling the right customers at the right time based on your needs over every channel. Our integration even takes into account whether blended agents are or are not on a call, pausing incoming messages when they’re on the phone so that your workloads are always properly managed.

The Amazon Connect Enterprise Application is available today. For more information, visit our dedicated Amazon Connect integrations page, or sign up for our webinar on November 15th for a live demo with our product team.

The Truth About Bots and Intelligent Automation

84% of the attendees of our recent webinar, The Truth About Bots and Intelligent Automation, consider Customer Experience Automation a priority for their strategy going forward. What options are available for the automation-minded company, and will a bot deliver amazing service AND make you breakfast? Well, not quite. We got to the bottom of these questions on air, and you can too from the recap below.

Watch the recording here.

Peter Johnson, Kustomer’s VP of Product, and Kaan Ersun, Solvvy’s SVP of Marketing, are both authorities on bots, automation, and using intelligent technologies for better service and support. They discussed the pros and cons of the solutions out there, and made some suggestions for picking and enabling more intelligent service.

Is Automation a Priority?

To kick things off, we started with a poll to take the temperature of the audience. We asked, “Is adopting a customer experience automation solution, such as bots, a priority for you https://s29093.pcdn.co/ your organization?” The results were surprising—the majority of respondents were actively pursuing an automation strategy. Here’s the breakdown:

Yes, this year: 40%

Yes, next year: 32%

Yes, within 2 years: 12%

Not a priority: 16%

Terms You Need to Know

To level-set, PJ and Kaan laid out an overview of the terminology they’ll be using when discussing this complicated technology.

While “intelligent” technologies have existed since Roman times, the term “Artificial Intelligence” came into use in the 1950s—though truly intelligent products just started becoming widely available over the last handful of years. Machine Learning is a more specific application, referring to the ability of machines to advance their program and “learn” from their mistakes without additional programming. A good example is the recent Google AI that beat a world champion at Go. Deep Learning is an even more advanced subset, describing computers that use algorithms that mimic the neural networks of the human brain—meaning they can learn on multiple levels without human supervision.

Bots—Are They All They’re Cracked Up to Be?

But how are these advancements being used on a practical level today? Bots are already taking on a variety of service and service-adjacent tasks within the enterprise, from Digital Marketing and DIY Service, to use cases involving virtual assistants. However, these experiments are still in their early stages. While they may help scale your service, they require a lot of effort to build, and lack customer understanding and the ability to deliver a quality, memorable experience. When you look at the cost and effort to build one versus the level of experience they provide, the math is a bit off.

As PJ put it:

“You’ve probably contacted or been contacted by a support system that tried to act like a human being, but clearly is not. One of our best practices is not to try to seem human, because it can really hurt your brand image and experience.”

On top of that, they aren’t exactly plug-and-play. Service teams have to create replies for every possible input, and they need to be customized for the relevant terminology and details of your business. Actually integrating them with your existing data systems can be a headache, plus they need ongoing maintenance every time you add a new feature or product.

Who’s Using Bots?

Bots may not be the tech overlords they’ve been billed as (yet), but other applications of automation and intelligent systems can supe up your support. And, it’s probably not too late. In our second poll, we learned that most attendees haven’t started using bots yet:

We asked, “What has been your experience with traditional bot technology in your CX operations?” and these were the results:

We use a bot today and love it: 9%

We use a bot today and have encountered some issues: 12%

We use a bot today and have encountered many issues: 12%

I don’t use any bot technology today: 67%

From Bots to Conversational Experience

Before you start experimenting with bots, it’s good to know your options. As Kaan recommended:

“It’s key to have an overarching, holistic automation strategy first—then you can deploy bots as point solutions.”

Bots are a part of this strategy, but not the only focus. Instead, you can also use automation in conjunction with other integrations and platforms to create a stronger experience. Conversational forms look like a chat, but can be used to gather customer info and issues before handing off to a more capable agent to handle the issue. A system that automatically suggests responses to agents works the same as a bot, but uses the added layer of human oversight to learn the right way to respond by tracking your agents’ decisions. And automation is useful for suggesting tags, categorization, macros, helpbase articles, and assisting workflow and reporting—all things that can speed up your experience and make it more efficient, without directly interacting with customers.

As PJ summarized: “Automation is not just about helping the customer, it’s about helping your support organization scale, and identifying areas the product team can improve.”

Kutomer and Solvvy work together to make conversational experience a reality. If you submit a question to Solvvy and can’t find the answer, you can choose to instantly open up a chat in Kustomer and get the answer. Kustomer’s conversational form then collects your personal information, then connects you with an agent who knows your whole customer history.

Where to Begin?

Where do you start the process of using automation or bots strategy if you haven’t already? Kaan had some advice: “Number one, define a strategy, and figure out where the bot can be useful to you, where it won’t work, then pursue new opportunities. Start with the big picture, then move towards implementation.”

Adding to Kaan’s advice, PJ suggested going straight to the data: “First thing: Look at your reporting, and see where you have the highest level of support volume. Look for patterns, see which questions your customers are asking, and what the most repetitive tasks are for your agents?”

If you’re taking a wide-angle approach and carefully planning your strategy, instead of leaping head first into messing around with a bot, your initiatives are much more likely to be a success.

You can always watch the recording HERE, and for more great insights into service, experience, and technology, follow Solvvy and Kustomer.

Can You Deliver a Truly Personal Experience Online?

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE WEBINAR

Can buying something online feel as personal as shopping in person? As a growing number of brands are selling to the majority of their customers online, this question becomes more pressing. You might think there are insurmountable limitations to the online experience—you can’t touch, feel, and try on anything at your laptop. However, innovative digital-first brands are finding ways to bridge this gap—and finding real success in the process.

One of those brands is TrueFacet, the leading luxury online marketplace for acquiring and consigning fine jewelry and timepieces. We had the opportunity to sit down with Kenneth Tucci, VP of Operations / Concierge and Nick Osborn, Director of Growth at TrueFacet to discuss their high-touch, omnichannel customer experience on our latest webinar.

TrueFacet is the modern alternative to buying and selling jewelry and watches. Both buyers and sellers get a valuable online experience, with every item authenticated, appraised, and priced accordingly before it’s listed. TrueFacet sets themselves apart by delivering a brand experience that adheres to three strong pillars: selection, authenticity, and price.

Their focus on authenticity is a major differentiator for the space. All vendors are thoroughly vetted to make sure they uphold the highest level of integrity and to ensure product availability. This is especially crucial in TrueFacet’s space—In 2014 alone, the total value of seized counterfeit watches and jewelry by the U.S. government was $375.4 million. Ensuring authenticity means building trust with your customers, and by drawing on a diverse team of experts that hail from some of the most coveted jewelers in the industry to provide multi-point inspections, TrueFacet can assure customers that every item that leaves their facility is authentic and as advertised.

However, no matter how much you can guarantee the authenticity of your products, there are still elements that are going to be missing from an online experience versus a brick and mortar one. You can’t feel the difference in weight between a platinum, gold, and steel watch, or see the minute details of its inner workings with your own eyes. You can’t try on a piece of jewelry with an outfit and experience that “have to have it” moment when they match perfectly. TrueFacet goes to great lengths to substitute elements of their experience that make up for this. They use high-quality photos and videos, size-fit guides, and a generous return policy to make buying intuitive. However, it’s really the Concierge team that serves as the X-factor in their experience. Their work raises it from comparable to shopping at a boutique, to an experience that’s a cut above.

“Our Concierge team is there to educate our customer, provide guidance, and help them find what they want,” says Tucci, “ If customers can’t find something on our site, then our team will go to any lengths to track it down. This really helps us win customers for life.” Their agents are highly knowledgeable, but also bring more to the table: Passion. Their passion for TrueFacet’s products really shines through, allowing them to connect with customers who are equally as excited and knowledgeable. Beyond just being knowledgeable about the industry, the Concierge team knows everything about their customer’s purchase history and past interactions, meaning they have more contextual information than even an associate at a local boutique and their regular customer.

TrueFacet delivers the same high-quality experience no matter what their customers are buying. However, customers who regularly buy a large amount of product are treated to a VIP experience, where a TrueFacet Concierge forms a 1:1 relationship with them, offering additional communication options such as SMS messaging. This helps create an even stronger bond, creating customers for life.

This level of service is possible in part because Concierges can move from channel to channel just as easily as their customers, following them from phone to email, chat, and text with ease—and Kustomer helps empower agents to do just that. To deliver an experience that’s as high-touch as shopping in person, there can’t be any gaps in communication.

TrueFacet presents an exciting example of the future of customer experience—not just for a luxury market, but for everyone. True omnichannel understanding paired with passionate and informed agents and a robust digital experience can do more than make up for physical retail space.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE WEBINAR

What Are the Modern Metrics for Omnichannel Communication?

In our latest webinar with StellaService, we had a deep discussion about the state of modern service. The changes we’re both seeing are undeniable, but now it’s easier than ever to make sense of this omnichannel world with new, stronger metrics.

The bottom line: To succeed in an omnichannel world, you need to prioritize building lifetime value with every interaction. Here’s how to make that happen:

Service Channels Have Fragmented

There’s no use fighting it: customer service has changed. The rise of ecommerce is driving the spread of service channels over mobile, email, chat, social, and more. More interactions means rising customer expectations. To meet them, you need skilled agents who can move with the customer from channel to channel, always pushing the journey forward.

New technologies like chatbots and self-help modules are reducing the numbers of basic service inquiries. This means that agents need to be even more prepared to solve complex, emotionally nuanced problems. However, as agents have taken on more complex service tasks, their turnover rate has increased—reaching 24% for some organizations.

To be successful, agents must be empowered and ready to deliver consultative service driven by a connected experience—and have the training and tools to do so. They need to have all the information about the product or service they’re offering, and have full insight into the back-end to know product availability and other details. They need more context about customers than ever—how often they’ve reached out over different channels, whether their previous issues have been resolved, and how they’ve felt about previous interactions. And, they need to able to engage over multiple channels at the same time, switching from email to chat to phone with ease. Having a single timeline, where the whole history of customer interactions appears, is the only way agents can take an informed approach to building lifetime value.

Going from Service to Experience Requires New Metrics

With these changes in mind, to understand the value your service is bringing to your customers, you’re going to need new metrics. Average Handle Time (AHT) can give you insight into your overall efficiency, but it’s only valuable if you’re approaching your service organization as a cost-center, rather than a revenue driver. If you’re treating your service as a tool to build relationships with customers, then metrics like Customer Satisfaction surveys and QA reports have more value, but these only give you limited context and insight into how your customers really feel about their experience. What’s the right number to measure?

StellaService and Kustomer both tackle this issue from two different sides—which is why we make such great partners. StellaService Connect motivates agents and prompts a response from customers with a gamified post-engagement survey that focuses on the performance of specific agents. They even allow happy customers to tip agents for job well-done, reinforcing the positive experience. By delivering real-time feedback on performance across every channel, StellaService delivers metrics that drive measurable change. Companies like Williams-Sonoma and Swanson Health Products that use StellaService to create a better environment within their customer service organization see a measurable drop in attrition.

Kustomer’s focus is on increasing Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) and promoting First Contact Resolution—helping agents follow the customer across channels during the same conversation. Agents are empowered to connect with a customer over chat, then call them over the phone if needed, then follow up over email with next steps. This ensures that the customer journey is always progressing, meaning shoppers never have to repeat themselves or start over. From the agent’s perspective, omnichannel can increase First Contact Resolution. However your organization needs to be focusing on FCR and ultimately LTV rather than Average Handle Time, as it will take more time to deliver high-touch, conversational service.

Omnichannel Promotes Success

A fully-enabled omnichannel strategy reaps real rewards for your business. 50% of all customer interactions happen during a multi-event, multi-channel journey, so being prepared to deliver great service over multiple channels is a bare necessity. And it shows. Companies with strong omnichannel strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, versus 33% for companies with weak strategies. A good omnichannel experience is therefore crucial for bolstering your bottom line, as a 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75%. In fact, companies see an increase in customer retention of 2-3% just by switching to Kustomer.

To make sense of this omnichannel world, you need to focus on Lifetime Value. To increase lifetime value, you need to understand and motivate your agents, and empower them to deliver a great experience over every channel at once. Together, StellaService and Kustomer help you do both.

How to Turn One-Time Shoppers Into Repeat Customers

What we learned from our webinar with DSTLD and Optimove

How do you keep customers coming back? Our latest webinar answers just that question, and features DSTLD Customer Experience Manager Laura Gramlich (read our guest post from Laura here) and Optimove Solutions Engineer Leigh Noy, hosted by our own Senior Manager of Marketing Programs Stacey Dolchin. We discussed how to build loyalty with the rush of customers that companies acquire during a busy period. Whether that’s holidays, product launches, or special events, you need to prioritize loyalty and retention to be successful.

Our conversation with DSTLD and Optimove brought up an array of useful insights for dealing with these issues, perfect for any brands looking to build a stronger relationship with first-time buyers.

DSTLD is a brand that prioritizes their end-to-end experience to turn their customers into diehard fans. By selling high-quality denim and basics directly to consumers at a fraction of the price of bigger brands, they’ve struck a chord with fashion-enthusiasts. Their unique offering drives interest, but it’s important to keep these shoppers coming back for more. DSTLD has a few strategies for this:

Individualized and Personal Customer Service: By integrating their existing shopping platforms with Kustomer, they can view orders and customer conversations together. By having this information in one timeline, it’s easy to deliver fast, intuitive assistance.

Real-time Chat: One of the highest rates of drop-off for an ecommerce site occurs when a customer has issues prior to and at checkout. After launching chat on their site, DSTLD was able to respond immediately to their customers and answer their questions, resulting in a higher conversion rate at checkout.

Post-Purchase Automation: If deliveries are delayed due to a weather event, DSTLD’s goal is to identify customers who may be affected by using Kustomer, and then reach out to those who have been affected with an automated message that allows them to easily pick the next course of action.

Improved Returns Experience: DSTLD has made their returns experience a priority, constantly innovating and scaling up in the offseason to deliver the best possible experience when demand is high. Their new process for exchanges makes completing them even easier, meaning customers receive their item even faster than before.

Optimove picked up where DSTLD left off, sharing how to retain customers and build engagement after a high-demand period. They suggest following 3 key steps to make a difference in your experience to build a bond for life with customers.

1. Detect and Reward Your VIPs: VIP’s (the top 5% of customers) are responsible for 60% of your revenue according to Optimove, so it’s crucial to find them and treat them right. Look at the journey of your current VIPs to identify future candidates, then give them early access and special offers — but don’t take your current VIPs for granted, either.

2. Create a Plan for Post-Holiday Retention: The average transaction amount during the holiday season is 30% higher for repeat customers than new customers, but newly acquired customers during the holiday are 90% less likely to return for repeat business — making it all the more crucial to have a retention plan ready.

3. Strategize for The Long Game: The chances of making another transaction increases as the number of initial transactions increase — that means there’s a real incentive and knock-on effect to converting first-time shoppers. Analyze them, and apply what you’ve learned from your multi-time shoppers to convert more first-timers into repeat customers.

Clearly there’s real value in focusing on a long-term strategy for getting customers to buy from you again and again, beyond simply making more sales. Repeat customers are more loyal and enthusiastic for your brand, and buy far more than the shoppers who just stop in when demand is high. A solid strategy, top-notch experience, and a commitment to finding and encouraging the customers who are most likely to keep coming back is what will make the difference for your business — and knowing everything about your customers makes it that much easier.

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