How Kustomer Accelerated Digital Transformation in a New Era

How Kustomer Accelerated Digital Transformation in a New Era TW

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.

 

Pair Humans With AI to Enhance Efficiency

 

Optimize Support Operations with Improved Automation

  • New Business Rules Triggers: Eliminate routine processes with asynchronous automations that can be triggered when an attribute changes using Business Rules.
  • Insight Card Builder: Enable fast, personalized support by using the drag-and-drop Insight Card Builder to customize the customer data agents see when answering inquiries.
  • New Permission Sets: Keep agents focused by defining what users or teams can see and do by granting access to actions on an object level.
  • Audit Log Improvements: Speed up troubleshooting by tracking routing events at a more granular level.

 

Discover Trends, Evaluate Performance and Optimize Service With Enhanced Reporting

  • Agent Performance Report: Keep agents motivated and informed of their progress with a personalized performance report.
  • Multi-Query Charts: Understand how different metrics correlate with one another with the ability to add a second query in the Chart Editor.
  • Schedule Custom Reports: Keep key stakeholders and members of your organization up to date by scheduling custom reports on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
  • Team Pulse Enhancements: Monitor agent productivity and identify agents who need assistance in real-time with new and improved Team Pulse.
  • Deflection Report: Quickly measure the success of your deflection, see popular search queries, and identify articles that need improvement.

 

Top-Requested Feature of 2020: Dark Mode

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

 

Meet Our Product Managers

Kustomer’s Look Back at 2020

Kustomer’s Look Back at 2020 TW

I would say that 2020 has been unprecedented, but let’s face it — we all want to permanently retire that word. From both a personal and professional perspective, it is undeniable that the past year has brought immense challenges, and you wouldn’t be alone to wish it was all just a fever dream.

While we are literally counting down the seconds until the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, 2021, it goes without saying that there are some permanent lessons that can be learned from the hurdles we faced in 2020. It was a year of success for Kustomer, with immense product developments, award wins and acquisitions, but customer service was also more important than ever before.

Without further ado, here is Kustomer’s look back at 2020.

Lessons From a Challenging Year

Many organizations are struggling to understand when they’ll go back to “business as usual”. And the fact of the matter is, they likely never will. The new way of working that 2020 forced upon CX teams will have lingering effects, and consumers are now used to doing business in a whole new way.

Changing Consumer Attitudes Means More Digital Commerce

While it is inevitable that commerce 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. Consumers that perhaps would walk into a store to ask a question, or call a customer service number for assistance, now may find it more convenient to click on a chat widget while they browse your site online, or reach out to you on social after seeing your ads.

In fact, according to recent consumer research conducted by Kustomer, live chat continues to grow in popularity with consumers, now ranking as the second most popular channel to get customer service problems solved. Consumers are also more open to self-service options, with 53% of consumers preferring to self-serve versus speaking with a company representative. The same percentage of consumers also think that chatbots improve the customer experience, with that cohort growing to 62% among consumers aged 18-24. It’s therefore important to consider new, digital-first service options for 2021 and beyond.

Speed and Efficiency Beat All

Many CX teams were forced to do more with less during the global pandemic. An unfortunate result of forced closures meant that the economy shot into a depression, and organizations needed to be scrappier than ever. Kustomer research revealed that 63% of CX organizations needed to cut costs during the global pandemic, and 46% reported a need to reduce staff. At the same time, the volume of customer inquiries was rising (by 17% on average), and 57% reported needing to deal with more complex problems than usual. Sixty-four percent of respondents reported an urgency for more efficiency, and 59% reported the need to adopt more automation to achieve efficiency.

While it is true that some organizations have seen digital inquiries somewhat normalize after a spike earlier in the year, the pandemic has revealed significant gaps in CX strategies. What seemed like a nonurgent need—adopting new technology to increase efficiency—is now staring CX organizations directly in the face and preventing them from being successful. Whether it’s a similar unthinkable event that shakes the economy to its core, or simply a busy holiday shopping season overwhelming agents, organizations must be prepared to scale efficiently, at lightning speed.

Customers Are People Too

As AI and automation take on more of the busy work in the CX space, and more consumers shift to online vs. in-store shopping, customer service agents will take on a much more important — and challenging — role. They will become the face of the company, reflecting it’s values and building lifelong relationships. Think of all of the DTC disruptor brands with cult-like followings— yes they have chic branding, but they’ve also built a community of advocates based on how they treat (and value) their customer base. We could all take a page out of their book.

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 enables them to 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.

Kustomer’s 2020 in Review

This wasn’t just an important year for the customer service space, it was also a momentous year for Kustomer as an organization.

January – Kustomer kicked off the year at NRF, where we not only rubbed (pre-COVID) elbows with CX retail experts, but also learned about the importance of delivering an exceptional experience to create customers for life.

February – Kustomer launched our first ever podcast — Customer Service Secrets — to help leaders transform their customer service, with practical information from thought leaders and practitioners who share their secrets to delivering exceptional customer service.

March – COVID-19 transformed business as we know it in March 2020, and as a result Kustomer began offering our Unlimited Package to customers for free, to enable seamless cross-functional communication and dynamic team oversight in a remote environment.

April – In April Kustomer officially launched Kustomer IQ, the artificial intelligence engine embedded across the Kustomer CRM platform. Kustomer IQ leverages advanced artificial intelligence to help agents more efficiently analyze and take action on customer requests, which was even more impactful during a time when agents were being asked to do more with less.

May – Kustomer kept the momentum going in May by acquiring Reply.ai — a top-rated customer service automation company — and began offering enhanced chatbot and deflection capabilities in the Kustomer platform.

June – For the first time, Kustomer was recognized in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for the CRM Customer Engagement Center. We believe this recognition underscores Kustomer’s important role in the space, where we are paving the way for the next generation of customer service CRM, driving intelligent and scalable experiences.

July – In July, Kustomer kicked off a new and exciting partnership, after being selected as the only enterprise customer service CRM platform in the Shopify Plus Certified App Program. Our enhanced integration with Shopify Plus helps brands and customer service agents optimize and personalize their experience, all within the Kustomer platform.

August – Kustomer was honored to be named the fastest growing SaaS company by SaaS magazine. Driven by the move to digital-only experiences, changing consumer behavior, and demand for omnichannel service, businesses in many industries turned to Kustomer in record numbers in 2020.

September – Kustomer released powerful new consumer research in September, breaking down what modern consumers expect from the customer experience. The research revealed that consumers rank customer service as the second most important attribute they consider when shopping, right below price, speaking to the importance of delivering on consumer expectations.

October – While we couldn’t get together in person, that didn’t stop Kustomer from hosting our premiere event of the year — Kustomer NOW. Attendees were able to gather insights from the brightest minds in the CX space, like Drybar founder Alli Webb who spoke about how her business was built from the ground up with the customer experience in mind.

November – In November we took the next step in the “Kustomer Journey” and announced that we signed an agreement to be acquired by Facebook subject to customary regulatory review. Once the acquisition closes, we will be able to help more people benefit from customer service that is faster, richer and available whenever and however customers need it.

December – Close on the heels of the announcement, Kustomer hosted Social Commerce Live, an action-packed, free digital event showcasing the power of social channels to build lifelong relationships with your customers. You can still watch on demand and gather insights from brands like Glossier and Bravo.

Kustomer Top Content

In case you missed it, check out some of Kustomer’s top content from the past year, where we explore break down the current state of affairs in CX:

E-Book: How to Leverage Artificial Intelligence for Competitive Customer Service
Report: What Consumers Expect From the Customer Experience
Guide: The 2021 CX Prep Guide
Webinar: How the Global Pandemic Is Affecting Customer Service Organizations
Blog Post: Top Metrics and Strategies for How to Measure Customer Service Performance

 

Kustomer’s 2019 Year in Review

The final days of 2019 are drawing to a close, and that means it’s time for Kustomer’s year-end wrap up. It has been an exciting year, with much growth and development not only for Kustomer, but for the customer service space as a whole. Here are some of the most memorable highlights:

Top Customer Service Trends of 2019

The throughline of all developments in customer service this past year have stemmed from one fact: customer expectations are growing and brands are struggling to keep up. Consumers demand instantaneous communications on every channel, while simultaneously expecting personalized connections with the brands they do business with. Here is how customer service has changed as a result.

Omnichannel Not Multichannel

Just as companies finally began to feel comfortable achieving multichannel support, customers began to demand more: they now expect TRUE omnichannel support. Unfortunately, the two terms have almost become interchangeable, with many companies and technology providers conflating them. Multichannel support simply means offering customers more than one method for contacting customer service.

Omnichannel support, by comparison, shifts perspective from ticket resolution to customer relationship building. Customers have the freedom to move between channels throughout their engagement, and are guaranteed consistency, so each conversation starts where the last ended. Achieving true omnichannel support was a focus of many organizations in 2019.

The Rise of AI and ML

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have always been trendy buzzwords in the customer service space, but now they are actually impacting customer service. It’s predicted that the use of AI in customer service will increase by 143% by late 2020, so many organizations have spent this year implementing initial automation and preparing their organizations for change.

AI, ML and automation can enable customer service teams to work more efficiently and focus on the customers who need the most help. In 2020 and beyond, AI will largely take over the tedious tasks, while agents can help solve the harder problems, nurture customer relationships and engage in proactive outreach.

The Changing Face of the Support Agent

As a result of this increased adoption of AI and automation, the role of the support agent has also begun to shift. Customer service agents now spend more time building brand equity and customer relationships. The agent’s job is to reflect the company’s mission and values, and act as a trusted partner for customers. The changing expectations of consumers means that customers want to do business with companies they believe in, feeling as though they are a part of the brand. Customer service agents can help do just that, through both proactive and reactive support.

Customer service will continue to become more of an “escalation channel”, with agents spending less time responding to inquiries and answering simple questions, and more time tackling complex or difficult problems.

Kustomer 2019 Developments

Not only was this a huge year for the customer service space, it was also a momentous year for Kustomer as an organization. In 2019 we:

  • Raised series C, D & E funding, totaling $135M
  • Achieved company growth of 350%
  • Opened a brand new office in Durham, North Carolina

We’ve also witnessed tremendous product developments in the past year, including the official announcement of KustomerIQ, which embeds artificial intelligence and machine learning across the platform to enable companies to provide smarter, automated, and more personalized customer experiences. We launched our first EU data center in Dublin to better serve our growing international client base, and achieved SOC 2 Type I and HIPAA compliance to address our client’s regulatory requirements.

Spotlight on Events

In 2019 we held our first annual user conference, Kustomer Today, which gathered a group of leading experts in customer service for thought provoking and informative discussions. The free, all day event for Kustomer clients explored the Kustomer platform, showcased new product releases, and facilitated networking with innovators shaping the future of customer service. Kustomer’s Bosses Unite event gathered an intimate group of leading women in customer experience (CX), in a Gatsby-like atmosphere, to eat, drink, and share the successes and challenges that come with being a woman in the CX industry.

Kustomer attended industry-leading events such as the TaskUs Summit in San Francisco, where executives from the world’s most innovative and disruptive brands debated the future of customer experience, and explored the changing CX landscape. Kustomer also broke into the European market at the Call and Contact Center Expo UK, where we showcased the innovations of the Kustomer platform and met industry professionals looking to excel in the customer engagement space.

Kustomer Top Content

In case you missed it, check out some of Kustomer’s top content from the past year, where we explore consumer expectations and showcase the brands that are delivering superior customer service:

REPORT: The State of Retail Customer Service
E-BOOK: Brands Doing Customer Service Right
GUIDE: 3 Ways to Deliver Personalized Support
BLOG: Why the Kustomer Experience Matters to Abercrombie & Fitch Co
CASE STUDY: How Glovo Delivers Customer Service to Millions

 

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