Welcome to another IIC digest. Digital transformation is a big talking point at the moment. So much of today’s customer experience (CX) happens digitally. Technology has, and still is, revolutionising the way consumers and businesses engage and transact. Companies are continually under pressure to keep up with new technologies - smart mobile devices alone, for example, now allow customers so many different channels to engage; social media, websites, apps, voice and messaging.
Compounding this is the fact customer expectations are high and climbing. Consumers want to engage through a variety of channels, yet they still expect a seamless connection across every touchpoint. In addition, research has shown that consumers love personalisation and will quickly become disengaged with a brand if they are receiving irrelevant communication.
Artificial Intelligence & CX
It is therefore not surprising that artificial intelligence (AI) is now being embraced. While it can feel intimidating, it is becoming a smart way for businesses to leverage competitive advantage. The sheer volume of data that many organisations hold necessitates machine processing to access it. Machine learning is merely a great way to extract better insight from it, and ideally to start automating processes within the business, particularly around areas of customer interaction where automation and personalisation are required in equal measure for the business to scale.
If implemented correctly, AI can have a really positive impact on CX. In our ‘One to read’ section below, you’ll see some examples of how different organisations are embracing AI and using it to their advantage. However, the need for human interaction is still absolutely vital – despite consumers wanting quick information at their fingertips, they also want human contact and will become increasingly frustrated and untrusting if they can’t reach someone to talk to, especially when they have a problem.
Avoiding passing customers from pillar-to-post when they choose to make contact relies on immediately knowing who they are and what they are likely to want, as well as interpreting new data from the customer in the moment of contact (in real time) so as to be able to deliver the hallowed "first contact resolution".
In an increasingly technology fuelled marketplace, organisations that brush technology innovation under the carpet will eventually become ignored themselves. Those that evolve will certainly be the ones that stand out and thrive. But where to start?
Having lots of data is one thing, but machine learning algorithms then need to know what "good" looks like and what "bad" looks like, so they can find appropriate patterns in the data that will allow a given business to automate in the direction of what is "good". Being able to say with certainty what a good outcome is and how that is represented in the data a business holds, is a vital part of teaching a ML algorithm what to look for. Having this in place for teaching and spot-checking is very important for intelligently steering your artificial intelligence.
By way of example, the quantitative and qualitative data IIC mines for its clients allows them to clarify what good and bad actually looks like. Often we find what is thought of as "good" is actually laced with elements of "bad" - no point teaching a machine your bad habits at the outset! Better, more informed business decisions can be made when technology and human insight are used hand-in-hand.
We hope you enjoy the read!
Tony Barritt, Managing Director
The need for seamless digital customer experiences is growing at a fast pace and in the current climate a unique digital experience can be a real brand differentiator. Research shows that it takes just 50 milliseconds for a user to form an opinion of a brand based on website design, and over two thirds of consumers will abandon a shopping cart if they get frustrated with the user experience.
Over the past few years, we've definitely seen a shift in our client's asking for more technology focused questions in their assessments and as you can see below, even when unprompted customers have given technology related feedback.
"A lot of people still have cold feet around AI because it seems like an intimidating and costly solution – but it shouldn’t be. AI can solve many of the little problems people struggle with."
AI is no longer just an industry buzzword, by 2020 85% of business are set to invest in AI if they haven't already. The benefits can be enormous - it can be applied to various parts of the customer journey and in some cases (such as the more menial business processes), can completely alleviate the need for human interaction. Less investment in certain roles means efforts can be focused on more strategic and creative areas of the business. Obviously AI still needs to be managed and of course customers still require human interaction when necessary but the benefits to businesses are clear. The article below explains how five companies have used AI to enhance their CX.
Principle 3 - Delight Customers
Traditionally, customer satisfaction was a core measure for many organisations. Now, in a world where so many products and services are largely the same and customer experience is a key battleground for competitive advantage, merely satisfying customers is not enough. They need to be delighted – not just occasionally but every time they interact with your organisation.
Treating customers fairly (TCF)
TCF is a core requirement in the financial services sector, with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) demanding it is at the heart of an organisation's business model, but it is equally important in all sectors. Showing you empathise, care and behave with integrity and honesty should be the hallmark of every employee.
Right first time
First contact resolution is a measure that is increasingly used in many organisations. But it doesn’t just mean what it says, successful organisations empower employees to go out of their way to sort things out, to follow up, to make sure what was agreed actually happened and where something isn’t quite right, to take remedial action immediately.
Customer is always right
“The Customer is always right” is a philosophy largely attributed to Harry Selfridge – founder of London’s iconic department store. Of course, we all know that isn’t strictly true, but it should be the default response in most interactions where the culture should be to find a solution, rather than argue about the wrongs and rights of a particular situation.
Customer experience doesn’t end when the goods are delivered, or service completed. Successful organisations know that it starts before you even meet a customer and that it never ends. Employees need to be available to help with subsequent queries or concerns, providing consistently good on-going service and support.
Look out for our email next month where we'll be talking about 'Principal 4 - Create Loyalty'.
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An IIC assessment enables our clients to make more informed strategic business decisions. Whether they are seeking customer insights to gain a deeper knowledge of customer perceptions and expectations, differentiation in a cluttered market place, to comply with industry regulation or validation of being customer focused in the shape of a bronze, silver or gold award - the list goes on. We will help you put the data backed insight you receive to good use and recommend changes to improve your CX. Below you will see how two of our clients have embedded the IIC results into their business strategy.
"In the last 3 years we have been fortunate enough to receive several prestigious awards from our peers within the insurance industry. One area that sets us apart from our competition, and was mentioned by the judges, is our relationship with IIC. For us, this is a clear differentiator from our competition and is solid evidence of the service that we deliver to our clients. It's easy to say you deliver good customer service - we can prove it." Andrew Costello, Director, Square Mile Broking
Just recently, Square Mile have won both the 2019 'Commercial Lines Broker of the Year' and overall 'Broker of the Year' awards at the British Claims Awards. A fantastic achievement and further evidence that they deliver exactly what they promise to clients in terms of service and claims handling.
As you can see from the linked report, the insight they were able to glean helped build their renewed strategy for the following year.
To see the full report section, click the link or the snippet image below:
"We're very grateful to Investor in Customers for the work they have done for us, however winning a silver award is just the beginning of this journey. The process we have been through has given us answers but also prompted a lot more questions and helped us identify where we need to focus on to ensure the Association continues t go from strength to strength." Peter Wallwork, CEO
1. Follow this link to our CX perception survey. Or scan the QR code with your smartphone.
2. Fill out the short questionnaire (your perception of your organisation).
3. Receive your perception benchmark (based on everyone who has filled out the questionnaire). We will update you as more data becomes available, so you can see how you're doing against an ever-growing data-set.