Technology’s beauty stems from the convenience and immediacy it offers. It’s at its best when it utilizes an understanding of the end-to-end customer experience to help businesses offer people options. Simply put, technology is the enabler of the experience, not the experience itself.
For instance, think about speech analytics. Contact centers used to record calls primarily for compliance and quality assurance purposes. All that used to be unstructured data, but now analytics are applied to these recordings to garner insights, find common themes among customers, and build a real-time course of action.
This is a perfect illustration of how technology is driving the opportunity for us to make much more precise business decisions and changes that improve the customer experience. It’s technology’s 'moment of truth,' and customer service could stand to have a few more of them.
Straight From the Horse’s Mouth
We worked with a client that mostly sold high-speed internet and entertainment packages in bundles. However, using speech analytics, we heard a number of customers express interest in purchasing just standalone high-speed internet.
This was a moment of truth that was too good to pass up, so we took that customer-voiced feedback to the client and said: 'You really should consider selling a standalone service. There's clearly a need for it in the marketplace.' The company listened and decided to launch what ended up being a successful internet-only package.
This same technology allows customer service representatives to discern sentiment in an efficient, more effective manner. Customer frustration can be picked up instantaneously — either through tone of voice or word choice — and those concerns can be directed to someone like a manager who can rectify the situation.
Consistently curated information can help the people who are trying to serve customers because they are always armed with the most relevant, up-to-date content that can solve problems in a timely fashion. Not using this wealth of data can result in customers feeling like their concerns don’t matter, forcing them to take their services somewhere that does care.
However, be careful to couple technology with a human touch. While technology offers convenience and immediacy, it doesn't offer judgment or compassion. Great experiences are a combination of well-placed technology and highly qualified people.
Getting to the Heart of the Matter
Moments of truth are everywhere, but it’s up to businesses to know where to look and how to identify them when they’re there. Here are three ways you can not only find yours, but also put them into practice:
1. See where the customer has been. Technology is like an extra ear in determining the experience with so many artificial intelligence, marketing, and sales tools out there to help chronicle the customer’s journey. In fact, from 2011 to 2016, the number of martech LUMAscape solutions has grown from 150 to nearly 4,000.
Depending on the process or stage of the customer journey, you need to know what your customers are experiencing. Use advisory or consulting firms not only to make sure you are staying up to speed on the latest technology, but also to understand how your customers interact with it.
2. Determine when technology actually is an upgrade. We need to discover where and how technology can improve a customer's experience. Where can access to information help improve that experience?
Business leaders must map out customer experiences and know which ones matter the most and which ones truly will make or break a customer's loyalty. Knowing that all that stuff is out there is just one step; the next one is to understand how it would apply to not only your company, but also to the specific journey.
3. Observe the competition. Learn what others in your industry are doing, and figure out what technology can assist you in improving the customer journey to deliver the kind of outcome you want.
Once you understand these experiences, look at others that followed a similar path. What does best-in-class look like? Who is doing this right, and what are they using? If you don't have people within your company who understand the various technologies, hire or consult with someone to help you understand what's available.
Netflix uses the wealth of information it collects from customers to develop original programming. For instance, the streaming service created 'House of Cards' after using its data to identify that fans of the British show it’s based on would be likely to watch movies starring Kevin Spacey.
However, not all companies are doing a good job understanding and improving customer journeys. These are the companies that when you go to their websites and try to chat with them, you get a bot. And that bot is not always fine-tuned, so you end up in a frustrating communication circle.
The better business leaders get at finding moments of truth, the better they'll be at using technology to enhance a customer's experience. This will help businesses streamline processes, build customer loyalty, and establish deeper, long-lasting bonds with customers.