In an omni-channel, fully digitized world, customers have no shortage of options when it comes to choosing goods and services. For businesses, that presents the obvious challenge of determining how to stand out to potential customers. It’s far easier and more cost-effective to retain a customer than it is to obtain a new one, however, what new and recurring customers have in common is their desire for a simple and seamless customer support expereince.
A former boss of mine used to say there were only three reasons customers buy enterprise software – they do it to [a] make money [b] save money [c] stay out of jail. The tenets of value, if you will. At Attivio, value is our focal point – all day, every day. Today, I’m going to focus on how Attivio helps make and save money for our support customers, first from 30,000 feet, and then through a specific example with a recent prospect.
Making money with enterprise software is done in a number of ways. The most obvious is to buy the software, build it into your product, and charge more. Another is software that optimizes your website and drives users to pages you can monetize. AI and machine learning can recommend upgrades or help users find what they are looking for. Happy, satisfied customers will upgrade, renew, and advocate for your business. Win, win, win.
For some retailers, the holiday season can represent as much as 30 percent of their yearly sales. One of the best ways businesses can capitalize on this connection with customers is in your organization’s customer support operation. According to the Harvard Business Review, “Delighting customers doesn’t build loyalty; reducing their effort—the work they must do to get their problem solved—does, [and] acting deliberately on this insight can help improve customer service, reduce customer service costs, and decrease customer churn.”
The bane of any customer support experience is the absence of knowledge. Whether the inquiring customer doesn’t quite know how to phrase their question or the customer support agent doesn’t immediately know the answer (or isn’t aware the customer inquiry has already been answered) not knowing costs an organization time and money. Forrester has found that, in support scenarios, customers most value companies that respect their time, and companies that can’t offer excellent customer support stand to lose business.
According to a survey by Pew Research, 68% of US adults own a smartphone. That’s about 160 million people. And chances are that at some point during their ownership, people will need support from their service provider.
Knowing the importance that good and efficient customer support plays in both keeping existing customers and winning new subscribers, plus the challenge of skillfully handling large volume of support requests, two telecommunication leaders decided to migrate their search platforms from Google Search Appliance (GSA) to Attivio.
In less than a year post-implementation, both organizations are seeing significant business results, including:
The world is flat. Not literally, of course, but in terms of how teams communicate with one another, stay on task, and reach shared goals. Today’s digital workplace connects people so seamlessly that previously enormous obstacles like physical distance and time zones are practically inconsequential. Innovations in technology have advanced all aspects of an organization but these changes’ immediate benefit is perhaps no more pronounced than in the customer support field.
Customer service has a historically bad reputation. Sitcoms like Friends and The Office have joked at the banality of call centers and the rigidity of the dreaded “customer service script.” In these scenarios, nobody — not the caller or the customer service agent — is expected to have a positive experience. Those shows, however, are stuck in a past in which efficiently and effectively answering customers’ questions was a punchline. Today, that bad reputation is being repaired by a strengthened focus on self service, better trained employees, and investments in problem-solving and cost-cutting AI systems like those offered by Attivio.
Once viewed as a non-revenue generating expense, more and more companies are realizing the impact good customer support has on their bottom line, including self-service. Business leaders now devote large amounts of time and resources into their support teams and equip them with the modern tools they need to resolve all kinds of customer issues.
Given this shift in perspective, we wanted to better understand what the modern support experience should look like. To do this we conducted a consumer survey last month of 168 American adults who engaged with customer support within the last year.
When it comes to customer support, the entire process is built on a simple idea: when someone communicates a problem, the representative dealing with the case uses their dashboard to review, work, resolve, and close a ticket. This ticket then remains open until the issue is closed, along the way acting as a repository for information about that particular request or problem.
From the point of view of the people here at Attivio, a ticket is just a repository of information that, when combined with existing information repositories, adds to the understanding of the customer relationship.
There are plenty of reasons why you want to keep you customers happy: Happy customers make great “brand ambassadors.” The cost of attracting a new customer is higher than retaining an existing one. Today’s social media makes it possible for an unhappy customer to do harm in the marketplace. Etc.