By Jenniffer Breitenstein
Remembering the most successful service events you’ve experienced, the event was likely filled with proactive actions and information that solved your issue the first time, correctly. Even better than a friendly and competent call center person is a digital, prompt interaction that is respectful of your time and provides you information when and as you need it. No individual, brand, or service organization wants to subject customers to bad customer service.
Consumer-minded businesses lead a revolution of traditionally held customer service best practices. Gartner estimates 8.4 billion connected “things” in use in 2017, so it’s no wonder customer service organizations are digitizing themselves in order to reach clients when and how they desire to interact. The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and interactive, intelligent consumer portals integrated with Internet of Things (IoT) information, enhanced triage, and big data, enables companies to interact quickly, efficiently, and with the contextual knowledge regarding customers’ situations. When combined, these technologies help redefine the customer experience by enabling organizations to provide a faster, more intelligent digital experience.
Proactively Assess and Correct Issues
In the next few years, we will see even more electronics and other assets equipped with smart sensors that self-monitor parts and technology.
By performing regular self diagnostics, these products sense when something isn’t working properly and contact the manufacturer directly for assistance. Then, customer service is able to contact the customer to explain the issue and provide a solution before the customer even realizes there is an issue. Consumers are ready to have their smart TV, smart home, or smart appliance do more for them.
Use AI More Intensely
Quantum annealing, an AI-patented technology, is a game changer for scheduling of field resources. It uses quantum computing algorithms to create optimized solutions for field service scheduling problems by quickly searching over a space and finding the best field responses quickly utilizing a mixture of cognitive insights around the customer, asset, location, parts, and triage. It is designed to help companies deliver significantly enhance customer service by doing more than automating scheduling jobs and planning travel routes.
In addition to nearly instant problem solving, a scheduling system armed with quantum annealing capabilities enables organizations to break the stigma of lackluster customer service by offering faster response times, greater first time fix or up-time, all in a consistent, branded service experience with greater call center efficiencies.
Improve Accountability of Services
With cloud-based intelligent customer service portals, customer self-book services communicate with field technicians directly. Field technicians use connected devices and service equipment to provide vital information such as location, real-time job status notifications as well as deliver a more personalized service experience using asset and service history, task defined by job, and custom price quotes and surveys delivered to each customer.
Customers can assist in the experience as well. For example, a customer can upload diagnostic and triage information from their malfunctioning refrigerator to the consumer portal, providing the information directly to the technician’s device. This way, the technician has all the details before even arriving at the job site and he or she is better equipped to fix the issue.
This creates visibility for the customers, who can see each step of the service process. It also ensures technicians are accountable for their work—all without having to navigate the call centre as a middle man.
Deliver 24-7 Support
According to McKinsey & Company, providing a satisfying customer experience can potentially boost revenue by up to 15 percent while lowering cost of serving customers by as much as 20 percent. To ensure a positive customer experience, organizations are offering 24/7 support and proactively notifying customers of potential issues using AI and machine learning. Gone are the days of the nine to five, five-day-a-week call center.
To provide the customers’ desired anytime-anywhere access to support, more companies are relying on Virtual Reality (VR) and chatbots. VR enables field-based technicians to communicate in real time with both company resources and the customer. This provides real-time, two-way communication that improves the technician’s ability to grasp the issue at hand and determine the best way to solve the problem immediately.
Similarly, chatbots are accessible anytime, seven days a week. The customer benefits from instant results to their queries. In addition, based on conversations with the chatbot, customers receive proactive alerts about potential product or service issues or reminders for follow up actions.
Using AI, the popular digital assistant becomes a player in field service as well. Imagine a scenario using AI, machine learning, and mobile technology, a digital assistant can suggest actions to a technician in the field, using accessible data, which helps field teams solve issues faster, rather than dialing a phone number.
Call Center Transformation
It’s not to say that the call center is dead. They too can follow these new principals to provide a superior customer experience. The technology is already in place and it’s just a matter of time before this becomes the new normal for the customer service industry. SW
Jenniffer Breitenstein is SVP of global marketing at ServicePower. She is a seasoned field service marketing and operational professional. ServicePower helps field service organizations enable their field teams to provide faster, smarter service on a unified service management suite.
Jun2018, Software Magazine