Adding self-service technology, like kiosks and IVR, to purchase and customer service processes has obvious benefits for meeting millennial consumer behavior. But the benefits go beyond this one demographic. From schools to corporations, you find people of all ages buried in their smartphones, looking for quick answers to simple problems. That’s why it’s so important to focus on the self-service customer experience.
By Amy Goodwin, Senior Speech Technologist
Expanding on a global scale is great for business, but it also creates its own host of challenges. While you need to know all about cultural norms, the first step is adapting current practices to international needs. Most likely, that includes creating a multilingual interactive voice response (IVR) system. Read More >
By Jay Harris, Senior Director of Client Operations
It can be a challenge keeping up with ever-changing customer demands. Consumer trends shift from one year to the next, and so must your communication plan.
But how can you afford to constantly try out new practices without breaking the bank? Well, a major U.S. pharmacy is one of many businesses that has achieved just that. They improved customer experience (CX) and raised prescription refills by 8.8 million thanks to one important strategy: champion-challenger testing. Read More >
Greg Ablett, a senior vice president at West, explores the vast customer experience (CX) opportunities that machine learning is opening up in the competitive, security-centric world of banking in his guest blog post for ABA Bank Marketing:
“Machine learning has great potential to improve the CX at today’s banks by taking advantage of the data already at their disposal. When deployed correctly, this technology can predict and actively address customer questions and concerns before they arise. As a result, customers can dodge common annoyances like navigating unwieldy banking websites or complex phone support menus. Let’s look at interactive voice response (IVR) as an example…”
Picture this: you’re just getting home from a tasty meal at the pizza joint your friend has been pestering you to check out. The food was of high quality, the customer service was friendly and the entire experience came at a good value. Overall, you are a satisfied customer.
Unfortunately for the pizza shop, your satisfaction never materializes into loyalty. It was kind of a far drive, and honestly, you already have your go-to spot. Your split decision to likely never return is a prime example of the fact that customer satisfaction does not equal customer loyalty. Read More >
Dan Gordon, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Development at West tackles the most common customer experience shortcomings for brands in a recent guest blog for Loyalty360:
… While many enterprises within these sectors have established multiple channels for customer interaction, far fewer have taken the necessary step of ensuring cross-channel and cross-functional visibility. By failing to integrate platforms, applications, and services in a comprehensive communication ecosystem, these industries deny their customers a seamless experience and, instead, risk burdening them with redundancy…
Gordon highlights three big moves organizations can make to address this struggle:
- Evaluate where you are and where you want to be
- Identify gaps in communication between the two
- Prioritize next steps based on mutual value to the brand and customers
It’s estimated that we spend 177 minutes (nearly one-fifth of our waking day) on our phones daily — habitually checking them for updates around 150 times.[i] Furthermore, it’s predicted that mobile commerce will account for almost half of all e-commerce by 2018.[ii] Seasoned Silicon Valley gurus have even asserted a probable P.C. extinction as a result of the increasing functionality of mobile devices. Read More >
West is a proud recipient of Frost & Sullivan’s 2015 North American Product Leadership Award in the Contact Center Outsourcing Industry. In the wake of customers’ ever-increasing demand for self-service, mobility and an overall-outstanding customer experience, we are privileged to help brands deliver leading communication technology and winning engagement strategies.
Frost & Sullivan recognized West for innovative multi-channel notifications/alert solutions, clear commitment to building lasting partnerships, and accelerated client growth over the past two years. View the press release here.
They graded West’s overall performance based on a wide variety of criteria such as reliability, performance, design and positioning. West scored an overall rating of 9.00, with the closest competitor trailing at 7.75. Read More >
Travel seemed so glamorous when I first started working. The chance to leave town for a couple of days, see a client or two and enjoy the time away from the office. “And wouldn’t international travel be even better?” I thought. Flying halfway around the globe to visit a client in another country. That would be cool.
I have been fortunate, or unfortunate depending on your view, to have this opportunity. Not long ago, I had a chance to go to the Philippines. I flew roughly 30 hours, one way, for a four-hour meeting, only to fly home the next day. Uh, maybe not so sexy.
After being cramped up on a plane in a coach seat for roughly 60 hours back and forth, I tried to use my credit card in the San Francisco airport, only to have it denied. I had no food or water in my travel case, hadn’t eaten in 24 hours, and was fairly miserable after being up for more than 24 hours. When I landed in Chicago, I called the bank to find out why my credit card would not work.
My experience went something like this: I called the bank’s 800 number, and listened to the IVR for 30 seconds as I walked through O’Hare carrying my bag and briefcase. “How can I help you?” the IVR asked. Since I knew the IVR would not understand, “Make my card work!” I navigated the IVR, input my card number, gave the IVR my name — all of the usual information to identify me as a cardholder, only to find out the IVR couldn’t help me.
Because I am in the call center business, I said, “agent,” trying to effectively bypass the remaining the IVR prompts and applications. If you have never traveled through O’Hare, just let me tell you it is not the quietest place in the world. I found myself yelling, “AGENT!” at my phone as travelers looked at me.
When that didn’t work, I hit “0” a bunch of times … maybe 50. Or it felt that way.
After this mess, I finally landed with an agent. Her first question was, “Can I have your card number?” You gotta be kidding me. I just spent five minutes in the IVR giving it to the automated system. The IVR didn’t collect and pass that information to the agent, and subsequently the agent didn’t recognize me, even though I had a credit card, mortgage, savings account and investments with the bank.
After giving the agent all of the information I had just provided to the IVR, she proceeded to tell me that since I had not told the bank that I would be traveling internationally, they canceled my credit card. No warning. No text message. No phone call asking if I was out of the country using the card. No email to either my work account or home account. Nope. They just canceled it. And by the way, for my convenience, they would issue me a new one. In 10 days. 10 DAYS!? Really?
I found myself in a heated discussion with the agent about the available technology for the bank to call me, text me or email me immediately about suspected fraud. None of this widely available technology was being used by the bank. Ugh.
One last thing: I had no idea how I was going to get my car out of the parking garage without a credit card.
Needless to say, this experience caused quite a bit of friction between the bank and me. It could have been avoided. The bank could have reduced my frustration (and likely many others) had it tracked various customer journeys and implemented various technologies that enable data to transverse the various IVR, Web and agent channels and applications.
I am no longer a multiple account holder at that particular bank. And I wonder how many other people the bank has lost due to its inability to leverage technology that persists data across channels and applications across its customers’ journeys.
Financial and insurance companies have a multitude of regulations to follow based on the legislative acts passed in recent years. Regulations now require companies to disclose account information that in the past has not been shared with consumers. Or, in some cases, companies are required to ensure that they have done due diligence to talk to a consumer or consumer’s relative regarding an account before they can take an action such as to closing the account, charging a fee, or taking the account to a collections agency. A lot of times these disclosures cause the consumer confusion and lead them to call the company. And, more calls equals more costs. Read More >