Blended Customer Service: The Big CX Improvement We Need
Automated CX self-service tools must work hand in hand with live agent assistance for customer service to really excel today.
By Scott Mattocks
Automated technology has completely transformed the customer experience landscape over the past few years. The pinnacle of CX isn’t total automation, however — it’s the perfect blend between self-service and agent assisted service.
Recent research by Gartner found “that 81% of all customers across industries attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative.” That self-service expectation has driven the development and adoption of automated technology like Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Machine Learning (ML). The push to provide excellent customer service makes a lot of business sense. According to American Express, more than half of American shoppers did not complete a business transaction or make a purchase because of bad customer service.
“81% of all customers across industries attempt to take care of matters themselves before reaching out to a live representative.”
On average, when American consumers enjoy an excellent customer service experience, they are willing to spend 17% more on a purchase. Customer purchasing trends and the growing demand for self-service CX capabilities have driven technology development to new levels. There is a warning built into a few recent tech trends, however — automation shouldn’t replace humans, simply enhance the user journey.
2016 was supposed to be the year of the chatbot. The technology certainly created a lot of buzz. According to strategic data analysis company, CB Insights, news coverage of chatbots exploded in 2016. After barely any coverage at all the previous year, 2016 saw over 500 articles on the emerging technology. The buzz continued into 2017. Chatbots were earning a mention in more and more earnings calls. Then the buzz began to fade. The second half of 2018 saw a sharp decline in news coverage and earnings call mentions of chatbot technology. Journalists and CEOs alike had realized one thing: chatbots were great in theory, but once they began to be implemented the customer experience was lacking.
Chatbots work for some interactions, but users found as soon as problems fell outside of a predetermined field of issues, chatbot convenience fell apart. Since most chatbots were implemented to completely replace human agent assistance, interactions became worthless when the chatbot couldn’t handle customer needs.
Modern self-service automation has gotten smarter. Robots won’t replace humans. They’ll simply automate repetitive use cases where the strengths of automation can excel. For complex, high-value interactions, human assistance will continue being the most helpful, convenient method available for customer service.