Don’t Drop the Omni-Channel Baton to Win CX Race
Managing the hand-over from bot to agent is like taking part in a relay race. Here are 3 winning strategies for a seamless customer experience that are guaranteed to take you over the finish line in a record-setting way.
The ability for customers to self-serve successfully is increasing steadily, in line with technological advances, but there is a long way to go before we can even begin to contemplate an exclusive reliance on such tools. Meanwhile, leading research organisations are consistent in their opinion and predictions that the number of agents worldwide will not change dramatically over the next few years which means agents and bots need to coexist for the foreseeable future.
Realistically, I believe the challenge for most contact centres will be managing the transition from self-service to assisted service, when an agent takes over from a bot’s failed attempt to resolve the customer interaction. It reminds me of a relay race where one of the runners is a chatbot and passes the ‘experience baton’ onto an agent to complete the final leg and win the race.
The ‘Experience Baton’ Challenge
With this image in mind, I foresee 4 likely scenarios in the relay race and yet only one promises the record-breaking outcome everyone is looking for:
The Chatbot Stumbles
In this scenario, the agent doesn’t even get to speak to the customer because the chatbot has failed so dismally, that the customer abandons the interaction. We can all recite horror stories where chatbots send us around in infinite loops with seemingly no ability or interest in actually helping us with even the simplest tasks. The trouble is these kinds of frustrating experiences are bad for business because they are a key driver of brand defection. While many people will give you a second chance, an astonishing 3 in 5 consumers say they’ve switched brands due to negative contact centre experiences.
Dropping the Baton
In this scenario, the chatbot runs a good leg. It has collected the necessary information and perhaps even partially resolved the customer issue, but can’t quite make it to the finish line therefore needs to hand over to an agent. This is when things go wrong. During the hand-over between chatbot and agent, the ‘experience baton’ is dropped and the agent is left fumbling around trying to pick it up. This manifests itself through questions such as “Who are you?” and “Why are you calling?” These are topics known by the chatbot but not passed on to the agent, resulting in high levels of frustration when customers have to repeat themselves.
The Agent Stumbles
In this scenario, the chatbot successfully hands over the baton to an agent but on the sprint to the finish line, the agent stumbles. There could be a few reasons for this—stress, disengagement, fatigue, process complexity, information availability or system limitations but the result is the same, a poor customer experience.
The Winning Team
In this final scenario, the ‘experience baton’ is handed over seamlessly and the agent sprints to the finish line. The customer is satisfied and the agent has lived up to their role of brand guardian with the power to influence corporate perception, customer loyalty and company profits.
So how does your contact centre measure up? Generate a gut-feel score between 1 and 10 for each of these 4 scenarios then prioritize the lowest scoring scenario to help bots and agents strengthen their grip on the ‘experience baton’.
In my longer blog in the The CX Lab I discuss ways to win the CX relay including tight integration, AI driven customer self-service and adopting a strong Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) framework.
By using the right tactics and with regular practice, you will soon reach Olympic standards. Nurture your agents and invest in effective self-service platforms that transfer vital contextual customer information to the front line when needed, then you can sit back in the stands and raise a toast to running a successful contact centre race. For more ideas, and to stay connected with all things CX visit The CX Lab.
Jim Davies served as Vice President of research at Gartner for over 20 years. During his tenure, he advised thousands of organisations across the globe on how to best adopt CX, WFO, and WEM strategies and technologies. He was especially well-known for helping brands initiate successful VoC programmes, both to collect the right data and build...