Today, most people want to avoid contacting customer service. And if they do, they want the issue resolved immediately. Or even better, they want to solve the issue on their own. However, new research suggests that meeting these expectations for customer service is a challenge for many brands.
Customer Contact Week (CCW) Digital and Sprinklr recently partnered on a comprehensive report examining contact service trends for 2023, and what they found is that brands were falling short of their goals to create seamless, highly relevant customer journeys — by a dramatic extent.
The survey found significant challenges throughout the customer service journey, from basic data collection to deploying advanced solutions like artificial intelligence (AI). However, the report also presents a series of actions companies can take to achieve greater success.
Challenge 1: Digital and AI Deficiencies
Current shortcomings are potentially eroding consumer trust in digital channels.
For example, digital customer service continues to underwhelm consumers, to the extent that many still prefer using voice channels for support. The survey found that 62% of brands acknowledge inconsistencies in their digital customer communication, including “not communicating the same information” and “not staying true to their brand voice.”
AI can also power chatbots and make content recommendations, both of which give customers important self-service options that free up agents’ time. However, the majority of companies are struggling with ineffective AI solutions (60%) and insufficient resourcing (54%).
Challenge 2: Impersonal Interactions
Personalization is key for brands to connect meaningfully with consumers. Yet 11% of respondents admitted they make no effort whatsoever to personalize interactions. Another 36%, meanwhile, limit personalization efforts to referencing “basic profile details” in some or all communication.
The remaining 53% are making strides toward personalization, but to stand out from the crowd in a digital-first landscape, that personalization needs to be “predictive.” This means anticipating and proactively addressing a customer’s needs in a frictionless manner.
Challenge 3: Disconnected Experiences
Too many brands are still dealing with operational silos, disconnected systems and fragmented journeys. Only a small percentage of organizations meaningfully unify their customer experience (CX) operations, with 22% of leaders saying they’ve completely unified CX data.
In addition, few have unified their enterprise systems (30%), objectives and metrics (30%), contact channels (33%), and departments (34%). Without unifying these facets, customers must exert more effort than necessary — just to receive conflicting information and generic interactions.
Challenge 4: Insufficient Insights
Companies need sufficient insight into their customers to find out who they are and what they want, but nearly 51% of brands say they are struggling even to capture meaningful data about customers.
Furthermore, 67% of companies face difficulty analyzing this kind of data and 64% struggle to unify it. Poor data collection and analysis make it harder to identify and eliminate pain points and equip frontline agents with important information to personalize interactions. It also hurts the overall business when contact centers can’t provide sales, marketing and product development with the right feedback.
Brands Are Future-Proofing in 2023
Despite these challenges, contact centers are invested in the future: 73% of respondents say they plan to invest in solutions to unify CX and contact center operations in 2023.
With AI offering widespread benefits for the customer experience, 53% will make AI-powered chatbots and improving customer data a paramount focus for 2023. Deploying these kinds of self-service experiences will allow customers to communicate in their natural language – and receive solutions that are highly relevant and easy to understand.
Companies are also seeing the important link between employee experience and CX. In addition to training and coaching, More than 69% plan to invest in technology that reduces agent effort. AI will also play a role here, as 44% plan to use AI to assist agents, allowing them to spend less time dealing with convoluted systems and databases.
Finally, brands say that metrics around customer retention, customer lifetime value and customer loyalty will become more important in 2023, which makes sense as companies try to hold on to customers and their dollars in a period of economic uncertainty. Here, too, AI can provide brands with better insights and identify opportunities for improvement.
Current CX challenges have persisted for too long, making it difficult for brands to create a unified customer experience. However, brands can tackle these issues by eliminating internal silos and empowering employees with the technology they need to create proactive, personalized customer service.
Learn how Sprinklr helps empower customer service agents at sprinklr.com.