Sixty years ago, marketing execs were justified in thinking that television and radio ad dollars were enough to win. Want to sell more widgets? Dominate the airwaves. Today, consistent growth takes more than a robust marketing budget.
Thanks to social networks, your clients have a voice, and businesses have to deliver on their promises. The business model of pulling fast ones with far-fetched claims and underwhelming experiences is especially untenable now.
When a viral video from an angry customer can cost you millions, a CX-centric culture is mandatory.
From service ticket response times to your social media presence, every touchpoint must deliver a positive, CLV-promoting experience. To quote the prolific Jeffrey Gitomer:
“Customer satisfaction is worthless, customer loyalty is priceless.”
Customer experience (CX) isn’t a nice-to-have, either. According to a recent Gartner poll, almost 80% of businesses intend to compete mainly on CX. And according to a Walker report, CX will be more important to buyers than price as of this year.
You read that right—clients value a great customer experience so highly, they’ll pay more to get it.
Thankfully, the burden of customer experience management isn’t entirely on your customer service team. CX tools fortified with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) can lighten the load and deliver more personalized interactions.
So, if you’re in the market for more sales, positive word of mouth, and fantastic customer experiences, check out these 21st-century tools:
1. Computer-powered conversations.
Leading the CX strategy charge, chatbots are successfully leveraged by thousands of organizations all over the world. From mortgage lenders to social networks and everyone in between, these automated conversation tools are invaluable to a better customer experience.
If augmenting the human element of customer support makes you nervous, it shouldn’t. In fact, as much as 70% of your customer base expects a self-service portal for questions and troubleshooting. And if your bot’s equipped with natural language processing (NLP), the conversation will feel perfectly organic.
Simple rule-based bots are still around, but AI chatbots are typically considered the gold standard of automated conversations. Powered by ML, AI chatbots understand the intent of your customer’s questions within the context they’re being asked. Further, AI chatbots can learn from user-generated feedback and adjust their responses accordingly.
Chatbots improve CX by:
- Providing a 24/7 self-service portal
- Enabling customers to self-serve organizational knowledge
- Answering FAQs
- Preventing delayed replies to service tickets
2. Totally transparent feedback.
Want to increase your market share? Your customers will tell you exactly how to do so—if you listen. Drag-and-drop survey tools have made compiling feedback into actionable insights easier than ever.
The reviews, comments, and questions captured via polling software can inform your product roadmap for a more future-proof road ahead. And, once the guesswork is taken out of your product development, engineering costs will plummet.
For organizations monitoring net promoter score (NPS), such listening tools are indispensable. Understanding how your customers feel at scale provides a clear picture of your strengths, weaknesses, and potential opportunities. If something’s amiss within your customer journey, NPS will inform you.
Surveys improve CX by:
- Measuring customer satisfaction (or lack thereof)
- Providing actionable insight for product development
- Highlighting pain points within your CX strategy
- Enabling organizations to track NPS, and invest accordingly
3. The right person, right away.
If you’re familiar with chatbots, this final tech tool should get your attention. Human-in-the-loop (HITL) technology is the next evolution in automated conversations. Made possible by AI, HITL software seamlessly transitions customers from a bot to a real human whenever necessary.
When clients submit an unanswered question, your HITL-enabled chatbot pings the designated customer support staff. The agent swiftly enters the conversation and delivers the requested knowledge. The information can then be added to the chatbot’s database, ensuring any similar questions receive the correct answer moving forward.
Similarly, expert finder software connects your customer success team to internal subject matter experts (SMEs) for questions calling for a high degree of expertise. When an internal chatbot isn’t sure how to respond to a particular query, this AI-powered tool reaches out to a teammate in the know. Once the SME responds, their answer is instantly pushed to the original inquirer, then automatically added to your organization’s knowledge base.
HITL technology improves CX by:
- Effortlessly putting customers in touch with internal experts
- Eliminating the hassle of navigating a business’s org chart
- Shortening ticket response times via internal collaboration
CX over (almost) everything.
It goes without saying that innovative products and services will always have their place on the battlefield that is business. But moving into the future, CX will win the war. Regardless of the product or service, how your customers feel pre-, peri-, and post-purchase has massive implications for your organization’s success or failure.
CX will be more important to buyers than price as of this year.
And with so many companies deploying tools like those highlighted here, customer expectations are showing no signs of slowing down. Automated conversations, readily accessible SMEs, and user-friendly feedback portals are becoming standard, regardless of the industry. If you’re not already putting these tools to work, it might be time for a chat with your exec team.