For years we’ve been obsessing over meeting the customer’s every need, answering every question, and simplifying every interaction. And yet we’ve largely overlooked a fundamental aspect of good customer experience (CX): solving problems before they occur.
Doing more work behind the scenes can significantly impact the customer’s perception of your business, which is where predictive CX comes in.
Predictive CX can be entirely unseen by the customer, such as when a customer’s product visibility is personalized based on their profile. It can also be informative and explicitly visible, as in alerting the user when a resource (like storage space) is near capacity. In both cases, it circumvents a potential problem: unwanted products in the first example, and an urgent need to upgrade in order to maintain service in the second.
Predictive CX is rapidly gaining traction in the industry, but it can be challenging to figure out the best way to make it work for your business. The following are some recent trends, along with how you can leverage them to provide a more proactive customer experience.
A New Breed of CS Agents
You know the drill. You hire new support agents, give them the standard training, and then turn them loose. You start monitoring calls and tickets closed per hour, filling out a scorecard for each employee. There’s little emphasis placed on how well they interact with customers—only the cold numbers that compose standard KPIs.
What if a lot of the menial tasks your CS reps currently have to deal with could be handled by machines? Instead of spending their time searching through records for the purchase history, past tickets and personal details for each customer, they could automatically be provided with that information for every conversation.
In a predictive CX environment, the ideal candidate might be different from what you’ve looked for in the past. In particular, you may want to place greater emphasis on interpersonal skills, leading to more positive interactions with customers, which will then be reflected in future loyalty.
Automation and AI
Despite the potential for a more human touch, the core of predictive CX is improved efficiency. Support tickets, for example, are automatically routed to the appropriate agent based on customer profile and support history. And many of your customers’ concerns can be allayed through the use of AI technology such as chatbots.
The latest advances in neurolinguistic programming have significantly advanced the capabilities of this automated communication technology. Today’s bots are able to present limited human-style interaction with customers, using words in the conversation to trigger responses that can help resolve many of the most common concerns. When the situation escalates to something beyond what the bot can handle, the interaction is seamlessly handed off to a live support agent, who can step in and finish solving the issue.
AI technology can also operate behind the scenes to help support professionals perform their jobs better. For instance, sentiment analysis can evaluate customer communications and give the agent suggested responses to more appropriately address a customer’s emotional state, which leads to improved outcomes.
This partnering of technology and human interaction delivers superior results compared to using either approach on its own. This is a major reason why the industry should promote evolution rather than elimination of the human customer support position.
In large part, the future success of CX is dependent on data. As AI continues to advance, we will have even more sophisticated ways to sort through the terabytes of data that companies are collecting from their customers.
Sorting through this vast trove of information is far more time-consuming than human employees can manage, and the situation is only becoming more challenging for companies that are still resisting the use of technology in their customer interactions.
AI systems can efficiently identify trends within the history of a single customer that can provide insights to help resolve a concern or avoid one that has not yet arisen.
At the same time, AI can spot broader trends throughout the entire customer base to help identify and address problems before most customers even notice them. The insights gained can easily be shared across teams, which helps overcome the traditionally siloed corporate culture and foster a more collaborative environment.
Predictive CX Is the Future
Customer support today is centered around the customer in a way that has never before been possible. And ongoing technological progress makes predictive CX a realistic goal, as it combines AI advances with improved personal communications.
Your customer-facing agents are the heroes of your company, and predictive CX allows them to shine. By taking full advantage of the available tools, businesses can improve their customer relationships and create brand advocates that will help drive business success.