PRINCIPAL UX DESIGNER
Each&Other ChalkTalks are a monthly talk series, where we invite design, technology and business people to talk about their innovations, challenges and general trends and phenomena. ChalkTalks serve as a forum for networking and sharing ideas and thoughts, and more importantly to learn something new.
In June 2022 we had the pleasure to welcome Robin Harrison from Webhelp to discuss trends in Customer Experience this year and beyond, and the challenges Robin and his colleagues solve for their customers (and for themselves too) at Webhelp. Here’s a little recap on what we learned.
Robin, joining us from Barcelona where he’s recently relocated with his family, is the Chief Marketing Officer at a leading CX agency Webhelp. Webhelp has worked with companies globally for over 20 years creating exceptional customer experiences and journeys. If you’ve ever come across a chatbot when visiting your favourite brand’s online store, or talked to a customer service agent, there’s a good chance Webhelp has been a part of that process at one stage.
Over the years the field of CX has gotten more and more complex. Long are the times where customer experience was mainly viewed as call centres or sending emails back and forth.
A couple of broad themes in CX are disruptions and growing expectations. Businesses are expected to provide frictionless and close to immediate service. And to keep up with the constantly growing number of channels customers are on, expecting the same level of service.
Customers of today want things with immediacy, and demand isn’t flat, there are peaks and drops, which make retaining constant excellence in CX difficult.
Since 2020, Covid-19 has also shifted the way customers expect to be served. Utilising technologies and offering contactless services are already today’s norms.
Covid has evidently had a huge impact on how businesses run their customer service these days. One of the industries most impacted by the pandemic has been air travel. Webhelp helped a Latin-American airline through a transformation as they faced a rapid increase of customer enquiries. Pre-covid, the airline only dealt with 5% of its customer enquiries digitally. Suddenly there was a huge demand for customer service and a clear need for more digital services where customers can get immediate or quick answers. After Webhelp’s help, 50% of customer service takes place digitally and 40% of the enquiries are solved through a chatbot.
During the height of the pandemic, companies had to be really focused on the customer and Webhelp’s research shows the majority of these companies are thinking of transforming their business to better cater for the changed landscape and expectations. The best way to do this is to not start with the company’s needs but to start with the customer and their journey.
Covid-19 is certainly not the only thing causing disruption in CX. We’re constantly warned that a global recession is just around the corner, leaving many companies to think about their budgets ahead. How this will impact customer journeys and experience, remains to be seen.
While chatbots these days are highly advanced and have established their place in customer service, we (luckily) still live in a world where robots have not taken over absolutely everything. This also means companies are finding it increasingly difficult to employ and retain staff.
The pandemic and the changing way of living has woken employees to seek for more flexible models of working. Competing in a world where every company needs customer service professionals is not easy, and it’s led companies to think about retention innovatively. Allowing for more flexibility and looking at different parts of the world has become essential.
We’ve all experienced how a poorly designed and trained chatbot can drive us crazy when we aren’t getting the help we’ve come to ask from a company. Creating successful customer service bots, or chatbots, requires careful identification of proper channels and a lot of time training the bot and the people working with the bots.
In a best scenario, a good chatbot interacts with people in a way that is natural to the brand, which is not an easy thing to create and takes a huge amount of research and learning through interaction.
Most companies might still be a long way from thinking about their place in the Metaverse (or metaverses), but a lot of big companies out there are already looking at how they would serve their customers and how they would protect their brand and people in that environment. Content and conduct moderation will be a big part of the Metaverse CX.
To be able to solve these issues around changing circumstances, disruptions, new channels and war for talent, a lot of companies are seeking deeper partnerships with service providers. A trusting relationship with the right service provider can exhilarate a business’ customer journey to a whole new level.
Companies can deliver better services through different operating models, thinking outside the traditional box. Leveraging tools such a Gig CX can really make a difference for a company struggling with staffing, for example.
“It can be very hard as organisations grow, to keep the customer at the centre of everything.”
Companies like Webhelp not only help their customers to improve their customer experience, but also to transform completely. It’s easier to do this with a company who has entered into business during the digital era and have been thinking about digital services for a while. Things get a little more complex where you have a more mature business with fragmented operations that are spread wide geographically.
Often conversations with clients start by looking at their operations and what kind of resources they have. When a company is looking to transform, the amount of data and other research material plays a big part. It’s also worth noting that web analytics and other customer behaviour data does not always equal actual customer behaviour.
Just like in UX, you might be looking at a single customer problem but the problem might be spread across different parts of the organisation.
“If you are going to believe in CX transformation, bringing people in from different parts of the organisation has to be a reality, otherwise it’s simply not going to happen.” Robin summarises.
In all successful transformation stories, the key has been bringing multiple departments together working towards the same goal, working off their valuable insights.