“In today's customer-driven world, it's no longer about having the best product,” said Chad Barbour, senior product manager of Salesforce customer success and growth team, speaking at Dreamforce 2018. “It's so we have the best product and the best experience.” Customers feel that the experience they have with a company is equal in importance to the service provided, and businesses need to take note.
For many customers, their first experience with a company begins with their contact with a mobile employee—an electrician, a doctor or a personal shopper, for example. This type of contact is becoming more common as much of the global workforce doesn't sit behind a desk—they're mobile. “You don't get more one-on-one than that,” Barbour said.
To ensure they make the best impression possible and leave consumers with a positive impression of the brand, Barbour said that's imperative to give them the tools for success.
Many services require regular updates or maintenance, but just how and when these are offered can be improved with data. Instead of waiting for a customer to schedule an appointment, companies can use data to proactively contact the consumer. “Don't wait for the customer to call in,” Barbour said. “For example, we can use a low voltage warning to kick off a note to a customer: We noticed this, want to schedule an appointment?” By streamlining the process, you provide a better customer experience. Then there are the scheduled services; for example, a system needs maintenance every 40 hours. Instead of scheduling every four months, use the Internet of Things to determine when they reach 370 hours—some may take one month, some may take seven. “With intelligence maintenance, [service] can be based on actual usage,” he said.
—Chad Barbour, senior product manager, customer success and growth team, Salesforce
Joshua Haslett, VP of strategic innovation at communications provider Mitel, agrees. “We wanted to be more proactive instead of reactive,” he said. A use case of this in action is when Mitel embedded sensors in the automated external defibrillator (AED) cabinets at an airport in Paris, which automatically sent messages to the airport medical staff when they were opened. “In the past, it would simply sound an alarm, but now the appropriate personnel receive the alerts and can notify others that they're responding,” he said.
Value Their Time
Scheduled service ETAs create a helpful window of time for appointments. But the day of, the service employee has more information and an optimized schedule, and can now potentially narrow down that window. Instead of an ETA of 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., they can provide one for 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. “You just gave them half an hour back,” said Barbour. “Their time is valuable, and you have recognized that.” This improves the customer experience and sets the employee up for success.
No employee is going to have the answer to every question, so make experts available to mobile employees, Barbour suggested. This would be a higher-level customer agent that can quickly route the query to the right person. Barbour also recommended creating roadmaps for different scenarios and uploading them to an app for employees to utilize. “They can't be expected to remember everything,” he said. “And it's beneficial to create a guided experience with access to knowledge articles and technical manuals.”
Customer Loyalty in Context
“Fifteen percent of the time customer service agents spend is researching answers for the customer,” said Haslett. “That's a bad experience for the customer; they think you've forgotten them.” Mitel's strategy was to provide assistive AI to the live agent. Their AI uses natural language processing to understand and capture sentiment analysis and feeds that information and the context of the call to coach the agent in real time. “If it takes customers a long time to do something, you may lose them,” Barbour said. Nobody likes giving out the same information twice, for example. Tech tools that can transition data from agent to agent, such as pre-filled form suggestions, can reduce customer effort and help increase customer loyalty.