Effective Customer Engagement Requires Collaboration

Effective Customer Engagement Requires Collaboration

Executives are focusing heavily on improving how they interact with customers, leveraging technology along the way. Numerous vendors, both old and new, are developing tools backed by artificial intelligence and analytics, whose aim is increasing engagement and ultimately bolstering the overall experience.

Collaboration applications play a measurable — and often understated — role in successful initiatives. Not only do they help employees communicate with one another to resolve a question or complaint, they also can enhance the engagement and derive value for customers.

First, it’s important to understand all the “customer” terms that people throw around when they’re trying to explain the benefits of their technologies (vendors) or their initiatives (enterprises). I generally classify them into three categories:

Customer Service — This is how a company reacts to a specific question, problem, or issue. It addresses not only the speed of service, but also the type of service — is it friendly and knowledgeable, or rude and useless?

For example, suppose a customer is assembling a newly purchased table. In doing so, she notices two pieces aren’t fitting together per the printed instructions, so she grabs her smartphone and enters the URL on the instruction page for troubleshooting. In the background, an AI engine monitors her movements around the site, and after two minutes of her continued clicking around, determines that she hasn’t found the information she needs for quick enough resolution. A chat screen pops up and provides a contextual note about the exact table and assembly problems. The customer explains the issue, and the bot routes the customer to an agent specializing in furniture assembly (avoiding an unnecessary transfer).

The agent decides fairly quickly to escalate the chat to a video call so he can see the two pieces the customer has referenced. He thinks the wrong piece was in the box, but wants to make sure, so he checks presence status of specialists in the brand of table. He loops a specialist into the video conference, and he confirms the company did, indeed, package the wrong piece and will overnight the correct part.

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