More customer proximity through automation

More customer proximity through automation

We all know the cost pressure in call, contact and service centres. Unfortunately, they are still far too often run as cost centres - and have been since the organisational form of the call centre was first created several decades ago. With the advent of the World Wide Web a good twenty years ago, the opportunity was sensed to save costs again.

With the spread of smartphones and apps, self-service was supposed to be taken to a whole new level, so that customers could simply serve themselves completely on the internet. A lot of time and money was invested in keeping customers away as much as possible. The result was that customer proximity became a customer gap or even a big gulf. Companies know less and less what makes their customers tick, what their needs are, what bothers them and what pleases them. At the same time, ordering via web and app has become an integral part of our lives. How can we achieve both: Customer proximity and automation?

Orders must be placed online

There are processes and procedures, such as the purchase of a train ticket or the daily bank transfer, that are faster and very easy to handle via app or website. They also offer customers added value: they can use the service 24/7 without waiting and can conveniently look at all the options. Convenience - also known as ease of use - is the focus here.

Complaints must be attended to

But if it is so easy to serve yourself online and both sides benefit, when and how can I still enter into dialogue with my customers? At a critical point in the customer journey, for example during a query, complaint or grievance. That's why complaint management is essential. Well-trained chatbots can also manage this - it is even better to give your customers the opportunity to "let off steam". You will find out where the problem is and also why a person initially chose your company.

Needs must be identified

Ideally, the appropriate speech analysis technology can help here in recognising and structuring what is being said. Topics can be identified and emotion analysis can be used to classify the mood in which a customer is calling and whether the employee has succeeded in satisfying the customer and meeting his or her needs.

There are many very effective technologies that answer emails automatically through concern recognition, distribute calls perfectly, support employees in their work and allow a seamless transition between automation and individual support. Today, the question is no longer whether and why technology, and AI in particular, supports, but when and how. Because it always depends on the customers' concerns and needs. Above all, they should always have the choice.

Author: Ralf Mühlenhöver

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