Customer Support in Challenging Times- Customer Support Solutions

Customer Support in Challenging Times

Posted on : February 2nd 2022

Posted by : Sudhakaran Jampala

The COVID-19 pandemic has defined a new era for most industries, in which demand for agile customer support services is compounded by rising volume increased hold times.¹ The customer support sector was shaken by the speed with which COVID-19 spread and quick lockdowns were implemented.

During a crisis, customer service needs spike.² The digital revolution and the remarkable rise in connectivity in the last decade have created a paradigm shift that has empowered customers to engage at their convenience with enterprises across multiple channels, enabling the latter to deliver

  • Faster turnaround times (TATs) & cost-efficiency
  • Order processing & resolution at scale
  • Managing seasonal demand variations (quick ramp-up or ramp-down)
  • Training facilitation & SME support

For faster resolutions and turnaround times, customer support solutions must leverage a blend of the best technology with human expertise to ensure higher customer satisfaction. In essence, multichannel and multiformat services across proprietary stacks are becoming the norm.

The Changing Landscape

Customer service strategies are being upgraded, with companies looking to convert customer support teams from cost to profit centers. The COVID-19 pandemic has awakened the world to digital engagement’s power, in turn showing many companies that customer support can pave the way for a peerless customer experience. A dynamic future is unfolding for customer support, in which opportunities and challenges abound.

Exhibit 1: Customer Support—Fulfillment and Back-Office Support

Customer Support Solutions – Customer Support Services

Source: Straive.

Infusing autonomous technologies into customer support promises various benefits: customer engagement increases, processing costs lower, processing speeds and accuracy improve with automation, resolution speeds accelerate, and metrics, such as Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS), trend better. Consider telesales. Today’s telesales spectrum includes lead management, product presentation, closing sales, and other areas. Each area needs to be handled with exceptional care to make a lasting impact and acquire new customers. If done well, those in telesales can sharpen their ability to sell while covering the contingencies of seasonal demand variations.

Modern customer support ecosystems are under pressure to serve 24/7 across several platforms and technologies. Simple solutions, when deployed effectively, can help address this strain, reducing the frustration that can arise.

Conversational artificial intelligence (AI) platforms are rising, too, helping intelligent virtual assistants serve customers effectively. Conversational AI refers to technologies, such as chatbots or intelligent virtual agents, which customers can talk to.³ These secure & scalable solutions use large volumes of data, machine learning (ML), and natural language processing (NLP) to help mimic human interactions by recognizing speech and text inputs and translating their meanings across multiple languages. Enhancing automation and providing 24/7 coverage, these systems render the tiered service approach more effective.

Exhibit 2: Tiered Customer Services Architecture

Customer Support in Challenging Times_Graphics_Tiered CS Architecture

Source: Straive

The Way Forward

AI-based customer services automation offers many benefits. With self-service tools, customers can avail answers at any time. AI can help by instantly deflecting simple tickets and solving straightforward queries, speeding up the resolution process. Data consolidation is another significant benefit. AI tools connect customer relationship management to the ticket management system, thus reducing service timelines and cost while providing more opportunities to sell additional products or services. Accuracy is also profoundly improved by removing human bias and error, which, in turn, boosts efficiency. Although demand has increased, modern tools allow companies to gain real-time insights from customer interactions and optimize customer representatives’ availability

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¹ Gadi Shamia, “3 Ways Conversational AI Can Help Contact Centers Recover from COVID-19,” Replicant,
https://www.replicant.ai/blog/3-ways-conversational-ai-can-help-contact-centers-recover-from-covid-19/.

² PV Kanna, “Customer Service Continuity and Lessons Learned during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” [24]7.ai, April 10, 2020, https://www.247.ai/resources/articles/art-customer-service-continuity-lessons-learned-covid19-pandemic.pdf.

³ IBM Cloud Education, “Conversational AI,” IBM, August 31, 2020, https://www.ibm.com/cloud/learn/conversational-ai.

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