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Trends in Service Part 3: Real-Time Assistance or the Art and Benefits of Instant responses

Let’s jump right in with another hot trend – Real-time assistance and benefits of instant responses

We see it across the board. We are in the era of customer expectations’ inflation.
You may think that you’re already doing your best when addressing those expectations, but the bar keeps getting higher and higher.

Let’s try to see what else you can do and see whether these additions can help your customers and work to the benefit of your company.

Customers are looking for two main things: real-time engagement and assistance, and hyper-personalized experiences.
We will touch on the topic of personalization at a different time.

71% of consumers want to be answered in real-time[1]. They want their issue to be resolved as quickly as possible, while they are engaged with your company – whether talking to a live agent, interacting with a bot, or looking for an answer on your self-service portal.
It should be quick, easy and user-friendly: Come in, describe your issue once, and get it resolved immediately.
Not only will it make your customers happy, but it will also:

It’s basically a win-win situation – your customers are satisfied, and that can be translated into substantial cost reduction for your company.

Real-Time Assistance and Service

Now that we understand what it is customers are looking for, let’s get practical, looking at some examples of real-time assistance, that we all encounter in our day-to-day lives.

Imagine your washing machine, full of water and dirty laundry stops working. Getting a technician to fix it might be only a day or two ahead, requiring you to stay at home at that time. But what if you could enter the manufacturer’s self-service portal, write a description of the problem and get instructions, or even better, a short video, walking you through steps for troubleshooting the problem? It could be that you just have something stuck in the machine’s filter, which you can easily-enough clean yourself, to get the machine going again.

Or perhaps you’re on a website where you see amazing sports watch that you’ve wanted to buy for a long time. It’s expensive, but you think it’s a good deal and about time you purchased one. All set to make the purchase, you type in your credit card details and get a vague error message that doesn’t really help you understand how to overcome the issue. Before giving up, you click on a “Get Help” button and an agent comes up live on your screen, walking you through resolving the problem and making the purchase.

With Covid-19 being around for quite a while, I’m sure many of you already experienced or heard about telehealth meetings. This is another example of near real-time assistance. You do need to set up the appointment, but it saves you and the doctor a lot of time and hassle.
In addition, some medical services are providing telehealth meetings, as an immediate, live, option.

The last example, for now, is one that I hope you will not have to use yourself. But if you do have the need, it’s an awesome solution. We’ve all seen complete cities being hit by extreme weather causing damage to houses and other property. In such situations, the property owners are looking for someone from the insurance company to get and evaluate the damage to their property as soon as possible, so that they could receive the compensation they need for recouping. It is not always possible for the insurance loss adjustors to reach the property, due to extreme weather still in place, a flood, or other obstacles. What if instead of physically coming over to the property, you, as the property owner already there, could walk the loss adjustor through the property, showing them the damages that occurred?[2]

This way of work is quickly becoming the expected standard for business operations, offering customers extraordinary service, beyond their expectations.

So, what are the technologies you can utilize?

  1. Co-browsing Video Chat – enabling a call-center agent to help you resolve an issue you’ve encountered in using the company’s website
  2. Swarming/Tier-less Support – helping out support agents find a solution for the customer’s problem, by quickly consulting with relevant experts, and without having to pass the customer to another person. This gets problems resolved more quickly and keeps customers happy when they don’t need to repeat their issue to another person
  3. Salesforce Knowledge -build a knowledge base or how-to articles, to help your customers resolve common issues on their own
  4. Chatbots – Use chatbots to immediately answer FAQs for customers, resulting in fewer cases logged for support agents to resolve, they reduce wait times and efficiently redirect inquiries to the right agent and collect leads
  5. Augmented Reality (AR) – enable customers to show, via video, the problem at hand and get an expert to help them online

Having said all that, it is important to remember that humans still want to connect with other humans. So, while technology can help us and our more tech-savvy customers achieve more and faster, you still need to ensure that you invest in training and growing your support team. Empathic support agents determine much of the customer experience, which is what we will talk about in our last instalment. Stay tuned.  

Want to know more?

[1] https://www.inbenta.com/en/blog/whats-new-in-customer-service-trends-for-2022/

[2] https://techsee.me/insurance/

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