A conversation with Rick DeLisi and Kate Leggett
This week, we got to sit down with Kate Leggett, VP and Principal Analyst for CRM and Customer Service at Forrester. During the conversation, Kate and our own Rick DeLisi discussed how companies can reinvent customer service OnScreen. To some, it may seem daunting to shift customer service to be Digital-First. However, Leggett laid out trends and recommendations to help ease the transformation.
Customer Expectations Are Evolving
Today, information is readily available with the click of a button on any digital device at a person’s moment of need. As customer expectations evolve, in turn, change, so too must our engagement models. During the pandemic, demand for customer service skyrocketed and customer service organizations became more strategically important to companies’ overall revenue. “Questions started having more emotions in them and customer service became even more important,” said Leggett. She went on to explain that customers have a sense of urgency and anxiety, and that they want to be connected to answers and information quickly and easily. In addition to connecting customers with information, Leggett advocates for empowering agents to understand the customer and do the right thing to meet their needs.
Why are Service Interactions Still Frustrating for Customers?
Companies claim to be customer-focused or even customer-obsessed, yet customers still find service interactions to be frustrating. There continues to be a disconnect in the customer journey, as customers start their experiences OnScreen, but often can’t complete their journey online. Leggett explains the that customers want a seamless experience: “In terms of ease, it’s about channel choice, it’s about getting connected to that answer, to that resolution of your problem with as little friction as possible, but where the answer is delivered with a full understanding of who you are and what you’ve done.”
Customer experience is a great opportunity to think differently and differentiate an organization from competitors. 85% of customers are either on or near a screen when they start their customer journey. “Your customers are glued to their screens,” says Leggett. So, why aren’t companies meeting customers where they are (OnScreen) and in the format that best suits them?
Companies are struggling with siloed channels and processes, causing unnecessary friction in the customer journey. The NTT CX Benchmarking Report (2021) cites challenges like integrating systems across channels (38.5% of respondents), agent capabilities (33.1%), and organizational issues like lack of a clear escalation path (32.1%) and lack of trusted data (31.3%). Combine the silos with customers’ anxiousness, and there is a breakdown in customer service delivery.
Strategies to Become More Digital-First
Leggett argues that the ideal strategy is to allow customers to have choice in how they interact with companies, and give agents ability to choose the right engagement modality for interactions to deliver the right outcome for the customers. She says, “The strategy is all about choice. It’s not that digital channels are better than voice channels or visual engagement. It’s the right channel at the right time for the question being asked or the problem that needs resolution.” Rick agreed, stating “it’s not about the person, it’s about the situation they’re in at that moment. The situation should dictate the experience, not the person.”
Digital Customer Service (DCS) is an example of how companies can become more Digital-First. Forrester defines Digital Customer Service as a strategy, technology, and a set of processes. Leggett and DeLisi discuss DCS further, asserting that it enables customers to have a seamless experience, and that a human rep can be involved when they need to be for a positive outcome. Additionally, Leggett advocates for empowering agents to “do their best work,” by providing them tools to personalize and contextualize experiences.