A Conversation about Digital Transformation and Conversational Service

Recently Josh Sangster of Statêra was fortunate enough to discuss the impacts of Digital Transformation and Conversational Service in the ever-evolving business and consumer marketplace with John Houtsma, Senior Manager of the Salesforce Service Cloud platform out of Denver. His insights into the current changes coming to the Customer Service industry are invaluable as Salesforce continues to innovate and change the way businesses serve their customers.

 

John, we see a lot of movement from Salesforce toward modular design and an enhanced user experience. This lends itself well to designing applications for not only internal use, but also giving customers a way to interact with a customer service center without ever having to hop on a computer or make a phone call. Why do you think that is, and what is driving it?

Customers’ expectations around service continue to evolve as different channels of communication become more ingrained in their lives via the growing power and use of apps on smartphones. Today’s consumers look first to downloading an app as a way to get things done with less effort and a better experience. Resolving their issues quickly keeps your customers satisfied. Earning their loyalty, though, requires a more personalized approach. In fact, 52% of consumers and 65% of business buyers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize their communications to them.

 

Interesting. It seems that consumer and business expectations are driving innovation in the customer service sector. What are some of the leading-edge companies excelling at this transition?

Companies that stand out are delivering more than a transactional service experience. They are moving toward what is now known as “Conversational Service,” as outlined in the “Annual State of Service Report” that you can download via this link. The report shows that customers don’t just care about fixing their issue, but also how easy and enjoyable the experience was. Ideally, your customer’s interaction with your company should fit seamlessly into the way they prefer to communicate. And thus the term “Conversational Service.”

Moving towards Conversational Service allows your customers to interact with your company the same way they do with their friends. With SMS and messaging apps, your service agents and customers can resolve concerns quickly and easily with a more natural communication style.

 

John, I am glad you mentioned SMS and messaging and communication. 84% of customers want to be treated as individuals and have their needs met in a personable way. That’s not something that can be done easily, because 51% of customers say that most companies are missing the mark. With this in mind, it seems Salesforce is on to something with the Einstein Chat bots. Can you give us any interesting information on these chat bots, released in July 2018? We know there are some big names already using chat bots for service, but what impacts do you think Einstein Chat will make in the chat bot landscape?

As you mentioned, Salesforce just released chat bots last month. We have, however, been working with a number of pilot clients over the past year on proving out this exciting technology. One of the pilot clients was Adidas, and their results with our chat bots are amazing. Specifically after only 2 weeks: 33% of all issues were resolved without agent intervention, and CSAT increased significantly. Here are some of the benefits your company could get from using our chat bots. (Hint: Chat bots are included free of charge for Salesforce Clients on our UE Version of Service Cloud or for those EE clients if they have added on Live Agent.)

Automatically resolve top customer requests.
Provide customers with the answers they need, quickly using NLP & connected CRM data.

Seamlessly escalate to agents.
Collect and qualify customer information for seamless handoff to human agents, when desired.

Easily connect to business process.
Connect bots to existing business processes to automatically initiate or complete actions on agents’ behalf.

Quickly train, deploy, and learn.
Create bots declaratively with Bot Builder, train with existing customer service data, and enable inline bot feedback

 

We’ve seen a lot of changes to the world of customer service that Salesforce has driven through Service Cloud, Communities, and IoT Cloud. John, what do you think the benefits will be of investing in a more robust service experience?

Conversational Service leads the way toward a better service experience for your customers. Stay ahead of their expectations, and deliver proactive service across the channels they use most frequently. As companies make the move to more conversational service, some of the benefits they will see include:

1. Real-time availability: Give customers access to your service reps on the platforms they use most frequently. Messaging apps like SMS and Facebook messenger are great for sending notifications, but your communication shouldn’t end there. Let the conversation continue and have agents available to instantly answer customer questions right from their smartphones, tablets, computer or even the old-fashion ways of email and phone.

2. Better rapport with customers: Use conversational artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver a more positive experience. For example, this intelligence, combined with customer history, can help agents get a 360-degree view of the customer and recommend the next best thing for an agent to say or a product or service to recommend.

3. Empowered agents with higher productivity: With chat and text conversations taking place in one service console, support agents can easily handle multiple conversations at the same time. Intelligent bots can also be integrated to gather basic customer info and even respond to many questions. This allows agents to focus on solving more complex customer inquiries, which leads to more meaningful customer relationships.

4. More engaged customers: Empower customers with an effectively curated knowledge base and a forum to chat with other users who can share advice. Reward active community members, and let them acknowledge and thank each other for their contributions.

 

To learn more about how high-performing service teams anticipate customer needs and deliver personalized service, download the Salesforce second annual “State of Service” report where Salesforce interviewed more than 7,000 consumers and business buyers about their customer experience expectations. Then call Statêra to learn more about the many successes they have had for their clients in customer support.

 

 

John Houtsma is a Senior Manager for Service Cloud at Salesforce. He has 20 + years of CRM experience including starting his own integrated marketing company – QuarterEnd which introduced “Strategic Lead Generation” to many of the top technology companies in the USA.

Josh Sangster is a certified Salesforce Administrator and Consultant at Statera. With five years of CRM administration and consultation experience across multiple verticals and different sizes of businesses he understands the headaches that plague users and administrators. He is currently working on advanced Salesforce certifications in an effort to better serve his clients. He is a transplant from Atlanta, GA residing in Denver, Colorado and enjoys to hike, camp, swim, bike, exercise, and explore his new home state. He is an avid New York Football Giants fan and can often be found wearing blue and white from head to toe on Sundays in the fall. Go Big Blue!