In December, John Devlin, CEO at Ascensos, Europe’s leading customer service outsourcing partner, discussed retaining the human element of customer experience (CX) in the face of so many emerging technologies.
John talks with Mark Hilary of the CX Files from his office in Romania, about the ability for robotic process automation (RPA) to reduce repetitive tasks and the impact of voice technology, particularly within the smart-connected home environment where Amazon Echo and voice assistant Alexa may change all our shopping habits, paving the way for more complex integration of biometrics to streamline customer experience programs.
Voice technology, says John, is finally getting its day as the technology has advanced enough not to frustrate customers”. It will change shopping habits and become so empathetic to the customer journey to the point where the AI-enabled systems can suggest the next best product in order to drive future sales.
5G too will be a game-changer as it powers the connection and integration of emerging technologies and leads to a more seamless and instantaneous customer experience.
The CX CEO says, the key to choosing the right technology to augment customer service is identifying and “measuring differentiating value,” rather than choosing technology, “for tech’s sake.”
He also believes we shouldn’t “forget about the value of human interaction,” and that maximum customer impact is obtained by a person, whether face to face or over the phone, when customers see them as “having gone the extra mile.”
The key for Ascensos and John in delivering the best-in-class customer experience is blending technology and augmenting it with highly skilled, highly engaged colleagues to provide a real “wow” factor for customers. By investing in RPA to simplify processes, benefits are evident for both contact centre colleagues and our customers. For advisors, having RPA technology underpinning their actions, will ultimately make life easier, freeing up time for them to focus on complex resolution and great customer outcomes. For our customers, reducing effort is where the real gains are to be made.
Evolve or die on CX
John says brands who are not evolving today are dying as 24/7 omnichannel customer service becomes an expectation. Consumers are crying out for brands they can believe in, brands that are honest, authentic, responsible and demonstrate high integrity. As we go into the next decade, he is adamant that trust and transparency will be fundamental to building real brand value.
For Ascensos, a lot of time is spent supporting clients in the retail space to build their customer charter and the solutions that hang from that before delivering the customer interaction that comes as a result. Today, customer service metrics, says John, should not measure calls in contact centres but instead customer happiness and delight. Thus, making the after-contact NPS survey redundant, as true customer sentiment can be easily obtained from social media listening, and this is already happening – if brands would just listen.
Managing that data to draw powerful, meaningful insights will come down to how retailers are deploying RPA and AI to help measure the right behaviours and how these technologies are then used to gain insight into what matters to all brands – the level of customer happiness and loyalty.
“The goal for CX going into the next decade should be on creating brand value that nurtures customers
into fans. As only then, as brand advocates will customers willingly pay more for a product”.
Further expansion is on the horizon in 2020 for Ascensos contact centres. And as with any truly entrepreneurial business, the momentum is high, as plans are underway to expand their proposition both in the UK and Central and Eastern Europe. The emergence of these technologies has undoubtedly had a massive part to play in future growth plans for John and his team, as they continue to widen the net on the core services that they offer today.
About CX Files:
CX Files features your host, writer and analyst Mark Hillary, speaking each week to leading analysts, thinkers, and practitioners focused on managing the Customer Experience (CX). In each episode Mark and his guests explore the future of CX, the important trends, and what customers really expect from brands today.
For more on Mark Hilary's podcasts visit the CX Files.