Latest blog posts from Synthetix
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Politicians, representatives of the people, aim to serve their country to prosper economically and ideologically.
Team Synthetix had the honour of meeting Sir Allen Haselhurst, our MP on Monday, 13 February. Not really knowing what to expect, he had a calm and approachable manner. He discussed with Synthetix, the challenges faced by many of the UK’s businesses, especially after the volatile events of 2016 which is set to impact greatly on the future of many businesses.
Interested in exploring the online customer service software solutions that Synthetix develops, how it enhances online customer support, and save our customers time and money we used the Utility industry as an example to explain what we do.
He was impressed that 40% of all the large UK water companies use online customer service technology from Synthetix and that 5 ranked in the top 10 for customer service in 2015-2016.
Collectively this means our utility clients have 23.62 million customers who might need assistance or answers (and that’s just utilities). We are proud to say that many of these customers’ issues will be resolved using Synthetix web self-service, live chat or dynamic web forms, and even when customers do have to speak to an agent, the Synthetix Agent Knowledge-base will assist agents to answer customer queries with confidence, regardless of the channel they use to contact their utility provider.
If Synthetix were in politics - the highest, rung of dignitaries in a country - we are convinced that our portfolio of brands would vote for our seat in Westminster. We are not just fanatical about our customers, but advocates of the creation of exceptional customer service. Imagine a nation full of happy customers – just putting it out there.
We are so proud of what we have achieved in the last 16 years. In fact, apart from the suite of online customer service tools we have developed up until now, we have been trend setters. We were pioneers of Virtual Agents as a concept, which seems strange with the industry finally catching up to the idea.
We have a personal relationship with each of our customers across a wide range of industries and we are very looking forward to the next 16 years of creating cutting-edge online customer service solutions, leaving the politics up to others.
Why not attend one of our best practice events in London to network with like-minded industry peers, hear from industry experts and workshop with some of the biggest brands in the UK?
Our next event is 26 April. Find out more here.
We would hate for you to miss out.
And just like that, the first month in 2017 is over. January sales are being replaced with cupid arrows, hearts, and messages of love. Whether you love Valentine’s Day or think the hype doesn’t justify the occasion, your customer experience strategy should swoop in and enchant customers to fall for your business every time they interact with you, regardless of channel.
Continuously nurturing relationships with your customers is crucial to growing your business.
Unlike our mixed feelings towards Valentine’s Day, most of us love the convenience of our connected world. However, we appear to have a love-hate relationship when it comes to online service.
According to Baymard, nearly 70% of shoppers will abandon their online shopping carts. Shocking until you realise that many users are window shopping, comparing prices, saving items for later or exploring gift options.
However, Forrester reports that more than 50% of customers will abandon their online shopping cart if they can’t find answers to simple queries and switch to a competitor’s website. Customers become so accustomed to doing most things online, it’s no surprise that Coleman Parkes reports that 75% of us prefer online support above any other channel. However, customers hate struggling to find accurate and consistent answers to their questions.
The Silent Treatment
Efforts to prevent potential customers from abandoning their e-commerce carts, have had many businesses implement live chat support. A study by Forrester Research found, “Many online consumers want help from a live person while they are shopping online; in fact, 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person while in the middle of an online purchase is one of the most important features a Web site can offer.”
An emarketer.com survey found that 63% were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat. The report goes on to say: “62% reported being more likely to purchase from the site again. A further 38% of respondents said they had made their purchase due to the chat session itself. All these attitudes were even more prevalent among respondents who bought online at least weekly.”
As it turns out, live chat can offer real-time support, while also adding significant benefits to the staff and bottom line of companies. It is however important to consider that live chat poses some challenges. Customers are not bound by normal working hours when looking to make an online purchase or find support. Having live chat available with no-one to answer, might do more harm than good, frustrating customers with time-wasting silence.
Multi-channel technology can assist in creating omni-channel customer experiences.
Here are some of the key trends for 2017 that predicts love from customers:
- Consistency across channels is key to a great overall experience. Trust is created when front-line staff, support staff and online channels all over the same consistent answers. Having an integrated knowledge-base across your website, contact centre and social channels
- Ease: If it’s easy to find answers, purchase, get support, customers will return.
- Mobile: We take our smartphones everywhere with us. In a study by Search Engine Watch, 67% of participants said they were more likely to make a purchase when visiting a business’s mobile-friendly site, versus 61% who said they’d most likely leave a site that wasn’t optimised for mobile.
- Personalisation: Make identity an enterprise asset. Identifying customers at every touchpoint will result in a long-term relationship.
- Virtual Agents: 24/7 customer service with a smile. A semblance of personal service, NLP artificial intelligence combined with a graphical representation, can be a powerful additional contact channel (not a replacement for human interaction). Virtual Agents can raise the online customer service effort bar. Always on, ready to offer customers who wish to self-serve answers, an engaging, appropriate, and conversational automated interaction.
In our own lives, we appreciate that we cannot expect close relationships, family relations, or a marriage to survive and flourish if we don’t put time and effort into maintaining it. A business’s relationships with its customers is no different.
Will 2017 be the start of a beautiful customer experience journey for your business?
More expert advice for engaging customers can be found on our website here.
The third week in January had Birmingham host the Utility Week Water & Energy Conferences, with industry leaders delivering their thoughts on the biggest disruptors and trends that will affect those within this industry.
A regulated industry, players within the Utility industry eagerly anticipate the yearly figures in reports from Ofgem and Ofwat. We’ve done some research into the latest statistics and it’s clear that utilities continue to face many challenges when it comes to customer expectations. (Download the infographic)
As consumers, we’ve become accustomed to a certain level of service which means we don’t just expect an uninterrupted supply of power, gas, and water, but better responsiveness whenever we require help. Meeting these needs often require utilities to invest in more resources, or does it? However, before utilities can determine how to develop the ideal customer experience, they must decide what that term means to them; customer experience means different things to different industries.
And whilst understanding the elements of the customer experience strategy is a good first step — successfully implementing it is another. In this blogpost, we will look at 9 key points that can assist utilities to positively translate their customer experience strategy into action.
Plan for the worst-case scenario
High call volumes come at times of crisis. Having the right technology in place to support contact centre staff is imperative.
Plan to be flexible
The contact centre is only one contact channel available for customers – dependent on the nature of the enquiry, would it benefit the company and customers to handle enquiries across other channels like Virtual Agents, Live Chat, Dynamic Web Forms, FAQ self-service or Social channels.
Are all contact centre staff up-to-date with the latest information and how is this maintained through technology? When staff shifts change or if they leave, does it affect the transferral of knowledge – how is this communicated. Do you have an Agent Knowledge-base?
Given all the tools needed (such as a cloud contact centre solution), is it possible, in times of crisis, for temporary and non-frontline staff to be used as agents following minimal training?
Avoid the need for customer to call in the first place. Is there another channel by which the cloud answer their queries? Push out service updates via social media to communicate with customers in advance of any issue to minimise contact?
Measure and control
Quickly and efficiently responding across contact channels to customer queries is key – is there a mechanism in place to monitor customer feedback to improve the quality of products and services and level of response in the future?
Do most customers need support during work hours or do they frequently require assistance out of office hours? Which are the most effective/popular convenient contact channels for customers – focus on these first.
It is imperative that all contact entre staff are trained to handle support, especially during seasonal influxes of contact. Effective communication, getting answers to customer quickly and consistently across all channels, can have a huge impact on how customers perceive your brand.
Prepare to adjust
A legacy infrastructure often risks only noticing failure when all has gone wrong. It doesn’t have the ability of gathering granular information to help understand how any issues might be developing. Investigate your infrastructure to see if it should be improved, updated, or replaced by more relevant technology.
Part three of this series will look at 2017 as a whole – will it be ‘The Year of Customer Engagement’ as predicted?