Feeling the heat? Don't let your CX wilt in the sunshine too

It’s not surprising that the neutral topic of the weather, possibly the most quintessential method for us Brits to start up a conversation, had many of us hot under the collar last week. Hot and humid weather saw temperatures reaching above 37 degrees. Commuters that persevere overcrowded buses and trains daily could not have been prepared for what I can personally only describe as the worst commute I’ve ever had to endure. The soaring temperatures not only led rail operators having to restrict and cancel trains due to the risk of tracks buckling, but the knock-on effect of the disrupted services caused confusion, panic and overcrowding on buses and trains that were still in operation. Flights were grounded or delayed at Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Luton airports across the capital while Eurostar rail passengers sweltered through three-and-a-half-hour delays. Sigh!

Delays and cancellations are unfortunately, part and parcel of the travel industry and while measures to prevent the likelihood of disruption are planned for, sometimes it is simply unavoidable. However, whilst man and technology cannot control the forces of nature, travel operators can control whether customers have a good (or poor) experience at a time when they’re under the highest levels of public scrutiny. How? By keeping customers and staff up to date with real-time information - delivered on the channels most relevant to them.

However, it’s not only the travel industry that might have to deal with the challenges of severe weather. The London Ambulance Service reported having received an influx of calls with St John’s Ambulance and Public Health England issuing advice, urging people to be aware of headaches, dizziness and cramp, which can be signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. The RSPCA said it had also seen a spike in calls from members of the public concerned about dogs left in hot cars, conservatories, sheds and caravans. And with staff struggling to commute to work, some businesses are struggling to operate efficiently.

Listening to and reading the news, some companies are better than others when having to inform and respond to enquiries with some headlines reporting heavy criticism for those the lacking in keeping people informed. The convenience of our always ‘on’ online world simply doesn’t’ tolerate businesses that are stuck in archaic siloed processes - not ‘digital first’ - or those that we perceive to be slow in embracing advancing technologies.

As consumers grow more and more comfortable with messaging, businesses must be ‘present’ on their customers’ preferred support channels and respond swiftly, no matter the means customers use to get in touch.

AI applications offer some dramatic benefits that stretch way beyond customer experience. 24/7 support is within reach of those businesses eager to achieve operational efficiency, by utilising channels such as Virtual Agents/Intelligent Chatbots, live chat or dynamic FAQ self-service, especially during unexpected circumstances. These tools not only allow businesses to maintain high levels of service during peak and off-peak times but is a good step towards fulfilling customer needs and expectations.

Investing in AI might sound like a daunting task, but it is imperative in our evermore competitive world where businesses need to win the CX war to remain relevant and profitable.

To explore how AI-driven technology can introduce new value and break fresh ground, you might want to read these digital assets which explain how to consider AI’s impact beyond the novelty.

• The small step towards AI that can deliver quick-win business results

• Sentience AI- Blending Human with Artificial Intelligence

• The explicit link between Digital Customer Service and BUSINESS GROWTH

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