Ryan Lester, Director of Customer Engagement Technologies at Bold360 by LogMeIn, discussed how AI can be used to facilitate the customer expectation evolution.
Lester began his thought leadership presentation at the 2017 Customer Experience Leadership Forum held in Boston on November 2 by announcing he’d be talking about disruptions in the way companies are engaging with their customers. “I see an expectation revolution or evolution happening in customer engagement. There’s a trend of new technologies and new ways consumers are interacting with each other,” he stated.
“We have a rising tide that changes expectations. No longer do I send an email and expect an answer in two days. No longer are customers saying to companies, ‘You tell me how to engage.’ Consumers are driving the ship—both in their personal lives and in how they interact with businesses, including B2B applications. These expectations bleed across all customer interactions,” Lester observed.
“There are amazing moments that are happening in both the B2C and B2B worlds that provide an opportunity to delight your customers.” The characteristics and catalysts that are driving this expectation revolution are:
• Customer driven. “Customers are driving the bus in how they want to interact.”
• Immediate outcomes. “Nobody wants to wait 24 hours for a response. This immediacy requirement is in all parts of the business.”
• More channels of engagement. “The way people consume information varies, and we have to understand which channel is the best for the interaction and outcome we’re trying to drive.”
• Complex and asynchronous. “A conversation may start on a website and quickly transition to a social or a chat platform.”
Lester continued, “For a company, every interaction counts and every interaction is important, so we have to think about all the ways we can delight our customers. The challenge, though, is that, as an industry, we’re terrible at customer engagement,” he stated. “We’re failing across the board in all the channels we use to interact with our customers. Why? We’re drowning in interactions. Message volumes are exploding—chat, email, messaging, etc. There are all these new ways to engage, and we’re not leaving behind any of the old interaction models. The problem is systemic, and it’s only growing. It’s not going to get less complicated.”
“For a company, every interaction counts and every interaction is important, so we have to think about all the ways we can delight our customers. The challenge, though, is that, as an industry, we’re terrible at customer engagement.”
Lester pointed out that companies are focusing on the wrong metrics—average handle time, deflection rate, and first-contact resolution. “These are the wrong things to focus on, because we’re pushing the customer away. We want to spend more time and in more ways with our customers. Instead, we’re avoiding them, and this is a failure of the industry. We need to stop spending time on how to avoid our customers and start thinking about how we’re going to build our organization to spend more time with them.”
“We want to spend more time and in more ways with our customers. Instead, we’re avoiding them, and this is a failure of the industry. We need to stop spending time on how to avoid our customers and start thinking about how we’re going to build our organization to spend more time with them.”
The key to this enhanced customer engagement is AI, said Lester. “Up until now, the strategy has been to take existing channels and make them better. What we need to do is change the way we interact with the customer. It’s not about how to make our agents better but how to free our agents to be better by preventing them from being distracted by the mundane parts of their job. Agents’ feet are stuck in the mud of the boring and mundane,” he pointed out.
“It’s not about how to make our agents better but how to free our agents to be better by preventing them from being distracted by the mundane parts of their job. Agents’ feet are stuck in the mud of the boring and mundane.”
“We have all these ways in which customers want to engage, so we need to think about how to use this today and how to use it in the future. AI allows frictionless and scalable interactions with your customers, and it provides the perfect way to manage the mundane so agents can do something more engaging,” said Lester. “The bot is a front-end interaction that makes the customer feel like they’ve been heard, and it routes the customer to the right resource in the company. In this way, the bot or AI solution can serve as an orchestrator to make your organization more impactful and effective. The questions that companies need to ask are, ‘Where are these channels, what’s important to our customers, and how can we use AI to manage that on a real-time basis?’”
ABOUT RYAN LESTER:
Ryan J. Lester, Director of Customer Engagement Technologies at LogMeIn, owns the strategic development and implementation for the go-to market plan for IoT, Chatbot, and Augmented Reality products at LogMeIn. He’s passionate about making new technology easy and helping companies unlock new value through things like IoT-connected products and AI. Prior to his role at LogMeIn, Ryan held various sales, marketing, and product positions at Intel Corporation, Cisco Systems, and Eaton Corporation. Ryan received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Villanova University, and an SM in Engineering Systems and an MBA from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.