Can Bots Really Deliver Great Customer Experience?

By Nick Ashmore

3151940 / Pixabay

A number of brands are – quite rightly – harnessing the power of technology to streamline both their operational and strategic communications activities. But when it comes to the customer experience (CX), can bots truly satisfy expectations, or is the growing tendency to integrate AI actually putting the CX at risk?

Given the impact of the customer experience on a brand’s revenue, reputation and advocacy levels, very few savvy B2B marketers would overlook the need to integrate CX objectives into their activities.

But as the number of channels and touchpoints within every individual’s journey continues to rise, so too does the scale of the CX challenge.

This may go some way to explaining why, unfortunately, B2B customer-experience index ratings lag significantly behind those of retail customers. After all, we continuously read about outstanding examples of B2C CX champions such as AO.com, Halifax Bank and Virgin. But B2B brands fail to receive the same level of praise.

Is this because the CX in the B2B space lacks consistency, when customers move from one channel to another?

For example, it would be fair to say that many B2B marketers overlook the role of the phone in their comms activity. This is a widely noted yet surprising trend, as a BizTraffic article elaborates: “If you were asked whether you would want an inbound phone call or an inbound form fill as a lead for your B2B business, the answer would most likely be the phone call.”

But, despite this – and the fact that calls have 30-50% conversion rates compared to 1-2% for clicks – marketers usually focus on encouraging customers to fill in forms rather than pick up the phone.

So what happens when the phone does ring? Can a B2B brand ensure the customer experience marries up? Does this even matter? And do bots have a role to play?

Let’s first analyze the true need for a great CX when a B2B customer makes a call.

When considering the outcome of Siegel+Gale’s 2017 Global Brand Simplicity Index, EMEA head of insights Ben Osborne is quoted as saying: “…a customer-centric brand has to recognize the fact that life is short and we only have a limited number of hours in the day.”

It could, therefore, be argued that the ability to call a contact center and achieve the desired outcome quickly and efficiently – even if this is via a bot – would go some way to ensuring the straightforward simplicity that customers demand. And we must remember that delivering a great CX is about ensuring a customer’s needs expectations and wants are met. So, if these can be satisfied by a bot, why not?

However, a KMPG report also highlights that the emerging phenomenon of ‘consumerisation’ – the cycle of rapidly escalating consumer expectations – is spilling over into the B2B world. This is because, “…fundamentally, just like the consumer world, at the epicentre of success lies a relationship between human beings.”

Clearly, this would imply that a bot simply couldn’t do the conversation justice. After Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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