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4 Technologies for Enhancing the Customer Experience in 2021

This time last year, some industry analysts suggested that brands and businesses would reconsider their approach to customer experience in 2020 by curtailing expensive and disruptive digital transformation initiatives that had yet to meet expectations. Then the COVID-19 pandemic changed everything.

With people across the globe forced into isolation, businesses had to recalculate how they would serve their customers. Most quickly moved to enhance their ability to engage consumers across digital communication channels. That’s not likely to change anytime soon. Even as vaccines bring the promise of a return to normalcy, the digital customer journey is here to stay.

That’s why companies must continue refining and improving the digital customer experience (CX). Here are four technologies that can reshape CX in 2021:

Artificial Intelligence

AI-enabled apps in the contact center enable increased efficiency through automation. To date, the most common use of AI is to power virtual agents, or chatbots, that can conduct natural, conversational communications with customers. By enabling a self-service customer experience, chatbots also reduce call volumes for live agents. Microsoft predicts that by 2025 up to 95 percent of customer interactions will be through AI.

By capturing customer data throughout an interaction, AI can also automate the creation of customer journey maps — visual representations of customer experiences across all touchpoints, including email, live chat, social media and other communication channels. This makes it easy to identify and correct any customer pain points.

Video-Enabled Contact Centers

During the past year, people have become comfortable using video conferencing software such as Zoom or Skype as well as video chat apps like FaceTime and WhatsApp. Video creates a more personal connection, and it is natural way to communicate with customers. Most customer interactions will still be handled by telephone, text, email and other communication channels, but video chats can be particularly useful for addressing agitated customers, explaining complex products or services, or supporting high-value relationships.

Video-enabled contact centers report marked improvements in CX metrics such as Net Promoter Scores and first-call resolution rates. When customers and agents can see each other and pick up visual cues, it contributes to mutual understanding.

Voice of the Customer

VoC programs use analytics tools to collect and analyze customer feedback from multiple sources, including emails, phone calls, chats, surveys, tweets and social medial messages. This allows you to develop acomprehensive view of your customers, their needs and their perceptions of your brand.

Although businesses have been collecting aggregate customer data for years, VoC technologies such as sentiment analysis, voice mining and text mining provide insight into individualcustomer experiences. This allows you to “close the feedback loop” by responding directly to customers with meaningful actions that create a positive customer experience.

Collaborative Browsing

Co-browsing technology allows a contact center agent to view and interact with a customer’s web browser in real time — with the customer’s permission, of course. This allows agents to visually guide customers through online forms, demonstrations and transactions. This type of real-time guidance can generate enormous goodwill among customers. A Forrester survey finds that co-browsing leads to higher customer satisfaction scores than phone, chat or email support.

The global health crisis demonstrated the need for digital customer engagement, and companies with a well-developed digital strategy are likely to generate increased customer loyalty in the coming years. IPC’s customer experience consultants can help you assess your needs and refine your digital CX strategy. Contact us to learn more.

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