The Future of Customer Service report dives into how enterprise leaders will service the always-on lives of the next generation of customers, integrate next-level personalization via AI and automation, and so much more.
James Dodkins (GTM Excellence, Customer Service & Sales Automation Director, Pegasystems) hosts this season of Bold stories. Future focused. to expand on the report with experts and thought leaders from world of customer service. Throughout this podcast season, James and guests talk about how to put the focus of customer service onto the customer, why customer service without empathy is useless, and how to correctly adopt and utilize technology for specific and unique customer service needs.
Episode 1: Emphasizing the customer in customer service ft. Jeannie Walters
Believe it or not, it’s easy to lose sight of the actual customer in customer service. How does this happen? Even though customer demand is high, successfully meeting customer needs is a challenge because organizations are not asking the right questions that speak directly to their customers and they are often misusing tools that should be helping.
Jeannie Walters (Founder of Experience Investigators) explains how and why this happens so often. Organizations need to meet customers where they are in order to revolutionize customer service. This means, taking a proactive approach instead of reacting to customer needs in the moment by understanding your customer.
Technology, like AI, are automating tedious customer service processes, but if they aren’t applied properly, the customer experience continues to suffer.
“…we’re actually creating these moments of delight by marrying the right technology and tools with the right kind of attitude around the humans who are serving. And I think there’s tons of magic around that, but we have to make sure that we’re going into this strategically and thoughtfully…”
Episode 2: The critical balance of humanity and automation in service ft. Adam Toporek and Nate Brown
In this podcast episode, James speaks with Adam Toporek (Customer Experience Expert, Keynote Speaker, Consultant) and Nate Brown (Senior Director of CX at Arise, Co-Founder of CX Accelerator) about how to maintain a human touch in customer service alongside automation. There are multiple ways to tackle this issue and achieve balance between the human and the machine. Adam goes back to basics and talks about the importance of soft skills training for customer service representatives as companies continue to leverage and adopt new technologies.
“Companies just simply don’t focus on soft skills training enough. […] This is an age-old problem, right? They teach [reps] how to use a computer and put in a ticket. They don’t teach them what to do if somebody’s yelling at them… And, I think those skills will just be more important as we undergo this transformation.”
Nate talks about how the customer interaction isn’t an isolated situation, but rather a deeper learning experience. It’s about putting yourself in the customer’s shoes, being their advocate, and learning from their words because we are all learning from each other on some level and we need to appreciate and acknowledge that.
“You are the voice of the customer personified. When you learn something, when you get feedback from a customer, don’t just think about how you can resolve [their issue] and make them go away. Think about what we learned and what the impact of the interaction was for them. And let’s take that and do something with it. Let’s learn through these interactions and all get smarter together.”
Episode 3: Solving the roadblocks to transformative healthcare service ft. Ingrid Lindberg and Steve Decker
This podcast episode addresses customer service within and across the healthcare industry. James speaks with two experts who have teamed up to modernize healthcare customer service. Ingrid Lindberg (Founder & CXO of Chief Customer) and Steve Decker (Founder of S Decker Consulting) provide different perspectives to customer service in healthcare with Ingrid focused on ensuring that the customer is at the center of service whereas Steve wanted to make sure that these initiatives were operationally-sound.
The healthcare industry has its own set of rules and does not come in a tangible package. The customer experience can be more sensitive and personal, and must be handled with care. In order to ensure customer safety and trust, Ingrid wants to ensure that every single touchpoint with a customer counts. Because one missed opportunity can make or break a customer relationship.
“If you don’t take every opportunity in that one touch to do everything you possibly can to make it better, or right or fix it, you’ve now lost the opportunity to ever create a trusted relationship.”
Ingrid’s ideas were always met by Steve’s operational mind to make sure that these ideas and processes to build long-lasting trust were repeatable and achievable by implementing the correct technologies. This requires a fine balance of natural conversation while, in the background, data is being collected so that conversations can evolve in real time to address real health concerns and needs.
“As it relates to healthcare, I think those technologies can be leveraged for creating a great experience like recognizing what’s going on with that person in the moment, if anything, and making sure that that customer service rep on the other line knows and can weave it elegantly into the conversation…”
Episode 4: The new tech balancing act ft. Sean Callahan, Chris Contreras, and Stuart Chandler
One theme has been clear throughout this season of Bold stories. Future focused -- technology is here to stay. Customer service teams are ready to adopt automation tools into their processes, however, adopting the correct tools in the best places is an art form in itself. Don’t adopt new technology for the sake of having it. That won’t work.
James speaks with three experts about how companies can integrate new solutions without overwhelming their tech stacks.
Sean Callahan (Product Marketing Manager, Pegasystems) gets to the point that many companies are running on legacy tools that simply don’t work in today’s modern world. They have to modernize their customer service processes in order to remain relevant and competitive by implementing newer technological solutions such as AI and automation. Step one is to understand and accept that legacy systems won’t cut it in today’s world.
“A lot of these companies do have legacy tools that just don’t work quite as well as they could and should. And as a result, it’s affecting their bottom line. Frankly, it’s affecting their ability to deliver the service that they want to deliver.”
Chris Contreras (SVP, Customer Success & Revenue Operations at MNTN) adds to this by pointing out how many companies treat newer technologies like add-ons or simple toppers that can easily transform a business from the inside out. This “cart before the horse” approach doesn’t lead to long-term success and organizations should ask themselves what they want to achieve and how technology can get them there, rather than choose what’s on trend and hope it works out for your specific business needs.
“So, instead of…doing simple tree decisioning to go down and just run a person through a sequential process, today, it’s about the technologies that can work and shape very quickly to what you’re about.”