Aspire CEO Kaspar Roos on improving customer experience, managing digital transformation and the future of artificial intelligence
About Kaspar Roos | LinkedIn
Kaspar is the CEO and founder of Aspire, a consulting firm that specialises in Customer Communications Management and Customer Experience Management. Dialog Group and Kaspar share the same mission: helping companies with their digital transformation in order to improve the customer experience throughout the business.
When do your customers want to spend time on something and when do they not? Companies that know how to make this distinction are able to attract customers.
Time is precious, so consumers want to arrange (almost) everything quickly and easily
Everyone’s time is precious when it comes to tedious chores like organising insurance or a new subscription. We want to get such things out of the way as soon as possible. On the other hand, we are willing to make time for a nicer purchase. A car, for example, or an item of clothing or a new smartphone. You consciously choose to take time over things like these. As a company, you need to have a sense for this. When do your customers want to spend time on something and when do they not? Companies that know how to make this distinction are able to attract customers.
Companies with a high Net Promoter Score prefer voicebots, chatbots, mobile push and personalised videos to more static and outbound ways of communicating.
Companies that are strong in customer experience deploy different communication channels than those that are less adept at it.
This is not only due to the available budget, but also down to the way of (customer-oriented) thinking and how this is integrated within the organisation. We surveyed companies with a low, medium and high Net Promoter Score (NPS). What communication channels do they plan to employ in the next 12 to 24 months? The results? Companies with a high NPS are more likely to invest in chatbots, mobile messaging, mobile push and intelligent voice assistants (IVAs) than companies with a medium or low NPS.
NPS is a management tool that can be used to measure customer loyalty.
This is no surprise. Companies that are at the beginning of their digital transformation to improve the customer experience think in a different way than companies that are already adept at it. An example: when a small company with an average NPS starts thinking and acting from a customer perspective they start sharing documents through personal customer portals. Customers can download the documents from the portal, print them out and sign them if necessary. Companies that are already further along in customer-centric thinking – and probably have a higher NPS – see these documents as part of a process. And they want to make that whole process easier.
Process optimisation using an omnichannel customer contact strategy
Our research found that the younger generations and higher income groups in particular expect omnichannel customer interactions. The customer contact they have with a company, through whatever channel, should be linked so they don’t have to keep reintroducing themselves. They view their time as a scarce resource and want to spend as little time as possible on customer service.*
That’s why I believe in the use of messaging channels, as long as they are linked to the context in which the interaction takes place. This does not always go well, however. Companies do not understand the context properly or activate messaging channels for only one department, for example. That’s a shame, because it creates silos within your organisation and there’s a good chance that the customer will be sent from pillar to post.
* Source: Aspire, Understanding the New Digital Reality, 2020.
Human-like interactions using artificial intelligence
Through messaging channels, companies are increasingly focusing on human-like interactions. These are customer interactions that don’t come across as robotic, but seem as if the customer is conversing with a real person, but fully automated. I am not yet recommending using this for the full 100% of interactions. The technology is not yet that far along. But you can use it to capture about 80% of the simpler questions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) also offers the ability to automatically scan and index incoming customer queries, directing the query to the appropriate department. This only works well if an AI bot understands the context of the question and knows where in the customer journey the customer is. If the bot understands that, it can much better determine what the next best challenge messages are. We are still in our infancy with this, but in the future the engines will get better and better at doing this. You can already see this on the customer service side. When a customer calls, an AI bot can use natural language processing (NLP) to convert spoken sentences into text and analyse them. The bot can then provide suggestions to customer service agents so they can help the customer faster.
Creating good customer communication can be simpler
Artificial intelligence is also increasingly being used to make it easier to create customer communication. Consider a scan that recognises an unintentionally negative tone of voice or notices that the grammar is becoming too complex. The latter is important. The Netherlands has a well-educated population, but if you look at America, for example, you see that many people have low literacy. Such a language check ensures that all customer communications are accessible to people with low literacy. In addition, you can use it for a piece of branding. You can use it to prevent certain words, names or language constructions from being used by your employees.
Companies that consistently create and align communication statements to increase customer satisfaction show 41% higher revenue growth than those that do not.
A different customer experience per department thanks to separate silos
In practice, I regularly see top management saying: “Customer experience is extremely important and we want to have the highest NPS in the industry”. But how that is achieved is up to the departments themselves. With the very best of intentions, departments create their own plans and separate silos are created within the company. And it’s precisely these separate silos that make for poorer customer experiences.
Suppose you are a customer of a major bank and have a mortgage and car insurance with them. You may have had a nice digital experience when you purchased your car insurance and any problems were probably resolved quickly. In the meantime, everything concerning your mortgage is still done via printed documents and customer service is difficult to reach. As a customer, you want a single experience, not multiple experiences with different departments within a company.
Bring your departments, systems and processes together and start working together
Ultimately, as a company, you have to take a holistic approach. Departments need to sit down with each other and think about how all customer communications can be aligned so that there are no separate silos. Fortunately, more and more companies are beginning to question why they allow digital customer interactions to go through different channels, systems and processes. When you take a company-wide approach, you can ensure that every department in your company can provide the same customer experience to the customer. So, it requires not only modern technology, but also that you organise your business differently.
Want to get a better handle on your customer interactions?
Delve into our customer interaction layer. The customer interaction layer brings together all the systems and processes involved in interaction with your customer. This means that you can offer real-time relevant experiences to your customer, your business processes become more efficient, you reduce your costs, but above all you get a better handle on your customer interactions.
Find the right balance between efficiency, accessibility, and human contact in your channel strategy
A successful channel strategy requires a balance between efficiency, accessibility, and human contact. Excessive channel steering can lead to customer frustration and loss, while listening to customer needs and providing diverse channels enhances customer satisfaction and creates a positive brand experience.
A well thought out and effective channel strategy can make the difference between satisfied customers and customers going to competitors. Let's look at the importance of a proper channel strategy in serving your customers in the best way possible.
Customer Experience Management (CXM) is a hot topic. More and more companies are recognizing that providing a great customer experience is the route to business success and growth. Is your organization ready to put CXM into practice? In this blog, read the key CXM trends of 2023.