In an exclusive conversation with Dataquest, Rahul Sharma, MD, LogMeIn India, talks about LogMeIn’s recent survey, new technologies that businesses are investing in, and how is it helping them. Excerpt:
Q. LogMeIn recently did a survey, what was the study all about? Can you please give a brief summary of the same?
Surely. In 2018, along with Vanson Bourne, we surveyed business leaders and consumers across the globe to understand how they view Customer Experience (CX), determine where the gaps and pain points were in the delivery of good CX, and discuss how emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI) can help deliver better outcomes. This study, called the LogMeIn AI Customer Experience Study, surveyed over 5000 respondents, including 600 respondents from India, to ascertain how CX was being delivered. As part of the comprehensive survey, we found that over one-third of consumers were not impressed with their customer journey – citing an average or poor experience, with 83% of consumers citing that they had at least one issue while interacting with a brand. Businesses, on the other hand, reported far different numbers, with 80% of businesses believing their customers would give them a favourable review, despite also reporting that less than half of customer queries are resolved during the first interaction. This portrays a divide between how companies and consumers are perceiving the experience.
Q. According to you, why do customers rely on classical channels despite providing a slower resolution?
While the traditional channels do take longer to deliver a resolution at times, we often notice that consumers choose these channels due to a level of comfort and familiarity in their usage. Consumers also prefer these channels as they believe that interacting with an agent will be the fastest method for a resolution; although this may not always be the case, as companies are investing heavily in making self-service tools more efficient. Additionally, we have also noticed that consumers choose to rely on the channels, due to a reluctance in the shift to different forms of resolution, a lack of awareness about the various methods of resolution, or due to the lack of access to better tools/resources that would give them faster resolution and improved customer experience. Customers don’t see customer service as a repetitive task and sometimes need a combination of humanity as well as automation, especially when something goes wrong.
Q. What are the new technologies that businesses are investing in, and how is it helping them?
With the rising volumes of consumers, businesses are investing in various new technologies. We have seen that businesses are focusing on implementing and improving their capabilities in Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered chatbots and virtual agents, intelligent search bars, smart enquiry, and ticket routing solutions. As these technologies can help piece together various pieces of information and present a unified view, companies have seen an improvement in the overall experience they are able to deliver. In fact, 61% of Indian businesses believe that AI is changing customer experience for the better, with a large proportion believing that by improving customer engagement they will see an increase in customer satisfaction levels (82%) and be able to resolve customer enquiries more quickly (75%).
By making technology less frictionless, companies are now able to invest in AI-powered chatbots that can understand the core problem that a customer is trying to solve. While bots have traditionally searched for solutions based on certain phrases, newer technology means that problems can be solved far more efficiently and suggest solutions based on predictive patterns, sentiment and behaviour.
Q. Most of the organizations are using chatbots. What are the benefits of using this new technology? And why do you think customers are sceptical about it?
We found that only 24% of Indian consumers today, believe they get the best results when interacting with a brand when an AI-powered chatbot is involved in some capacity – either as a self-service tool or to assist a human agent. However, we see that 61% of the consumers see the benefits that it can bring to the customer service domain helping improve the speed and efficiency of the customer experience. Chatbots can help deliver faster resolutions for customers, while helping agents be more productive and effective, in parallel. Agents today often use an average of 3 different systems to service a customer, with over half their time spent understanding basic details like the profile of the customer, and the nature of the inquiry. This can be improved with the implementation of chatbots operating behind the scenes, which can gather this information in real-time – helping the agent understand the customer, their history, the potential problem, and the resolution – leaving the agents with more time to spend on resolving the issue. While there are numerous benefits that AI-powered chatbots can bring to the experience, consumers are concerned about the efficacy of chatbots either due to a bad experience in the past where they have been unable to speak with an agent when they wanted to, or not receiving a solution when they needed it, due to a difference in the way the chatbot delivered the solution. However, the developments in technology, including the natural language processing capabilities of modern chatbots, are capable of delivering far superior, and quicker experiences.
We are seeing customers choosing more accessible methods of communication like chatbots all the time. This is at a time when business conversation tones have shifted from the professional tone of call centres addressing the customer as ‘Mr.’ or ‘Ms.,’ to much more friendly dialogue that may be similar to the type you would have with friends. This type of informal communication is what consumers are more used to and so companies are increasingly being expected to engage in the same way. As bots use a combination of natural language processing or voice-to-text which can be used across any communication channel, so they are better suited to mirror the style of communications we see on mobile devices, email and social media. Therefore, brands now have the opportunity to offer customers the choice of their preferred messaging channel, and interact with customers in a far more meaningful and longer long-lasting way.
Q. ‘Businesses are investing in customer experience’. What are your views on the same?
In an environment where consumers have numerous similar offerings to choose from, good CX, or the lack of it, can be a vital deciding factor. Businesses in India and globally, are becoming aware of the importance of delivering good customer experiences, and its impact on business. In today’s age where businesses have reported losses of $75 Billion due to poor customer service, it is imperative for businesses to look at how they can retain customers by improving their customer experience, and businesses are actively taking steps in this direction. Consumers today will not accept poor customer service, and delivering poor service to them can result not only in financial losses, but also reputational losses. Thus, we see a shift towards companies implementing technologies, and investing in delivering better experiences, not as an afterthought, but as an integral part of their strategy. However, this is not an easy task or a one-time activity, as it requires a significant investment of resources, a robust strategy, and frequent reviews to ensure that the experiences being delivered, are exemplary.
Q. What is your GTM strategy for India?
The customer experience portfolio from LogMeIn now includes Bold360 ai, available in India since February 2018. It is a multi-channel conversational chatbot and virtual customer assistant service that builds on an AI powered technology LogMeIn got with its acquisition of Nanorep last year. This offers Indian companies the power to combine both chatbot agents and artificial intelligence seamlessly to help solve the day-to-day challenges facing customer service teams. Large Banking, Telecom and travel aggregators are using this technology to transform their customer experience.