Improving Customer Service By Not Making Customers Repeat Themselves by Forbes – Entrepreneurs

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Nobody enjoys repeating themselves (except that cousin of yours who won’t stop talking about his latest promotion). Yet customer support platforms have been slow to get the message. As a result, consumers in nearly every industry continue to experience the frustration of starting from scratch over and over with the companies they do businesses with.

“While starting from square one every time you talk to someone [in your personal life] would be ridiculous, that’s exactly how most companies interact with their customers,” says Warren Levitan, co-founder and CEO of Smooch, an omnichannel conversation platform. “It’s frustrating for the customer; it’s inefficient for the business; it’s a waste of time for everybody.”

In response, Levitan’s team of Montreal-based software developers have built their Smooch solution, which allows businesses to maintain one unified and persistent conversation across all communication channels.

Warren Levitan, co-founder and CEO of Smooch

When Smooch integrates with customer experience platforms like Zendesk, Sparkcentral, Oracle, Genesys, and Bold360, it allows the syncing of a customer’s conversation history across every channel and the building of a unified customer profile within the business’s existing CX software.

For example, Bold360, an AI-powered customer engagement solution, is now integrated with Smooch so that brands can engage intelligently with their customers via chatbot and agent-based interactions across an array of Smooch’s messaging channels. Brands can combine the benefits of both Bold360 and Smooch platforms to deliver personalized and consistent messaging experiences at scale.

To wit: If a company–say, Thomas Cook Travel–is using the Bold360 AI engine to respond to its clients (in Thomas Cook’s case these could be customers planning a vacation or travelers wondering about a delayed flight or the reliability of a particular shuttle operator), their end users (the travelers themselves) can now interact with the company on the channel of their choice, such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, while still enjoying the benefits of the backbone provided by Bold360.

Smooch also gives businesses and customers the ability to move conversations from channel to channel. A business using Smooch can transfer a conversation from, say, a third-party chat app like Facebook Messenger to private in-app or web chat, or from an email to SMS. When the conversation moves to that second channel, the chat history and context moves with it, so both the business and user benefit from a single, continuous, cross-channel conversation thread.

“For brands that care about being where their customers are, it’s imperative to find a way to embrace all the channels,” says Levitan, “whether that’s Facebook Messenger, WeChat or newly emerging channels like Apple Business Chat. And we’ve built our Smooch solutions to allow this to happen in a completely non-siloed way that helps the support agent and the customer alike.”

Levitan offers the example of a prominent luxury hotel brand that launched an omnichannel chat concierge service using Smooch which it is continuing to roll out across its global properties. Available in 100+ languages across 110 hotels, the platform enables guests to interact with staff at individual properties using the messaging app of their choice, including SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat and on its own mobile app. (And, says Levitan, as an international brand, the ability to engage with customers and prospects on regionally popular channels like WeChat in China and Kakao Talk in Korea was key.) The results of the rollout so far show that more than half of guests introduced to the service will use it on the very first day of the stay, with the Smooch-driven omnichannel functionality increasing guest satisfaction with the mobile app by 25%. Levitan, however, is quick to point out that the success of a rollout such as this depends on the performance of the underlying brand as well. In this case, the staff of the luxury properties provided response times that are far faster than the average for that industry “or for any industry I’ve heard of, in point of fact”: 95% of messages receive a response under five minutes, and 75% receive replies in 90 seconds or less.

January 25, 2019 at 08:54PM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs