Customer service, a changing discipline
Customer Service is a business area that is changing rapidly. Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing are driving semi-automation of certain functions within the Customer Service domain. Examples of this include profiling customer history, analysing customer sentiment and automatically answering basic customer inquiries.
The automations main goal is to improve the customer’s experience and at the same time handle simple and repetitious customer contact tasks. Inevitably, this development is freeing up contact center employees to perform the more complex and uniquely ‘human’ work.
The contact center of the future is expected to shift from a cost focus to a powerful new source of value; catalysing the customer experience transformation. Customer Services’s role and responsibilities give it the ability to advance the online customer experience.
For e-commerce companies and organisations that have a large online presence, the customer experience is for a large part situated online, which makes the collaboration between Customer Service and CRO an opportunity to improve customer experience and add value to both customer and business.
Marrying CRO and Customer Service together
As mentioned in previous articles in the series, whilst the CRO discipline is growing because of its importance for e-commerce, there seems to be a lack of cross-functional collaboration within the CRO process. Wout’s interviews with CRO industry leaders brought about insight into how Customer Service teams have been complementing the CRO process, and how they enable this collaboration.
Providing context through Customer Insight
Customer insight from Customer Service teams fuels the CRO process. When identifying areas of improvement, businesses who had insight from customer satisfaction surveys and website feedback were able to refer to these insights for creating CRO test hypothesis. This was seen as highly beneficial for CRO teams as it widened their knowledge of the customer. Another CRO process step to which Customer Service can contribute is in the end of the process, where a CRO test winner is considered to be implemented. Customer Service can help assess if, from the customer’s context, the suggested adjustment to the journey flow is the right thing to do, and if there are any risks that should be mitigated.
Customer Service provides starting points for CRO, helping them make sure their test hypotheses are not in any way detached from the customer’s reality. It is important not to look at user feedback in isolation, but to use it along with other data sources. For example, user feedback about issues completing checkout could be combined with analytics data on drop outs at different stages of the purchase process. A lot of additional information can be uncovered from direct user feedback, and this should be part of the CRO process.
Bridging the CRO – Customer Service gap
Of those interviewees who had a strong collaboration between the CRO and Customer Service teams, they went into detail into how this was enabled. They have sub-teams in place that are specifically tasked with gathering, analysing and actioning on customer insight data (both qualitative and quantitative data). In the businesses this sub-team was part of the Customer Service, and therefore enabled the collaboration between CRO and CC. The Customer Insights Team is tasked with gathering online experience improvement ideas and funnelling them to the CRO team.
Alongside this, the businesses have a “linking pin” in place that acts as a liaison between CRO and Customer Service. Unlike the Customer Insights Team, this concerns a single person or job role, positioned in either the CRO team, the Customer Service team or both. The person is tasked with funnelling relevant information between the two teams, keep track of shared and/or interdependent goals, take place in cross-functional project teams and contribute to cross-functional meetings. Having this role in place acts as a project manager for the Customer Service team and assists in fuelling the CRO process with qualitative customer insights.
Being at the frontline of the organisation and interacting directly with customers, Customer Service has the unique position to provide customer context to the CRO team. The Customer Service team adds value to CRO by giving the CRO process improvement ideas derived from qualitative customer feedback and other insights gathered and processed. By adding Customer Services’s customer knowledge and expertise to the data-driven CRO process, the desired mix of qualitative and quantitative input to the CRO process will be established.
Read the rest of our Customer Service x CRO series:
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