Digital Agent Takes Center Stage at Customer Response Summit, Seattle

Customer Response Summit is a bi-annual gathering dedicated to the businesses that want to advance customer service. The conference is organized by Execs in the Know, a customer experience advocacy group that has been growing its industry for the past 15 years.

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Like the city of Seattle itself, the late September venue offered an intimate, friendly environment in which to learn about excellence in customer service and to network with its brightest thinkers.

The list of speakers read like a who’s who of leadership for the most innovative companies across North America. But the Customer Response Summit is no ordinary conference, here every participant, speaker and attendee are experts in their own area of customer service. It is truly a gathering of the most experienced executives focused on learning and sharing their customer experiences.
There has been a growing phenomenon in the customer service industry, a buzz that has significantly escalated in recent months.

ITC and the Digital Customer Service Agent

According to John Huehn CEO of In the Chat (ITC) Communications, the buzz around digital channels like text, social, and online chat is no longer a background noise that can be ignored.

For today’s customer experience executive it’s no longer a question of whether or not adding the digital agent to your company’s customer service arsenal is necessary — now it’s a question of deployment and execution.

Six months ago at the Customer Response Summit in Florida, Heuhn’s talk on the benefits of 2-way text messaging for customer contact centers was seen as a unique and innovative customer service channel. Now, only six months later, everyone at this summit was talking about strategies for adding digital channels to their organization.

Further evidence: The Seattle Summit came just one month after Forrester Research had declared that contact centers must add text messaging as part of an omni-channel customer service strategy.

But for Heuhn, the first voice on the topic, Forrester was preaching to the choir.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 3.07.48 PMJohn Heuhn stepped onto the stage at the Customer Response Summit and gave an insightful talk on his vision for keeping up with the accelerating pace of customer service communications. His message to customer contact execs — embrace the change. Customers will always demand to communicate with their preferred channel. With the right strategy and implementation any large-scale enterprise should look to future-proof its digital customer service operations.

Huehn went on to add that offering customers the ability to contact your business through text messaging, Twitter, Facebook or online-mobile chat is only the start. With the right omni-channel platform and CRM integration strategy, your customer service organization will be prepared for whatever the next digital channel to come along will be. And there will be many as the preference of consumers for text-based communication shows no sign of abating.

To put it simply: The phone is dying and digital communications is taking its place. And the current next growth area in customer communications is text.

We see the trend coming to business only because everyone’s day-to-day personal communications people are migrating away from voice-based communications to digital text channels at an incredible rate.

Forrester Research says overall digital interactions will overtake voice interactions by 2017.

Good News for Customer Contact Centers

The good news for contact centers is that customer interactions over digital channels constitute a significant efficiency over voice. In fact, ITC clients report a 58{37abcf34a54b93343e5398ae04805616021ee806af480764212b11c4286aaf7a} cost savings when they interact with customers over text instead of speaking on the phone.

Customer service execs that are prepared to embrace the change are taking advantage efficiencies associated with the biggest communications paradigm-shift since the first time ink was pressed onto paper.

But the really good news about giving your customers the option of connecting to your business over digital channels is — customers will love you for it because they think they are getting great service on the channel of their choice.

Learn how you can future proof your customer service and sales department with a true omni-channel digital agent platform.

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About the Author: Wayde Robson