Weekly Review: 12/11 Edition

Happy Friday! Here’s our five picks for the best customer service, customer experience and mobile articles of the last week or so, in no particular order.

The Up Next Program Preps Kids for College by Texting Them by Liz Stinson

Teens and twentysomethings love to text. It’s an easy, efficient way to get in touch with friends, whether it’s to make plans for a night on the town or just to let someone know how they’re doing. But one government program has decided to tap into teens’ passion for texting with a new initiative called Up Next. When students opt in, they receive “precisely timed” reminders to fill out financial aid forms, applications and more to help ensure they’re on track to receive a college education. In her article for Wired, Liz Stinson outlines why this new approach to education is so effective.

Up Next translates oft-dense information about government forms and programs into bite-sized, actionable texts that, when deployed at the right time, make the process of getting stuff done a lot less cumbersome. This is in line with the White House’s increased focus on using behavioral science research to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs.

We’re extremely excited to see how text messaging is being used in higher education. It’s a great example of the different was texting can be applied in different industries, to great effect.

Read the full article on Wired.

4 Lessons for Delivering Flawless Customer Service by Robin Camarote

Having well-trained, intelligent employees on your team is an extremely important part of customer service delivery. In fact, our recent influencer report found that the #1 way to improve customer service is to focus on the employee experience. While this can come in many forms (training, one-on-one meetings, special events, etc.), the goal is the same: to make sure your employees are performing well. In her article for Inc., author Robin Camarote discusses the importance of taking care of your employees and empowering them to provide the best service possible. One of the ways is to encourage creative thinking and problem solving.

Encourage creative, independent thinking and problem solving. Giving employees reasonable latitude to expend both time and money enables them to take a great experience “over the top” or to fix a bad one quickly.

By treating employees well and empowering them to do their best, they in turn will pass that goodwill onto customers.

Read the full article on Inc.

Is Artificial Intelligence the Future of Customer Service? by Chinia Green of Celaton

For a time, AI was relegated to the realm of science fiction, only possible in shows like Star Trek or movies like The Terminator. But this has changed in recent years with the emergence of automated personal assistants like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, Amazon’s Echo and the supercomputer IBM Watson. And artificial intelligence is now starting to bleed into industries like customer service, which seems a natural fit given AI’s capacity to handle large amounts of information like customer data, as well as its low cost when compared to human interactions. But is AI set to take the human element out of customer service? Not entirely, according to Celaton’s Chinia Green.

With AI, organisations will be able to understand what customers are saying in real-time and respond rapidly and appropriately. A growing number of the correspondence received will be able to be dealt with minimal human intervention, ensuring that customers receive a swift, consistent and personal service. Whilst allowing humans to focus on more high value tasks, such as spending more time talking to customers to develop ‘relationships’ and reputation.

Artificial intelligence will be able to help answer common questions quickly and easily, but support agents will still manage more complex queries.

Read the full article on MyCustomer.

IBM Chief Strategist for Watson Trend App Answers 4 Questions for Marketing Innovators by Ernan Roman

The holiday season is in full swing, and with it comes the mad dash to buy just the right presents for your loved ones. But how do you know exactly what to get them, or even if they’ll like it? Enter the IBM Watson Trend app, which identifies the top trending gifts in health, tech, and toys. The app has found that the Apple Watch is a big ticket item (no surprise there) but its insights into other gifts might just be the inspiration you need for your holiday shopping. In his latest article, CX expert Ernan Roman interviews IBM Chief Strategist for the Watson Trend App Justin Norwood, and asked him about how the app will improve the customer experience. Here’s some of what he had to say.

Shoppers can use the app to understand why people are buying certain products or brands this holiday season, and it also can tell what products will be hot next, before they sell out. The app does this by distilling sentiment of tens of millions of online conversations found in 10,000 sources across social media sites, blogs, forums, comments, ratings and reviews – something no human being could do.

Artificial intelligence’s power comes from its ability to sort through massive amounts of data to gain understanding and spot trends. And while AI can be applied to help you find the best gift, the possibilities it opens are limitless.

Read the full article on CustomerThink.

Customer Service to Text Messaging: “You Complete Me” by Jeremy Watkin

At OneReach, we’re unabashed lovers of text messaging. It’s easy to use, it’s ubiquitous, it’s affordable—all of which make it a great fit for customer service. In fact, research has found that 64% of customers would rather text than call a business for their service needs. And even though texting has been around for over 20 years, it’s finally starting to be adopted by businesses not just for marketing, but for customer service. But how do you get started with adding texting to your service department? In a recent blog post, customer service expert Jeremy Watkin outlines best practices for adding texting, one of which is to be appropriately empathetic.

When you’re going for concise, there doesn’t need to be a big empathy statement. A simple “I’m sorry” or “I’m here to help” can go a long way toward giving the customer confidence that you are taking ownership if their issue. On the other side “Awesome!” or “That’s outstanding!” can convey a spirit of genuine excitement.

When texting with customers for their service needs, you need to keep their problem top of mind, as well as their feelings. This will ensure you deliver the best, most authentic service possible.

Read the full article on FCR.

To learn more about the benefits of adding texting to your business, download our whitepaper here.

Image from Spania I Dag. Edited.

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