What are your plans for Customer Service Week 2023? The annual celebration is underway this week from Monday to Friday. It initially started in the US in 1987 as an annual celebration of the people who work in customer service teams, but it has now gone far beyond the US alone.
In fact, it has also become more than just a celebration of those who work in customer service. Customer Service Week now is more like an opportunity for the entire industry to throw a spotlight on how customer service is designed and how it can be improved.
Customer Experience (CX) is at something of a crossroads. The business process outsourcing (BPO) industry has traditionally had contact centres at the centre of all customer service solutions. But the customer journey is becoming more sophisticated, there are many more options available for automation, artificial intelligence is getting much better, and platforms can create virtual contact centres.
If customers are increasingly using apps, chatting with chatbots, and generally trying to answer questions before making a call (even just asking Google) then what does this mean for those planning how to design a customer experience?
There are several angles.
There is a stronger focus on the customer relationship and the total lifetime value of the customer – rather than just focusing on the individual transaction. This is a healthy change because if your metrics are entirely focused on getting a customer off the phone as fast as possible then that is what will happen. If the metrics are focused on delivering a great experience to the customer then the calls will be short or long – whatever works best.
There is also a stronger focus on technology today. Building a modern customer service solution requires data analytics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, virtual platforms, and distributed network security.
It could be argued that many of the future competitors of the BPO brands we all know may originate from the technology industry, rather than customer service. As AI becomes more important in the management of customer interactions then why shouldn’t companies that design AI systems start competing for this business? This may also start changing the business model – which has traditionally reflected the cost of staffing contact centres. What if 80-90% of customer interactions are handled by technology? The focus shifts entirely.
To answer some of these questions, and to explore how CX strategy can adapt to this modern technology, I sat down and had a discussion with the OpenAI chatbot ChatGPT 4.0. It was a dialogue where I asked the AI system about CX and how it might change in future.
Some examples of questions I asked were:
- Explain the importance of customer experience to modern companies
- Explain why there is often a confusion between customer service and customer experience
- Why are so many customer service outsourcing contracts priced on full-time equivalent rates rather than measuring the value of improved customer satisfaction?
- Explain the problems of relying on NPS to measure customer satisfaction
- Explain how companies can turn their customers into fans of their brand rather than just customers
ChatGPT 4.0 has been trained on an enormous volume of data and therefore the answers to these questions will have been informed by almost every document on the public internet.
I can’t claim that our discussion has all the answers, but there are some very interesting observations on how the modern CX industry functions and how we need to think about CX outcomes in terms of customer satisfaction, rather than just average handle time in the contact centre.
You can read the entire in-depth discussion with ChatGPT in my new book ChatGPT: The CX Dialogue. This book was only published on September 19, but for CX Week 2023 it is available to download free for your Kindle or Kindle app. Just visit Amazon here to download your free copy.
Let me know what you think. Leave a comment here on the article or get in touch via my LinkedIn.