Today, thanks to our always-on nature, we are entering a new era in the ‘Age of the Customer’—one where we expect quick, personalized, and effective service and will not hesitate to move to a competitor if these needs aren’t met. Recognizing these needs, Bold360 ai combines popular engagement channels and superior technology to create better outcomes for all and inspire brand loyalty to help companies grow and stay competitive.

In 2011, experts at Forrester Research coined the phrase ‘The Age of the Customer’ to highlight how with the advent of technology, it is not the brand, but the consumer who is the defining force in the marketplace. This is because unlike in the past where customers had little or no means to compare products or to seek recommendations, the Internet shifted the power away from brands and into the hands of the consumer.  Today, thanks to our always-on nature, we are entering a new era in the ‘Age of the Customer’.  One where we expect quick, personalized, and effective service and will not hesitate to move to a competitor if these needs aren’t met. 

This new landscape can make it hard for companies to keep up with consumer demands.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) is emerging as a way for companies to provide infinitely scalable, personal, consistent, and efficient customer service without adding further burden to budgets and support teams.   Chatbots and virtual agents, for example, are helping consumers get support – across engagement channels -- instantly to find exactly what they are looking for. 

That’s what LogMeIn’s Bold360 ai AI-powered customer engagement platform does. Seamlessly bringing together chatbots and human agents, Bold360 ai leverages AI across both self-service and agent-assisted engagement channels to deliver dramatically better customer experiences. 

“Bold360 ai is the most tightly integrated AI-powered chatbot and agent workspace in the industry today – meaning handoffs from bots to agents is seamless, includes context from previous interactions, and has the ability to offer support features like co-browse and file transfer – all from a single chat window,” Rahul Sharma, Managing Director, LogMeIn India, recently said in an interview.  “Adding A.I. to the mix allows companies to leverage their most value resource – human agents – for the most high-value customer engagements and leaves the heavy lifting of answering repeatable, simpler questions to the self-service channels.”

From helping with pre-sale purchase decisions to post-sale support questions, here’s an overview of how Bold360 ai helps make every customer interaction intelligent, engaging, and intuitive.

Creating Personalized Engagements

Although most customers want swift responses from support teams, they also want to feel valued.  Unlike traditional AI solutions that run on pre-defined scripts, the Bold360 ai chatbot is conversational, contextual, and delivers a more humanized experience.  Built on Natural Language Processing, Bold360 ai understands customer intent, i.e., the problem or task they are trying to solve and examines patterns in data to deliver the best possible outcome.

Bringing Harmony to Bots & Human Agents

Not all customer interactions are chatbot friendly, so while Bold360 ai works on the frontlines to help customers quickly get the answers they need and offload repetitive tasks from agents, it is also smart enough to understand when a human agent is needed.  Bold360 ai can elegantly bring a human agent into the conversation – including context – in the same chat window and can even continue to help the agent in the backend to provide an efficient and truly differentiated experience. 

360-Degree View of Customers

The key to success for most companies is knowing exactly who their customers are and what they need.  According to the report by Ovum, it takes 6 different interactions to resolve an issue while the surveyed contact center managers believe it takes only 1-2 touchpoints. This disconnect can be largely due to the fact that 72% of consumers surveyed search for information online before contacting an agent but the majority of contact center managers surveyed (52%) do not track digital behaviour.  Bold360 ai captures data from every customer interaction – past and present --  helping companies get a full view of their customer to understand how best to serve them as well as leveraging data analytics to help make more informed decisions around how to optimize the customer journey.

Bold360 ai is helping companies rethink what’s possible when it comes to customer engagement.  Bridging the gap between customer and companies, Bold360 ai combines popular engagement channels and superior technology to create better outcomes for all and inspire brand loyalty to help companies grow and stay competitive.

Discover smarter, more personalized engagement with your customers with Bold360 ai. It gives your business a complete view of all customers in real time, so you can deliver exceptional experiences across any channel or device.

Creating seamless and personal customer experiences is a top priority for businesses everywhere, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) may be the surest way forward. Rahul Sharma, Managing Director – LogMeIn India, discusses how the implementation of AI into business operations can lead to well-organized, cost-effective, and impactful processes that keep customers engaged.

 

 

 

 

 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is no longer a novelty for most businesses. Emerging AI-driven strategies are being used to develop and generate key insights that drive critical business functions in an enterprise. Most importantly, it’s helping businesses get closer to their customers than ever before. In an email interview with HT Brand Studio, LogMeIn India Managing Director Rahul Sharma discusses the future of customer service in a changing world.

With AI resulting in process automation across industries, which are the top 3 business functions that are expected to witness the biggest upheaval?

There are many business functions that are being transformed by AI. On a broader level, any business focused on changing their customer experience, both pre-sales and post-sales, will benefit from AI involvement in their overall strategy. Some businesses that will see immediate impact would be contact centres, marketing, financial services, and business analytics. AI can help contact centres function much more efficiently, while also providing consistent and effective customer engagements across channels. Similarly, AI will help marketers have a much better understanding of customer needs which, in turn, can help them create content that is better aligned to customer needs. And, finally, AI will help provide far more prescriptive and insightful customer data for financial services and business analytics teams. By having a more holistic understanding of the customer journey, businesses will generate a better feedback loop from the customer, and therefore smoothen out any friction in real time.

Customers in some markets still look for human interaction in front-end roles. With the advent of AI, how will multinationals tackle this challenge, will this lead to a hybrid model?

Customer service will witness a fundamental shift from “human-enabled, technology-assisted” to “technology-assisted, human-enabled” interactions. While bots will be at the front end of any interaction i.e. to handle lower-value, repetitive queries, companies will still need customer support agents to focus on higher-value customer interactions. Forward-thinking companies will quickly realize that AI can help streamline work processes and take some of the burden off overloaded agents; but, the most successful ones will take a hybrid approach. AI technology empowers both the customer and the agent. Customers have the power to self-serve where they see fit, while agents use AI insights to offer a more personalized experience when a human connection is valuable.

Do you feel legacy businesses will face transformation challenges as they adopt AI?

The challenge many established companies face when making transformations like AI is largely in culture and mindset. To be truly effective, all aspects of the business need to be customer centric – from content creation and knowledge management to business processes and engagement strategy. For example, new knowledge-bases may need to be built, newer engagement channels may need to be prioritized over legacy channels, and roles and responsibilities will need to shift to focus more holistically on the customer journey.

Chatbots have seen limited success in customer support, but voice-based AI seems to do better. Your view?

Chatbots and legacy VCA were built on highly-scripted interactions and lack the conversational nature needed to be effective in a customer service model. Today’s AI-powered chatbots are different. The right solution for customer engagement allows for natural conversations across channels, where the customer intent and context is understood. For example, at the start of a conversation, a modern chatbot should be able to factor in a customer’s location, purchase history, and preferences to create a highly-personalized experience that meets the expectations of today’s consumer. AI is helping introduce customers to new channels like voice-assistants, while also breathing new life into legacy channels like email and SMS.

For B2C start-ups, which have limited resources to invest in call centres, how important are customer support AI systems?

AI-powered customer engagement solutions can help smaller companies offer a consistent level of service that is comparable to larger companies. AI is cost-effective, infinitely scalable, has quick ramp-up time, and continues to learn and improve with every interaction. AI also assists live agents do their jobs more efficiently and effectively – whether that’s helping with training and onboarding or feeding information on a particular customer to enhance their interaction.

In today's age of redressals and grievances reaching social media for the world to see, has customer satisfaction become a benchmark among consumers for making their brand choices?

For a while, brands have known that they need to be thinking about customer experience, but we are starting to see the full effect of companies that have not acted on it. In fact, 82% of customers will stop doing business with a brand after one bad experience. We are seeing companies move toward an omni-channel engagement strategy that helps them engage with customers in a multitude of ways – live chat, social, chatbot, email, SMS, etc. This helps companies be where their customers are and, thereby, build durable relationships that will grow over time.

What are some of the crucial ways in which the modern – especially the millennial – customer differs from its previous generations? How can technologies like Bold360 help brands reconcile the differences?

Millennials did not grow up in the dial-up age. They have only lived in a world where they have access to almost everything at their fingertips. While one might accuse this generation of being impatient, we cannot dismiss the fact that this is their normal: They will not take kindly to being kept on hold over the phone. In today’s world, customers – millennials or otherwise – make use of multiple channels to engage with brands. They expect the brand to know who they are, the products and services they are using, their history with the brand, and preferences. Bold360 provides all the digital channels and tools brands need to engage with consumers seamlessly, while presenting agents with the full context of those interactions on a single panel. This makes agents knowledgeable about their customers, and engagements fundamentally better.

While the internet does connect people from different parts of the world, quite often the unseen obstacle is a difference in internet speeds between 2 countries. How do the services of LogMeIn deal with this challenge?

A unique aspect of AI is that it can work across channels offering a consistent and high quality customer experience. Therefore, users based in different locations that have different application and channel preferences can choose the channel that works best for them – wherever they are.

One of the USPs of the Bold360 interface is its intuitive UI. Could you talk about its distinguishing features and what kind of testing you do to gauge its intuitive nature?

The Bold360 interface is designed to provide agents with the information they need to resolve issues quickly. It consolidates data from different systems and presents a unified view of a customer’s entire lifecycle. Agents can easily work across different channels while seeing a complete history of all interactions for the customer they are assisting.

Customers that have adapted Bold360 have seen a positive impact in customer service satisfaction scores and agent productivity metrics.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are the new driving forces of the economy. How is Bold360’s range of services and products equipped to take on the unique challenges of SMBs?

Bold360 was designed from the ground up to deploy quickly, be effective out of the box, and to grow with a company. On the AI side, for example, a company can start with a single channel of engagement, such as a dynamic search bar, that drives key customer insights. They can then take these learnings and scale them to other channels via AI or with live agents to focus on higher customer value interactions. Bold360 helps companies better understand their customers so they can deliver better outcomes.

Data security is a major concern across the world. How does LogMeIn (and consequently Bold360) ensure that there are no lapses when it comes to that?

Security is at the forefront of everything we do at LogMeIn. Our products – including Bold360 – are architected with security being the most important design objective.

What is the way forward for Bold360 in India? What exciting new innovations can partners and customers expect from the brand?

We recently launched Bold360 ai, a groundbreaking offering from the Bold360 family that brings together chatbots and human agents under one umbrella to deliver remarkably better customer experiences. Bold360 ai joins the Bold360 omni-channel engagement platform to create the most tightly integrated AI-powered chatbot and agent workspace in the industry today.  Bold360 makes handoffs from bots to agents seamless, contextual and offers support features like co-browse and file transfer – all from a single chat window.

We are excited about it because when we launched Bold360 last year we delivered a true omni-channel solution that gives agents a 360-degree view of their customer. We now add AI across channels to help empower more intelligent self-help and agent assisted interactions. Bold360 ai represents a fundamental shift away from the status-quo of customer engagement, one that our customers have been asking for and that the industry has been missing: from “Human Enabled, Technology assisted” to Technology enabled, Human Assisted”.

Thanks to our hyper-connected digital world, brands today must put their smartest, most charming selves forward in order to create memorable connections, and offer unique solutions for customers. From instant resolutions to intelligent and personalized service at their fingertips, the modern consumer demands far more from their favored brand in exchange for their loyalty. As a result, businesses are stepping up their communication game –not just by being available anytime and anywhere, but also by going the extra mile to make their customers’ day.

For many of us, dealing with customer service teams can be a nightmare, but, from a brand’s point of view—it’s critical to turn that prospective nightmare into a positive experience. Not only can a single bad experience translate into a loss of a customer, but a negative reputation also dissuades prospective customers from making purchases.

Consider the case of Delhi-based corporate lawyer Krisshna Sarswat. About three months ago, when the infuriated 26-year-old tried to lodge a complaint on food-ordering app Zomato, he had no inkling of what lay in store.

“I was very hungry, and my order was taking longer than usual to get delivered. The customer care ‘bot’, however, responded very sweetly and even flirted with me. When I said, ‘I want to break up’, it said, ‘Nooo, I can’t lose you’,” laughs Krisshna.

The chat went viral on social media, and Krisshna even ended up getting Rs. 400 credited to his Zomato Wallet. “Even today, the incident puts a wide grin on my face,” he adds.

More often than not, customer service essentially boils down to individuals—that one person on duty—whose training, initiative, and presence of mind, can either make or break the customers’ day.

A pinch of humor

Handling a disgruntled consumer with humorous, witty replies is a trend, catching on quickly among many brands. A few years ago, an online conversation between a representative of e-commerce major Amazon and a customer, had all Marvel fans in splits. While looking into a book order that had somehow got messed up, the executive, apparently called ‘Thor’, role-played with the buyer who named himself ‘Odin’.

“Thor, my son. Agony raises upon my life,” the customer wrote.

Responding to this, ‘Thor’ wrote, “This is outrageous! Who dares defy The All Father Odin! What has occurred to cause this agony?”

Another time, an employee of British travel application, Skyscanner, became an internet celebrity after she responded to a glitch pointed out on the website by a consumer.

“Just wondering what you’d recommend I do during the 47-year layover your website has suggested?” James Llyod, the customer, wrote on Skyscanner’s Facebook page, after he noticed that the website suggested that he take a 4,13,786-hour and 25-minute layover at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on a trip from New Zealand to London.

That’s when Jen, the company’s social media manager, stepped in. She not only offered to look into the mistake, but also offered a few suggestions as to how James could spend all those ‘years’.

“Unless you’re a huge fan of The Terminal, I’d probably recommend spending those years outside the airport, so here are a few suggestions…..a cruise on the Chao Phraya river, become a Tai Chi expert….,” wrote Jen.

The longest call ever

If you want to learn something incredibly inspiring, hear this: on June 11, 2016, Steven Weinstein, a call-centre employee at the online shoe and apparel brand, Zappos, undertook a customer-service call that lasted a whole 10 hours, 43 minutes. The customer initially called to enquire about a few products but ended up talking to Weinstein for several hours after.

Based out of the company headquarters in Las Vegas, Weinstein reportedly took only one break during the 11-hour period, while his colleagues got him snacks and water when required. His call broke the previous record set in a similar situation – by Amazon representative Mary Tennant in 2012 (her call lasted 9 hours, 37 minutes).  Weinstein admitted that he didn't stay on the line for so long "just for the sake of breaking" the record — he simply wanted to impress his customer.

Something that all brands and customer care executives can learn from the executive at Zappos is the importance of putting customers before everything else, be it for a crucial and complicated query or a simple chat.

Customer service has come a long way since the days of waiting endlessly on hold in a call center.  Today’s brands know the value each and every customer brings to the business and are working to build customer experiences that go above and beyond to be more efficient, more intelligent and tailored to each individual.  Technology is playing a huge role in this transformation.   There are more engagement channels than ever before with live chat, social media, mobile and even artificial intelligence becoming cornerstones of how customers communicate.  The key for brands is to not only support these channels, but do so seamlessly so that customers can move from channel to channel – with context – allowing service teams to have a 360-degree view of the customer’s journey so they can best help them.  

That’s where Bold360 by LogMeIn comes in.  Working to revolutionize digital customer service, the Bold360 family combines popular engagement channels, support tools, a unified interface and next-generation artificial intelligence to bridge the gap between customer and vital business information, helping companies deliver the immediate and personalized results consumers – like those mentioned above -- expect.  By delivering fast and frictionless engagement, Bold360 not only increases productivity for businesses, but also empowers agents to find new ways of servicing clients; in turn, helping them create funny, endearing, and memorable connections with their customers.

Discover smarter, more personalized engagement with your customers with Bold360. It gives your business a complete view of all customers in real time, so you can deliver exceptional experiences across any channel or device.

 

Customers today are both empowered and well-informed, often even more than the brand’s service agents. They’re also demanding and far less patient that the generation before. With rapidly changing behaviour and engagement patterns across the globe, how can brands continue to stay relevant? This infographic outlines key trends impacting digital customer engagement and what companies can do to keep up.

 

Discover smarter, more personalized engagement with your customers with Bold360. It gives your business a complete view of all customers in real time, so you can deliver exceptional experiences across any channel or device.

Today’s digitally savvy consumer expects to be on a first name basis with your business. Sure, you can rely on your CRM system, but that only provides a partial view of your customers. Your agents need an up close and personal view of your customers to truly engage with them; they need a 360-degree view. See what real intelligent customer engagement looks like with Bold360.

 

Discover smarter, more personalized engagement with your customers with Bold360. It gives your business a complete view of all customers in real time, so you can deliver exceptional experiences across any channel or device.

Online customers have high expectations when it comes to service and you only have one chance to get it right. Ensuring your company is ready to engage and support your online customers is critical if you hope to earn their loyalty, advocacy, and wallet share.

Forrester estimates that U.S. ecommerce sales will reach $523 billion by 2020, accounting for nearly 14% of retailers’ annual sales revenue. And nearly more than half of those purchases will happen via mobile devices.

But make no mistake: online customers have high expectations when it comes to service, and you only have one chance to get it right. 

This eBook outlines 5 tips for taking your customer engagement strategy to the next level, to help you delight your customers and boost your bottom line.

Discover smarter, more personalized engagement with your customers with Bold360. It gives your business a complete view of all customers in real time, so you can deliver exceptional experiences across any channel or device.

In today’s world, customers want to be able to interact with a company in a way that parallels their other communications. They want to text, they want to message and, if they have to pick up the phone, they want their history with the company to be immediately available to the agent. The article explains the paradigm shift in customer engagement and how companies around the world are harnessing digital tools and technology to know and serve their customers better.

You recently purchased a shirt that had a torn button. How do you intend to register a complaint? If you bought the product from a store, you would probably have to visit it again to return or exchange the shirt. If you got it online, you would know what to do – call up the company or shoot a mail to customer care stating your grievances.

Technology has revolutionized the way we communicate. Today, buyers are more informed and compare products online before making purchases. Businesses are being carried out on mobile phones, apps, websites, and social media. While both offline and online experiences go a long way in influencing consumer behaviour, trends indicate that technology has enabled companies to know their customers better and deliver on their needs. For instance, brands nowadays take to online forums to seek feedback from customers after or before launching a product. Ad wizard Roy H. Williams once famously said, “The first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is to know those expectations.”

Brands are harnessing technology to gain such insights and build a sustainable relationship with their customers. Here is a look at what customer loyalty means in the digital age.

More informed choices

Most company websites furnish content that is interesting for consumers. The stories revolve around the products offered by the brand and other customer-relevant information so that people can make more informed purchases. For example, if you are planning to buy an Apple iPhone, you can visit the company’s website to learn about the various features of the product. Similarly, if you are planning to invest in a health insurance policy, expect to find various health-related stories on the respective company’s website. Without this accessibility, customers would have to depend on word-of-mouth recommendations to make purchases.

Quick redressal of complaints

With the technology boom, it is so much easier for customers to register their grievances with companies. Before lodging a complaint with the consumer court, people have the option to go vocal on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. In most cases, companies take these comments seriously, as negative words can spoil the reputation of the brands. According to government data, e-commerce firms resolved grievances in 77% of cases. Many companies, such as Amazon, even contact their customers to gather feedback on the products purchased. Further, many company websites give consumers the option to review a product. A study conducted by AC Nielsen and AbsoluData states that nearly 40 million Indians use the product review feature to inform others about their purchase decisions.

Personalised experiences

Technology has enabled companies to create personalised experiences for customers at every point of interaction. For example, e-commerce majors such as Amazon, Myntra, and Jabong send personalised e-mails to their customers depending on their browsing history and recent purchases. So, if you recently bought a book by Danielle Steel from Amazon, expect e-mails suggesting books of similar genres or by the same author. Or, if you bought a pink skirt from Jabong, expect e-mails suggesting tops that you could teem it with.

Sample this: Purplle, an online company that offers beauty products in India, quizzes every first-time user to know their preferences and accordingly recommends products. Recently, Uber added two new features – ‘in-app chat’ and ‘multi-destination’ – to its app to enrich user experience. While the first service allows riders to provide information about their exact locations without incurring any charges, the other enables users to add multiple stops along their routes. Even social networking website Facebook displays only relevant updates on a user’s page.

A humane touch

Technology has done a commendable job in fostering emotional ties between companies and customers. For example, cab aggregator Uber Technologies Inc. has been making ad films inspired by real rider and driver-partners. The stories highlight how technology has empowered people in everyday situations and how riders conceive of Uber as a brand. Further, many e-commerce companies offer coupons, discounts, reward points, and free merchandise to customers who make frequent purchases from them. For example, Amazon launched its paid loyalty programme called ‘Prime’ that provides free and faster shipping, online video and music streaming, and cloud streaming, among others.

The way forward

The world over, a large number of companies like Apple, Microsoft, Skype, and Amazon are embracing the capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) to engage with customers. AI is the ability of machines to perform functions that otherwise need human intelligence. AI tools such as chatbots, virtual personal assistants, and voice-activated apps offer more personalised experiences to users and ensure that they find what they are looking for. For example, shoppers can be told which shirt can be matched with a pair of trousers, or which car has the best mileage. AI also offers communication channels to consumers based on their age, such as a telephone call, email, social media, or chat. The idea is to save time by providing quick intelligent solutions to basic queries, cover up for a shortage of manpower to handle consumer complaints, and cut costs for companies.

Discover smarter, more personalized engagement with your customers with Bold360. It gives your business a complete view of all customers in real time, so you can deliver exceptional experiences across any channel or device.

This Fifth Quadrant infographic visualizes the direct impact of poor consumer experiences on loyalty and advocacy, current frustrations with customer service, and expectations for delivering personalized and seamless experience.

 

Online customers have high expectations when it comes to service and you only have one chance to get it right. Ensuring your company is ready to engage and support your online customers is critical if you hope to earn their loyalty, advocacy, and wallet share.

This eBook shares five tips to take your customer engagement strategy to the next level.

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