But it’s got nothing to do with the Chiefs or the 49ers. Nor J-Lo or Shakira. Nope. The spark for this post was a certain Bill Murray reviving his character from the iconic Groundhog Day for a Jeep ad.
Naturally, customer experience is something that is on my mind a lot. And seeing Phil Connors reliving the same day, again and again, felt like the perfect analogy for the experience you get as a customer on traditional support channels.
Why traditional channels fail to provide seamless customer support
Say that you want to speak to someone on live chat. After waiting in the queue, and being routed through a chat agent case dispatcher, you then spend an hour explaining what your issue is. You then accidentally refresh your web browser and... the chat gets disconnected! Frustrated, you open the live chat again and rejoin the queue, waiting to be connected to an agent. After a few minutes, you finally get connected. Since the chat system is session-based, the system does not recognize you and automatically assigns you to a new agent. And Groundhog Day begins! You get asked the same questions as if you did not spend the last hour explaining your issue. What a frustrating experience. On the phone, it’s even worse. Wait times are longer and there isn’t even a potential transcript to rely on.
Does that sound familiar? Well, that’s something that I have experienced in both my professional and personal life (with the kids trying to troubleshoot a problem with a video game for hours having to repeat themselves again and again...), and every time it happens I can’t help but think about Bill Murray in Groundhog Day…
This decentralized, ticket-based approach to customer experience means there is no persistence, no familiarity, and no opportunity to build long-term customer relationships. It’s as though each time the customer gets in contact, the brand has lost its memory. This wastes peoples’ time - the one commodity that is irreplaceable.
A recent Forrester report perhaps puts it best:
How messaging saves your customers time
Let’s continue with the example of live chat. Say that you want your agents to be able to access the customer’s conversational history. A standalone live chat platform just won’t cut it. You’ll need to integrate it with a CRM and you’ll probably need to make some changes in the back-end so that customers can get back to the same agent. This can be a complicated process.
With messaging channels, agents always have access to full conversational history - it happens natively. It’s baked into its very essence. Messaging isn’t session-based, it’s a continuous thread of communication that stores all customer interactions. In a sense, messaging is its own CRM.
The asynchronous nature of messaging means there are no disconnections. Agents and customers can pick up conversations exactly where they left off, in the same way that we do when messaging our friends and family. This helps agents save customers time. If a customer has an ongoing issue, the agent is already up to speed with the situation and can advise the customer without them having to repeat their entire experience thus far. It also ensures agents are in a better position to empathize. “I can see you had an issue with this yesterday, I’m so sorry. Let me work out how we can get this fixed soon as possible”.
Messaging is not only the preferred channel for consumers, it’s also the channel that empowers brands to deliver rich experiences that save people time. And providing customers with convenience is the key to creating brand loyalty.
So, when are you going to free your customers from waking up on Groundhog Day?