: When easy access hides complexity

You earn delighted customers by providing great service and wonderful products, and by making life easy for your clients. This includes easy access, not only to your products and services, but also to customer service. Increasingly, customer service is part of the overall experience for your clients. And they justly require customer service representatives to respond fast, friendly and correctly to their questions.

If you are a single-product and/or a single-service company for a not too complicated good, organizing your customer service shouldn’t be too difficult. You only have one customer service team that is trained in a relatively short timeframe. Moreover, you can pretty well predict the inflow of customer requests and plan the team’s load accordingly.

Easy customer access hides organizational complexity

Once your product portfolio is becoming larger and clients’ requests and issues are more diversified, you still want to offer easy access to customer service from the outside. But this has a downside for your internal organization. You will struggle with increasing complexities on the inside. You will have to implement first, second, and probably also a third level of support. It will become increasingly impossible to train every customer service representative on all details of all products or services. You would want different expert teams to handle different kind of requests. Etc.

For incoming calls, interactive voice response (IVR) menu choices will lead your customer to the right service team or person. For customers wanting to send a written message you could mimic the IVR menus through a whole set of different email addresses or a sophisticated message form on an extranet or portal. This solution is often not customer-friendly and not very trustworthy. Customers will anyhow find the easiest paths to your organization and will not adhere to your internal organizational procedures. On top of that, clients increasingly urge to benefit from the plethora of communication channels, including Twitter and Facebook.

Text analytics reduces the dispatch of incoming customer requests from a day to milliseconds.

Tackling complexity

Client-friendly customer service directors tackle this complexity through an intermediate “digital mailroom”: people scanning through the incoming emails to label them or forward the messages to the appropriate team mailbox. This solution hides the company’s internal complexity from the customer. But this labeling process takes a lot of effort and time, and therefore, the reply to the customer gets delayed, sometimes for a day or more.

Moreover, the sorting of incoming messages depends solely on the expertise of the digital mailroom staff, who need to be trained as well to perform a task that adds no value whatsoever for the client. The customer friendliness comes at a high cost for both the customer and your company.

Text analytics removes work resulting from complexity

Fortunately, data science techniques and text analytics can free the organization of most of these low-value tasks. Its objectives are to triage and forward the incoming messages automatically to the right customer service representative in just milliseconds. Natural language processing (NLP) techniques have come a long way.

Through a combination of cheap and fast processing power and mature tools, most of your digital mailroom team can be re-assigned to really serve the customer. Answering the customer’s request can start the same day this customer sent you a message, not the day after.