Bots emerge as key tool in customer service — poll

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By Zsarlene B. Chua

CALIFORNIA-BASED communications company, Avaya, revealed key Philippine trends in customer experience in 2018 which highlights the increasing importance of communication tools and technologies in digital transformation.

“Businesses in the Philippines understand the importance of good customer experience and the increasing role that communications solutions will play in delivering it,” said Ferdinand Macatangay, country manager of Avaya Philippines during a media briefing on April 17 at the Shangri-La at the Fort, Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.

The survey, done together with IDC Insights (a research and consulting firm), was conducted in March and polled 29 executives from several industries in Metro Manila including business process outsourcing (BPOs), financial and manufacturing.

A similar survey was done globally in the fourth quarter of 2017 which polled 356 executives from different industries.

The first trend observed during the survey is that globally, enterprises will have enhanced capabilities to understand customers in 2018 largely due to “all the new technologies that are emerging [including] the capability to integrate multiple identities into one platform or one database and that’s a worldwide trend,” said Michael Araneta, associate vice-president for financial insights, IDC Philippines, during the briefing.

A person, he said, typically has about 28 digital IDs and once all these digital identities become integrated in one platform it will “hasten the data collection process,” and enable companies to deploy customer insights to the frontlines, among others.

In the Philippines, survey results showed that it is exactly the lack of these databases are what companies consider as the greatest barrier when attempting to improve customer experiences (59%).

In comparison, global trends point to diverse customer base expectations as the greatest barrier.

But even if enterprises manage to offer an omnichannel service, Sami Ammous, managing director of Avaya ASEAN, pointed out in the same briefing that the “omnichannel journey, there is no destination, it’s always a journey.”

The second trend the company saw is that there will be “an upsurge in the frequency of communication and interactions” as the average rate per capita of data-driven interactions per day is expected to increase 20-fold from 2015-2020.

The perceived increase in interaction was spurred by the fact that according to the Philippine survey results, most of the respondents rate the enabling of customer-to-employee communication via different channels (e.g. inbound phone, websites, SMS/chat platforms) as the most important consideration during digital transformation.

To that end, Filipino enterprises place much importance in messaging (71%), chat applications (59%) and social media (42%) as the third trend pointed towards the emergence of new channel types to serve the “truly omnichannel customer.”

Filipino companies are also much more keen on investing in advanced automated technologies such as bots and scripts compared to global results which sees blockchains as having more importance.

“The Philippine will probably lead the world in terms of having best practices in how to blend bots and scripts and augmenting them with human capabilities,” said Mr. Araneta of the fourth trend.

Finally, Avaya sees the introduction of new key performance indicators (KPIs) which will support profitable customer relations, improve customer net promoter scores and increase customer interactions for non-profitable products.

In the Philippines, companies see customer satisfaction as the most important customer service KPI at 67% followed by issue resolution rates at 56%.