Omni-channel customer engagement creates context across interactions

The digital transformation of the contact center is essential to achieving key Enterprise objectives – lowering customer service costs, increasing lifetime value and maintaining share through strong customer loyalty. Systems must have contextual awareness of the many interactions that occur in a typical customer journey, as well as the ability to seamlessly engage a human agent when that is the best option. At Nuance, we deliver intelligent, omni-channel customer engagement solutions to global industry leaders. Here we lay out five critical components for profitable consumer engagement: 1) a digital-first strategy, 2) connected conversations, 3) targeted interactions, 4) anticipatory involvement, and 5) use of artificial intelligence.
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With the recent acquisition of TouchCommerce, Nuance now offers an omni-channel customer engagement solution that intelligently integrates industry-leading self-service capabilities with assisted-service to drive sales and brand loyalty in a cost-effective manner.

With the recent acquisition of TouchCommerce, Nuance now offers an omni-channel customer engagement solution that intelligently integrates industry-leading self-service capabilities with assisted-service to drive sales and brand loyalty in a cost-effective manner. TouchCommerce CEO Bernard Louvat says Nuance virtual assistant is integrated with TouchCommerce live chat offering to provide superior omni-channel engagement.

But why is omni-channel customer engagement better than self-service on its own?

To cut to the chase, it’s all about results. An enterprise’s ultimate goal is to serve faster and sell more, driving repeat sales and advocacy through strong customer loyalty. Self-service solutions meet customer demand for quick, efficient interactions while lowering costs for the organization, but in certain service and sales situations assisted-service remains the best way to ensure success. As Forrester points out, “Fifty-three percent of customers are likely to abandon their online purchases if they can’t find quick answers to their questions. Seventy-three percent say that valuing their time is the most important thing companies can do to provide them with good customer service.” The key is recognizing when self-service is effective or when live agent assistance is required and offering a seamless transition between them.

Here are five components that are important in an effective omni-channel customer engagement solution:

  1. Digital- first
  2. Connected conversations
  3. Targeted and personalized
  4. Anticipatory involvement
  5. Powered by artificial intelligence

Digital-first

An effective digital self-service solution on web, mobile, social and messaging channels is critical to achieving desired business results.  According to Forrester, “customers increasingly leverage self-service and digital channels for customer service because these channels offer the least amount of interaction friction.” Our virtual assistant, Nina, now integrated with live chat and enhanced web-based capabilities from TouchCommerce, ensures that the customer’s needs are met on their channel of choice without having to escalate to the most expensive channel for companies to support – voice. Furthermore, our platform enables investments in building an intelligent virtual assistant that can be leveraged across all digital channels – mobile, web, messaging and social.

Connected conversations

Consumers expect the companies they do business with to be aware of their prior interactions – they resent having to connect the dots and resent having to repeat themselves, even when their conversation moves between channels. Nuance Conversational IVR, Proactive Engagement and Nina Virtual Assistant solutions cover the full spectrum of channels from voice to digital. By capturing data about those interactions, we provide superior experiences that carry context from one channel to the next.  For example, our IVR solution is aware that a consumer calling in was recently contacted with an outbound message and, as a result, we can quickly route the caller to the best resolution. With the addition of advanced customer journey capabilities from TouchCommerce, our virtual assistant now has the context of consumer behavior on the website, enabling a more effective self-service engagement. Should the customer need the assistance of a live chat agent, the interaction history is seamlessly shared — reducing average handle time and increasing customer satisfaction. Additionally, TouchCommerce capabilities extend the reach of our virtual assistants to the offline world with solutions that enable media advertisements and in-store displays to connect consumers with digital self-service.

Targeted and personalized

TouchCommerce website tagging gathers clickstream data to inform the virtual assistant and live chat agent. By understanding what the consumer has been doing on the website, we are able to predict their individual needs and what personalized assistance makes sense. This enables consumer service and purchase needs to be handled quickly, within the most effective channel, while reserving live agent interaction for the highest value activities.

Anticipatory

Virtual assistants are often passive, waiting for consumers to initiate an interaction. However, contextual awareness of the customer journey allows Nuance to proactively engage consumers, providing knowledgeable assistance — through virtual assistant or live chat agent – when the consumer needs help the most. This is particularly useful for improving web sales conversions and increasing average order size. Similarly, our proactive engagement solution is highly effective at deflecting high cost calls into the call center by reaching out to consumers with messages that anticipate their need.

Powered by artificial intelligence

Automating interactions with Natural Language Understanding and conversational dialog is difficult given the high number of potential consumer intents and myriad ways they can express themselves. At Nuance, artificial intelligence techniques like machine learning play a crucial role in reducing the cost and time to market for these solutions. We use live chat transcripts and collect virtual assistant interaction data to expand the understanding of a consumer’s intent using machine learning interactions. With the integration of TouchCommerce, the live and virtual agent collaborate, improving knowledge and accuracy over time.

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Good Alone, Better Together: Integrating Chat and Virtual Agents

Self-service integration offers substantial advantages with relatively little added complexity. Companies with fully integrated solutions will likely realize improved customer satisfaction scores, increased sales, and sizable customer service cost reductions.

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Pablo Supkay

About Pablo Supkay

Pablo Supkay is Senior Manager, DCS Product Management, responsible for Nuance’s virtual assistant, Nina. Pablo has over 20 years of experience in UX design, customer engagement, targeting and personalization. Prior to Nuance, he held product management positions at Corbis Corporation and Microsoft, where he worked on a variety of initiatives to optimize customer experience across the customer journey. Pablo holds an MBA from Rice University and a Plan II Honors BA from the University of Texas at Austin.