BizMisconnect: Providing intelligent self-service to customers at a loss

Missed connections can haunt you. The ‘if only’ possibilities you return to again and again. If only you’d said something, asked for a phone number, hadn’t looked away – how would your life be different? Romantic connections aren’t the only opportunities that get missed – consumers suffer disconnects in their business relationships every day – bills that don’t get paid, answers that can’t be found, important appointments that are missed. What happens when businesses miss connections with their customers?
Connecting the conversations across the entire customer experience is key to business success.

Increasingly, consumers expect the companies they do business with to value their time and proactively help them avoid issues. Influenced by innovation across the breadth of their business relationships, they have higher expectations for the convenience, consistency, ease and speed of the service they receive. In fact, our recent research conducted by Wakefield Research showed that 90 percent reported a company’s service has a significant impact on their decision to do business with them.

Unfortunately, all too often consumers encounter a “BizMisconnect” that creates a negative customer experience. These situations occur when customer service conversations lack context; when experiences aren’t consistent across channels; when they aren’t alerted to issues; or, when their preferences are ignored. Sometimes, a BizMisconnect happens simply when a customer doesn’t know where to turn when they need help.

Check out the example below. This is a real-world example of how connecting customers to the information they can make a difference.

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This scenario illustrates the customer’s frustration – and the negative consequences – of not having an easy way to find a lost computer. Alternatively, what if the city had a centralized all-purpose customer service center that allowed callers to have an effortless self-service experience 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? That’s exactly what NYC311 did.

New York City provides the public with easy access to all non-emergency services and information through a consolidated 311 service. Averaging more than 20 million calls a year, NYC311 is the most popular channel the City offers. To continue to enhance the customer experience and reduce costs, in September 2013 they launched a new interactive voice response (IVR) platform using Natural Language Understanding technology from Nuance. Now callers are able to speak naturally and receive service immediately without having to navigate through a touchtone menu. The application captures the spoken input and analyzes its meaning to determine intent, then provides the requested information or routes the call to the appropriate agency, department or call center agent – all as part of a seamless, conversational interaction between caller and self-service system.

In this case, the customer doesn’t need to worry about knowing exactly where to go or who to call for help. By dialing just three numbers, they are connected to an automated system that can quickly and easily help them find their laptop and save the day… or sales presentation in this case.  And the consumer isn’t the only winner – their new Conversational IVR has allowed NYC311 to increase their agent availability by 25 percent and, on high-demand periods, their call center capacity by 20 percent.

While this is just one BizMisconnect example, businesses risk a missed connection every day if they rely on disconnected channels, siloed information or outdated solutions to meet customer needs. Companies need to think holistically about the customer experience they offer, extending the intuitive, anticipatory self-service consumers expect across all channels, messages and information. Be sure to check back as we explore several BizMisconnect scenarios in the coming months!

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Improved NYC311 Customer Service

See how NYC311 created a superior customer experience at a lower cost, leveraging natural language understanding and significantly enhancing self-service options.



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Lynn Ridenour

About Lynn Ridenour

Lynn leads the solutions and channel marketing efforts for the Nuance Enterprise Division. She enjoys engaging with customers, learning about their businesses, listening closely to understand their challenges, and exploring how they are optimizing their customer care experiences. Lynn has spent more than 20 years working at the intersection of marketing and innovation. She’s a veteran of several venture-backed companies in the telecommunications, software, Internet and clean technology industries.