Smart Support: The Potential of Communities

A call to the call centre can be quite nerve-wrecking: First you are stuck on hold, then you often have a stressed employee on the telephone who hardly knows where his or her head is anymore. It is no wonder, then, that many clients shy away from a call to customer service. Yet the desire remains, to obtain a rapid response to simple questions. Many companies have already recognised this, and so in past years, new offerings have emerged in the area of customer service in addition to telephone support, such as FAQs or chatbots. However, the responses that the customer obtains by these means are intentionally kept very general and do not address specific problems. Unfortunately, the artificial intelligence in chatbots is not yet capable of offering customised assistance. Considerably more promising, on the other hand, is the concept of customers assisting one another. Here, too, artificial intelligence can play a role, but with a more human (or better) result.

More Credibility to Support

According to a study from the market research company “Forrester Research,” 73% of all customers desire flexible and personal support at every time of day and night. It is extremely expensive to ensure this support at the desired quality, whether through external service providers or internal customer service. The concept of “customers assisting customers” promises to establish a remedy here. Support provided by existing customers is considerably cheaper, as a rule, than when employees need to render that service. In addition, customer-customer support is superior to traditional customer service at the level of confidence building. A customer is less biased than employees. Support occurs among his or her own kind.

Better Availability of Support

The majority of online purchases occurs in the evening and on the weekend according to a study from KMPG. Thus, a large part of revenue arises precisely when customer service employees are unavailable. Here, too, customer-customer support presents itself as a solution. Nowadays, the community is accessible virtually 24/7. As a result, a potential buyer finds support exactly when he or she needs it. This will be even more important in the future, as digital natives and therewith, online purchases, continue to increase.

A Proven Concept Consistently Pursued

It has long been common in internet forums for users to assist one another, and so there are numerous companies that conduct forums on their own products. Unfortunately, however, those forums are mostly unstructured, and so many customers do not find their way around in them. Whoever does not find an answer to his or her problem must additionally have the courage first to publicly ask a question. And if a question is asked, it usually takes quite a while for a competent user of the forum to respond to it, if at all. Herein lies the potential of machine learning, as that way, experts are able to be identified for certain subjects and to be assigned specific problems. At best, these experts consist of customers. While the artificial intelligence in chatbots drafts responses, it works decently in the background with this approach: customers are connected with one another in the best possible way based on interests, availability, and the quality of assistance provided in the past. This new approach is also considerably friendlier. The customer is also dealt with via chat, but not by a machine; instead, he or she experiences personal support.

We would be happy to explain to you in a personal discussion how you can activate your community and how this new support can be applied to your products and services.

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