By Ryan Lester, Director, Customer Engagement Technologies, LogMeIn
It used to be so easy. You could send an employee to a customer’s home to solve a problem or tell someone to come into your physical store for you to take a look at their product.
Today, though, that approach almost never works. For one thing, social distancing keeps people from engaging face to face any more than they have to. But the problem runs deeper than COVID. Customers just don’t want that kind of high-touch, hand-holding treatment like they once did. Instead, they want to get things done quickly and on their own.
Visual engagement can help to accelerate the ways that businesses stay close to customers. What is visual engagement? Simply put, it’s using technology such as screen sharing to create a positive customer experience.
Recently on CX Next, I brought on Marie Ruzzo, Director of Customer Engagement & Support at LogMeIn, and Katherine Caporiccio (Kat), Product Manager, Support Solutions at LogMeIn. We discussed some of the insights we’ve recently gained both from a market research perspective and also from some of the work we’re doing here on visual engagement at LogMeIn.
“When businesses are looking to adopt visual engagement technology to improve the customer experience, they’re looking to address two primary issues. They want to create the most effortless experience possible for the customer. And they want to do it in a way that they can create trust between the customer and the representative.” —Marie Ruzzo
How customers get support in a post-COVID world
For some people, great CX has always been about that concierge, white-glove service that their customers are used to expecting, and that typically happens in person.
For instance, Kat started working with a benefits insurance company that provided a lot of benefits for people in the education and public sector space. Company representatives actually went into schools, sat side-by-side with the teachers and staff members, and helped them fill out applications…long, comprehensive applications filled with difficult jargon. You needed side-by-side help to complete them.
But in the world in which we’re living right now, that became impossible. And it’s not just an immediate problem. It could be a very long time before people feel comfortable having sales reps come back into schools. As a result, this company just halted its business.
There are a lot of personal factors and decisions to make when applying for insurance. So you don’t want someone to just fill out those forms on your behalf. You very much want to be involved in all the different steps.
This company, however, had no virtual experience so people couldn’t fill out their applications online, and of course, in-person was a no-go. The company had to pivot to ensure that those applications got completed and that the customers had a good experience. After working with Kat, the insurance company was able to use tools to visually guide the customer, and they could go through the form together with the person filling it out.
That’s just one example. Many companies, even digitally mature companies, are now discovering just how in-person dependent they really are. That’s okay, though, because businesses operating in a paperless world can still transform many of their systems as things are evolving. Even legacy systems that are paper-based or in-person based can take a dramatic leap forward through accessible, user-friendly technologies.
“If we look at some visual engagement tools, I’m really excited to say that we don’t actually have to add any code to the website. And the reason that’s so important is not everyone has a web team or dedicated resources.” —Katherine Caporiccio
How visual engagement solves the problems customers care about
Customer expectations are changing. What do customers care about? What are they looking for? How is visual engagement solving those challenges?
The driving need for many customers is for a purpose-built solution because not everyone was prepared to work from home. They have a lot of tools in their tool belt, and they’re just kind of pulling out whatever they can to get by. But many of the tools that they were using aren’t necessarily working.
Someone might even be using a collaboration tool that wasn’t necessarily ideal. Let’s say you’re filling out an application and there’s a need to mask private data, for example.
Prior to COVID? No problem. Things were a little more acceptable because you could get by in person or with other tools. But now? Online is the sole way of communicating, and there are higher standards that need to be met from a security standpoint. Beyond that, both parties need to reinforce the end user’s muscle memory so that they can learn how to do it going forward, as opposed to just sitting back and letting someone else do it for them.
The current situation can help drive the behavior around self-service. At the end of the day, though, people often like doing things for themselves, mostly because of convenience and speed. Empowering the customer helps them solve their own problems and do so faster.
“Whether it’s selling stocks or trying to complete an application, these are big decisions. They tend to be quite complex. And I think there’s definitely a need to have someone visually guide you through that.” —Katherine Caporiccio
How can visual engagement be a solution, not another problem?
Customers have already gotten frustrated trying to solve a problem, and now you’re putting another hurdle in front of them with this visual engagement technology? That doesn’t feel like it’s solving the problem. And for the employee? Doesn’t it feel like they’re setting up a problem instead of a solution?
It could. That’s a serious concern. So when we’re thinking about leveraging this technology, we have to ask: how do we make it easy for everybody involved?
We focus on solving the problem, not setting up a system to solve the problem.
And you have to solve the problem holistically. Don’t make the end-user download anything. Don’t create super expensive technology. And don’t invest in something that requires a support team to manage it. Keep the focus on solving the problem.
Fortunately, that shouldn’t be difficult. The playing field is leveling, and anyone can use much of the visual engagement technology that’s available.
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