Originally Appeared on CustomerZone 360 News
It’s no secret that self service is a key initiative for many enterprises. Companies all over the world are investing heavily in innovative user experience design aimed at deflecting costs from the call center, increasing conversion rates, and improving customer satisfaction.
But what happens when those systems fail? Research on e-commerce conversions reveals a staggering 70 percent shopping cart abandonment rate, representing a cost to e-tailers of an estimated $1.4 trillion per year by 2020.
Transaction failure in financial services is even higher. Close to 85 percent of financial transactions are abandoned before completion, the highest rate of any industry surveyed.
Shepherding At-Risk Transactions to Conversion
The truth is even the best-designed UX won’t meet every customer’s needs every time. As online self service moves into more sophisticated industries, like financial services and insurance, transactions are becoming more important to users and more complex. It’s easy for customers to get spooked or confused and abandon a transaction entirely. Just one small roadblock can bring down a well-engineered UX flow and cost the company a lucrative transaction or even imperil a customer relationship.
What’s needed is a safety net to catch customers at the point of failure and propel them through to conversion. Forward-thinking companies are employing a micro-touch strategy – a customer service intervention that might last only seconds, where the agent can join the customer in the middle of an online transaction to guide them past a sticky point.
How does an enterprise deploy micro-touch customer service? The micro-touch is often enabled by online chat or phone support. Either of these channels can be augmented with visual engagement, which allows the agent to cobrowse or screen share with the customer. The agent can see exactly what the customer is looking at in the app or website, guide navigation, and impart expert support. Visual engagement can also include one-way agent video, showing the agent’s face to humanize the experience, convey empathy, and cool down emotional engagements.
One major financial services company we work with uses a micro-touch strategy to support their online loan applications. When people apply for loans, they commonly run into parts of the application that aren’t totally clear to them (e.g. Do I qualify? Do I need to fill out this form?). Some customers might just make their best guess and cross their fingers. Others may search the website for more information or try to call the company. But they found that many potential applicants became frustrated and paused the transaction – and many abandoned it entirely.
A breaking point like this is a major source of lost conversions and missed ROI. Successful companies understand that even today’s tech-savvy consumers expect and appreciate a real human expert to assist and guide them when self service isn’t working.
Visual engagement and micro-touching helped to smooth over the rough points in the customer journey. Personalized advice that can be delivered in the moment has lead to higher conversion rates, reduced call center times, and better ROI from their UX investment.
Increasing Conversion Through Improved Customer Experience
Beyond helping customers through the checkout process, visual engagement can increase conversions by improving customer experience overall. Companies in the financial services sector in particular finds themselves at a crossroads: companies are increasingly moving towards self service and AI to deflect costs from the call center, while at the same time they long to create a more personalized customer experience to drive loyalty. Visual engagement can streamline call center operations (through faster, more complete problem resolution) while also humanizing customer/agent interactions. Lower call center costs and premium CX.
In online transactions, first impressions matter. Eighty-eight percent of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. On the other hand, a positive pre-purchase experience with a company while the customer is still researching a product could be the push they need to complete a transaction.
Remember the service agent engaging the loan shopper with a helpful hand before they’ve even started the buying process? Forty-four percent of consumers in a recent study said that a personalized experience could make them repeat customers.
A Better Experience for the Service Agent
Visual engagement in the customer service center also makes the service agent’s job much easier and more fulfilling. With screen sharing, mobile app sharing, and cobrowsing, agents can understand what the customer is looking at, instantly, without having to ask them to describe it. Engagements are completed faster and more efficiently, improving call center metrics and agent productivity. Agents feel more empowered to do their jobs, and they find their work more fulfilling. That translates to higher morale, lower service center churn, and lower staffing costs for hiring and training new agents.
Visual engagement can personalize a UX experience so that it works for every customer – whether they’re first-time buyers or long-time customers – and prevent lost conversion opportunities across the whole customer experience.