Consumers today prefer to engage with a brand that offers a self-serve experience.
As a result, businesses are taking advantage of the benefits that AI-powered chatbot can bring to both the customer and the agent. And while a customer service chatbot can reduce wait times and eliminate annoying hold music, if companies don’t approach this strategy thoughtfully and with the right tooling, it can contribute to a dangerous emotional gap between businesses and their customers.
In fact, a recent Forrester Report titled ‘The Missing Human Connection’ highlighted that customer loyalty and emotional brand connections continue to lessen:
“One of the most powerful connections between companies and humans is not functioning, serving as a wake-up call for companies to look hard at existing CX programs that are not providing the emotional or economic life needed in a shift-heavy market.”
So despite a growing investment in improving the customer experience by providing a personalized customer service chatbot, there remains an emotional disconnect.
This blog post will highlight four reasons why and how this disconnect can be overcome.
1. Fading differentiation due to new competition
Consumers today are overwhelmed with digital experiences. New brands, platforms, and players are constantly vying for their attention, but when every chatbot experience feels the same, none is particularly memorable. To make emotional connections with customers, companies need to create signature experiences that stand out.
2. Increasing number of switch incentives
Businesses are making big investments to encourage customers to change brands – in some cases, so much so that they’re practically ‘buying’ customers. This can turn saturated markets into “veritable washing machines” of customer turnover, with consumers continually jumping from one offer to the next.
3. Underperforming loyalty programs
Loyalty programs are designed to prevent churn, but when they’re focused more on short-term transactions than long term rapport, they can leave customers feeling undervalued. With no shortage of choice, today’s “free-agent” consumers can take their loyalty elsewhere without giving the brand they’re leaving behind a second thought.
4. Disconnected internal support strategy
Increasing efficiency and productivity can benefit both businesses and customers, but it’s important for companies to remember that the end goal of faster service is happier customers. In the long run, customer loyalty pays off more than incremental short-term bottom line gains.
How does emotion impact your bottom line?
So why does this matter? There’s no emotion in business, right?
As shared in the Report, “emotion continues to be the most potent driver for growth. That is, at its heart, crass and clear financial risk.” Demonstrated in Forrester’s chart below, there is a significant discrepancy between the overall CX score and the level of emotional connection between customer and brand.
And while the financial implications of this ‘emotional gap’ may not be inherently and immediately clear, the Report shares, “while current P&Ls may not fully show the effects [now]...they will certainly start to show as customers increase their desire to experiment and shift, and as economic weakness reveals structural flaws in how and how well companies engage customers and drive affinity.”
How customer service chatbots can mitigate the emotional gap
It’s not just the analysts that are claiming that creating an emotional connection is key: our own study with Forrester revealed CX leaders are seeking customer service chatbots that provide a more personalized experience. In fact, 64% of businesses are planning to introduce more customized experiences over the next 18-24 months, understanding the opportunities it can bring to the business:
- More satisfied customers
- Improved customer engagement
- Increased customer loyalty
And while businesses understand the need to introduce chatbots that treat customers as a name and not a number, a whopping 50% of CX leaders claim their teams do not have the right tools to personalize customer service chatbot engagements.
Without the right tools, brands are missing out on an incredible opportunity to connect with their customers, and reap the rewards.
But don’t worry—bridging the gap is not impossible.
Next week, we’ll talk about what you can do to introduce emotion into your CX to make meaningful connections with your customers, and drive loyalty. (Spoiler alert: it’s easier than you think.)