Engaging with customers in an efficient and speedy manner has increasingly become key for operations and customer satisfaction in every organisation. This is especially true for consumer-oriented industries such as financial services, insurances, retail, telecommunications, tourism and utility suppliers, where interaction is mostly based on documents of all kinds – thousands of them every day.

This is easier said than done, as on the surface, the majority of companies in consumer-facing industries offer similar suites of products and services.

Due to this almost commoditised status of the product, customer satisfaction is a huge differentiator for these companies. As a result, organisations are increasingly turning to automated technologies to satisfy customer needs quicker – from on-boarding to order processing and technical support to complaint management. Optimised customer experience management is the key to keeping and attracting new customers.

A focus on inbound communication

Customer experience management is a market that contains multiple software offerings, from customer relationship management (CRM) and input management tools to marketing automation. While many organisations have these applications in place, they are often operating in siloes from one another. This disconnect significantly hampers the organisation and reduces the value and insights these resources can deliver.

Without single accountability for customer experience, which can span multiple functions – from marketing, sales and customer services, how can an organisation expect to meet customer needs? The answer is by focusing on inbound communication. Ensuring that an organisation is prioritising correspondence correctly and getting it to the right person with the correct level of authority will go a long way towards building trust and a good reputation.

Increasingly customers are turning to social media, using platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to register queries and complaints. This brings the added expectation of real-time response. According to a study by Convince & Convert, a third of customers prefer contacting brands through social media. Most importantly, 40 per cent will start purchasing from another brand if it has a good reputation for great customer service.

Self-service scenarios are becoming increasingly popular among consumers, who can use their mobile devices to capture and share information. Organisations can enable customers to scan or photograph documents, such as application forms and identification and send them via a mobile application to a central processing infrastructure – or even to cloud-based processing solutions.

An automated input management system gives organisations the ability to capture these documents at the right point of engagement and accelerate processes, from sending documents to health or car insurance providers by smartphone, to processing identification documents when opening a new account. This ultimately allows the customer to feel more in control of their personal matters.

Getting processes up to speed

So how does an organisation cope with all this information coming in through various channels? Inbound customer communication needs to be processed at high speed and in a way that enables productive internal workflows. At the same time, it must still meet customer expectations in responding promptly to queries and complaints in a personalised manner.

Organisations should look for a single platform – a capture solution that transforms information, regardless of its input channel, into business-ready data. Information that can be handed over to backend enterprise systems and workflows.

With the explosion of data, traditional working practices are groaning under the weight of information flooding into organisations. A large volume of documents in customer care scenarios is paper based and highly structured or semi-structured, such as application forms or validation documents. However, the percentage of unstructured information, as in general correspondence, email complaints and social media posts, will generally increase up to 80 per cent.

An efficient enterprise capture solution should therefore automatically classify and process unstructured content on the same platform and as fast and efficiently as structured information. Analysing the unstructured content of customer communication gives better insight of customers’ perception and can help optimise business processes.

Automating case management

Whether data is captured from application forms or accompanying identification, documents need to be validated. To aid this, the right solution should be converting all relevant information into digital assets. The intelligent extraction of customer information, which can be cross-referenced with data from other documents, supports organisations in the detection and prevention fraud. Automation of customer on-boarding processes will not only shorten response time and approval cycles but also raise data quality by eliminating manual entry work.

Every customer request has its specific requirements and triggers down-stream case management workflows. What they all have in common is the customer’s expectation of round-the-clock response. Capture and classification technologies are ideal for helping to prioritise cases, and move the needle forward on processing inbound requests and response time for customer complaints.

By capturing communication from various incoming channels on a single platform, staff will get a 360-degree view of any case and can reply with the needed priority via the right channel. This will help reduce churn and improve overall customer satisfaction and retention.

The customer’s voice

Intelligent text analytics and information extraction technologies can reveal events and relationships across unstructured information. Analysis enables an organisation to capture a customer’s expectations, preferences and aversions, while at the same time automating response and creating an active line of communication with the customer.

This is especially useful in understanding a new generation of customers. Language-based insight into unstructured information and a semantic analysis will open up new opportunities. For example, discovering positive and negative drivers for business issues, gaining useful insights to reduce churn and identifying group trends.

Intelligent, language-based topic analysis can support the categorising of customer comments into business-relevant topics. Based on detected topics that frequently appear in enquiries across customers and channels, organisations can identify content to feed frequently asked questions. At the same time, the analysis of trends in complaints or support cases can help management to predict where a business might be going. It can even give valuable input for future product development.

Having tools in place that help to prioritise and route requests and cases to available resources will help organisations manage expectations and build relationships with customers in the long term. This is why organisations should invest in intelligent capture and classification technologies. The right input management tools will ultimately enable productive internal workflows and at the same time enable them to meet customer expectations.

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