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Apac CIO Outlook | Wednesday, May 11, 2022
At Accor Plus we have been on an exciting customer led digital transformation journey for the last couple of years. One of the biggest light bulb moments and rationale driving this transformation was the realisation that in the digital age that we live in, customers are not comparing you only to your competitors; they are comparing you to the best customer experiences they have had. This in effect means that you are being compared to the world leaders in CX; and you either have to keep up or be left behind.
As part of this digital transformation, we knew the importance of delivering an omni channel digital experience that would be agile and continue to evolve as our customers' expectations changed. We partnered with Zendesk and implemented their CX platform to deliver omni channels to our teams in the Pacific and India in January 2020. During this implementation our vision was to redesign our processes through the lens of ‘Members First’. This was of pivotal importance so that we could drive significant improvements to the customer journey. As part of our omni channel experience we incorporated voice, email, webform, live chat, AI/Answer bot and self service.
Self service was always going to be a key pillar of our omni channel transformation, and would also assist in deflecting ‘high volume, low touch’ queries. Benchmarked data showed that over the past 4 years self service adoption had increased by 103 percent globally and there was an appetite within our customer base to elevate our self servicing capabilities. This is not to suggest that we wanted to stop talking to our members (far from it- data has demonstrated that members who spoke to us even about a complaint were 4-5 times more likely to renew), however we wanted to encourage quality value adding conversations as opposed to quantity of conversations.
When designing and building our self service capabilities which are primarily focused on a dynamic and searchable knowledge base we wanted to ensure mobile experience was front and centre. We also knew that we had to try and make the experience of finding information as recognisable as possible and so created a ‘google-like’ search function for both the desktop and mobile versions of our Member Help Centre. The results of our increased self service capabilities speak for themselves -in 2020 we saw over 85,000 views of articles; with a year on year increase (Jan 2020 vs Jan 2021) of 273 percent. Additionally we are typically seeing month on month growth in views in the region of 10-15 percent, demonstrating a change in customer behavior. Self service has also allowed us to quantify the ROI of our omni channel strategy, with query deflection resulting in a potential headcount saving of between 6-8 FTE’s. During this same period we have also seen our customer satisfaction scores increase by 35 percent.
In order to ‘super-charge’ our self service tool we implemented AI and an answer bot in April 2020. The AI/bot works in three different ways:
1. Web Widget - A traditional conversational bot on our website
2. Dynamic webforms - Offering answers upon completion of a webform depending on the content entered by the customer
3. Email - An automated email response which will scan the email submitted
The content of our Bot is drawn from the Member Help Centre and we have seen a 200 percent improvement in unassisted resolutions between April 2020 & Jan 2021. We have also seen that the way our customers interact with the bot change over that period. In April when we first introduced the Bot email had the highest resolution rate buy a significant margin; since that time this had changed to the point where in 2021 the web widget accounts for 45 percent of resolutions, followed by dynamic webform at 35 percent and email now accounts for only 20 percent of resolutions.
“Data Analytics solutions have evolved over the past few years from descriptive to diagnostic to predictive to prescriptive. The next big paradigm shift is the adoption of cognitive analytics which will exploit the massive advancements in high-performance computing by coupling machine learning and advanced artificial intelligence techniques with data analytics approaches.”
Key learning’s from our experience with self service:
1. Content is king: your knowledge base and its efficacy is only as good as the information it contains. Analyse your historical data for key drivers of volume and create articles that will address these. Set up gates as to who can contribute, review and publish.
2. Ask your agents for content: speak to the people on the ‘coal face’ who have direct contact with your customers, also keep your ears close to the ground for any common issues or roadblocks
3. Update, update, update: review your most popular content regularly, be agile and create content when things ‘go wrong’. Allocate time every week for staff to review and update your articles.
4. Promote self service: the ‘build it and they will come’ mentality does not always change and influence customer behaviour. We have promoted self service everywhere we can including on our IVR, on every customer interaction (in every channel) and through social media campaigns
5. Change agent behaviour: your people will only benefit from self service if they also utilise the knowledge base; we also incorporated use of self service into their KPI’s so they would promote to our membership base