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Get Connected 2021: Highlights from Puzzel’s customer service conference

Hundreds of customer service professionals attended Puzzel’s first-ever virtual Get Connected this month. Below, CEO Frederic Laziou shares his top three takeaways from the event.

Empathy and agility will drive customer service success in 2021. That was the overwhelming message from this year’s Get Connected, Puzzel’s annual customer service conference.

More than 420 professionals from across the customer service and contact centre industries joined us to hear how they can deliver exceptional CX in these exceptional times. So, what did we learn?

1. Customer expectations have changed and companies must adapt

The pandemic has altered the way we live and work. It has also given us time to revaluate what’s most important in lives. Do we need to live in cities? Do we want to commute into an office every day? Should we care more about our health? How important is green space, material goods, entertainment and social interaction?

This has had – and will continue to have – huge implications for business.

As Amy Scott from Sedulous explained in her session, it has changed the way customers think and behave. “We’ve seen new behaviours cut across all areas of our lives, from how we work to how we shop and how we entertain ourselves. Now these behavioural changes will impact on the decisions customers make. And for organisations to ultimately succeed, they will need to adapt to today’s fast changing circumstances,” she said.

So, in 2021 customer service teams must remain agile.

The Evolution of the Contact Centre research programme with the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA) revealed contact centres faced some incredible challenges in 2020, but they overcame them by embracing change and focusing on their customers.

“It’s given us cause for optimism,” Stephen Yap, the CCMA’s Director of Research, explained in his session. “It’s given us the confidence and the knowledge that we can operate in this agile way. We don’t need to strive for perfection all the time and when we need to operate quickly, when we need to change and pivot quickly, we can”.

2. Technology continues to be the great enabler

In 2020, technology enabled us to work from home, learn from home, socialise at home and dine at home. It enabled customer service teams to move from offices to lounge rooms, scale up capacity and manage unprecedented spikes in demand.

This year, technology will continue to amaze us, becoming ever more powerful, easy to use, and embedded in our lives.

As Matt Hughes, Puzzel’s Director of User Experience, shared in his keynote: “Look at companies like Amazon, Uber Eats, Just Eats and Hive … After a short account set-up, the user can have all their Christmas shopping done, order dinner and get a lift to the office Christmas party. On the way home from the party, the user can turn on their heating and their lights, and it’s all done with minimal interactions with their device”.

Mike Havard, from Davies, also shared some fascinating ways leading brands are using technology to deliver ‘crowdsourced service’ or ‘gig CX’.

“This is being used by the likes of Amazon, Ebay and Microsoft very effectively,” he said. “It’s the idea of harnessing the experience, support, knowledge, brand association and resources of active customers, wider employee groups and/or a committed flexible talent pool to help support and advise prospects and other customers, as when needed, and to materially reward them for doing so. This is delivered with full quality control, safeguards and respect for all parties involved.”

3. Customers want empathy and human experiences

In times of crisis, customers want emotion, empathy and human experiences. So, this year customer service teams must find ways to facilitate those experiences or risk losing out to their competitors.

As Martin Hill-Wilson from Brainfood Consulting explained in his session: “Emotion impacts retention. We are now in a world where customers have woken up to their habits and they’re trying new brands out. As a result, it’s become particularly difficult to keep customers and we need to be much more conscious of our strategies around how we lock them in and engage with them”.

But creating human experiences, doesn’t mean cutting back on automation and AI. In fact, technology can help you deliver those human experiences with tools such as Agent Assist, Speech Analytics and sentiment analysis. It’s all about finding the right balance to maintain productivity and efficiency.

Final thoughts

Get Connected 2021 was all about sharing the latest knowledge and know-how to deliver exceptional customer service in today’s fast-changing world.

In my own session, I mentioned the saying “the one who travels has something to share” and I hope everyone who attended Get Connected was able to learn something and take that information back to their colleagues and teams.

I would like to thank all our speakers for sharing their expertise and our sponsors, ProffCom, PCI Pal and boost.ai, for helping make Get Connected a success.

If you would like to know more about how contact centres are responding to COVID-19, please join us for our upcoming webinar with the CCMA where we’ll be sharing the findings from our third wave of research.

Register for Part 3 | Evolution of the Contact Centre here.

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