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Concentrix Messaging & Bots: Innovation During the COVID-19 Crisis

 

One of the memes during the COVID-19 crisis asks ‘who led the digital transformation of your company?’ with the options of ‘the CEO’, ‘the CTO’, or ‘the virus’. The global emergency has severely impacted CX, forcing many organizations to shut down or limit their contact center operations when they are most needed. A side effect is that, where available, self-service, customer-facing bots, and asynchronous messaging prove their efficiency in handling large volumes, 24/7. As a result, for many CX services clients, the pandemic will trigger a call to action and jumpstart CX innovation programs.

Concentrix messaging

Private messaging use has exploded in recent years, and for younger generations it surpasses traditional social media. Its benefits are numerous – it runs voice and text; it is mobile, asynchronous, private, timesaving, low effort, and retains the conversation thread. It is also a richer channel, allowing hyperlinks, documents, pictures, videos, stickers and emojis, and interactive widgets such as carousels. All three of Apple, Facebook, and Google (with RBM) are pursuing opportunities in the space, opening the API for development and business use.

Concentrix has been working on its messaging offerings since 2016, when it started with WeChat in China. In early 2020, it launched a comprehensive offering called Concentrix XP Messaging. Concentrix XP Messaging includes support resources along with the messaging and automation platform. The company identifies the CX opportunity for messaging deployment and designs, implements, manages, and optimizes the bots coupled with live agent support. It offers the pre-built APIs and integration accelerators for the messaging apps and also provides and maintains the third-party software. Finally, it establishes and delivers the reports and insights on metrics, interactions, volumes, and utilization levels.

The ideal path is when customers initiate the message, a bot responds with selected answers, and if live agent support is required, it automatically transfers with contextual information. Agents can invite bots back to the conversation; for example, to handle payments. Bots can also proactively initiate conversations. The messaging platform handles the queuing, routing, delivery of messages, and live transfers. For the customer service agents, the messaging platform integrates directly with the CRM and it is presented as a unified queue regardless of the customer channel – web or in-app chat, messenger, SMS, or social media DM. Contact center managers have a real-time and historical view of performance and traffic.

On average, Concentrix sees at least a 26% productivity gain from increased concurrency and efficiency compared to chat, and up to 50% compared to voice. The deflection rate from voice, email, and chat to messaging can reach ~30%. In addition, ~85% of customers return to the channel with typically higher CSAT scores of between 7% and 11% compared to traditional channels.

Before the global impact of the pandemic, Concentrix had several thousand messaging agents supporting clients in financial services, technology, telecom, and retail. It provides B2B and B2B status checks, appointment setting, customer care, L1 technical support, upfront marketing and sales over WhatsApp, Messenger, Apple Business Chat, and SMS.

Interactions suitable for messengers & bots

Increasingly, Concentrix is identifying new use cases for messaging with its clients. The discussions often evolve from a substitute for traditional chat or email to customer journeys suitable for self-service and automation with bots and messaging. For example, for a U.K. retail brand, it added a messaging option on the IVR to prompt SMS use with ~90% adoption rate. Usually clients are surprised by the potential scope of up to 50% of voice interactions suitable for messaging and up to 100% from text channels. Concentrix models show potential cost savings of 20%, 30%, 70%, depending on the level of automaton, the original channel, and delivery location. For example, for a retail provider in the U.S., it provided a messaging application allowing customers to engage over web, SMS, Apple Business Chat, in-app messaging, FB Messenger, Twitter, and WeChat. It also deployed proactive outbound messaging via SMS from agents or systems based on business rules. Concentrix integrated an APIs to client systems to present offers and achieve in-channel purchase completion.

The company developed a digital operating model to recruit, train, and performance manage messenger agents and set up different quality standards and KPIs. The agent profile is a digital native with advanced typing speed and understanding of the conversation styles and tone using emojis, shorter phrases, and more direct language. The agents have to be confident in multitasking as the environment is fast-paced with higher concurrency than chat (as high as five to seven sessions) and smaller after-call work. Across its messenger population, Concentrix sees an 8% greater training graduation rate and a 16% higher retention rate.

Messaging bots in time of crisis 

While phone hotlines have been the go-to response during the pandemic emergency, private companies and government bodies have also taken up Q&A bots on messengers to help the public. For example, WHO launched a COVID-19 bot on Viber and the Pakistani government started a virus hotline over WhatsApp.

Concentrix developed several use cases to address the pandemic, with Q&A bots offering general COVID-19 information for a company, brand, or product-specific statements, safety recommendations, and retailer updates about openings and closures. These types of bots require no client IT involvement and have rapid 24 to 48 hour deployment cycles. With massive volume demand on the contact center in certain verticals in the current situation, it proactively offers self-service bots to existing chat clients. These bots apply effectively in basic triage scenarios such as status updates, warranty and replacement, and new product order and pricing info.

For example, for a multinational printer company, Concentrix provides technical support outside the product warranty and sells support subscriptions over the phone, email, and chat. Due to the COVID-19 emergency and higher than normal volumes, the client needed an alternative channel. Within two days, Concentrix developed, tested, and configured an SMS bot, created the content and bot flows and set up an IVR prompt to drive customers. The bot answers the most common call types such as wireless connectivity and Windows updates. It also links customers to ‘how to’ instructions and troubleshooting videos for printer and PC issues. The messaging bot deflected 10% of all traffic to self-service and the client plans to expand to other programs.

Future interface

Messaging is one of the most promising future customer interfaces, with a far greater pool of transactions applicable to its use. Its current and potential benefits are expanding, such as the integration of Apple Business Chat, eliminating the need for user authentication and the deployment of messaging in Google search. The pressure on brands to patch their CX brought about by COVID-19 creates the need to add a more productive and user-friendly channel. Over time, it can also fire up the opportunity for conversational commerce.

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