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PSYCHOLOGY USED IN AUTOMATED CUSTOMER SERVICE

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Humans are emotional beings; they can be grumpy, lovely, or sometimes a mix of both. It is for this reason that people in customer-facing positions strive to master the art of human psychology. The end goal is to evoke the right customer emotion and influence positive decision making.

With automated customer service, communication is between a bot and a person. But that doesn’t eliminate the emotional aspect that influences decisions. Therefore, you have to optimize your help center system to humanize the conversations as best as possible. So, how do you go about that?

In this article, we enlighten you about the psychology used in automated customer service. We share the psychological tactics that you can apply in your robotic support system to increase customer satisfaction. We also discuss the same psychological triggers that course building platforms use to influence positive experiences, and how you can leverage them.

Psychological tactics you can implement in automated customer service

Adopt a pain-numbing scheme

Pain is powerful emotional feedback that affects human decisions, positive and negative alike. Therefore, you have to design your automated support system to include pain reduction points. Some of the things that trigger pain in consumers include:

  • Missing the items that they’re searching for in the catalog
  • A hard time accessing essential shopping tools like carts
  • Difficulty comparing prices

Optimize your automated customer service software to provide quick links to common shopping tools. Also, feed it with keywords that shoppers possibly enter while searching for various items to recognize shopping difficulty. Further, add features like save-for-later so that consumers can access unresolved issues with ease in the future.

Promote instant gratification

In psychology, there’s a popular theory that discusses the pleasure principle in human behavior. It observes that we are driven by a force of instant gratification when dealing with needs, urges, and wants. So, how is this relevant in automated customer service?

First, customers love working with systems or people who respond to queries in the shortest possible time. As such, you need to design your support system to resolve issues as instantly as they come. This way, you can easily keep your customers on the site since it eliminates the need to seek help elsewhere.

Secondly, when resolving issues, most people appreciate being in control than feeling as if they need you during those moments. Your automated system should encourage self-service when attending to customers. Design it to direct your visitors to FAQ pages and resources that contain relevant info.

Apply social proof

Consumers feel more confident when buying solutions that worked for other people. In psychology, this inclination is referred to as social proof and is useful in building a sense of trust. Luckily, you can apply it to your automated customer service system to influence positive customer decisions.

For example, a buyer wants to find out more info about an item they’re hoping to purchase. You can design the support system to direct them to both the description and the customer testimonials pages. The idea is to influence purchase by proving that other consumers like the item as well.

Additionally, you can add common questions that your customers ask in the FAQ page and your solutions. Personalizing the queries helps visitors realize that you’ve assisted other consumers before. Eventually, this builds a sense of trust in your capability to meet user needs.

Leverage the Halo Effect

The Halo Effect is a cognitive bias where your feelings about something influence your judgment of its other aspects. The existence of this bias affects how you view things and make your decisions on a quick call.

In customer service, you can leverage the Halo Effect by creating positive experiences. Have an interface in your support system that’s personal to the users or emotionally engages them. Use words, colors, or images that form positive impressions at first glance. Here, you’ll instantly move the consumers from the “getting to know you” phase to the biased “this feels homely thus trustworthy” phase.

For example, if you’re in a fashion niche, rename your customer service portal to something like” “Ask a Stylist”. Doing this creates a positive assumption in the mind of your visitors that the service system/personnel has the necessary expertise. Combining this with the right dialect further builds the homely feeling.

Use the reciprocity principle

The reciprocity principle is a powerful human influence tool, as demonstrated in a 1984 book by Robert Cialdini known as Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The author observed that people often feel indebted to repay kind gestures. Today, marketers using psychology are still applying his ideas to boost customer conversions.

So, how can you use the reciprocity principle in customer service?

Optimize your automated support system to offer as much free expertise, time, and attention as possible. When customers receive comprehensive responses, they’re naturally obliged to purchase what you’re selling.

Your free acts of service can be subtle or announced. For example, if your support system successfully resolves an issue, you can encourage the visitor to take any action that counts as a conversion. Alternately, you can let them decide on their own the next course of action to trigger reciprocity.

 

Psychological triggers you can apply to your automated customer service

Self-love

People naturally exhibit the trait of self-love during interactions. They tend to put their desires and ambitions first, something that creates a yearning for others to show interest. If they get the attention they seek, it makes them feel important, unique, relevant.

In automated customer service, it’s possible to leverage self-love and encourage positive decisions. For example, you can design the system to call visitors by their name to increase a sense of recognition and importance. Additionally, ask questions that focus on learning more about them.

Empathy

Consumers build trust in brands that appear to understand their feelings. It’s easier to show empathy in automated customer service systems than other communication methods, like voice calls.

For example, you can set the live chat to allow you to review messages sent to visitors when sensitive subjects are in discussion.

Path of least resistance

Human beings prefer methods, actions, and solutions that offer the most convenience. You can use this psychological finding to optimize your web interface in a way that encourages visitors to chat with you.

Create an automated greeting that invites the visitor to a conversation. For example, “Hi, can I help you find the right item?”

Conclusion

Not every psychological trigger or tactic that we’ve discussed will work for you. Each brand has customers with varying personalities and temperaments. Nonetheless, the above will offer a great starting point for people who just implemented the automated customer service system.

Technology

OPTIMISING DIGITAL EXPERIENCE IN AN INTERNET-RELIANT FINANCIAL SECTOR

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Tony Finn, EMEAR Lead, ThousandEyes

 

It would be unfair to say that the events of the last year have started a wave of digital change in the financial services (FS) sector. Speak to any leader within the industry and, although digital transformation looks different to each organisation, it was already high on the business agenda. That said, the pandemic has undoubtedly fast-tracked many FS firms to a complete digital overhaul. In fact, according to data, business adoption of digital services was propelled forward five years in a matter of weeks. For all FS organisations who have made the transition to remote sales and services, it has evoked a re-evaluation of everything from people and property, to technology.

Underpinning it all is the core focus on how to deliver an always on digital experience. Whether you’re a payment provider or stock brokerage, ‘business as usual’ is now dependent on this, without delay or failure.

That said, keeping customers happy and employees productive is increasingly difficult, with remote business adding another layer of complexity to an already intricate puzzle. Providing a good digital experience now relies on an intricate web of Internet, cloud and SaaS services – with many infrastructures lying outside of an organisation’s view and subsequently their control. With remote business here to stay, many are realising the need for increased control over both customers’ online experience and employees’ ability to access now business-critical SaaS applications.

 

Conservative to cutting-edge

According to EY’s UK Banking Cloud Adoption Index, before the pandemic hit, the majority of UK banks (80%) had moved less than 10% of their infrastructure to the cloud. As a highly regulated sector, financial services have traditionally been conservative about diving headfirst into new technologies.

Enter COVID-19. National lockdowns meant that a new approach to technology, particularly in IT, was necessary. With offices and branches closed, never before had FS organisations had to face almost all of their customer base and workforce accessing services and products online – and perhaps most importantly, outside of their IT perimeter.

Over a year has passed and a by-product of the pandemic is that many FS organisations are rethinking their entire business operations. At the end of last year, Capital One became the first major bank to exit all of its data centres, completely overhauling its IT environment in favour of AWS’ public cloud services.

But it’s not just technology choices that have irrevocably changed. Changes are also being made to both organisations’ real estate footprint and remote working policies, with banks already making work-from-home options permanent. As a result of the latter, we’ll see hybrid work strategies emerge with different category employee personas, including field, fixed, and flexi  workers – those who return to the office, those who continue to work remotely and then a combination of both.

 

An IT blindness dilemma

Navigating new employee preferences and consumer expectations for digital banking requires a  complex service delivery ecosystem, hinging on a multitude of external components including public and hybrid cloud, SaaS applications and the Internet. Finding the source of any performance and availability issues amidst a maze of internal and external dependencies is almost an impossible task. However, gaining visibility of what’s occurring within these networks is critical for businesses to achieve that all important user experience.

The challenge is that traditional monitoring tools can’t identify the problem quickly or provide insights into what’s going on outside an organisation’s four digital walls. You certainly can’t fix what you can’t see so, more often than not, IT teams are left scrambling to troubleshoot the issue. What’s more, customers and employees don’t see or appreciate this internal battle so a lack of sight into the root cause often leads to blaming of the product, rather than the network. Not only can a potential outage cause immediate problems in the form of lost employee productivity but it can result in more harmful damage to a FS organisation’s reputation, and ultimately its bottom line.

 

Getting digital experience right in the “next normal”

So, what’s the solution for FS businesses? To optimise digital experience, it’s all about understanding the health of global Internet networks, employee and customer applications, and everything in between. Financial services navigating the digital era post COVID, will need new solutions that provide the reach, visibility, and insight they need to get a holistic view of their entire digital service delivery ecosystem.

End-to-end visibility ensures that issues – happening both in and out of a business’ control – can be quickly pinpointed and mitigated. Sometimes this can take place even before customers are aware or are impacted. This level of visibility empowers IT teams to avoid any finger-pointing and quickly decipher root cause and have purposeful discussions with relevant parties such as service providers. What’s more, there are also advantages to this approach from a network planning perspective – something which many FS organisations will need to include in their IT strategies. Visualisation and scoring of performance across applications, groups of users and locations allows a better understanding of how critical employee services are performing from a benchmark perspective.

The pandemic has undoubtedly turned the financial services sector on its head. With restrictions in the UK slowly easing and optimism around the vaccine rollout, we will see employees return to offices and customers visit branches again this year. That said, some aspects of remote business are here to stay forever and we’re already seeing the impact of this on organisations’ priorities in relation to property, technology and people. Ultimately, success in this new digital-led future will depend on a business’ ability to provide a first-rate digital experience.

 

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Finance

CAN THE CLOUD REVOLUTIONISE FINANCE?

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By Walter Heck, CTO, HeleCloud 

 

The scale of the Cloud revolution that businesses have gone through over the last few years can’t be overstated. Across almost every industry, businesses that have migrated to the Cloud have seen increased revenues, higher productivity and were more prepared to face the challenges of the pandemic than those relying on legacy infrastructure.

However, one industry that has been slow to realise the potential of the Cloud has been finance. PwC found that 81% of banking CEOs were ‘concerned’ about adopting digital tools too quickly however,  even though 91% of hedge fund executives who adopted Cloud solutions stated that their chosen cloud solutions performed ‘better than expected’. Those sitting on the fence when it comes to the cloud can afford to do so no longer. The speed, security and efficiency offered by the cloud is already changing the face of finance, as it has so many industries before it.

 

How Cloud can help Finance?

Compliance continues to be an area that financial institutions of all shapes and sizes are spending an increasing amount of time and money on. The majority (71%) of large firms are cutting the size of their compliance departments while GDPR, Brexit and increased global economic sanctions make even simple tasks regulatory headaches. Compliance is also costing the finance sector more every year. Since the financial crash, Deloitte estimates Deloitte that compliance costs have increased by as much as 60% for retail and consumer banks.

Migrating to the Cloud can solve many of these compliance issues for financial service institutions. For instance, by leveraging modern technologies on the Cloud, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), organisations can ensure financial activities remain compliant with local regulations, no matter where the data is stored. AI can also process this data far quicker and more effectively than humans, ensuring compliance matters are solved quickly and with little room for error.

With companies downsizing their expensive compliance departments, while at the same time regulation increase, the role of Cloud-based automation in compliance is set to become even more important to the financial sector.

Financial institutions that utilise Cloud-based automation allow themselves the peace of mind that they are less likely to be faced with sanctions from regulators for unforeseen or unknown infractions when carrying out day to day activities. With the cost of non-compliance running into the billions every year, neutralising this threat has the potential to save significant amounts of money for the financial institutions who make the move to the Cloud.

 

Security

Data security is vital to the survival of financial institutions. With strict rules in place, and punishments for breaches from regulators and governments increasingly common. As the number of cyber-attacks continues to increase, and costly ransomware continues to put companies out of business, it is imperative that financial institutions take the necessary steps to secure their data.

Traditional on-premises storage and data management solutions of the type utilised by many financial institutions are frequent victims of various types of cyber-attack. Gartner research has shown that up to 60% fewer attacks occur on Cloud structures when compared to on-premises alternatives.

There are many reasons for this but one of the simplest is remote access. An IBM study highlighted that 95% of security failures at companies are due to human error. This can be anything from employees using unapproved third-party applications to being the victim of ‘spill over’ malware for an attack on a different company that bleeds onto another’s on-premises infrastructure. With data being stored and managed remotely, the Cloud offers fewer direct contact points between employees and valuable company data.

However, not all Cloud solutions are created equal and when going alone companies can often find themselves under-utilising the security benefits of the Cloud and leaving themselves vulnerable to threats. Selecting the right Cloud service provider is vital. Storing sensitive data on a Cloud service enabled and managed by an experienced, trustworthy partner, ensures that client and customer data remains safe and accessible without the litany of security issues that come with on-premises infrastructure.

 

Partnering with a Cloud enabler

The Cloud is already revolutionising finance in the way it has so many other industries. Big players such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have started migrating core applications to the Cloud and setting up Cloud hubs in major American cities. Almost half (43%) of financial services decision makers have stated their intent to increase their reliance on the Cloud over the coming year as more and more finance professionals see the benefits that larger competitors are reaping from Cloud migration.

In periods of great change and uncertainty, it can be tempting to bury your head in the sand and stick to the way things are already being done. However, those who ignore the Cloud revolution leave themselves vulnerable in a rapidly changing and unforgiving business climate. An experienced Cloud services partner can help guide a business on its Cloud journey and ensure they receive all the security and productivity benefits the Cloud offers. With more and more major players moving processes and workflows onto the Cloud, it is up to each finance decision maker to change now, or be overtaken by their forward looking and savvy competitors.

 

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