In virtually any industry, customer appeasement is simply a cost of doing business. Offering a concession to avoid or pacify an unhappy customer pays dividends in customer lifetime value. But how much does a brand need to spend to keep customers happy?
Too often, brands end up losing far more money than necessary on customer appeasement.
Sometimes, it’s because they have vague policies and a subjective “make it right at any cost” approach. Other times, a lack of training and support leaves agents open to errors and fraud. And more often than not, brands aren’t even sure where to start when it comes to reducing a bloated make-good budget.
The difficulty of managing appeasement costs
Most contact centers operate from a reactive place. CX leadership is under pressure to control spending while ensuring happy customers, so a small QA team audits appeasement cases after the fact. Based on their findings, leadership adjusts policies as necessary.
This creates two common challenges:
- New policies are so cumbersome or complex, the agents struggle to integrate the new process into their workflow. Policy adherence becomes difficult and inconsistent.
- Limited tech resources prevent or limit updating the CRM/OMS and other tools with the new policy, which means agents can still access and use old policies.
Many brands may not even realize they could be saving money on make-goods without sacrificing customer satisfaction or adding to agent frustration. That’s where attended AI and automation technology comes in.
Attended AI vs. Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
While robotic process automation (RPA) gained popularity in the CX industry over the last decade or two, attended artificial intelligence (AI) might be an unfamiliar concept. RPA involves programming a machine to perform repetitive tasks typically performed by humans. Attended AI, on the other hand, incorporates machine learning, so that a computer not only performs tasks, it also learns, reasons, and self-corrects. Attended simply means a human works alongside the AI, benefitting from the advanced automation while also providing oversight.
In the contact center setting, this could mean the AI uncovers a customer’s history, populates form fields, and composes case notes, while the agent provides empathetic customer service, ensures all form fields are filled out correctly, and adds color or context to the case notes before closing the case.
How Attended AI Helps Agents Make Good on Make-Goods
Next-gen technology can take a contact center’s approach to appeasements from reactive to proactive. Attended AI enables brands to implement policy changes much faster than ever before, support agents through proper workflows, and add real-time oversight.
Here are three ways attended AI can help save money on customer appeasement:
1. Track concessions to identify patterns and problems.
When searching for a way to minimize appeasement spending, attended AI can spot patterns and correlations humans often overlook. This gives invaluable insight to contact center leadership looking to adjust make-good policies or update workflows.
2. Support new agents in complex resolution processes.
Between complex customer interactions, extensive policy manuals, and cumbersome tech navigation, new agents can get overwhelmed quickly and make costly mistakes. But attended AI can guide agents through workflows in real time, rather than expecting them to remember complicated criteria or conditions, or even where in the knowledge base to find them. Even experienced agents benefit from this, especially when it comes to new or infrequently used policies.
3. Strengthen policy adherence (and keep it consistent).
Attended AI can autofill customer details and dollar amounts, control certain fields to ensure they match the original transaction, and even prevent an agent from processing the ticket until completing all steps. It can also roll out swift policy updates to every associate at once — no more wrangling agents for policy training or discovering in QA that some are still using an old policy.
Building Customer Loyalty without Breaking the Bank
Attended AI can dramatically reduce a brand’s appeasement spending, but what does that mean for customer satisfaction? After all, the whole point of a concession is to build customer loyalty and goodwill. Therein lies the eternal balancing act: trimming the appeasement budget without losing customers.
Humans, especially those drawn to customer service, are hardwired to be empathetic and to want to make things right. But when it comes to making good, hard data is worth more to a company’s bottom line than intuition. Were customers just as happy to receive 10% off their next purchase as they were to get free shipping? When is a full refund necessary and when would a simple goodwill gesture be even more meaningful?
By collecting comprehensive data and applying machine learning, attended AI can help identify the tipping point between too much and not enough. Rather than relying on instinct or even educated guesses, brands can adjust their policies based on real numbers.
Curb Appeasement Costs with Attended AI
Customer appeasement will always be a cost of doing business, but it doesn’t have to cost so much. Attended AI has the power to deliver actionable insights and proactive real-time QA that supports consistent policy adherence. Contact centers that use an attended AI platform stand to reduce incorrect appeasement costs significantly — which amounts to huge savings annually.
Want to learn how Laivly has helped clients cut down on unnecessary or inflated appeasement costs without decreasing customer satisfaction? Download our customer appeasement case study.