Round-Up: 6 Hot Topics from Astute Connect 2017


[Estimated read time: 5 minutes]

Earlier this month, Astute Solutions hosted customers from all across the nation at our annual customer conference, Astute Connect, in San Antonio, Texas. Attendees enjoyed three days of informative presentations, hands-on product training, and of course, a little sight-seeing!

Conference attendees included leaders from major consumer brands and Fortune 500 firms. Here’s a round-up of the six topics they couldn’t stop talking about:

1. Engaging on social media

Even as social networks mature as communication channels, brands are still puzzling out the best ways to leverage them. Companies are striving to provide the interactions their followers and customers want, including responding to questions and complaints, as well as proactively engaging in relevant conversations. Real-time social marketing and influencer marketing present immense opportunities for brands, but also pose some unique challenges.

Beyond one-on-one interactions, brands are also beginning to capitalize on social media’s ability to deliver real-time insights. The use of social media listening and social command centers are helping companies discover these insights and decide how to put them into action.

How Astute can help: Astute Social provides the tools brands need to engage in real-time marketing and individual interactions, gather social listening data, and manage content, ads, and analytics across platforms. The software’s CRM integration allows social media strategy to become more deeply integrated with primary marketing and customer experience strategies.

2. Optimizing for omni-channel

Today’s consumers expect it, but delivering a true omni-channel customer experience is a tall order. Knitting together the front-end experience requires a great deal of cross-line-of-business coordination, and many companies haven’t yet cracked the code.

For brands that are offering their customers omni-channel experiences, their challenge has evolved beyond unifying the experience across each of their channels — now they are focused on unifying their strategies and adding new channels as they emerge.

How Astute can help: Astute ePowerCenter is the foundation for an omni-channel approach, serving as a single hub for customer information, interaction tracking, and relationship management. When ePowerCenter is paired with Astute Knowledge, companies are equipped to deliver accurate, up-to-date answers and quick resolutions across all channels, and ensure a consistent experience regardless of how their customers choose to communicate.

3. Preparing for chatbots

Chatbots have arrived on the scene! Now companies are trying to determine how to leverage this emerging technology to drive real results for their businesses. Currently, many companies are taking a “wait and see” approach. However, as a best practice, brands should be exploring at least one or two applications of this new tech — early experimentation sets them up for competitive differentiation in the future.

For example, your brand could implement a basic customer service chatbot for the sole purpose of fielding customer questions when staff members aren’t available, such as after-hours or on weekends. Chatbots have immense potential and countless possible uses, so it would serve brands well to dip their toes in the water.

How Astute can help: Astute Bot is a conversational interface designed for customer interactions. The software can engage in conversations with customers, determine what they are looking for, and search knowledgebases, business systems, and external sources to craft the answer they need. It’s also smart enough to recognize when help from a customer service agent is needed, and can seamlessly escalate customers to the agent most qualified to solve the issue.

4. Staying connected

As any CX leader knows, the job is not only about serving customers — it’s about serving agents and business partners, too. Communication is a major component of maintaining a strong connection with stakeholders.

Some brands make use of automatic notifications to keep interested parties in-the-know about critical issues and escalations. Others provide agents with activity reports and/or configurable dashboards to manage their work and track progress. When it comes to keeping everyone in the loop, automated alerts and reporting are a CX leader’s best friends.

How Astute can help: ePowerCenter supplies customer support departments, as well as other business stakeholders, with robust reporting and analytics. The CRM can also trigger proactive notifications based on pre-set conditions, and customize agent dashboards to show outstanding tasks, publicize key resources, and allow agents to post group messages within their teams.

5. Turning opinions into action

Customers have more ways to provide feedback than ever before, but gathering feedback is only the beginning. Many brands are wrestling with how to use the feedback they collect to drive action.

This is where some voice of the customer (VOC) best practices come into play. First, brands should be using data from the three categories of VOC data, including direct, indirect, and inferred. Next, brands should be focused on combining different types of customer data into one comprehensive view. Lastly, the closer to real time the feedback can be analyzed and acted upon, the better.

How Astute can help: Astute’s suite helps brands collect valuable data from all three types of VOC, including customer surveys (direct), social media monitoring (indirect), and CRM case data (inferred). Uniting VOC data through a single platform allows brands to see a complete, cohesive view of VOC insights and take action more quickly.

6. Assessing their CX maturity

CX leaders are managing many different initiatives and balancing the needs of many different stakeholders. As a result of these conflicting priorities, many brands have made wonderful progress in some areas, but still want to improve in others.

At Connect 2017, Astute introduced our Customer Experience Maturity Framework, which focuses on the technology and capabilities companies need in order to deliver exceptional customer experiences. The Framework allows organizations to measure their maturity in five areas: self-service, intelligent escalation, channel choice, voice of customer, and personalization.

How Astute can help: We have developed a series of brief assessments that companies can use to determine where they are positioned within the Framework. Learn more by reading our blog series about the Framework.

Thank you to all those who were able to join us at Astute Connect 2017!