Technology Featured Global

Zendesk taps AWS to unlock ‘smarter, more personalised’ customer service

Singapore – Customer support tech company Zendesk, Inc. has announced a five-year strategic collaboration agreement (SCA) with Amazon Web Services (AWS). The partnership aims to help businesses deliver personalised customer experiences at scale, with technology that grows with them.

The strategic collaboration will help businesses provide faster, tailored conversational experiences to customers across all channels while also improving the efficiency of support operations through the use of AI-powered tools, bots and analytics on an open and flexible service. 

Moreover, the collab will make customer experience (CX) more seamless for both customers and agents to help businesses to stay competitive, retain customer loyalty, and adapt to rapidly changing market conditions.

The SCA will also extend Zendesk Suite’s latest innovations in customer service to AWS and AWS Marketplace with the following capabilities:

  • Enterprise-grade, secure customer service programs and chatbots on reliable cloud architecture that scales with the business
  • Conversational experiences across potential customer channels and devices
  • Multi-channel support in Zendesk Sunshine Conversations, Amazon Connect, and AWS Contact Center Intelligence.
  • Personalised interactions and quick problem-solving with embedded chatbots 
  • Boosting customer retention by using AI to analyze customer emotion and take the best action 
  • Driving agent productivity with AI-based tools that help agents respond and resolve issues faster by providing self-service options, time-saving routing, and AI-powered workflows

“Zendesk has been both a member of the AWS Partner Network and a customer for many years, leveraging our cloud services to create innovative customer and employee experience solutions for customers,” said Ruba Borno, vice president, worldwide channels and alliances at AWS

She also added that the SCA with Zendesk will allow companies to personalise experiences using data, taking customer experiences to the next level and helping businesses automate and scale their customer service operations on the cloud.

Pascal Pettinicchio, vice president, alliances and corporate development at Zendesk, explained, “Zendesk research found that 61% of customers are excited by the prospect of immersive experiences, and 80% of businesses plan to increase their CX budgets in 2023. By taking advantage of easy-to-use software powered by Zendesk AI and AWS, CX teams can free up time and resources to focus on what they do best — creating powerful customer interactions.” 

He added, “Zendesk’s platform delivers high-level performance to provide enhanced customer experiences — we knew that, by collaborating with AWS, we could meet customers’ demands.”

Meanwhile, Steve Franklin, global head of customer service at Siemens Financial Services also commented that Zendesk brings ‘stability’ to their company’s customer service operations and allows them to provide unrivaled experiences and timely responses to their customers. 

“They help us quickly get control when volumes spike, both in terms of understanding what is happening, so we can take steps to proactively reduce the volumes and also in the handling of the queries, to reduce the backlog back down again,” he added.

Last year, Zendesk has also launched its Intelligent Triage and Smart Assist, its artificial intelligence (AI) solutions that empowers businesses to triage customer support requests automatically.

Technology Featured Global

Around 60% of brands struggle with ineffective AI for customer service

Singapore – A new global study from customer experience management platform Sprinklr notes that around 60% of brands struggle with ineffective AI for their customer service, with only 22% of the respondents reporting having a complete unified customer data to be leveraged for their customer service efforts.

According to the research, 62% of brands acknowledge the inconsistencies in their digital customer communication. This includes not being able to communicate the same information and unable to stay true to their brand voice. The majority of companies are also struggling with ineffective AI solutions (60%) and insufficient resourcing (54%).

Meanwhile, 11% of the respondents admitted that they make no effort whatsoever to personalise interactions. Another 36%, meanwhile, limit personalisation efforts to referencing ‘basic profile details’ in some or all communication. 

The remaining 53% of the respondents are making strides toward personalisation, but only 12% of them are predicting customer needs and proactively tailoring interactions based on specific needs, intentions, or sentiments.

The data also notes that many global brands also suffer from insufficient insights, with 51% of them finding it hard to even capture meaningful data about customers. Furthermore, 67% of companies face difficulty analysing customer data, 64% struggle to unify data, and 63% report challenges in using data to improve customer experience operations.

Lastly, the global research also stated that several leading companies are taking a number of actions to tackle these challenges, with 53% see AI being able to power chatbots and improve customer data as a paramount focus for 2023, and more than 69% planning to invest in technology that reduces agent effort.

For Ragy Thomas, founder and CEO at Sprinklr, providing digital, personalised service is essential for companies to meet consumer expectations, adding that making these interactions more cost efficient and easier for agents is equally as important.

“The challenges uncovered go beyond customer experience and contact centre teams. Insufficient intelligence hurts the entire business. Unified insight about what customers need and how they behave, can dramatically improve how every customer-facing function– from service, to sales and marketing, to product development operates. We’d like to help brands deliver the kind of customer experiences we all deserve,” Thomas said.

He added, “While challenges persist, it’s encouraging to see how many organisations are prioritising investing in the right technology to unify customer service operations and help make their customers and agents happier.” 

The research’s respondents were composed of more than 300 global leaders in the customer contact and customer experience spaces.

Technology Featured APAC

Zendesk launches new customer sentiment, intent solutions

Singapore – Customer service tech Zendesk recently announced Intelligent Triage and Smart Assist, new artificial intelligence (AI) solutions empowering businesses to triage customer support requests automatically and access valuable data at scale. By democratising access to these solutions, Zendesk aims to help companies better understand intent and sentiment through account-specific, data-driven models that are customised for individual use cases and drive faster resolutions. 

According to Zendesk’s own study, only 7% of Singapore businesses are qualified as ‘CX Champions’ – those considered the highest standard-bearers – meaning there are only a few organisations in Singapore delivering exceptional customer services. Industry analysts also predict that AI will touch the majority of customer service interactions in the near future – but Zendesk research shows less than a third of companies are currently using AI to help their service teams become more efficient. 

Intelligent Triage and Smart Assist are the next step in Zendesk’s vision to create accessible CX AI for companies of all sizes. The technology uses proprietary industry expertise and insights from trillions of customer data points and applies a vertical lens, creating custom models for businesses that are capable of identifying the intent, language and sentiment of each customer interaction. 

This unique approach to applying machine learning creates more personalised and informed interactions to better serve customers. Specific inquiries, such as “I’m having problems with payment”, can be automatically sent to an agent equipped to handle billing for a quicker resolution, while inquiries that include language written in all capital letters or in a sarcastic way will indicate a highly negative sentiment and be routed to the top of the queue. 

The new capabilities will enable to instantly route and prioritise revenue drivers, ensuring agents are working on business-critical requests. Brands and companies will also be able to analyse distribution of requests so businesses can better plan operations, collaborate across departments and identify improvement opportunities supported by data for more efficient CX operations.

Other capabilities of the new solutions also enable to automatically guide agents on how to best resolve a customer’s issue in real-time, continuously boost accuracy as the AI solutions receive feedback on predictions and recommendations, and detect sensitive information automatically to meet compliance and security needs or extract confidential data like names, addresses, phone numbers, usernames, and financial info for use in workflows 

All these capabilities are offered out-of-the box, included with The Zendesk Suite Enterprise Edition, instead of requiring months of training or costly developer support. 

“When it comes to helping businesses of all sizes improve their CX delivery, an important part of the strategy is lowering the barriers of entry for adoption – and advanced technology such as AI and machine learning are often not accessible without expensive upfront costs,” said Wendy Johnstone, chief operating officer of Zendesk APAC. 

Meanwhile, Cristina Fonseca, vice president of product at Zendesk, said, “Instead of putting bots that aren’t fully trained in front of customers, causing frustration and many times lost business, Zendesk’s fundamentally different approach takes the burden and complexity off of customers, allowing companies to build powerful applications on top of a strong foundation. ” 

Intelligent Triage and Smart Assist technology are initially focused on retail/eCommerce use cases, with more industries to roll out. 

Technology Featured Global

Qualtrics launches new customer service tool Social Connect

Utah, USA – Experience management (XM) company Qualtrics has launched a new customer service tool called ‘Social Connect’ which enables contact centre, marketing and CX teams to capture, analyse and respond to customer service requests received through chat, email and social media.

The new tool can help social and digital support teams achieve higher customer satisfaction, fewer repeat contacts, and more case resolutions in less time with a single unified inbox, automated chat responses, and deep insight into the social trends and real-time customer sentiment, intent and emotions through XM Discover natural language understanding capabilities.

In addition, consumers can now engage with brands 24/7 across a broad spectrum of channels, including social media, chat, on the web and via the call centre – generating huge volumes of unstructured data that contains critical insights companies don’t want to miss.

“The combination of Qualtrics Social Connect and XM Discover enables organisations to spot and respond to potential product issues, consumer trends, changes in brand awareness, or changing competitive influences online by analysing direct messages, reviews and social media interactions alongside social data like mentions, keywords, engagement, reach, and comments,” the company said in a press statement.

Meanwhile, Fabrice Martin, head of product at Qualtrics Customer Care, commented, “Businesses that fail to connect and build relationships with their customers over digital and social channels risk massive losses in customer loyalty and revenue. Qualtrics Social Connect helps companies meet their customers where they are, understand their expectations and deliver digital customer experiences that build loyalty and trust, while avoiding costly escalations to their contact centres.”

Technology Featured APAC

CPaaS Infobip adds Instagram messaging to portfolio of channels

Singapore – Global communications company Infobip has added Instagram messaging as a channel in its Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) offering, broadening the ways businesses are able to provide customer support.

Through its solutions, Infobip empowers consumer-facing businesses by providing a unified and simple workspace for customer support agents to engage and talk with customers on a variety of channels such as email, chat apps, live chat, and video calls, among others in social media. 

Instagram messaging is the newest addition to its portfolio of channels. The messenger API for Instagram is now available specifically on ‘Conversations’, Infobip’s contact center-as-a-solution service, which the tech provider said will result in the need for fewer calls to a contact center, thus, a more seamless and improved customer experience. 

“We are delighted that Infobip is launching Instagram Messenger in their contact center solution. The Messenger API for Instagram is now available for all developers who make it possible for brands to improve and enhance messaging experiences with customers,” said Vivien Ang, Infobip’s regional manager for APAC.

Infobip said that through the new capability, businesses will be able to handle messaging at scale on Instagram. 

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has seen a meteoric rise in active users making it one of the top social networks worldwide and which in turn has made it a key strategic communications tool for enterprises and institutions.

Ang adds, “It is clear that customers want to use their preferred channel of communication to connect with businesses and service providers. In fact, many customers today primarily choose to interact with brands through social media for everything from ordering food, requesting rides, making retail purchases right through to some elements of banking, and this same fast and simple capability can be brought to the contact center.”

Marketing Featured East Asia

BOCHK releases new premium Private Wealth service for high net worth customers

Hong Kong – Bank of China in Hong Kong (BOCHK) has launched a new premium Private Wealth service, which offers prestigious and personalized wealth management solutions to high net worth customers. 

BOCHK said that its high-end customer base has been expanding steadily in recent years as the number of customers with a net asset value of over HK$8M grows more than 10% each year. 

The new service aims to help these clients maximize their wealth and preserve their legacy, offering asset allocation solutions that include investment, insurance, equities, cross-border wealth management, mortgage, among others. 

Through the premium service, BOCHK also aims to assist customers in planning for their children’s finances, offering a variety of legacy planning and protection solutions, including consultation services for wealth inheritance and exclusive life insurance offerings. 

Stephen Chan, general manager of Personal Banking and Wealth Management Department of BOCHK, said that wealth management has always been one of the key businesses for BOCHK.

“We see a greater need for professional investment and insurance services as well as financial management analysis among this particular customer group. Their asset allocation mix consists of about 40% investment products, of which the majority are securities and funds,” he said.

The service is compose of an exclusive team of wealth management experts. The cross-border component of the service includes addressing customers’ needs for traveling, property purchase, and investment, including cross-border mortgage consultation services and Greater Bay Area financing solutions.

BOCHK has also shared that it will soon launch RM Chat, a service that enables customers to communicate with BOCHK service team through mobile banking, allowing designated relationship managers to address customers’ transaction requests.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

AFFINBANK gets CX transformation with omnichannel solutions Genesys

Singapore – Malaysia-based bank AFFINBANK has announced a new partnership with omnichannel solutions service Genesys in transforming its customer experience (CX) capabilities through the Genesys Engage™ platform, which is focused on providing CX services digitally such as email, web chat and social media.

Through the newly-integrated omnichannel service, AFFINBANK’s call center, which initially used voice channels for customer service, is able to lower its operational costs, sharing that telesales capability have improved by 50%, and that average call abandonment rate has been reduced as well by 40%.

“By providing a seamless omnichannel experience, we are not only able to interact with customers on their channel of choice, but also deepen our relationship with them through the use of data-driven insights that strengthens our commitment to customer-centricity and personalized service.”

Datuk Wan Razly Abdullah Wan Ali, president and group chief executive officer at Affin Bank Berhad

“The partnership with Genesys has enabled us to serve our customers more effectively and efficiently. Our industry-leading contact centre has moved beyond a mere transactional platform, today representing a conduit for relationship building. We are constantly raising the bar in our customer experience strategy to retain and attract more customers,” said Datuk Wan Razly Abdullah Wan Ali, president and group chief executive officer at Affin Bank Berhad.

Furthermore, AFFINBANK is looking to leverage Genesys’ solutions for the following to create more meaningful engagements and better service to their clientele base: 

  • Better performance management – allowing agents to monitor their individual performance in real-time to identify areas for improvement.
  • Improved efficiency – a single interaction recording depository with comprehensive search functions, facilitating call follow-ups and continuity among agents across multiple sites or interactions.
  • Simplified processes – Calls to be easily re-routed without third party dependency.
  • Enhanced customer visibility– Collection of customer data that is analysed for actionable insights to improve customer experiences and retention.

“In today’s digital economy, businesses need to be able to seamlessly serve their customer base across multiple channels by accelerating their digital transformation agenda.”

Gwilym Funnell, senior vice president and general manager at Genesys Asia-Pacific

“Genesys is honoured to have had the opportunity to work with a like-minded partner such as AFFINBANK, a third time recipient of the Genesys Customer Innovation Award which is a reaffirmation of their commitment to customer experience. We look forward to deepening our collaboration with AFFINBANK as it continues to push boundaries and keep in step with evolving market and customer demands in a digital economy,” said Gwilym Funnell (pictured above), senior vice president and general manager at Genesys Asia-Pacific.

Technology Featured Southeast Asia

Japan telecom SoftBank partners anew with Medallia to add more customer touchpoints to its retail stores

Tokyo, Japan –  Medallia, a global customer experience solutions provider has extended its partnership with Japan’s top telecommunications service Softbank.

Last year, SoftBank deployed Medallia’s Experience Cloud Platform across its 3,000 retail shops. The new partnership which will see the collaboration extend for another three years will have Medallia assisting to include more customer touchpoints across its retail channels.

The cooperation is in line with SoftBank’s plan to further improve its customer experience for the 46 million users subscribed to their fixed-line, mobile, and ISP services.

SoftBank has integrated Medallia’s platform across every touchpoint such as when signing up for a new contract, mobile device upgrade, and updating of customer information

Fumiya Takasu, SoftBank’s vice president for consumer sales unit and sales strategy division said, “The scalability, system stability and management support for Medallia’s Customer Experience Platform were key factors in our decision to implement it through our retail business.”

“We have recorded improvements in customer satisfaction since using the platform and now plan to expand it to other segments of our business to further enhance the customer experience.” Fumiya added.

Meanwhile, Gavin Selkirk, APAC vice president and general manager at Medallia commented, “As a forward thinking, customer focused business, SoftBank has committed to driving positive experiences for its customers and we at Medallia are delighted to help support them in that endeavor,”

“We have built a strong partnership with the SoftBank team and look forward to building on that as our platforms are integrated further into the business.” he added.