3 Ways to Blend Human Intelligence with AI

Adding the human touch to Artificial intelligence instills customer trust and loyalty.

As technologies to improve the customer experience evolve, the need to humanize those experiences as much as possible is at the forefront of the customer experience.

Augmenting the human aspects of customer service with artificial intelligence can result in a better customer experience, according to “3 Ways Emotional Connections Can Power CX,” a report from customer service software provider Sitecore.

“While technology has an important role to play in connecting us, we seem to have lost touch with the key element of success,” says the report. “It’s a different kind of connection that’s missing. Our customers are human and we need to connect with them on a human level.

“Yes, we can reach them easily and gather data on them but that’s not enough. Genuinely understanding our customers, and their cares and needs, can form emotional bonds between brands and consumers.”

How can AI enhance customer service?

A few examples of the most well-known artificial intelligence (AI) options to create an improved customer experience include the following:

  • Chatbots and 24/7 other self-service options allow customers to get answers to their questions without having to call customer support.
  • Conversational AI offers chatbot interactions based on more conversational statements and answers for customer questions that can’t be answered by an automated chatbot.
  • Assist agents enhance both the customer’s and the customer service rep’s experience by preventing agents from having to sort through past ticket history when customers’ questions can’t be answered by automated chatbot responses.

Brands must understand their customers to compete effectively, says the Sitecore report:

“Using technology and collecting huge amounts of data will only get [brands] so far. Personalization is much more than this. The clue is in the name — it’s about the person. Customers need to be at the center of our strategies.”

Read on for three ways to humanize the AI experience for your customers.

1. Connect with the human behind the customer

If customers link your brand with positive emotions, that builds trust, making them more likely to buy your products and forgive mistakes and/or issues that may come up.

“The best way to create that brand association is by telling stories, not selling products,” says Sitecore. “Storytelling connects people when it triggers something we recognize in ourselves. It could be a particular emotion, challenge, ambition, or passion.

“Once you know the human behind the customer, you can build a narrative that starts with what they care about and ends with how you can support [them]. Before you communicate, think about what you stand for and the benefits to your customer.”

2. Create empathy with your content

Your content strategy needs to leverage storytelling to convey empathy for your customers, says the Sitecore report:

“Successful content strategies will not rest on an organization’s sales messages. They will be built upon its responses to audience wants and needs. It can feel unnatural for marketers to set these sales messages to one side but doing so can be the key to content success.

“By focusing on value over volume, with emotionally driven content that really connects with customers, you can build loyalty with target audiences by prioritizing their real wants and needs.”

3. Augment AI with human intelligence

The rise of “customer-centric, data-driven marketing” optimizes emotional and social intelligence with the help of technology to deliver exceptional customer experiences, says the Sitecore report.

“Despite our connected devices knowing us so well, customers don’t want their experience with brands to be completely machine-driven – they’re looking for genuine empathy,” says Sitecore.

“Don’t see AI as a silver bullet that can automate your marketing program. Instead, use it to optimize areas that let you move faster and be more agile — and blend that power with emotional intelligence to build genuinely valuable human connections.”

12 Calls Later, My Customer Service Issue Remains Unresolved

These three businesses have a lot to learn about first-call resolution.

“We are sorry you are experiencing a problem. Goodbye.”

That’s the automated response I got when I tried to pay a medical bill by calling the toll-free number on the statement. Earlier in the call, an automated voice asked for my phone number, then responded with, “We do not show an account with that number. Please try another number.”

But the automated system didn’t recognize that number, either. So, in other words, I was on my own. Maybe it was my turn to say goodbye to poor customer service.

If this hadn’t been the 12th call I’d made to three different sources — my health insurance provider, the hospital billing office and a radiology provider billing for yet one more cost related to an ER visit three months earlier — I might not have minded the abrupt halt to this failed attempt at customer service.

After all, I was able to quickly pay the bill on the radiology clinic’s website.

But when you add that call to numerous other calls I’d already made to the hospital billing department and my health insurer over wrongly coded or denied claims, the whole thing just came to a boiling point. In one case, the health system sent a claim to my old, terminated health insurance while sending another claim to the new insurer.

By this point, I was highly frustrated, vowing to change insurers next fall during open enrollment and do my best to stay away from this hospital system’s providers.

If even one call had produced a satisfactory resolution to my billing and claims issues, I would have felt that time spent on the phone was productive. I would have felt valued and respected as a customer. Instead, I got the runaround. When one customer service rep at my health insurance company promised to look into the matter and call me back that day, I was relieved.

At last, we were getting somewhere. But that was two weeks ago, and I’m still waiting.

First-call resolution: Why it matters

All of these companies would likely benefit from tracking their first-call resolution (FCR) metric. First-call resolution is the term that refers to a call center’s ability to handle and resolve the customer’s call — on the first call.

For example, the agent might call the appropriate department while the customer holds or include the customer on a three-way call. Maybe the agent promises to check into the issue and call the customer back so they don’t have to call the call center again.

The point of FCR is to keep customers, including those who are already frustrated, from having to call back repeatedly about the same issues.

“FCR not only helps gauge customer satisfaction – the higher your first-call resolution rate, the more satisfied your customers tend to be – and, as a result, drive customer loyalty, but also measures your agents’ efficiency and, ultimately, acts as an important factor in contact center profitability,” according to customer service software provider CallMiner.

High FCR rates, combined with short talk time, is a common contact center goal, says CallMiner, which recommends calculating FCR for each support channel offered by your brand.

“If your email support has a higher FCR than live chat, for example, this signals that your team is better at providing satisfactory and comprehensive resolutions on this channel,” says CallMiner. “You can then use this insight to structure your team and focus on the most efficient channels.

“Beyond that, you can use FCR to establish clear-cut goals for your team…Once you’ve calculated the FCR, you can use it as a benchmark of your current performance and use that benchmark to determine a reasonable goal for your team.”

It’s too late for my health insurer and this particular health system to redeem themselves with me, since I’ve had to call on more than once on nearly every bill I’ve received with both.

They’ve both lost my business because neither seems to understand how much first-call resolution improves the customer experience.

How to Target and Fix the Major “Pain Points” in Your Business

Avoid the pain of lost revenue by tackling common weak points that may be putting pressure on your business.

When a structure is under pressure, the weak spots will be the first to bust, and everything will come down with it. A business is much the same, so eliminating those weak spots can save it before too much damage is done.

Every company faces its own unique set of issues, but looking at common problems is the best place to start.

Any business is built up from its employees and customers. Giving attention to issues that affect either, company culture or brand recognition, will save companies from the pain of business loss.

Workplace culture

Culture describes the values, attitudes, and shared experiences of a group of people, and it’s incredibly important in a workplace.

A good workplace culture should be based on teamwork, dependability, and productivity. It’s fostering a good environment that will encourage employees to stay and do their best.

Data gathered by Deloitte shows that the majority of executives and employees see a solid workplace culture as pertinent to a business’s success.

A lot of the direction will depend on management – managers should be setting an example for their employees and paving the way. They should encourage employees to grow and improve and learn to make their own decisions. Autonomy will help employees feel trusted and valued.

Another direction to take to promote better workplace culture is to encourage employee bonding. Consider creating fun experiences and scheduling group meetings that will keep everyone on the same page. Employee recognition is important, too.

Brand recognition

Brand recognition is key to acquiring new customers.

A 2020 report shows that consumers go with a brand they recognize approximately three out of four times. Statistics have shown time and time again that brand recognition is incredibly profitable.

That also means that if your business hasn’t been put in the mind of consumers already, you may be falling behind. Consumers will be less likely to choose you.

The best way to raise awareness of a brand is through recognizable marketing like unique logos, slogans, and packaging.

Brand recognition doesn’t have to be limited to physical cues, though. A brand name shouldn’t be the only thing that pops into a consumer’s mind – they should also be able to associate high-quality goods or services with that name.

Maintaining company standards is important here. No matter the location, no matter the product, customers expect consistency. A lack of consistency will make it difficult to be remembered by, especially in a positive light.


Organization is a key player in efficiency. It also lowers the stress on employees and allows everyone to do their best work.

Tactics will vary by business type, but there are many important ways to apply organization to every aspect of a business.

In the digital realm, use tricks like creating a naming system for files for easier location and organizing your email inbox into different folders. Create step-by-step guides for complex processes so everyone is following the same procedure and no one is left confused and frustrated.

For physical offices, keep the workspace organized by making time to tidy up every day and make checklists for employees to follow.

Businesses that sell tangible goods face unique organizational challenges, too. Keeping everything labeled and storing similar products together can make a big difference. Make sure the most popular, fast-moving products are easily accessible.

Putting time into organization will save time in the long run.

Instead of letting common issues tear your business down, learn from the mistakes of others and do it right. Flip these pain points around and build a strong foundation.

How to Respond to Bad Restaurant Reviews

Most diners check reviews before deciding where to eat, so it’s important to learn the art of responding to a bad review.

You put your heart and soul into making your restaurant the chef’s kiss, so it can be tough to see that a diner jotted off a bad review. But the right response from you can save the day.

Research shows that 94 percent of diners will read online reviews before deciding whether or not to go out to eat at a restaurant. This means you should take bad reviews seriously, and take measures to respond appropriately.

“Everyone’s a critic,” states Lightspeed, a company that provides commerce solutions in the restaurant industry. “This adage is especially resonant today as smartphones give diners the ability to publish their thoughts about a restaurant to dozens of reviews sites before settling the check.”

The problem? “Bad restaurant reviews can deter customers and affect revenue,” Lightspeed continues, adding that “no restaurant is immune to angry customers and less-than-stellar reviews.”

On the upside, the right response from a restaurant owner or manager can mute the effects of the bad review and can even encourage potential customers to give the restaurant a chance. Here’s how to (and how not to) respond to a bad restaurant review:

Don’t: ignore a bad review

It can be tempting to just pretend you don’t see bad restaurant reviews, hoping they will fall into oblivion as newer ones get posted. But this is a bad strategy: many potential customers sift through a few pages of reviews, and a lack of response can give the impression the restaurant doesn’t care. According to Lightspeed, just under half (44.6 percent) of consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant if the owner or manager responds to a bad review. Responding can turn bad reviews into “opportunities for growth,” according to Lightspeed.

Do: respond graciously

It’s important to thank the customer for dining at your restaurant in a sincere and friendly tone. It’s understandable that some owners or managers may take a bad review personally. But it’s important to write a warm response and to avoid wording that may come off as snarky, defensive or critical. Remember that your target audience is made up of the diners who have not yet tried your restaurant and are reading the reviews. They’ll read your response to gauge how they might be treated at your restaurant. Make it clear that you’ll be kind and reasonable, even if they have a complaint.

Don’t: make excuses

It’s a good idea to apologize sincerely that the customer had a bad experience, and offer an explanation for the situation. However, don’t cross the line into making excuses for the problem. Simply give a brief explanation, then move quickly into explaining what you have done or will do to avoid a repeat of the problem. This may give other prospective customers a reason to take a chance and try your restaurant.

Do: offer to try to make up for the bad experience

If you’d like to try to resolve the issue or offer the diner compensation for their bad experience, don’t post specifics online. Instead, provide your name, title and contact information, and ask the customer to get in touch with you personally so you can address the issue. This shows potential customers that you want to make up for your mistakes, and you care about your customers and your establishment.

Do: ask for a second chance

You’ve apologized, explained what you’ve done to correct the situation, and offered to make it right. Now ask the customer to return to your restaurant and give it another try. If they do, you may be able to turn an unhappy customer into a loyal one, if you’ve learned from your mistake. And the prospective customers reading the reviews, and your answers, may give you a “second chance” as well by overlooking the bad review and trying your restaurant.

No restaurant owner or manager wants to see a review complaining of slow or surly service, bad food or other issues. But the ability to respond online gives you a golden opportunity to turn a negative review into a positive for you and your restaurant.

4 Areas of Focus for the Total Customer Experience at Your Bank

Giving customers the “TX” may be the key to creating lifetime loyalty.

Customers increasingly expect more from their banks. Creating an integrated total experience (TX) will require looking at your bank and re-thinking service in a holistic way.

The total customer experience (CX) is made up of all interactions a customer has with a business in the short-term and long-term as well as the relationship as a whole, states ASQ, an organization dedicated to promoting “excellence through quality.”

“To achieve great CX, bank and credit union executives must engage all levels of the organization to focus on improving experiences at every touchpoint, across the entire customer journey,” states Jim Marous, CEO of the Digital Banking Report. “Changes must begin at the operational level, rethinking existing processes while working on user experiences.”

Here are four areas of focus to improve the total customer experience at your bank:

  1. Omnichannel experience. By delivering a smooth omnichannel experience, you’re providing the flexibility and convenience customers crave. A customer might want to deposit a check with your app, swing by a branch to talk about a mortgage refinance in person, check their checking account balance online and get an email newsletter that delivers personalized financial advice, geared to their specific situation and life stage, to help them save money. Being able to deliver that kind of seamless service across channels will help to give you an advantage over the competition.
  2. Quality of products and services. Don’t lose sight of the basics: offering excellent products and services that respond to customer needs and wants is an important part of the total customer experience, according to ASQ. For banks, that may mean having a credit card rewards program that users love, offering a grace period on overdraft fees, and making sure your app works smoothly without bugs that can frustrate a customer who’s trying to check “deposit check” off their to-do list.
  3. Employee experience. “Employee experience is still king,” states Qualtrics, a technology company that offers user experience tools and advice. “Customers will never love a company unless employees love it first. In banking, as in other commercial businesses, customer experience is only half the story. To deliver the best customer experience, the employee experience needs to be the best it can be, too.” That means that, just as you look at the whole customer journey and relationship, you need to do the same with the employee experience. Research shows customer service improves when employees connect with their employee’s purpose and vision, feel they are respected and treated well, and get empowered to and rewarded for delivering excellent service.
  4. Emotional connection with customers. It’s also important to focus on building a real relationship with your customers, and that means you must factor in building an emotional connection. This is an undeniable part of the customer experience, starting the moment they first hear about your bank. Meeting and exceeding customer expectations can help build this connection. According to Qualtrics, bank customers these days expect a lot. For example, they want their bank to solve problems immediately, reward them for their loyalty, protect them from financial adversity and know who they are so they don’t have to keep repeating the same information over multiple interactions.

Creating a top-notch customer experience is no small task. But if you can get it right, you’ll gain a wealth of loyal customers for life.

5 Marketing Tools for Hotels to Win in a Digital World

In today’s day and age, social media is vital but it’s not the only marketing method out there.

Digital marketing has become a critical aspect of modern-day advertising, and hotels can use social media platforms to reach potential customers and keep existing ones.

While social media is an essential tool for hotels to reach potential customers, there are other effective digital marketing methods that hotels can use to increase their visibility, engage with their audience, and increase revenue.

Unlike traditional marketing like billboards, digital marketing can help you reach a specific niche whether that’s existing customers or those looking for a new hotel.

Research agrees. One 2020 study concluded that digital marketing is a faster, more effective way to speed up business. It’s also much easier to track how well the advertising is working. It’s much harder to track how much business is coming from billboards or TV advertisements.

Other researchers write that, “The constant growth of the online environment suggests that digital marketing will become the most important marketing instrument.”

Here are a few ways to take advantage of digital marketing.

1. Email Marketing

This is an effective way for hotels to stay in touch with their guests and promote their services. Hotels can use email marketing to send newsletters, special offers, and personalized messages to their subscribers. Email marketing allows hotels to target a variety of customers, such as past guests or subscribers who have shown interest in specific services.

Email marketing can also target potential customers who have interacted with your website but have not made a booking. You can use “remarketing” to show targeted ads to users who visit your website but left without making a reservation.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of optimizing a website to rank higher in search engine results pages. By using relevant keywords, optimizing website content, and building high-quality backlinks, hotels can improve their website’s visibility and drive more organic traffic. Hotels should regularly update their website and content to maintain their rankings.

3. Content Marketing

Content marketing involves creating and sharing informative and engaging content to attract and retain a specific audience. Hotels can use content marketing to create blog posts, infographics, and other types of content. Content marketing helps hotels establish themselves as industry experts, increase brand awareness, and improve their SEO rankings.

4. Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing involves partnering with social media influencers to promote a brand’s products or services. Hotels can collaborate with travel influencers to create sponsored content, host events, and showcase their property to a broader audience. Influencer marketing allows hotels to reach new audiences and increase brand awareness.

5. Video Marketing

Video marketing involves creating and sharing videos to promote a brand’s products or services. Hotels can use video marketing to showcase their property, amenities, and services, provide virtual tours, and highlight local attractions. Video marketing is an effective way to engage with potential customers and provide a more immersive experience.

Misinformation Kills: Conflicting Information Between Insurance and Medical Suppliers can Harm More Than Profits

Receiving opposite answers from two customer service reps left me wondering whether my health insurance claim would be approved or denied.

When I called Cologuard recently before sending my mail-in specimen to add new health insurance information to my doctor’s order for a routine screening for colorectal cancer, the process seemed easy enough.

“Most health insurance covers Cologuard so you shouldn’t have a problem,” the Cologuard agent told me. “But we always call to make sure first. I’ll call you back this afternoon if it’s not covered.”

I went about my work that day without worry — that is, until my phone rang and “Cologuard” popped up on my caller ID. Turns out my new health insurance provider would not cover the test, the Cologuard agent told me.

“That’s strange, since colorectal cancer screening is considered preventative care, she told me, adding that she even told the customer service rep that Cologuard was covered under the list of preventive services that most health insurance providers must provide to people 45 to 75 at no cost.

The insurance rep agreed with her. But then she contended that I’d have to pay 50 percent of the cost anyway.

Since both the Cologuard customer service agent and I were baffled by the information the health insurance rep conveyed, the Cologuard agent recommended that I call my health insurance provider directly the next day and ask again.

If you’ve ever called your health insurance company for information about your policy and documents, you already know it’s often a stressful experience, with many numbers punched before you finally get to a real person who then transfers you to the “right” department.

By this time, I’d already taken time from my workday to make one call to Cologuard. Now I faced two more calls — one to my health insurer and another call to Cologuard with a reference number if the health insurance customer rep told me the test was covered.

After a seven-minute hold, I finally got a health insurance customer rep.

“That procedure is covered 100 percent, so there’s no cost to you,” the agent told me.

“Are you sure? Another agent said it wasn’t covered,” I replied.

“That’s odd,” the agent told me. “We definitely cover that test.”

I made sure to get a reference number in case there was a problem with my claim later. But there remained nagging doubt that the insurer would actually approve the claim, since the first employee provided incorrect information to at least one provider and customer seeking approval for necessary health care.

I’m already dreading potential future issues with this claim that could force me to make even more calls to customer service due to misinformed or poorly trained employees. Getting conflicting information from two different agents at the same call center number put a serious dent in my trust and confidence in my new, well-known health insurance provider.

Were these customer experiences typical of this insurance provider? I’d like to think no.

However, actions speak louder than customer experience strategies when it comes to customer service reps doling out inaccurate information that could cost customers hundreds of dollars they shouldn’t have to pay or cause them to choose a self-pay option to “save” money.

The need for ongoing customer experience training

I’m guessing that the first health insurance customer rep was either poorly trained or unwilling to explore why the information she provided conflicted with federal healthcare laws.

Either way, the problem she presents for that health insurance company could be corrected with ongoing training and/or call monitoring and coaching from customer experience management at this company.

Will that happen? Maybe. Or maybe not, considering that among all the customer survey requests I received that week, there wasn’t one from this well-known insurer.

We’ll see what happens with my claim. But even if it’s approved, a poorly trained customer service rep has already sown a seed of distrust with my health insurance company that could blossom into more discontent, more easily, later on should other issues arise.

Credit Unions Slipping in Customer Service

Banks beat credit unions in almost every area of customer experience.

Credit unions used to be known for their stellar service. You could go to your local credit union and meet with a friendly staff member who would get you a loan for a used car or help you open a savings account. But a survey shows that credit unions are now lagging behind banks in most customer service areas except this traditional in-person service.

“Credit unions continue a long, slow decline in member satisfaction that is now in its fifth consecutive year,” Forrest Morgeson, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Michigan State University and Director of Research Emeritus at the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), stated in the survey. “Rapid membership growth fueled by the pandemic and ongoing industry consolidation may be leaving customer service behind.”

Credit unions still excel at in-person service, the ACSI survey found. In fact, credit unions are often recommended by financial professionals to consumers who need personal help rebuilding shaky credit or obtaining a loan. They have a solid B (86 out of 100) on metrics such as: courtesy and helpfulness of tellers and other staff and speed of in-branch financial transactions. They also scored well on the quality and reliability of their mobile apps and websites.

But scores start to lag in a variety of other areas, with banks easily winning out. Here are some areas where banks are currently surging ahead of credit unions when it comes to service:

  • Variety of financial services available – Credit unions score a C-plus (77 percent) on the mix of services available, including credit cards, debit cards, checking and savings accounts and loans.
  • Ease of dealing with accounts – Credit unions score a C (75 percent) on the ease of understanding information about accounts, and a 76 percent on the ease of making changes to accounts.
  • Competitiveness of interest rates – Credit unions score a C-minus (72 percent) on the competitiveness of interest rates.
  • Number and location of branches and ATMs – And they score a D-plus (68 percent) on the number and locations of branches and ATMs.

That’s partly because “credit unions no longer have the finances or technological firepower to compete,” according to the Credit Union Times. “The number of credit unions has dwindled from a high of 23,866 in 1969 to just over 5,500 today, thanks to business failures, consolidations and mergers. From 1970 to 2011, there were an estimated 13,000 credit union mergers.”

Due to fast-moving technological developments in the banking industry, banks can outcompete credit unions on fast loan approvals and automated processes that offer ease and convenience, according to CU Times. “But by leveraging their banking charters, working with fintech partners and adopting real-time payments (RTPs), credit unions can cement their claim in the future of financial services.”

As customers begin to expect more and better service from their financial institutions, credit unions may continue to find it harder to compete with national and regional banks unless they take some of those steps.

Otherwise, they may need to lean into their strength of in-person interactions built on friendliness and helpfulness tailored to the individual. And banks may need to exploit their many advantages, including a bigger variety of products, services and locations.

Is Your Brand Losing Customers to Survey Fatigue?

Your company’s quest for customer feedback can backfirgueste when customers feel badgered by too many surveys and survey reminders.

On a call with my wireless carrier about a billing issue last week, the customer service rep asked if I could answer a short survey before getting off the phone. I told her that I was busy and didn’t have time, since I was working.

“I’m not allowed to end the call if you don’t take the survey,” she told me. So, I answered her questions reluctantly, feeling slightly annoyed at being force-fed a survey to keep the customer service rep from apparently spending  the rest of her life unable to take a new call. Then the agent asked if I could stay on the line after the call to complete yet another survey.

I told her no, and we ended the call. But the pushiness of this brand left me with a bad impression, since the company obviously has a practice of ignoring customer boundaries when it comes to its surveys.

I had to take that first survey whether I liked it or not. But then they wanted even more feedback. I like my wireless company, so they didn’t lose my business over this. But I ended the call with another annoying experience on top of the one I called about. So, if they mess up the billing again or I have another issue, this brand will be in three-strike territory.

Some people don’t mind taking one survey or maybe even two surveys. But survey overkill can drive other customers away.

What is survey fatigue?

Survey fatigue is the term for when your audience “becomes bored or disinterested” in completing customer surveys and its’ typically linked with two causes, according to customer experience software provider Qualtrics:

  • Customers are so overwhelmed by the high volume of surveys they receive that they decide they don’t want to fill out even one more survey.
  • Customers grow frustrated with taking the survey, stopping midway due to too many questions and open text fields or speed through the survey just to get it over with, which can result in inaccurate data.

“Believe it or not, customers don’t love surveys quite as much as you do,” says Qualtrics.

“Yes, they’re happy to respond and give their feedback, but it’s important to remember that every time you request feedback, you’re asking them to put in effort. And the more effort you ask a customer to put in, the less likely they’re going to want to do it.”

Read on for four tips on how to avoid turning customers off with survey fatigue.

1. Ask direct questions

“If respondents don’t understand what you want from them, they have to think harder about their answers,” says Qualtrics. “So, keep your questions direct and unambiguous.”

2. Pay attention to survey organization

Asking customers to complete a poorly designed survey that contains too many open-ended questions or “questions that serve no immediate purpose” opens the door to survey fatigue, according to hospitality and customer experience software provider Opinionator.

3. Don’t ask questions within a question

It’s easy to make the mistake of cramming two questions into one, causing the customer to lose focus and think too much, making them likely to dump the survey before it’s finished, says Qualtrics:

“For example, ‘What is the most stylish and affordable clothing brand?’ contains two questions. It’s better to ask two separate questions, ‘What is the most stylish clothing brand?’ followed by ‘What is the most affordable clothing brand?’”

4. Keep open text fields to a minimum.

Most people don’t get excited about explaining their reasons for choosing a certain option such as rating their call center experience “excellent,” “good” or “poor.” That’s just more effort they must put into completing your brand’s survey.

“If you’re using open text questions as a follow up to another question, say, for example, to find out more about why someone chose a particular option in the previous question, you can use display logic to present it only to those respondents it’s most relevant to. So, think carefully about your intention with a question,” says Qualtrics.

For example, if your customer service team relies on open text responses to follow up with unhappy customers, Qualtrics recommends requesting an open text answer for more detail only from customers who give a score showing their dissatisfaction such as “somewhat” or “extremely dissatisfied.”

How to Personalize the Banking Experience

How banks can deliver better service with personalization.

Today’s bank customers are looking for personalization: advice tailored to their stage of life, tools designed to help them avoid fees and tips that will help them grow their nest egg.

But according to J.D. Power, which conducts yearly banking customer satisfaction surveys, “banks have struggled to deliver on customer expectations for personalization as nearly half of customers have now moved to primarily digital-centric banking relationships.”

Customers want it all: the ease of doing their banking and financial management digitally, combined with old-style personalization that makes them feel they’re not just another number.

“Personalization can help banks deliver superior customer experiences and build trust and loyalty,” research and consulting company Forrester states. “By personalizing interactions across the customer lifecycle and across the full spectrum of physical and digital channels, banks can demonstrate to customers that they know them well, understand their needs, and care.”

With that in mind, here are four ways banks can offer personalized service in today’s digital banking world:

  1. Consider personalized pricing. Many customers say they’re willing to switch banks to get better pricing on products. “To tackle this issue, banks can utilize personalized pricing models,” technology consulting company Itransition states. “In this case, the price is defined based on customer segment preferences and expectations rather than product quality and market trends. Making use of customer big data and advanced analytics, banks can figure out the best service price for a particular customer segment drawing on a customer’s behavior, propensity to purchase, loyalty level, CLTV, and current needs.”
  2. Offer personalized financial advice. Banks are in a perfect position to offer tailored financial advice, guiding their customers to financial health. One example: many customers would love to get savings tips based on their own spending habits. “Mint and thousands of other personal budget apps have tapped a growing demand for tailored budgeting advice,” Itransition states. “But given that banks have a much more granular insight into customer profiles, a bank-native personalized budgeting solution can become one of the most effective tools for increasing customer engagement.”  One survey found that about half (51 percent) of customers want a chatbot that can give them “personalized financial advice in plain language.”
  3. Send personalized alerts. Customer demand for personalization includes a strong desire for alerts that will help them manage their money in real time and avoid nasty financial surprises like declined cards and stealth fees. Surveys show that customers want their banks to alert them when a direct debit is going to be withdrawn from their account and when they’re about to overdraft their account. Many also would love alerts that show how much money they have to get them through until their next paycheck hits the account.
  4. Give personalized shopping perks. Banks have massive amounts of data about where their customers shop. And customers would love to see that data used for their own advantage. For example, about two-thirds of customers want to get deals and offers to help them save at their favorite retailers. “Banks can also use customers’ location data to offer relevant services at the right time,” Itransition states. “For example, when a customer enters a shopping mall, their mobile banking app can notify them about partner retailers nearby.”

Many industry experts agree that banks have yet to truly meet, let alone exceed, customer expectations for personalized service. The good news is, that means there’s plenty of opportunity to grow in this area and “wow” your customers with your detailed knowledge of their needs and their money.