Customer Support is an incredibly crucial aspect of any business. Take a look at these customer service statistics to see just how important it is. In fact, we're at a time now where customer support, and the interactions people have with companies, serve as a major make-or-break point for a business. If users have a terrible experience, they will be very quick to move to another business, and very quick to share their negative experience online.
So, we're in an age where customer support is no longer an afterthought, it’s a major aspect that every single company absolutely must consider. But, if it’s so important, why has the process of contacting support remained unchanged for so long? Despite the technology, we have at our disposal, mainly super computers in our pockets, why are we still stuck on hold for so long, and why does it take so long for an agent to even figure out what our problem is?
Well, I had a chance to speak with Anand Janefalkar, the founder and CEO of UJET, a new customer service platform looking to revolutionize the way we contact support. We discussed the current state of customer service, the major problem facing customer service, and how something like UJET can change the way we view customer service.
The Customer Service Problem
So, we're just now starting to see support change and keep up with the modern times. In-app support options exist, contact centers are embracing multichannel functionality, and many are even allowing users to text support on their phones, or utilize a live web chat instead of forcing clients to wait on hold for hours.
But overall, the process of contact support has remained mostly unchanged for years and year. For the majority of support contacts, we still have to wait on hold, we still have to relay the same information over and over again to agents to prove who we are, and we're still limited by this old-school practice with one major issue: context is lost.
If we're on a website, or in an app shopping, and then run into an issue and need to contact support, all of that context we established previously (where we are on the web page, what item we're looking at) is completely lost.
The simple context of who we are, and what we're calling about, is completely lost when we contact support, and precious time is wasted by recovering this context: we have to explain and verify to the agent who we are, and then we have to explain what we were doing online, and where our problem is lost. But this is where a solution like UJET comes in: it helps save context, and helps us save time.
What Is UJET?
At its very basic core: UJET is a new customer support platform that aims to turn the frustrating, slow process of contacting support into a quick, simple, "smartphone-era experience."
Anand built the solution because of the trouble he constantly ran into when seeking support in his own personal life. Because of his unique and uncommon last name, Anand always had a hard time receiving the support he needed:
"Like everyone else, I too have had my fair share of frustrating exchanges with customer support, often exacerbated by the spelling of my unusual last name. In today’s world, having to spell out your name, email, or street address one letter at a time just seems wrong— especially when we can log into our apps using our fingerprint or deposit checks by snapping a photo."
We have such powerful phones in our pockets, that offer some amazing tools and technology to help us drastically improve our everyday lives. Anand used the example of depositing checks by snapping a photo, or logging into our apps using a fingerprint scanner directly embedded into our devices. So, why, when so many other points of contact with a business have changed, hasn't customer support?
Like I've said, we've seen text and in-app support emerge, but the process is still much slower and time-consuming than it needs to be. And in Anand's experience, much more frustrating than it needs to be.
How Does UJET Fix the Problem?
This is exactly what UJET aims to do: revolutionize customer support to fit into the smartphone-era. To allow us to contact support and receive the help we need as quickly, and easily as possible by leveraging the technologies and tools already at our disposable.
Again, in-app support is finally starting to be more common, but still has its issues, as Anand explained in his UJET blog post:
"When going to the support tab within the apps we use every day, why do they push us out of the app to an email, webpage, or worse, a dialer where we are pressing tones to find out our wait times? Not to mention once we’re connected and possibly transferred to a different agent, we find ourselves repeating our names and describing our issues over and over again. "
But Anand thought, what if that context is never lost, and support can utilize the advanced tools built into the smart-phones we all have in our pockets? What if we could revolutionize the way we verify ourselves, and the information that agents receive?
That's exactly where UJET fits right in. Anand explained the solution as an extra layer that sits right inside your business' app, and integrates directly on top of your existing CRM. This adds in some pretty impressive features, allowing agents to understand the problem and find a resolution as quickly as possible. Some of these features include:
- Fingerprint verification right within the app
- Unique diagnostic packet with pertinent customer information sent directly to agents every time a contact is established
- Real-time sharing of photos, screen shots and videos without the caller ever having to leave their app
- Collaboration between agents, with the ability to transfer to another representative during a call, without losing any of the context or information previously established
UJET's goal is to revolutionize support, and minimize the time to resolution in any way possible. It does this by supplying agents with as much information as possible, and providing them with the tools necessary to assist clients as quickly as possible, whether through a voice conversation over the phone, or a chat conversation either in-app or on the web.
So How Does It Work?
The idea itself is fairly simple, UJET leverages tools and information that already exists, in a meaningful way. The entire solution, as I said before, acts as a new "layer" on top of your app, and your CRM solution. Customers can request support directly from inside your company's app, never having to juggle screens or lose their place online to start a phone call.
Agents, on the other hand, will never have to leave their CRM. Those using Salesforce, for example, will continue to use Salesforce. UJET simply adds a "widget" to Salesforce which expands the capabilities, and ties directly into either your company's app or website.
Let's break this down in a quick example, from both the customer and the agent's point of view:
The Customer's Side:
So, let’s say that a customer is using your app to browse a product catalogue. They find an item they like, but upon closer viewing, don't see a specific color in stock. Instead of having to close out of the app, find a phone number, and place a call, users can simply click on a "contact support" button right inside your app's menu.
They could then choose to call, or initiate a text conversation, all within that same app. The agent will receive information, like what product they were looking at, and know what the customer was calling about right away. But let’s go one step further.
Now, imagine that a customer is calling because the item they received was damaged in shipping. They went through the app's options and arrived on "Damaged Item." This allowed them to initiate a call with the agent, again without ever leaving that app. Instead of going through the usual process of spelling out their name and reciting their address, the agent is able to greet the caller by name, thanks to the information collected by their app beforehand.
But, just to be sure they are speaking to that user, the agent requests verification, and the caller is simply prompted with a message to verify their identity through touch ID, using their fingerprint. So, now the caller is connected to an agent, has verified their ID, and the agent knows that they are calling about a damaged item all within the first minute: the time usually spent spelling out your name and address.
But once they are verified, instead of attempting to describe their problem and explaining it to the agent over the phone: directly from the app, while still in the phone conversation, agents can request that the user send a photo, or even a video. The user will then be prompted to take a photo or video, and again never have to leave the app to do so. So, they send over a photo of the damaged item, and the agent is then able to decide what action to take from there.
The entire process was made as simple as possible for the customer. They never had to leave the app to place a phone call, they never had to waste time repeating identification information, and they were able to send an image to the agent in real-time, to prove to them that the item was damaged. The end result was a 15+ minute interaction shrunken down to only a few quick minutes. This is how UJET thinks customer support should look in the smartphone-era.
The Agent's Side:
But that only tells half the story: the simplicity and ease of use it provides customers. Let's take a look at how agents see the same exact transaction. Since UJET integrates directly with your CRM, and sits as a new "layer" on top of it, agents don't need any IP desk phones, just a computer with a compatible headset to answer calls.
When a call comes in, they receive a notification on their UJET widget right inside their CRM. Once agents answer that call, the first thing that they receive will be a diagnostic packet of information: this could range from the caller's name, to the mobile device they are using, to the specific screen or item they were looking at when they first initiated the support contact. Depending on the app and the information it collects, this could even show the agent the user's exact location (think of how Uber knows where you are when requesting a pick up). This place the information directly into the CRM as a note under a new ticket.
So instead of requiring the user to tell the agent who they are, why they're calling, and what they were looking at, the agent already knows all of that. But beyond this basic data packet, within that same calling widget that UJET creates within the CRM, the agent gains access to other controls: this is where they can request verification, request a screen shot, picture or video, or even initiate a text conversation. If the agent clicks on a "request verification" button, the caller will then have a screen pop up on their phone asking them to verify with their finger print, and again, all from within the same app.
But let’s go back to our previous example: let’s say a customer is calling because the item they received was damaged in shipping. Directly from the app, while still on the phone, agents can request that the user send a photo, or even a video. On the agent's side, the image will be logged directly into the CRM the instant it is transferred to the agent, and its done automatically.
This way no piece of information is ever lost, and agents don't have to spend time typing up comments or notes: the information is already there for them. Another major benefit to this is that if that agent has to hand off the ticket to another representative, all of the information collected by the app is already logged in the ticket, and transferred to that new representative. None of the context is ever lost.
The Bottom Line
This isn't the first time I've discussed this massive issue that still exists in customer service. Way back in the summer of 2016 I originally spoke to Vonage's CEO Alan Masarek who really pointed out the issue that context is normally lost when we contact support. I've been in search of a solution that can help fill this gap ever since.
And UJET isn't the only solution out there aiming for this problem either, just a few months ago I had a chance to see what Talkdesk is up to, and they echoed much of the same sentiments. But what's really interesting is how UJET is looking to leverage this smartphone era that we live in to help close that gap where context is always lost; although with a different take on the solution.
But whats really interesting is how UJET is looking to leverage this smartphone era that we live in to help close that gap where context is always lost. The key differentiator is that UJET offers a holistic experience – voice and chat that customers can reach via your app, website, or IVR – all with enterprise-grade security and SOC2 compliance.