Online Self-Service Solution from IntelliResponse Helped Kobo Enhance The Customer Experience by Reducing Customer Effort
Each year, 1to1 Media – a Division of the Peppers & Rogers Group – honors 10 customer-centric leaders who understand that engaged customers make a positive bottom-line impact. These are executives who know that customers are the business, and who have the ability to help their organization transform even the toughest customers’ loyalty into profit.
That’s why we at IntelliResponse are excited to hear that our client, Kobo, was a recipient of a 1to1 Customer Champions award for 2012. In an effort to deliver online service excellence, Kobo had implemented the IntelliResponse Virtual Agent solution in order to provide their customers with the ability to self-serve online. Along with other customer-centric initiatives you’ll read about this blog, the IntelliResponse Virtual Agent solution has helped Kobo reduce customer effort and gain the industry recognition it rightly deserves.
Who is Kobo?
For those unfamiliar with Kobo it might be worth mentioning that Kobo is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services that has attracted millions of readers from 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo has built an open-standards platform to provide consumers with a choice when reading.
1to1 Customer Champion: Mark Stevens, Kobo Books
Through a detailed nomination and review process and an extensive round interviews, Mark Stevens from Kobo was chosen as one of the 10 executives to receive this prestigious recognition this year.
Mark Stevens is the Vice President, Customer Care at Kobo and is responsible for ensuring that Kobo’s customers receive an outstanding customer experience.
Highlights From Kobo’s 1to1 Customer Champion Feature Story:
1to1 Magazine’s full story feature on Mark Stevens of Kobo can be read in this week’s special issue of 1to1 Magazine’s Weekly Digest. Below are some excerpts from the article:
- “A customer-centric organization doesn’t execute based on what a handful of well-meaning leaders think,” Stevens says. “It asks its customers and builds strategies based on the responses.”
- …the organization changed the search paradigms to return the one answer that is best matched with the syntax of the question itself, providing a quick and easy path to resolution for customers.
- …by investing in self-help tools, including a virtual agent solution, Kobo Books is making sure that call center staff have more flexibility to focus on the customers who are most in need of help.
- …customer satisfaction scores have gone up from the high 60s and low 70s in late 2011 and early 2012 to the mid 80s now, Stevens says.
Kobo’s Mandate: Reduce Customer Effort
One of the things we’ve come to learn and appreciate about Kobo is their unwavering commitment to the customer. More specifically, Kobo attempts to reduce customer effort wherever possible. Through our interactions with Mark Stevens, he’s explained how his team works hard to understand their customers. Kobo realizes that the easier they make it for their customers to get answers to their questions, the quicker they can get back to reading.
How Does Kobo Reduce Customer Effort?
The Technology Behind Great Customer Experiences
A major part of Kobo’s commitment to their customer, and ultimately to reduce customer effort, was their desire to provide a much richer online experience for their customers. With the IntelliResponse Virtual Agent solution, Kobo customers can now go online to Kobo’s website and self-serve without having to call into the contact center. This provides more flexibility for the customer and Kobo as call center staff can spend more time with customers who have more unique or personal questions that require the help of a live contact center agent.
IntelliResponse Virtual Agent is an award-winning on demand software platform that allows Kobo’s customers and service agents to ask questions in natural language, and get the right answer instantly, regardless of the hundreds of ways the question may be asked.
Watch the Video
IntelliResponse Virtual Agent has been branded as “Ask Kobo” on Kobo’s website.
Watch the 2-minute Customer Success Video to discover why Kobo views IntelliResponse as a must have customer service tool.
The People and Processes That Help Drive Kobo’s Great Customer Experience
With the unwavering commitment of his Operations team, Mark strives to ensure contact center staff are both educated and empowered to ensure the first agent who speaks to a customer can resolve that customer’s issue or concern without having to transfer the customer. The Operations team is composed of specialists, not generalists. This enables Kobo to match incoming customer calls with the agents who possess the device or application skills to best solve that customer’s issues. Through empowerment, staff can make decisions to resolve customer issues on that first call.
Mark also encourages the free flow of information at every level. Using the “Stop, Start, Continue” approach, Mark asks for feedback and ideas from agents. Mark believes this is a great communication platform, and by guaranteeing confidentiality, Mark receives direct, honest responses. Kobo combines this feedback from self-service data to make customer-centric decisions when it comes to strategy.
Results: The Numbers Speak for Themselves
Mark’s strategy and efforts of making it easy for customers to interact with Kobo have definitely paid off. As you would have heard from the above video, during Kobo’s peak season, they saw a 700% increase in web traffic but only a 4% increase in call center volume, as many customers were simply able to self-serve on Kobo’s website and receive instant answers to their questions.
Kobo has seen a steady increase in customer satisfaction scores over the past 6 months, a Net Promoter® Score that increased by 4%, and dramatic improvements in the customer effort score (CES).
Mark stresses the use of the “Customer Effort Score” (CES), measured as a reduction in the amount of effort needed by customers to complete their customer service tasks. While Mark relies on these other metrics, he sees CES as being the most important.
“Kobo’s determination to decrease customer effort have worked and the organization has improved its customer effort score by 12 percent since January, following an 8 percent improvement in the previous quarter,” according to 1to1 Media.
Never Stop Improving:
Kobo Continues to Reduce Customer Effort with New Features
Back to the technology side of things, Kobo invests in making Ask Kobo even better by continual improvements in its self-service solution. Kobo was an early adopter of many of IntelliResponse’s latest solution features that improve answer accuracy and reduce customer effort.
More Information: 1to1 Customer Champions
The 1to1 Customer Champions are featured in this week’s special issue of 1to1 Magazine’s Weekly Digest. (To view the full issue you’ll need to be an existing newsletter subscriber but you can also register for free).
About IntelliResponse Systems
IntelliResponse is the leading provider of virtual agent technology solutions for the enterprise. We create profitable online conversations for our private and public sector customers around the world. With our patented Enterprise Virtual Agent (EVA) solutions, corporate websites, mobile applications, social media channels and agent desktops can all be transformed by an engaging virtual concierge, empowering customers to ask questions using natural, conversational language and delivering an effective and engaging online experience.
With more than 360 live customer-facing implementations answering 100 million+ questions annually, IntelliResponse is the gold standard in first line customer experience management. For more information about IntelliResponse, visit http://www.intelliresponse.com/
About 1to1 Media
1to1 Media is dedicated to helping organizations realize the greatest value from their customer base. We provide resources that deliver relevant information on the latest thought leadership regarding customer strategy and marketplace trends. Our content explores the best practices and trends from companies using customer initiatives to drive results. 1to1 Media is a division of Peppers & Rogers Group. www.1to1media.com
About Peppers & Rogers Group
Peppers & Rogers Group is a leading management consulting firm, dedicated to helping its clients improve business performance by acquiring, retaining and growing profitable customers. We solve business problems of our clients by delivering a superior 1to1 Strategy and removing the operational and organizational barriers that stand in the way of profitable customer relationships. www.peppersandrogersgroup.com
NPS®, Net Promoter® & Net Promoter® Score are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld.