Bose - E-Commerce Customer Service Award
Company: Bose, Framingham, MA
Company Division/Group: Bose
Company Description: Bose Corporation was founded in 1964 by Dr. Amar G. Bose, then a professor of electrical engineering at MIT. Today, the company is driven by its founding principles, investing in long-term research to develop new technologies with real customer benefits. Bose innovations have spanned decades and industries, creating and transforming categories in audio and beyond.
Nomination Category: Customer Service & Call Center Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: e-Commerce Customer Service Award - All Other Industries
Nomination Title: Messaging for Customer Support
The popularity and use of Messaging applications has skyrocketed in the past few years. Not only have consumers made it clear that mobile commerce is preferred, they have also made it clear that Messaging is an acceptable channel for Service/Support tasks. This finding is supported by the introduction of Apple Business Chat and Google Rich Business Messaging – platforms and services specifically designed to enable businesses to engage customers through the native Messaging applications on devices running iOS and Android.
In recognition of these trends, Bose expanded its digital footprint by offering SMS as a Support channel in December 2017. Live Chat was already available and demonstrating reasonable performance, so offering SMS was a way to gauge user preference. More importantly, Bose implemented SMS in a way that allowed for slowly throttling its availability to users. The benefit was being able to gauge demand for SMS while ensuring that contact center agents were not overwhelmed by user demand and able to deliver exceptional service.
For many years Bose has offered traditional Support channels such as phone and email. Each of these channels are plagued by factors that can drive customer dissatisfaction – especially Email. Email generally looks “digital” because it involves typed/written responses as the backbone of a two-way conversation. However, Email has consistently proven to deliver poor resolution and CSAT. It was essential for SMS and Chat to perform better, and the key would be recognizing customer expectations around the immediacy of the communication.
The story of Bose’s current success with SMS/Messaging is in the rollout plan. SMS/Messaging has enabled true improvement in the time management of the agent population. The baseline is that an agent can only take one phone call at a time. With SMS/Messaging, agents can handle more than one engagement at a time. Bose agents are now skilled to handle 15 concurrent conversations; they are highly utilized.
By April 2018 SMS/Messaging accounted for 6% of all US customer contacts. More importantly, Bose had mature operational playbooks and agent productivity. Bose expanded agent headcount and started managing it as part of normal operations.
Following this initial success, we expanded SMS availability and support to 3 regions and 2 languages, utilizing dedicated teams of local language experts to ensure accurate and appropriate responses in each region.
Contact volume expanded to handle approximately 1K SMS per week across all regions, while servicing those inquires with CSAT greater than the 85% goal we maintain for phone-based service events. By the end of August 2018, this resulted in 8-9% contribution of all US customer contacts handled through SMS/Messaging.
In September 2018 Bose began offering SMS to all customers - a test of operational maturity. This has resulted in SMS/Messaging accounting for 12% of US customer contacts, with no drop in CSAT.
As of January 2019, SMS/Messaging accounts for 13% of US customer contacts.
The Bose story doesn’t end with simply providing access to digital. Bose has also been testing chatbots as a viable support option, in a multi-phased approach. In September 2018 we launched a bot in front of our US SMS & Messaging channels. This bot routed the customer to the correct skill and collected the serial # and product issue if a customer selected a serviceable product.
In December 2018, we expanded the bot to help customers perform self-service troubleshooting on a set of 13 products. Initial results included 34% of customers having a product issue with one of these products and entering troubleshooting. 66% of these customers completed one of our troubleshooting steps, and 12% said they resolved their issue without needing any agent assistance. The 88% who went through troubleshooting but were unsuccessful were transferred to an agent for service options.
At Bose, more customers are getting better service as they migrate to digital.