The Gordian Knot of Customer Engagement

Alexander the Great moved across Asia with his armies and came to a palace in Gordian. The palace contained an ox cart in which a former king rode to town. The ox cart was tied with a knot so complex that a prophecy had grown up around it.

“Whoever unties this knot,” said the prophecy, “would likewise be ruler over all Asia.”

As Alexander stood before the knot, he reasoned that the method used to loosen the knot was unimportant. Instead of working at the knot with his fingers and teeth, he took out his sword and sliced it in two. The legend still stands as a testament to Alexander the Great’s creative thinking.

The Growing Complexity of Customer Engagement

The Gordian Knot today’s businesses face is increasingly complex customer interactions. Customers engage businesses frequently over many channels—shifting between them seamlessly and even using channels simultaneously. A common but ineffective solution to this problem is for businesses to add headcount.

Adding headcount to service these interactions is like trying to untie the knot with your fingers and teeth. It’s the same old tactic and it isn’t sustainable. According to the Forrest Research Report on 2018 Customer Service Trends, slicing through that Gordian Knot requires increasing strength in automation, AI, and knowledge.

  1. Focus on context and inquiry type

As customer expectations grow, they’re also becoming harder to meet. Businesses should think beyond channels—and beyond just shifting conversations to digital channels. It’s far more effective for reaching business goals when you focus on delivering the best experience based on context and inquiry type, including via chatbots, visual engagement, and voice interfaces.

  1. Automation and AI reshape operations

Put automation and AI at the center of your strategy. AI enables automation to get faster and smarter over time and helps uncover new revenue streams. You can fundamentally transform the way you do business and start engaging with customers proactively at any point in their journey. AI can be very effective at managing headcount, so you can spend more on reskilling agents to address customer interactions that demand insight and analysis.

  1. Maximize human connections

There are fewer opportunities for human connection in an increasingly digital and self-service world. Invest in these valuable human-to-human moments by upskilling your workforce, empowering them and exploring new labor models that maximize human connections in a digital world.

Keep an Eye on Trends in Customer Service

It goes without saying that Alexander went on to conquer Asia, but this probably has less to do undoing the Gordian Knot. It had much more to do with his ability to switch tactics in order to solve a complex problem. The most successful businesses improve their quality of service through innovative tactics that are aligned with market trends.

Read this Forrester Report by Vice President and Principal Analyst Kate Leggett. You’ll learn where investments make sense based on the top 10 customer service trends for 2018—and how they’ll help you make the best use of your resources.

Download the Forrester Report