Written by Dorian Stone, Head of Organizations Revenue at Grammarly

In previous articles, I detailed the rising cost of ineffective and inconsistent communication on customer support, service, and experience teams. One might think that these costs will decline as we emerge on the other side of the pandemic — but the opposite is true.

The past year only exacerbated what were already growing trends: workforce dispersion and diversity, changing customer preferences, and an increased business focus on CX, among others. These shifts are only the start: Gartner predicts the service and support function will see radical changes in 2021 in an ongoing response to the effects of the pandemic. 

Those leaders who ready their functions now will gain a competitive advantage. But this is far easier said than done amid challenges like tightening budgets and overwhelming contact center volumes—leaving many feeling they must make trade-offs between quality, consistency, and efficiency to meet new demands.

This does not have to be the case. By investing in improving communication now, leaders can rise to these challenges and prepare their organizations to scale performance long-term.

Why long-term success hinges on efficient, consistent communication

Over the past year, a significant change for customer service and support functions has been the shift away from “cost centers” toward what Gartner calls “relationship-oriented profit centers,” or what Forrester calls “experience centers.” The underlying message is clear: customer support is an increasingly critical business driver, with overall company success now hinging on how well they deliver exceptional experiences.

For customers, teams must not only meet them in all the new places they are engaging — like new messaging apps and digital channels — but also do so with a high degree of empathy. The hardships of the pandemic have often made interactions more transactional, leaving customers craving more emotionally sensitive support. This makes it critical for leaders to inject more of a human touch and build in ways to strike the right tone in communications.

For employees, leaders must also support workforces with the right tools and resources to succeed in the new hybrid work era. For example, nearly nine in 10 (89%) service leaders forecast that 20–80% of their workforce will still be working from home two years from now. This shift requires leaders to identify new means to equip and connect these employees to drive efficient engagement across channels.

The fact is that the ability to deliver these new customer and employee experiences comes down to effective communication: efficient responses to quickly address needs while boosting productivity; consistent interactions to build trust while maintaining brand image; and high-quality, empathetic communications to drive engagement and loyalty.

Investing in this type of communication will make all the difference in quickly achieving business results — equipping teams to rise to new demands and deliver efficient growth. 

The year’s best investment: Technology that helps, not hinders

Shockingly, less than half (46%) of support leaders believe they can deliver personalized support at scale with their current technology stack. This is because most recent investments have focused on adding new systems for connectivity rather than improving the effectiveness of all communications across platforms—offering a backlog of value to capture.

In particular, improving written and asynchronous communication across systems adds up to a significant boost in both quality and efficiency. I addressed in a previous article how written communication is on the rise. Despite high reliance on synchronous work modes (such as video conferencing) over the past year, Gartner data shows asynchronous work modes (such as messaging and email) are just as important as hybrid models become the norm.

One multinational manufacturing company that deployed AI-powered writing assistance for one of its communications-heavy teams, saw an investment of $150 per employee save each individual an average of 147 hours annually in writing and editing. With a salary anywhere from $15 to $50/hour, that equals $2,205 to $7,350 in time saved per employee, or up to a 14–49x ROI.

Leaders should seek solutions that not only deliver proven ROI in enhancing communication but also provide enterprise-grade functionality, including:

  • Stringent security and privacy, compliance, and availability standards
  • Platform-agnostic availability with easy integration across systems to optimize existing workflows
  • Robust analytics to monitor impact on business performance and drive continuous improvement

Case study: Scaling customer support with consistency and efficiency

Let’s look at a real-world example from Lucid, a high-growth research technology company that provides programmatic access to third-party data. As the company expanded globally, it needed to scale its support team to deliver top-notch communications across channels and maintain high customer satisfaction.

By implementing AI-powered writing assistant technology from Grammarly Business, Lucid enhanced its communication among employees — many of whom are multilingual — to serve customers with confidence, clarity, and consistency. With real-time writing feedback and advanced features like tone detection and preset response templates, Lucid’s employees can communicate more quickly and on-brand, freeing up managers to focus on strategic priorities and ultimately supporting higher CSAT scores.

“As we have expanded our global support team, Grammarly Business has been an irreplaceable tool in meeting our customers’ expectations with higher quality and consistency,” said Jimmy Snyder, associate director of platform support at Lucid. “We have already seen a boost in customer satisfaction, and now we can address our customers’ needs even more quickly. This is going to be a productivity game-changer, especially in times of urgency.”

A look at the horizon

As we move forward, leaders must embrace the one certainty they can expect: continued change. By investing in a foundation of efficient, consistent communication now, they will be well-positioned to enter the new era of CX with the confidence they can adapt and scale this year and beyond. 

For more on why investing in efficient, consistent communication is critical for long-term success, visit www.grammarly.com/business

This article first appeared in CX Network.

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