They say that it’s the best complaint you can have: having too many customers. It’s one of the great ironies of success. Early stage companies are so focused on building a product or service that customers want, that they can be easily overwhelmed when the customers actually show up.
Take cryptocurrency for example. Judging by the phenomenal global demand for digital currencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum, we are witnessing a paradigm shift in the way the world wants to use money. Exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, Bittrex, Bitstamp and Kraken have been adding upwards of 100,000 new users each per day. Just four days after Robinhood announced its move into the trading market, over one million people had signed up for “early access” to the service.
While opening up massive commercial opportunities, demand like this can open up major operational challenges and customer experience pitfalls. A tweet in early January from Changpeng Zhao, the founder and CEO of Binance, sums the situation up perfectly. Having temporarily disabled new user registrations, he tweeted:
sorry guys, servicing existing members is higher priority at this point. Full team working around the clock. Both tech and support. Just too much demand. Added 250,000 new users in the last 24 hours. Just crazy! https://t.co/yY8eCIL2Ph
— CZ (not giving crypto away) (@cz_binance) January 4, 2018
As demand soars, so do the number of customer complaints. In January, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau experienced a 100% jump in complaints about some of the largest exchanges. Typical grievances include delays in receiving funds from sales, over-charging, consumers being locked out of their accounts, and their accounts being closed leaving no access to their funds. Typical response times to these customers have ranged from several hours all the way up to several months. And technical issues such as Kracken’s recent two-day outage along with Bitfinex’s malfunction late last year will be of further concern.
These digital currency exchanges have incredibly ambitious visions for how they can change the way the world sees money. Coinbase, for example, is on a mission ‘to create an open financial system for the world’; one that ‘can be a great equalizer and lift billions out of poverty while accelerating the pace of innovation around the world’. Circle, a cryptocurrency-focused financial-services firm, recently acquired crypto exchange Poloniex in a move that makes it one of the largest and most influential companies in the industry. Circle has a vision for making money work in the same way the internet does: “we believe sharing money should be instant, free, secure and fun – among friends, across borders and between currencies”.
These companies fundamentally believe that we’re on the verge of an unprecedented financial revolution. But if they cannot provide their customers with the kind of experience they expect or deserve, those customers will leave them for a competitor that can. In today’s economy, customer experience is the only real differentiator between a company and its competitors; it’s where the battles between exchanges will be won or lost. A dissatisfied customer will not just leave, they’ll tell their friends and entire social networks about it too – especially when it comes companies entrusted with their money.
To delight customers, digital currency exchanges need to be easy to use, and deeply trustworthy. Neither of these is easy to achieve during a period of hypergrowth. As a result, many exchanges are forging partnerships with trusted customer experience experts. The right partner provides the highly-trained customer experience (CX) agents and cutting-edge digital solutions needed for top-tier customer experience, thereby allowing the companies to focus on its core competencies and mission.
For those considering this route, here are some questions to ask prospective partners, based on Voxpro’s experience of working with some of the world’s fastest-growing technology companies.
How will they help you scale?
Companies that are growing as quickly as some digital currency platforms require a huge amount of flexibility and agility on the part of their CX partner. Vendors need to have multilingual and 24/7 support capabilities; they also must be able to pilot small teams to begin with and ramp up rapidly as soon as the operation grows. Take Voxpro’s partnership with Airbnb for example: it started with a CX team of 150 agents and very quickly grew to over 1,500 as demand exploded. The right partner will grow alongside your company.
How do they recruit and retain team members?
The agents on your CX team are your frontline, so it’s important to hire the best and build a culture that keeps them engaged. Great agents will see every customer contact as an opportunity to deepen the relationship between your customers and your product.
At Voxpro we look for qualities such as empathy, technical proficiency, and a ‘service’ mindset in our team members, and we employ a range of outside-the-box techniques at the recruitment stage to find them. For example, instead of sticking with traditional interviews, we run assessment centers that include activities such as role-playing, group tasks and storytelling. This allows us to find individuals that not only display the above qualities, but that will also be aligned to both our culture and that of our partners.
How are team members trained?
Ask a lot of questions about the training cx agents receive, because that may play a central role in how your company is perceived and protected. Last year one of Voxpro’s Trust and Safety agents saved one of our major partners over $20,000 by foiling an attempted money laundering scam before it even got started. Our in-depth agent training programmes are central to big wins such as this.
Do they employ next-gen CX solutions?
Customer experience is experiencing a deep digital transformation. New technologies are allowing for a dramatic reduction in customer effort and an increase in personalization. Customers want more ways to contact a company, faster resolutions, and more personal interactions. In return, they stay loyal and spend more. Automation is central to scaling, but the human touch remains critical. The right partner will be able to provide the right mix of human and technology to help reduce customer effort and cost, and increase resolution times and NPS / CSAT scores. Here are three digital solutions to discuss with a prospective vendor:
- Chatbots: Bots can handle basic and repetitive CX tasks at a volume and speed never seen before, thereby freeing up humans to solve more complex problems for customers, while building deeper relationships with them.
- Omnichannel: The average customer today uses an estimated five connected devices to access voice, email, chat, social media and self-service to research and make purchases. An omnichannel strategy ensures that they have a seamless experience across all of these channels, throughout the entire customer journey.
- AI Analytics: This technology converts customer interactions aggregated from various channels into intelligent patterns. It detects issues that need rapid escalation, recommends solutions and improves agent performance.
What other companies are they working with?
It is vital to find a partner that understands what you are going through, that knows your pain points and is excited to help you solve them. Do your homework – search for a partner with a proven track record of solving the kind of problems you’re facing, to an exceptionally high standard. A premium vendor will routinely outperform expectations around Net Promoter Scores (NPS) and CSAT scores, and will have the data to prove it.
An experienced partner will also help you navigate the different regulatory environments as you scale into new geographies. Voxpro currently partners with some of the world’s fastest-growing Fintech brands, providing fundamental services such as Know Your Customer (KYC) checks for users in multiple territories. This experience lends itself to helping new partners rapidly also scale into new markets.
Many companies are publically private about their outsourcing practices, so go deeper than a few Google searches when carrying out your research. Conversations with peers and those in the outsourcing industry will bear more fruit.
The current customer demand on digital currency exchanges is just small sign of what’s to come. If Blockchain technology is still in the early stages of adoption, what will mass adoption look like? Coinbase, for one, is thinking ahead. Tina Bhatnagar, the company’s new VP of Operations and Technology, plans to double the support team and provide round-the-clock phone support by June – a move that other exchanges will be watching closely. In our experience of working with some of the world’s fastest-growing tech companies in Fintech, the Sharing Economy and beyond, those who invest in customer experience win the day.
If you want to talk to us about how we have helped some of the world’s fastest-growing technology firms successfully scale their operations and customer satisfaction scores, get in touch here.