Let’s face it: Customer service is at the core of the customer experience. Every customer service interaction is a moment of truth that puts your organization to the test.

How quickly can you respond? How long will it take to get the problem solved to the customer’s satisfaction?

For customers, there are three things that truly matter: speed, convenience, and reliability. “Solve my problem, solve it quickly, and make it easy for me.” If you don’t check the boxes on each of these criteria, your customers are likely frustrated, if not already moving on to a competitor’s business.

This is precisely why the team for SAP Service Cloud has been working behind the scenes to extend and enhance solution capabilities. While there might be three core customer needs, we understand that delivering in those areas is easier said than done.

Welcoming Acquired Companies with Open Arms

First, we’ve benefitted from several companies SAP has acquired over the past 15 months. Through Qualtrics, we’ve embraced experience management feedback capabilities. We’ve always known that it is crucial to have customer feedback in order to improve the experience, but with Qualtrics, we can now get instant feedback in the moment when it matters.

No longer are businesses waiting to find out about a poor customer service incident after the fact when a survey has been filled out. At that point, it’s too late to correct the issue. Qualtrics enables feedback to be shared in the moment, so that any issue can be rectified then and there — turning the entire experience around. Brands also no longer need to rely on vague feedback like four out of five stars, but can take immediate action on specific, helpful insight from customers.

Combining this experience (X) data from Qualtrics with operational (O) data from SAP, brands can act immediately and look at the root causes of customer experience issues holistically and truly change things.

For example, say you rent a vacation home and arrive to find that the air conditioning unit is broken. Fortunately, the rental company has already reached out to you proactively upon your arrival to ensure everything is okay, so once you respond with the issue, they send a technician over immediately to fix the unit while adding a credit back to your account for the inconvenience.

Qualtrics is just one of several recent acquisitions that have extended the SAP Service Cloud portfolio. Others include:

  • Recast.AI: The conversational artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot platform helps to automate customer engagement. Importantly, through this integration with SAP Service Cloud, the chatbot knows when to hand off the interaction to a real person. If the chatbot does not know an answer, it can automatically transition into a live chat with a human in a customer engagement center.
  • Contextor: With robotic process automation, the customer service process can further be automated. Contextor’s technology helps to enrich the customer experience, free employees from tedious tasks, accelerate process execution, and achieve better compliance.
  • Coresystems: This acquisition allows SAP Service Cloud to extend its capabilities further into field service. In particular, crowd service capabilities from Coresytems are instrumental in enabling an on-demand field service — Uber-like — experience. Imagine you have a problem with your cable TV or internet and the technician shows up at your doorstep in less than 60 minutes!
  • Callidus Software: With the Callidus integration, its Litmos training solution is helpful for contact center employees and service reps. As simpler service requests can be dealt with via chatbots and automation, there is an opportunity for service professionals to do more complex work and therefore need to upskill.

Intelligent Customer Service with Automation, AI, Machine Learning

Beyond expanding our product portfolio through these new SAP companies, we’ve continued to innovate with new homegrown solutions too, with a focus on injecting intelligence through AI and machine learning to automate and enhance the service process.

We already know that the majority of incoming service requests can typically be categorized and then routed to the correct person. However, this is not always done automatically, which adds an extra manual step and slows down the experience for the customer. This is why we have recently launched the SAP Service Ticket Intelligence application, automating the customer service ticketing process. The AI-based algorithm embedded in the tool can identify the content and intent of the request, if it should go to the billing team or the technical support team, recognize if the customer is a VIP member, or identify other critical information up front, such as an order number mentioned in an email. All of these things and more can be automatically categorized,  saving time for service agents and speeding up the entire process.

And We’re Not Done Yet

With these latest innovations, it’s no surprise that SAP Service Cloud is experiencing rapid growth. After all, we’ve been busy – busy saving our customers time. In fact, our customers using SAP Service Ticket Intelligence have achieved an average automation rate of 68 percent.

Stay tuned for more innovation, like the new agent user experience, as we continue to bridge the gap between frontline and operational systems. If you’d like to learn more about SAP Service Cloud offerings and how we can help you to create better customer experiences in the moments when it matters, feel free to drop me a line or visit the SAP Service Cloud area of sap.com.

Volker Hildebrand is global vice president of Service Strategy and Solution Management at SAP.