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Bogdan Nitulescu, Tremend
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Cryptocurrency exchanges. The new outsourcing El Dorado?

Customer experience has become the new competitive battleground for crypto exchanges. Cryptocurrency exchanges seeking to maintain or gain an advantage in this highly competitive market need to consider the tremendous value of partnering with a customer service delivery expert. Read on to find out how a trusted partner can help companies meet the growing customer service demands of cyrptocurrency users.

2018-10-01 10:01:21 - From the Print Edition

The end of money as we know it." "Why big banks are nervous." "The new digital gold." - these are just a few of the sensationalized headlines about cryptocurrencies in recent months. It's becoming harder to ignore this financial industry disruptor as well as more challenging for cryptocurrency companies to meet the growing demands of new and existing users.

What is cryptocurrency and how does it work?

Cryptocurrencies are a peer-to-peer version of electronic cash that rely on blockchain technology. They allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another using complex encryption techniques to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating entirely independent of a central bank.
Crypto exchanges are the businesses that actually allow customers to trade digital currencies, putting global buyers and sellers in contact so they can perform transactions.

Why do cryptocurrency exchanges need an expert customer service partner?

As the number of crypto exchange users continues to grow, the number of support questions has increased exponentially. This rapid growth, combined with the 24/7 nature of customer service requirements and multilingual needs of global users, can be challenging for even the most established organizations to effectively serve, let alone cryptocurrency start-ups that may not prioritize customer service while focusing on their core business.
As a consequence, most exchanges are using chatbots as a stopgap solution. But, a robust customer service strategy is particularly critical for exchanges as many users are looking for guidance in a market perceived as both complex and risky. Professional human interaction offered alongside chatbots can serve as a competitive differentiator and help users feel more at ease. The right customer experience partner can help crypto exchanges achieve scalability, deliver localized support, and meet the growing service expectations of users, allowing crypto exchange businesses to focus on their core offering of greater innovation.

Why is a focus on customer experience so critical for crypto exchanges today and in the future?

Rarely have companies seen the amount of growth that cryptocurrency and crypto exchanges have enjoyed in the last 12 months.
But with rapid growth, comes the potential for reputational damage if companies are unprepared to scale their customer service operations to meet heightened consumer demand. Widely cited market surveys, such as Oracle's suite of customer experience (CX) studies, indicate that consumers are likely to abandon a business because of a poor experience. In fact, a majority of customers are even willing to pay more for a similar product to get the service they want.
With the rise of new exchanges, as well as new digital currencies to compete with Bitcoin, cryptocurrency investors have more choice than ever before to get the customer experience they want.

How can customer service help when rapidly-scaling your business?

When it comes to fast-growing tech markets, having customers discover and cope with service problems on social media can breed company distrust and potentially damage a business's reputation. The risks are even greater for cryptocurrency-related companies, as many individuals have large sums of money wrapped up in the market, making customers exceptionally sensitive to bad service.

Scaling is crucial to protect your market presence; however, taking an expert-led, data-driven approach from the start can help enormously when it comes time for cryptocurrency exchanges to scale.
While growth may come quickly for crypto exchanges, selecting a customer experience delivery partner shouldn't be as rapid. Some companies choose to outsource their entire customer service operation, while others opt for a blended approach. Regardless, there are certain qualities that crypto organizations should look for in order to ensure the delivery of high-quality customer service:
Financial service experience - An experienced partner can help you navigate the different regulatory environments and ensure robust data-protection policies and technologies are in place.
Multi-language capabilities - Crypto currency is a global phenomenon. With customers located in countries all over the world, it's critical that service is offered in multiple languages in order to meet worldwide demand.

A follow-the-sun service model - Similar to with languages, customers looking to trade cryptocurrency will vary in terms of their region and time zone. A customer experience partner operating around the clock, across multiple geographies, not only serves to appease customers, but can also generate more business. Multiple locations also ensure system continuity in the event of a major disruption.
Universal agents - Highly-skilled and engaged customer service agents are critical, as many crypto exchange users are looking for knowledgeable guidance. Professional human interaction can serve as a competitive differentiator and help customers feel more at ease when buying, selling or exchanging cryptocurrency.
Next-gen technology - The right partner will be able to provide the ideal combination of human and technology resources to reduce cost, increase efficiencies and enhance the overall customer experience. Look for omnichannel service delivery, artificial intelligence capabilities and advanced analytics.
Crypto firms that can deliver on key aspects of the customer experience - such as user-friendliness, accessibility and transparency, while managing the delicate art of scaling in the fast-paced, uncharted territory of cryptocurrency - will have the competitive advantage.

The Crypto Customer Experience Gap

They say that it's the best problem to have: too many customers. It's one of the great ironies of success. Early stage companies can be so focused on building a product or service that they may become easily overwhelmed when the customers actually show up.

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. Incredibly, 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.

However, as demand soars, the industry has also seen the number of customer complaints increase. In January this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau experienced a 100 percent jump in complaints directed towards some of the largest exchanges.
Typical grievances cited were delays in receiving funds from sales, overcharging, consumers being locked out of their accounts, and accounts being closed, leaving customers with no access to their funds. Additionally, typical response times to address these customer complaints have ranged from several hours to in some cases, several months.

These digital currency exchanges have incredibly ambitious visions for how they can change the way the world sees money. 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 one of very few differentiators between a company and its competitors and where the ′battles′ for customers 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 involves 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 can provide the knowledgeable, empathetic and highly-trained customer experience (CX) agents and cutting-edge digital solutions needed to consistently deliver top-tier customer experiences so that companies have the time and white space to focus on their core competencies and mission.

Finding the right CX partner

For companies considering this route, here are some questions to ask prospective partners, based on TELUS International's experience working with some of the world's fastest-growing technology companies, including several crypto exchanges.

How will they help you scale?

Companies that grow as quickly as some of the digital currency platforms we mentioned, with 100,000 plus new customers signing up daily, require a tremendous amount of flexibility and agility from their customer experience partner. Vendors must have multilingual and 24/7 support capabilities; they also must be able to pilot small teams to start out and ramp up rapidly to support the operation's grows. The right partner should be able to grow alongside the exchange.

Do they employ next-gen CX solutions?

Customer experience continues to undergo a deep digital transformation. New technologies are driving a dramatic reduction in customer effort and an increase in customization. In today's digital landscape, customers want more ways to contact a company, faster resolutions, and more personal interactions if they are going to stay loyal and spend more money.

Automation is a central component of scaling, but the "human touch" remains critical. The right partner will be able to provide the right mix of people and technology to help reduce customer effort and cost, and increase KPIs, such as resolution times, NPS and 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 customer service agents to solve more complex problems and build deeper relationships.
Omnichannel: Today's average consumer uses an estimated five connected devices to access voice, email, chat, social media and self-service options to research and make purchases. An omnichannel strategy ensures that they have a seamless experience across all of these channels, throughout their entire customer journey.

AI analytics: This technology converts terabytes of customer data aggregated from various channels into intelligent patterns to help detect issues that need rapid escalation, recommend solutions to agents in real-time, uncover potential up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and even provide input into the development of future products and services..

Looking ahead, we know that the current customer interest in and usage of digital currency exchanges is just the tip of the iceberg. With global demand projected to continue increasing exponentially in the months and years ahead, now's the time for exchanges to develop a long-term customer service delivery strategy that will build trust to retain existing customers and further develop their brand reputation to attract future customers.

Our TELUS International team continues to work with some of the world's fastest-growing Fintech companies, and we have seen firsthand the many advantages of bringing a CX delivery partner on board. From helping companies develop, execute and evolve their customer service delivery to developing customized digital solutions like bots and analytics platforms to implementing omnichannel strategies to providing the most knowledgeable brand ambassadors who put customers first - we are helping our clients gain a critical competitive advantage in this exciting and rapidly evolving industry.
We know that those who invest in customer experience today will rule tomorrow.

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