As a product executive at one of the largest technology companies in the world, people sometimes ask for any insights I can share to benefit their IT organization. While there are so many fundamentals that are critical for the success of any enterprise, I often recommend one thing over any other: stay ahead of your customer.
This, of course, is easier said than done as customer expectations change at a faster pace than ever before; making it increasingly difficult to maintain service initiatives that can win their hearts and minds. In fact, a recent Oracle Communications survey showed that as much as 77 percent of consumers feel that inefficient customer service experiences detract from their quality of life. Conversely, the survey showed that companies who gave consumers the ability to connect immediately to a relevant associate, interact via digital channels such as HD voice, video and/or screen sharing, or enable consumers to receive contextual, personalized service, would experience a 25 to 30 percent increase in brand loyalty among their customers. The data speaks for itself: consumers are no longer willing to adjust their preferences to companies who don’t understand their expectations for efficient and responsive service across digital channels.
Many businesses are finding it challenging to engage the modern consumers of today – many of whom grew up in digital world where purchased goods magically appear at the doorstep and companies such as Grubhub and Uber have made on-demand services the norm. These modern customers have heightened expectations for interacting with brands via mobile, but many organizations lag in their ability to respond to these constantly growing expectations for a seamless and integrated experience. This is true of organizations across many different industry sectors, including financial services, telecommunications, retail, and others.
In this new era of Being Digital, organizations must adapt their business model to ensure that the customer experience is not only more efficient, but has a strong focus on creating a personal connection to the brand. The aforementioned survey also found that consumers indicated that blending automated technologies with emerging mechanisms for in-app brand engagements that personalize interactions, including video, screen sharing, chat and other contextual voice communications, will deliver the degree of personal contact they are seeking. With customer choice becoming virtually endless, organizations that can’t find this balance risk getting left behind.
Most businesses know that they need to adapt, but they must deploy an effective digital strategy quickly to foster and sustain healthy customer relationships. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach for successfully engaging with customers, below below are five key steps that an organization can take to modernize their customer experience with digital customer engagement that is proactive, seamless and contextual:
Create branded mobile in application experiences. Engagement capabilities should be resident within the mobile app or website. Forcing customers to call the telephony contact center is not a desirable customer experience. This should be modernized by allowing customers to engage businesses on mobile, web and directly from within branded applications which are already installed on customers’ digital devices.
Proactively engage customers at key moments of individual journeys. Hoping that customers take the first step in contacting a business is primitive. Brands need to do more to deliver an exceptional experience by following the in-app customer journey context and prompting customers to effortlessly engage at the right time, via a single click or touch, such as during new user registration or for timely support when customers are experiencing issues.
Seamlessly connect customers to the right knowledge expert – the first time. Customers hate wasting time traversing IVR systems and speaking with the wrong scripted agent. Utilize your workforce to ensure knowledgeable associates engage with customers. By leveraging online and in-app customer behavior, customers should be connected to the right expert to handle the call first-time using business rules and contextual routing. Based on online and mobile activity, enterprises can use the customer journey context to directly connect customers with these experts using a single tap of a button.
Contextually assist customers to progress the customer journey. Voice calls into the contact center are completely disconnected from the website or app where most customer journeys begin. Associates should never need to ask security questions if the customer is already logged in on the website or app. Associates should also be better prepared to handle the call, by knowing both relevant information about who is calling and the contextual details about the current customer journey. This can only be enabled with modern technology systems that apply both contextual awareness and machine learning. Associates should also be available to provide human touch assistance, aided by the ability to seamlessly shift the channel from voice to video, or by incorporating visual and interactive tools such as screen sharing and live annotation.
Create digital learning across channels by leveraging cloud technology. Keep in mind that on the back end, organizations should optimize their ability to capture, analyze, and mine for insights across all their customer channels. All interactions and media types – voice, video, screen sharing, etc. – should be recorded in real-time and made available for insights later. This ultimately allows the business to modify customer engagement scenarios and deliver an even better experience moving forward. Cloud makes this integrated channel approach simple. Businesses looking to transition to a more seamless and digital approach must consider cloud as mission-critical for rapid adaptation and agility.
The ability to quickly resolve customer issues, drive greater customer loyalty, and increase satisfaction by engaging users on the right channel at the right time will separate the winners from the losers. Brands are increasingly recognizing that a good product alone is not enough. Don’t fall behind – make modernizing the customer experience with digital engagement your organization’s top priority and progress each customer journey with proactive, seamless and contextual experiences.