Customers’ service expectations are changing. Personalisation, quick and effective service, a 360-degree understanding of each customer, and a connected experience are just table stakes.
While some businesses have picked up on the evolution and tailored their go-to-market strategies to provide customers with what they demand, many are still falling short of their expectations for great experiences.
With 80% of customers saying that the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services, and 67% willing to pay more for a great experience, customer experience today is so much more important than a service or goods provided.
But companies are missing the mark on providing standout experiences. Findings from the latest State of the Connected Customer report indicate that 51% of customers say most companies do not meet their expectations for great experiences.
This is troubling enough, but there are signs of deeper discontent – nearly six in 10 customers don’t believe companies have their best interests in mind.
You might ask what those customers’ best interests are. Customers now have seemingly simple requests that are very difficult to deliver on. The simple request is, "know me better, fix my problems faster". But why is that difficult to deliver today? It's simply because of the proliferation of many more channels.
Today, there are some 15 or 20 channels in the market – webchat, self-service, talk to a bot, WhatsApp, etc. And a consumer expects the same experience across all these channels.
The average customer uses 10 channels to communicate with companies, and lists six of those channels as preferred. Customers are also 3.7 times more likely to view seamless transitions between channels as important, versus unimportant.
But when you have an increased number of channels and increased number of people speaking across these channels, it causes channel confusion.
A very impatient consumer might send one same question across four channels, which are usually manned by at least four different people in an organisation. So now, more resources are consumed by just that one problem.
An added layer of complexity is the data generated from these channels – large amounts of data about the consumer are being created and, to provide personalised experiences, businesses need to draw insights and turn them into action. This is a complexity that many businesses are dealing with now.
This is where cloud comes into play.
Firstly, cloud brings all these channels together, under one roof for a real, 360-degree view of a customer. Agents can understand who the customer is and what is required for personalisation, then add the tools necessary to fix problems.
The next step is, with cloud-based technologies, we're able to add an intelligence layer to help businesses make sense of the large volumes of data delivered across the many channels in a consumable way.
Deploying an artificial intelligence (AI) layer not only helps businesses with insights but also makes smart recommendations of the right actions to take.
Going back to that customer that reached out on multiple channels, cloud and AI then bring those together – the agent can understand that it is only one customer and the AI can make a recommendation on how to resolve the issue.
Fisher and Paykel is an example of an early adopter of cloud to reinvent its service experience for customers across the globe. The company has used Salesforce technology to break away from legacy systems, integrate siloed operations within its business and standardise global support.
Cloud has enabled it to marry all of those systems into Salesforce. So, multiple business units, multiple functions all sit within the same system, making information sharing easier and bringing different customer touchpoints under the same tool.
This has delivered a greater experience for its customers and alleviated pressure onstaff as well.
But its use isn’t just limited to large corporations. Best Technology Services, a B2B managed services provider, uses cloud to better manage its customers. The company has about 300 employees doing some 250,000 different jobs with customers, all across Australia and across every single touchpoint.
So cloud has given the company the ability to consolidate information about its customers, what devices it manages for them and deliver on its end-to-end service using a single platform.
Businesses often try to find a one-size-fits-all experience for everybody. But customers prefer to be treated individually and have their history and needs known even before they come to you.
According to the State of the Connected Customer report, 70% of customers say connected processes – such as seamless handoffs or contextualised engagement based on earlier interactions – are very important to winning their business.
So for a customer’s entire experience to be connected, there are a few steps a business needs to take:
Understand your customer’s requirements to know what to deliver
Look for a platform-based solution based on customer requirements and CX expectations
Partner with this organisation to help you better manage it
Integrate all the channels into the one cloud platform
Gain better insights from it and mine these insights into action instead of just leaving that information where it is.
Another strategy is to adopt a targeted, omni-channel strategy and prioritise the channels you want to invest in based on your customer base.
If you have a customer base dominated by a younger generation, social, online communities and voice assistants are critical – 67% of millennials and Gen Z-ers use voice-activated personal assistants like Siri and Alexa to connect with companies, which is 1.7 times more than traditionalists and baby boomers who do the same.
But members of older generations are also mobile-savvy – 72% of traditionalists and baby boomers use mobile apps, while 78% use text/SMS to communicate with companies. So, you need to know which mediums work best for your customer base.
Taking these steps hits the nail on the head, allowing you to be very targeted in how you respond, because you now have the right information to help you make better, quicker decisions.
Your average handling time is also reduced, while your first-call resolution rate increases as you know who your customer is, what the problem is, products they’re using and more to quickly find a solution.
More importantly, you’ll provide the personalised experience that customers crave.
Download the Connected Customer Report today to discover how technology is an enabler to help you transform your business for better customer experience