Have you ever looked up directions on your map application, only to be presented with several different routes?
Maybe you’ve tried one already and it looks okay on the screen, but you know it’s full of potholes and construction.
Nobody has time for that, so what’s next?
Luckily, when it comes to developing customer experiences and conversions, you aren’t trapped on a single path. By using these strategies for improving your customer processes and technology, you can turn every dollar of investment into three dollars of profit.
In this post I’ll explore three paths to customer service success and how everything from building a happy workforce to investing in technology to empowering frontline sales will ultimately drive your business forward.
By 2020, most customer buying decisions, especially in B2B, will be based on customer experience. How can we take their expectations to drive greater conversion?
First, we have to realize that “good” is no longer the goal. We have to excel and exceed at every possible juncture. Think about all the bells and whistles you can find on a new car. You’ve come to expect certain features as standard, but it’s the little touches that help you perceive a sense of luxury and comfort. Same with your customers. They might expect to drive out with an economy car, but in their minds they want to feel like they just got a luxury SUV.
So ask WWCE: what would customers expect?
First, they expect their time to be respected. Second, they want their favourite mode of delivery. Consumers want real-time interactions and they want them on the message channels or apps that work best for them.
Convenience for the customer delivers greater results for the business. Make sure you embrace asynchronous messaging platforms. Today’s customers won’t pick up the phone for anyone. It’s okay! Let them use their thumbs. That’s what they want and what will bring them back.
You also want to embrace self-service. Leveraging technology to enable people solve their own problems can be as satisfying as community engagement. As much as you want that community, you can also commit to reaching those people who love to say, “I fixed this and I didn’t have to talk to anyone!”
It’s all about creating predictable 1:1 engagement. Top companies are 2.4 times more likely to excel at personalizing experiences. Committing to consistency is as important as committing to personalization. In fact, 73% of customers are more likely to switch brands when they encounter irritating inconsistency between the website, mobile apps, and in-store experiences. The “myth of too busy” is fueled by poorly conceptualized experiences. Customers are never too busy to use a well-designed system with thoughtfully tailored content.
Finally, you have to measure the things that matter. In all areas—tech, frontline, sales, C-level—you have to analyze the customer engagement by creating more consistent experiences. Personalized history, understanding, and going deep to create relationships: data is nothing without context.
Sometimes, you just want the car to come to you. At least 90% of people want the full “Uber treatment” for home services or technicians: Where are they? When will they arrive? How much longer?
A lot of companies are beginning to take these steps with on-premise field service solutions, and are starting to bring together what companies can offer and what the customers want. Making frontline employees ambassadors for both the brand as it is and what you want the brand to become is critical to this effort.
Delight and disappointment begins with this trio: awareness, speed, and relevancy. Awareness of customer information at critical junctures is one of the easiest ways to boost goodwill. If your frontline team can begin a conversation with the customer’s account information, important numbers, and a few personal details to pepper into the conversation, they’re well on their way to a positive interaction.
Speed, or at least being able to deliver quick resolutions for customer issues, helps just as much as awareness. If you know where the traffic jams are, you can avoid them. But if there’s no alternate route, it’s nice to know how long you can expect to sit.
You can improve that speed if your frontline stays relevant and on-task: nothing is more annoying than being asked the same question a bunch of times by a bunch of different people. Furniture Bank a Toronto-based not-for-profit, updated their technology and processes for improved awareness, speed, and relevancy and got serious results.
Sometimes, however, things just don’t go the way you or the customer want. Luckily, there’s plenty of oxygen on the high road, so turn to empathy: you can’t change what’s happened before your interaction, but you can make sure what happens next is a positive experience.
And of course, your frontline can’t ignore flexibility—customers don’t care about your best practices or policies. They really don’t. If they’re frustrated and already had negative experiences elsewhere, they only want their problem solved.
Great customer experience is about the wizard, not the wand. The teams in marketing, sales, and at the C-level make or break the customer experience. Your company may have all the new goodies, but tech is only as good as the input it receives at the human level.
In fact, 70% of customers make purchasing decisions based on how they feel they are being treated. So how can we use technology to steer those feelings into sales? Let’s delve into five techniques that you can implement.
First, take your big data and turn it into information. Data is useless without context. Inferring the customer’s next move from their data is how you map your course. 78% of high-performance marketing machines have access to high-level interactive data versus 55% of lower-performing teams. The best teams can take the best data, convert it into information, and then analyze that information to uncover insight.
Second step, unify your data. To reveal the insights within the data and information you need a complete picture. Data that’s been siloed throughout the company isn’t useful. It’s like trying to get around in Boston without knowing that it’s Marathon Monday. That information would have been really useful to have yesterday when you were planning, but it’s not doing you much good when you’re trying to park in the city today.
Shrinking siloes and syncing your CRM with customer service teams unifies the information map for the best possible customer experience.
Once you have data-assisted insights into customer behaviour and preferences, you can create relevant content that attacks the “myth of too busy.” Customers are not too busy to absorb messages that truly speak to their priorities. Highly customized content is the way to make your customers feel seen. That flows into community engagement, where those customers will take that content and voluntarily interact on social media not only with you brand, but with other raving fans to create a sense of community and belonging in online spaces.
Forming those relationships is key to customer satisfaction, but the final piece of the puzzle is a satisfied employee. Busting up internal data silos with one-stop employee information databases and making tech seamless gives you a prepared workforce (with the added bonus of getting a reputation as a great place to work, which is great for employee retention).
If you want to learn more, including even more business examples and case studies from inspiring Canadian businesses and their approach to customer engagement investment, check out this webinar series with Jay Baer, 3 Paths to Tripling your Profits Through Customer Engagement.
In just 9 minutes, you’ll learn how to take your customer engagement dollar and triple your return on investment.