22nd June 2021
The disruptors may have led the way, but today the majority of businesses are recognising that customer experience is what matters most. Customers are knowledgeable, expectant and demanding, and this is no longer just a trend – it’s what is redefining the marketplace.
Technology has made information easily accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime; and while this has distinct benefits, it’s also a double-edged sword, because it means that sometimes, regarding specific products or issues, customers can be more knowledgeable than employees. So how do you keep up or keep ahead so that you can continue to offer customers the type of experience they are coming to expect?
Meet Smart with Smart
Smartphones have created a culture where customers can access the world from their pocket. Talk, text, email, chat, search or use an app – mobile smartphones can do it all. Mobile apps and text are fast becoming a preferred method of communication with brands; so if you want to remain relevant to your customers, find a way to integrate your communications with mobile technology. Linking mobile as part of a smart CX strategy is a great way to boost customer engagement and drive customer loyalty.
AI and automation
Because customers are smart and switched on, often they find it quicker and easier to use self-service channels to solve their product or service queries. It negates the need for customers to wait in a queue to speak to someone or wait for an email response. But the success of self-service channels lies in their ability to answer customer queries accurately, hence why AI is a tool that can be used to enhance customer self-service. AI has the benefit of being able to sift through vast volumes of information at the speed of light. However, its success will lie in how accurately the information is labelled and how effective the search algorithms are.
AI is advancing at a rapid pace, and while there have been concerns that robots will replace
humans, a more positive outlook is that AI’s great potential lies in providing a support function for both employees and customers. Not only can AI be used to automate repetitive-type queries, it can also be used to help employees to serve customers better by providing them with easy access to tools and information that can enhance the customer journey.
Virtual and augmented reality
A big factor that enhances CX is the ability to provide customers with experiences, and with
technology, these experiences need not be in person. Virtual reality can be used to give customers insights into what a product looks and feels like. For example, taking a virtual journey through an airline’s first-class cabin or viewing a house as though you were standing inside it. Augmented reality also offers consumers the benefit of allowing them to see a projection of changes onto existing places or things. This can be used to great effect in home décor, adding objects, items of furniture or changing colour palates to create a variety of looks for the same space.
Use data to personalise
As customers increasingly expect personalised experiences, companies will need to find ways to deliver on this. Most companies have a vast amount of customer data, but not all of them know how to utilise it. AI and analytics can be used to organise the information so that it can be made available to customer service agents. Knowing a customer’s purchase history, for example, can aid agents in understanding what is important to a particular customer. It can also help them make suggestions of additional products or services that could be beneficial to the customer.
More importantly, data can be used to enhance customer engagement. When a customer speaks to an agent and they already know all about the customer, it gives them a level of confidence that they will be well looked after. It also saves the customer time, as they don’t have to explain who they are and what products they use; they can just get straight to the issue at hand.
While technology is the driving force behind successful customer experiences, it must be remembered that it is merely a tool. Technology needs to be tied into a detailed customer engagement strategy so that it can be used in the right way and in the right places to make operations and service delivery more efficient. These strategies need to be agile enough so that as technology gets smarter and customer expectations change, they can be adapted to ensure that the customer journey continues to be a positive one. If that can be achieved it will help companies keep ahead as they continually strive to improve the customer experience, because in the end that is what will differentiate their brand.
Author: Mike Havard, Group Director, Davies Consulting
First published: 17th September, 2018
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