When customers need support, have a question, or need more information they reach out to organisations using a variety of channels. They might opt for a traditional phone call, an email, a live chat via your website or a Facebook/Instagram message through social channels. Today, consumers can engage with you in more ways than ever, with digital channels at the forefront of customer choices.
Websites and mobile apps are major drivers of both business revenue and brand visibility. So, companies that create easy and engaging digital experiences are the ones reaping the rewards. However, delivering a seamless digital experience can be challenging without the right tools and processes.
“More than ever we are seeing customer expectation that they can interact with the Enterprise on the channel of their choosing and their experiences will be engaging, consistent and personalised. Customers now more than ever have the power of choice and are not afraid to exercise it, highly personalised customer service offerings are becoming a key differentiator.”
Drew Charlton, Head of Contact Centre Sales, Telstra Enterprise
Limitations and roadblocks
If you’re not currently tracking your customer interactions, you’re left with random, winding customer journeys. To take the next digital step, you’d want to integrate across each channel and interaction point in order to create a seamless customer journey.
If your customer service is still solely built on a voice-centric call centre infrastructure, you’ll fall short of meeting current demands. When siloing by department and channel, you limit insight into contextual and historical data. That lack of visibility makes it difficult to understand the entire customer journey and combined with poor cross-channel integration, it all leads to inconsistent customer experiences.
Customers must re-authenticate themselves when switching channels; repeating their information around who they are and what their issue is at every new interaction. In the worst cases, they must restart their journey from the beginning. All these hurdles make customers understandably frustrated.
Next-generation digital customer service
Succeeding in today’s digital-centric world takes more than just meeting customer demands. You have to anticipate customer needs and provide personalised, omnichannel experiences that are context-based and low effort.
Here are seven ways to deliver leading, digital customer experiences:
1. Design and manage omnichannel experiences.
Modern contact centres support many digital channels, touch points and modes of interaction, with customers able to seek self-service, assisted-service or proactive-service options. However, many organisations are still missing a key element — the ability to link these interactions across channels, in a step-by-step workflow. Without this, you miss pieces of the customer journey, which that limits your ability to provide a personalised, contextual customer experience.
By planning ahead, you can better optimise your customer experience, using automation where you can. Further, you can map out routing plans to send calls to the best agent the first time. This way, regardless of how customers reach out, you can ensure they receive consistent responses and experiences.
2. Use contextual information to personalise journeys.
When a customer is browsing in a brick-and-mortar store, it’s hard to learn much about them. Digital channels don’t have those limitations. When users engage digitally, it’s much easier to gather key customer insights. Your business can use these to shape a customer profile and offer personalised interactions.
To create more personalised experiences, you need to know who your customers are. Customer context management tools can help you to keep track of how, why and when customers reach out. Over time, this information creates a clear picture of the customer, providing the required context to power your automation. It also empowers your agents and gives them the information they need to solve customer issues the first time.
3. Offer a human touch at the right time.
If you can’t reach out to your web and mobile users, you risk missing valuable opportunities. By monitoring their digital engagement, you can learn how customers like to interact with your company. You gain insights into their intent and the details of their recent interactions.
You can then compare real-time customer behaviours with historical data about similar customers and events and use that data to inform your outreach efforts. Contact users on the most appropriate channel and at the best time for them. Adjusting this approach as you learn will enhance customer experiences in real time.
It’s important to offer a personal touch that’s relevant and helpful. For example, by offering chat and callback invitations that are unobtrusive. This lets you offer help in a way that doesn’t turn customers away from their current task.
4. Make customer service easy.
You want to make it as simple as possible for customers to get answers. Power your self-service channels with a strong knowledge base so users can find the information they need. Tools like cognitive computing engines further analyse customer intent and context. This helps systems understand what users want, so they can return results specific to each interaction.
However, digital or self-service channels can’t always answer the question. Sometimes, customers need or want to speak to someone. In these cases, reaching your contact centre should be easy. Having a live chat tool or click-to-call link creates a more seamless transition from self-browsing to reaching out.
5. Proactively communicate with customers.
When we receive appointment and bill reminders, service notices and other notifications, it just makes life that little bit easier. They not only help customers, but they also ease your contact centre’s workload. When reaching out to your customers, deliver messages that are timely, relevant and helpful. Further, allow your recipients to control how they receive these messages.
Offer automatic reminders or updates at all stages of the customer journey and give options for how these are delivered (email, text, etc.). Then, enable a click-to-call number or a callback request link to offer assisted service within the notification.
6. Engage with customers through social media.
Whilst we’ve now got all these new digital ways to interact with consumers, our customers also have a plethora of digital methods to express their frustrations! Social media and online forums make it easier than ever for a disgruntled customer to smear your brand.
To keep up on modern platforms, monitor positive and negative posts about your company and look at how customers interact between your website and social media channels. Understanding user intent and public perception of your brand helps you spot emerging trends. This puts you a step ahead and that means you can anticipate and address customer needs before issues even arise.
7. Simplify your agents’ workflows.
Customers expect seamless service no matter how they connect with you. If your agents need to switch between different tools and interfaces, it limits their ability to deliver this, making interactions frustrating for both your agents and your customers.
To offer personalised service, you need the right tools and infrastructure in place. An omnichannel desktop application that integrates with your existing CRM and back-office systems to give a single, unified view of all channel interactions provides your contact centre with a whole of customer view.
Digital customer service is the new norm
At the end of the day, the harder it is for a customer to do business with you, the more likely they are to go to one of your competitors. Choosing a platform that is open, scalable and easy to integrate with existing infrastructures allows you to orchestrate seamless omnichannel customer journeys from a single customer experience platform.