Today’s customer is different. They are particular about where they spend their money. They aren’t as loyal as they once were and if you want to gain their loyalty, their expectations are sky high. And they are increasingly digital – wanting to do most things via their mobile or through a website. As a result, yesterday’s approach to customer engagement is no longer sufficient.
Businesses today are faced with many challenges related to this new era of customer engagement. Where they once only had to staff a call centre, they now must support multiple engagement channels – email, SMS, social, live chat, etc. – and maintain high-quality customer service across each of them. If a customer interacts with a brand via Facebook, it’s as essential that the question or issue be resolved as quickly as it would if they picked up the phone. If a customer, does indeed, need to pick-up the phone, it’s important for the contact centre agent to know all the various channels they’ve attempted to get a resolution and have full context of the situation before they move forward with the call.
This is a lot easier said than done and is more important than ever. A recent study by Ovum suggests that more than half (52%) of contact centre managers aren’t tracking digital behaviour of their customers – leaving a big gap in the ability of these brands to deliver the level of customer service they now expect. So what’s influencing this seismic shift?
One word: technology. Technology has made today’s customer more powerful than ever. Consumers are being exposed to the high-quality service from CX champions like Apple, Amazon, and UK’s own Specsavers. These experiences make them question why every other brand they interact with doesn’t deliver the same level of easy, friendly support. All of the sudden you are competing with brands you may not have even imagined you ever would. And if your CX isn’t up to par, the ease at which customers can access competitors and compare services means they have options readily available. If they find a better offer or better service somewhere else, they are very likely to move their business away from you. This shift is creating a big opportunity for brands to leverage CX as a competitive differentiator and a big threat to those who don’t evolve with their customers.
Acknowledging that customer service is a boardroom topic and a competitive differentiator is nothing new. Businesses have known this for years. The challenging part in today’s competitive business world is staying consistent in the face of the constant change. One minute customers want to talk to you via social media, the next they want to live chat. As customers switch between these channels, they will expect pretty much the same experience. While having an omni-channel experience is certainly important, the next-level is making sure that all of the information is at the agents fingertips. in a single view.
Many companies still rely on their CRMs for customer engagement, but most systems don’t have the required capabilities needed to create a true 360-degree view of the customer. Companies need to look beyond the traditional customer engagement and leverage technology that can bring together customer information and business data, make that information actionable, all to deliver a seamless and more personalised experience. Having that comprehensive customer view is no longer a “nice to have” but a necessary step for brands looking to transform their customer experience into one that will deliver true competitive differentiation, increased revenue – and lifetime customer loyalty.
By Dave Campbell, vice president of customer engagement & support at LogMeIn
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