The greater a customer’s expectations, the more companies need to innovate to impress them.
So, what’s the key to staying ahead? Are there platforms and tools that can help right now, while paving the way for new ideas and experiences in the future?
Here are five considerations when refreshing your customer experience toolkit.
1. Choice will always be important.
Companies can’t afford to be too prescriptive about what makes for a great experience and how best to deliver it. They need to allow for customers’ evolving preferences, which could be very different in a year’s time.
No two customers are exactly the same, so allowing for choice will always be important.
That should be without any loss of information about what the customer needs, or how far they’ve already got with the current task.
We can help you pinpoint any gaps in your current capability or barriers to flexibility and identify the right solutions to move you forward.
2. Great communication goes both ways.
Companies need to know how customers prefer to be reached and stay in touch with them about the things that matter, such as delivery updates or account changes.
Equally, customers need to be able to engage with brands in the way that works best for them; it should be easy for them to achieve what they set out to do. That’s whether they’re buying something, asking a question or making a complaint.
If phone lines are busy, email response times take up to four days, and web chat agents are offline, that makes for a poor customer experience.
Digital self-service options can offer a valuable alternative – connecting customers to the information, service or particular form they need, at any time of day or night.
A rich, responsive, user-friendly mobile app and/or intuitive website make a world of difference.
The speed and reliability of the connection are just as critical as a user-friendly app or website. If customers choose to use self-service portals, they don’t want their task to be disrupted because the network connection drops or the web page freezes.
Similarly, if contact centre agents are working from remote locations, they need to be continuously connected across a reliable high-speed network – keeping them fully available to customers.
4. Monitoring and knowledge-building are key to staying ahead of customer expectations.
To keep providing a great experience, companies need to understand what customers want, how that’s evolving and where they’re falling short.
They also need to build a better picture of where customers go, what they do and how they feel.
A whole range of possibilities exist now to understand what customers are doing online, their emotion and sentiment in their interactions with digital channels or contact centres, and how they move about the physical world.
In some situations, customers may give their permission to be tracked as individuals – in return for special offers in shops and restaurants, for example.
In others, companies can use more general, anonymised mobile traffic data or Internet-of-Things (IoT) data feeds to understand broader customer trends – such as where people congregate, when and for how long.
This could help in the planning of new or additional services for those peaks in footfall.
Digital experiences can be fantastically convenient, but they shouldn’t remove the personal touch. As well as providing easy options for customers to connect to a real person if they need to, companies can do a lot now to make self-service options ‘friendlier’.
We’re continuously honing this through AI-based innovations like Vodafone Voice Concierge. This uses natural language call routing and voice biometric identification, so customers don’t have to go through extensive security questioning before they get to the purpose of their call.
To take advantage of this kind of tool, companies need a cloud-based customer contact platform that supports the easy addition of new features.