The modern Customer Experience (CX) narrative has upended traditional methods and assumptions about reaching, engaging, and retaining customers. Come rain or shine, hell or high water, today’s customers expect more from the brands they engage with – more connected experiences, more personalized interactions, and more proactive service.
In mid-2018, most customers (84%) wanted to be treated as special, unique individuals, not as numbers or “cases”. A full 76% of them were happy to take their business elsewhere, yet again underscoring the need for delivering great CX. Fast forward to 2020, and these expectations have not eased. If anything, they have become even more firmly entrenched, with 80% of customers – both in the B2B and B2C space – believing that the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services. Thus, CX remains a key driver of trust, even (and especially) amid crises. From a financial perspective, great CX is also a key competitor differentiator as well as a powerful revenue accelerator.
For all these reasons, customer service organizations like contact centers must strengthen their CX strategy to show gratitude, foster brand trust, and build meaningful connections that engender loyalty and encourage long-term advocacy. And the new year is a great time to do this.
So here are 5 strategies to create a better experience for your customers in 2021 (and beyond!).
Expand channel offerings – but make it simple:
Customers are having to deal with an additional level of chaos and stress due to the COVID-19 crisis. And this stress is not just a result of social distancing or lockdown norms, but also because many of the tasks they took for granted in pre-pandemic days, such as booking a hotel room, or buying groceries in-person, are now more difficult than ever.
Amid such upheaval, brands that can simplify their customers’ lives and deliver an ideal experience along their entire journey – from marketing and point-of-sale to service and support – will win the CX race. One great way to do both is by expanding your contact center platform’s channel offerings to include options that customers feel most comfortable with. Cx Infinity’s Customer Journey Platform makes this a breeze for Cisco contact centers. So whether you have self-service or virtual assistants, live chat, or social media – your expanded omnichannel contact center can deliver seamless experiences, minimize customers’ stress, and even spread some much-need holiday joy and cheer!
Leverage the power of data:
To deliver great CX, you first need to understand what your customers want, need, and expect (apart from great CX!). This requires an understanding of the context in which they engage with your contact center. And this requires data. Luckily, your contact center and your organization as a whole already collect a vast amount of customer data. A lot of this information is context-aware and even available in real-time.
In particular, leverage your contact center’s “location intelligence” – data that uses geospatial data and spatial analysis – to extract unique insights that can reveal hidden relationships, patterns, and trends to help you understand your customers, and uncover new opportunities to deliver enhanced CX. Your CRM platform also provides a rich goldmine of information about your customers. By tapping into its granular nature and harnessing the power of 360° customer views, you can derive meaningful insights, tailor your communication strategies, and provide relevant services through the right channel at the right time.
But don’t forget the “human” touch…:
Data is all well and good, but it should not supersede the human element in your CX strategy. As people continue to engage with your contact center to find answers to their challenges (or a special gift for that special someone!), an omnichannel, data-driven approach can help streamline the process to lower response times and improve FCR and improve CSAT. However, if the interactions are not “humanized”, it’s challenging to forge meaningful connections with them – a factor that has proven to be critical to delivering consistently great CX.
But amid the pandemic-marred, super-busy new year where contact center agents are rushed off their feet, is it even possible to deliver individualized care? Yes, there is – with virtual agents. Powered by cutting-edge technologies like AI, Machine Learning, and Natural Language Processing, virtual agents like chatbots and self-service channels can easily lead intelligent conversations and respond to routine customer queries with relevant information. This can free human agents to focus on more complex, value-adding activities where they can provide uniquely human value-adds like empathy and support. It may seem strange to rely on technology to humanize your support systems. Still, the fact is – virtual agents can empower human agents to deliver personalized attention and memorable CX, even during a stressful time like the new year!
Make it personal:
If you’re already giving the human touch to each customer experience this new year, do you need to bother about personalization? Are they not two sides of the same coin? Not quite.
Humanizing is about telling your customers that you see them as flesh-and-blood humans, not as data points or case numbers. Personalization goes a step further to tell them that you see them as special, unique individuals with their own needs, challenges, and histories. When 66% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations, and 52% of them expect personalized offers, it makes sense to include personalization in your CX strategy. Moreover, 72% of consumers expect companies to know their purchase history, irrespective of the communication method. Leverage your CRM system to access and use a customer’s information and history to deliver personalized interactions and enhanced CX. Demonstrating 1-to-1 empathy that acknowledges the customer and their circumstances is no small order, but the new year is a great time to get started on this journey.
Minimize friction and manage customer expectations:
When customers’ stress levels are already at an all-time high during the season, it’s important to minimize friction as they interact and engage with your contact center. For example, complex (or emotionally-charged) queries should never be routed to a chatbot, but to a human agent who can provide the faster, more personalized resolution the customer is seeking. On the other hand, routine queries are best handled by chatbots for speedy resolutions. You can even empower customers to resolve their own issues with self-service quickly.
Expectation management during the new year can also help minimize friction and improve the CX for customers. For example, you can proactively communicate response times during the new year so they know what to expect and can avoid the frustration that often accompanies long delays. You can also share office hours in a chatbot when a customer asks a question to provide greater visibility into your team’s availability (and equally important – unavailability). It’s also a good idea to create a list of FAQs to quickly address popular questions with a chatbot, instead of making customers search through your website or other locations.
A final word:
In recent times, customer expectations and behaviors have undergone unprecedented shifts. To deal with the chaos in their own lives, customers expect greater convenience, personalization, and empathy from contact centers than ever before. The new year has further consolidated these demands, creating a great opportunity for (smart, customer-focused) contact centers to improve their service delivery and CX capabilities. Armed with these five tips and a powerful omnichannel contact center platform from Cx Infinity, you can win the CX game during the new year and beyond. For more information on how you can deliver transformative CX to every customer, talk to a Cx Infinity authorized representative today.