Customer loyalty has always been central to brand building but even more so in the digital age. Customer experience scores have plateaued in recent years, with brands not being able to make any significant improvements on parameters of trust or experience. A new Forrester report predicts that 2018 will be a “year of reckoning” for many brands as they realize that customer loyalty is much harder to achieve than in years past. More than ever before, being able to meet the demands of today’s customer is paramount for brands to stay competitive. Consumers are more informed, less loyal and have more alternatives than ever before, therefore, creating a customer experience that is personal, seamless, and showcases the values of the brand is key to creating brand-loyal customers. Creating this CX nirvana is no easy feat, but not impossible. As brands look to revamp their CX strategies for 2018, here are a few ways technology is helping these organizations stay in the game.
Creating a 360-Degree Customer View
It may seem unrealistic to think that brands should know the individual needs and values of each of their customers, but as noted above, personalization is an important part of a CX strategy. So how do you do that? Digital customers engage with brands more than ever through a variety of different channels – whether that be social media, through their website, live chat or their contact center. As a result, there is a gold-mine of information available about them – who they are, what they are interested in, their history with the company, general sentiment toward the company, etc. Most companies have this information, but have no idea where it lives, what information is important, and how to make it work for them. Omni-channel customer engagement platforms, analytics, and artificial intelligence are helping brands capture and distill all this data into actionable information for their agents. By understanding the journey a customer has taken with a brand, the agents can provide the highly personalized experience that turns customers into advocates.
Empowering Customers to Self-Serve
This may seem counter intuitive to personalization, but self-service is becoming a key to creating positive customer experiences. Why? Many customers just want to get their answers addressed quickly and efficiently – whether it’s answered by a human or not is irrelevant. Modern CX strategies include AI technology to help create an environment of quick and personal (yes personal) customer service. Tools like chatbots and virtual assistants are not only cost-effective, but have matured significantly to be much more intelligent, contextual and can engage with customers the way they speak. This helps create a more delightful interaction with the bot, making it more likely that the customer will chose this option moving forward where it makes sense. By offloading simpler, more repetitive questions like helping customers change their password or update shipping information, customers with these types of issues aren’t stuck on hold in a call center and human agents are more freely available to help with complex issues that require a higher touch. It’s a win-win for both the brand and the customer.
Establishing Ongoing Engagement Opportunities
In a future where most consumer brands will be fulfilled online, the opportunity for brands to create a connection with their customers becomes more of a challenge and making it harder to build customer loyalty. Embracing emerging technologies like virtual reality and the IoT helps companies create that high-touch, highly personalized relationship with their customers. The IoT, for example, creates an ongoing engagement with consumers through a product or service. By having a regular touchpoint with customers, brands can better understand their customers’ needs, create a personalized experience based on those interactions, and ultimately provide value to that customer in a way their competitors cannot.
The Way Forward
Four in five (83%) Indian consumers expect high quality & consistent customer service irrespective of how they interact with a brand. The global average is at 69% and far more forgiving. Elevating customer support experience doesn’t have to be a long and painful strategic initiative. In the end, it boils down to removing as many barriers as possible and treating your customers how you’d want to be treated — with simple, effective and personalized service.
Rahul Sharma, Managing Director, LogMeIn India