Is customer service the true differentiator?
Research shows that the most profitable customers are the 25% that don’t have any preferred method of purchase, with 51% stating they are happy to cross back and forth between channels*.
In 2018, your brand is a more precious commodity than ever and its value is enriched or reduced by how you interact with your customers.
Businesses are dealing with a new breed of consumer, one who is tech-savvy, plugged in to an always-on culture and probably (and arguably most importantly) expecting a seamless experience however and whenever they need to get in touch. From a quick online message to a lengthy phone call, these touch points are valuable currency; if your customers find you easy and enjoyable to interact with across all channels, your stock shoots up and your customers become your greatest advocates.
On the other hand, fail to impress and you’ll have more to worry about than angry customer tweets and unfavourable social media reviews, as businesses that fall short of omnichannel excellence simply get left behind. Those with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, compared to 33% for companies that take an unstructured approach**.
Just as the modern consumer is empowered with easy access to information, so too are the businesses that rely on their custom, but it’s not clear whether they’re really listening to their customers.
In recent years, businesses have invested a great deal in online platforms, largely in a bid to appeal to Millennials and in the falsely-held belief that the most profitable customers are those who conduct their entire transaction online.
But how do they ensure they’re making the most of this powerful customer service tool?
Experts say it’s all about understanding the customer’s experience and how that maps to their expectations.
A typical example would be a customer researching a product online. Perhaps they’ll chat to an online adviser or browse reviews on your site; then, to complete their transaction, they visit their local store rather than purchasing online. Simple, right? Maybe not, if any part of that journey feels cumbersome – the app they used to make a reservation in-store wasn’t particularly user-friendly or the instore adviser lacked product knowledge. Mistakes like this can have a profound effect on overall user experience and eventually your balance sheet. Just to compound this further, a 2015 MasterCard study found that eight out of ten consumers now use a computer, smartphone, tablet, or in-store technology while shopping.
So where do investments need to be made?
There’s no denying that in this age of digital transformation it’s not easy to keep up with unpredictable consumer demands - but what companies can do is invest in their technology infrastructure to improve their customer experience.
Implementing unified communication and collaboration tools within your business will support your staff in delivering meaningful customer experiences, giving them access to more customer data, more product information and greater visibility of colleague expertise.
The bottom line is that, to stay competitive, businesses will need to listen carefully and become more responsive. They can then arm themselves with the knowledge and technical expertise to create measured, streamlined experiences, built on a solid strategy of understanding the customer journey, including its individual touchpoints.
This is where the effective use of big data analysis, unified communications and a decent VoIP strategy can really come into their own.
Sources: * Accenture & Forrester; ** Aberdeen Group;