Customer experience (CX) is now wielding an ever greater influence over business performance. In the first part of this blog, we explored how customer engagement channels were changing, how customers are more self-reliant but want an organisation that is structured around personalised support.
In this second part, Director Stuart Pearce focuses on how deeper mining of data, use of new machine learning and retaining quality staff will drive loyalty and business growth into the future.
Understanding consumer behaviour
Businesses must avoid generalisation and understand what drives consumer behaviours. To do this, there must be greater insight the impact of emotions, perceptions and behaviours and how this impacts on the overall customer experience.
More companies deploying digital CX will need to bridge the ‘emotional gap’ and understand their customers’ motivations, needs, desires, behaviours, and intent.
Expect that brands will look to ‘experience analytics’ – hovers, clicks and scrolls that show exactly how a consumer is interacting with a website or app.
Towards greater personalisation
Despite growing concerns about privacy and data sharing, consumers continue to demand personalised experiences. Accenture research suggests that 81% of consumers surveyed wanted brands to get to know them and understand when to approach them and when not to.
Successfully treating each customer as an individual earns customer trust and loyalty.
We live in the age of the customer, where the customer drives the brand and they expect a company to know them and anticipate their needs. This means greater investment in CX management platforms that provide a holistic customer view where brands can monitor, act and improve moments along the journey.
The robots are coming
Technology and specifically Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the bridge to drive personalisation.
Machine learning and predictive analytics will all play a role in giving customers a more tailored experience.
Many businesses are deploying chatbots as the first pervasive application of AI. But there is plenty of scope for businesses to incorporate:
- machine learning for intelligent search and solution recommendation
- automated ticket categorization
- intelligent ‘call’ routing or scheduling optimization of field service resources
- predictive maintenance & service
- Highly repetitive service process workflows
- Deep mining of knowledge libraries for advice
Chatbots can’t answer every question, nor solve every problem. So, active filtering, such as frequently asked questions, providing account information, change of address, making online payments, checking order status etc. then leaves the way clear for humans to deal with more complex, emotional responses.
Support customers before they buy
Traditionally customer service was focused primarily on after-sales support, but we are seeing a paradigm shift towards the earlier phases of the customer journey as more purchases are made online following information-gathering exploration in the decision-making process.
Supporting customers before they buy drives conversion rates and ultimately revenue: and it can reduce the high cost of returns because less customers end up buying the wrong product.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
At the end of 2018 there were more than an estimated 10 billion connected devices – more than the world’s population. Experts believe that IoT will grow to over 20 billion connected things by 2020 – that’s a frightening growth curve.
Today, you can use a mobile app to start a car, view diagnostics, check the tyre pressure, and get recommendations for safer driving based on my driving behaviour. If I share this data with my insurance company, I may get a discount on my policy.
This maximises exposure to behavioural data. By monitoring the usage and condition of machines or products, organizations can now predict required maintenance and repairs. By anticipating a potential failure, organizations can alert the customer and fix an issue before it becomes a real problem, thus preventing potential further damage –
Providing a more proactive approach turns service recovery on its head and delivers a huge customer experience win.
Customer Experience: Start with the Employee
Employee experience will be as important, if not more so, than customer experience.
What’s happening on the inside of an organization is going to be felt on the outside by the customer. In a tight labour market, the employee experience may be more important.
Organisations always wrestle with what their priorities should be: customers or employees first?
The usual mantra of the “customer is always right” holds true but this shouldn’t be at the expense of supporting your staff to deliver quality service. To me, they are two sides of the same coin.
It’s a circular argument. If our customers aren’t happy, they won’t come back and eventually we’ll have no business. If our employees aren’t happy, they won’t deliver a good service to our customers which won’t make customers happy.
Creating a culture that makes your organization “bulletproof” against other companies stealing your best people means engaged staff will deliver the best service to retain your competitive edge.
The rapid shift to digital customer service should be good for everyone. Digital engagement, automation and self-service cut overall service costs for companies and, more importantly, benefits the customer by improving the customer service experience – if it is done well.
Companies that excel in customer experience will have a significant competitive advantage and create more value for their shareholders.
Our customer-driven approach help our clients achieve their potential, and meet their customers’ expectations. It engages and motivates their people, gains an advantage over competitors and helps implement effective change to develop long term profitable growth.
We have a strong track record of transforming business cultures to become more customer and market-centric and to develop operational efficiencies through technology and process innovations.
Find out more by calling us on 01823 451 199 or complete an enquiry form for a confidential discussion.