The customer experience or CX is something that should be on the radar of business leaders and marketers in the coming year. More than a snapshot in time or a specific customer metric, the customer experience takes a holistic and aggregated view of customers’ interactions with the brand over the life of the relationship. The challenging thing about managing the customer experience is that getting it right takes more than having a multichannel strategy in place.
It requires companies to deliver a seamless cross-channel experience, including engaging with customers through their preferred channel(s), like in-app messaging, email, texting, voice, etc. Every interaction with a customer, whether it’s through your traditional contact center or via social channels like Facebook or LinkedIn, are a chance for brands to learn more about their customers and to capture that information to nurture the relationship. Bringing customers data back into the CRM system, with details about each interaction, is a critical step in closing the customer experience loop.
Today, technology advancements are making it much easier to manage and track the customer experience. Part of the reason is that technology behind the contact center has advanced automating many ‘routine’ activities. For example, instead of contact center agents focusing so much of their time answering basic questions, such as order status, plans, and pricing, these questions can now be fielded by bots. These chatbots can interact with customers via instant message directly from your website, and these interactions can then be logged and recorded when a ‘live’ agent follows up. These capabilities also free up live agents to build richer and more personalized customer experiences. So with these new advancements available, how can companies best prepare their customer experience strategy for 2019 and beyond? Let’s take a look.
- Start by defining what the CX strategy is within an organization – One of the first steps into building out a customer experience strategy is to build common metrics and KPIs across different business units, so everyone is working toward a similar goal. A more united business culture that zeros in on the customer’s wants and needs is critical to preventing fragmented customer experiences. In other words, wherever the person is in the customer journey, regardless of what channel they’re using, interactions should be consistent, seamless, and documented, sharing that interaction information across all groups. Companies that can build a customer-centric culture where each business unit is working towards what’s valued as the ‘most important issues’ in the mind of the customer, not the organization, will win out.
- Eliminating data silos – One of the biggest challenges of creating an omnichannel customer experience is that data silos exist across most businesses. This disconnect makes it difficult to capture and share relevant customer data with all business groups in real-time. Disparate data can hurt the customer experience because agents ‘don’t know, what they don’t know.’ That’s why the free flow of data between systems and integrated technology underpins this omnichannel approach. For example, when a customer asks a question using one touchpoint, like an in-app chat, they should be able to switch channels, without having to expend a great deal of energy to ‘retell their story.’ By eliminating data silos, an agent can start the conversation with a much greater understanding of what the customer wants to do. As a bonus, the agent can resolve the issue more quickly and spend time assisting other customers.
- Capturing the customer ‘mood’ and applying AI and analytics – While capturing the customer’s experience from their vantage point is critical, there’s also an area that’s sometimes left undocumented – the agent’s point of view. Collecting information about a customer interaction from the agent’s perspective can add another level of detail and provide a clearer picture of the situation. Short surveys, for example, given directly after an interaction with an agent can help capture a customer’s mood and perceived experience. Voice analytics tools now available with some contact center platforms also monitor conversations in real time and give the agent direct feedback on the customer. Embedded AI and analytics can even track a conversation and suggest assets that will help the prospect based on their specific needs. With this information, companies can help agents better understand the flow of the discussion so they can take proactive steps to enhance communications.
In an era when the customer experience matters more than ever, an organization’s contact center is pivotal in delivering seamless experiences across multiple platforms and touchpoints. By leveraging advanced AI-powered capabilities and eliminating data silos, businesses can more intelligently route customers through a contact center and provide more meaningful experiences. If you want help building a technology infrastructure that can get your customer experience strategy on target, talk to Telapprise!