The Now Consumer: Know Me

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Consumer expectations are constantly changing. These expectations are built on new technological advancements, new products and services, access to educational resources and more. But there is one constant when it comes to consumer expectations: the need for quality customer service. Contact center leaders must adapt in order to continue providing exceptional service no matter how consumer expectations shift. nowconsumer

The Now Consumer series is meant to shine a light on the characteristics that define your customer base. Today’s theme, while not a new idea, has certainly taken on a new meaning: the need to know your customer.

While it has always been one of the key tenets of business to have an intimate understanding of customers, there has never been a more diverse set of tools available to provide a truly personalized customer experience.

The popularity of the Internet and subsequent explosion of social media channels, coupled with advanced data mining tools, have enabled businesses to collect thousands of data points on specific individuals.

Furthermore, the development of chatbots allows businesses to have direct and intimate communications with any customer at any time over a variety of channels.

Despite these advances, and others, many consumers today continue to be met with the same dis-satisfactory level of customer service. More than likely, you’ve even experienced this yourself.

Recently, I spent quite a bit of time working through an issue with my health insurance provider. A mistake on my child’s date of birth in their system was causing any claims under her name to be rejected. I corrected the mistake in their self-service portal but it took several weeks for it to go into effect (another issue entirely). I was told to keep calling back to see when it would go through and then they would process her claims. Each time I called back I had to spend about 5 minutes navigating the IVR to get to a live agent to assist me, and I had to repeat the issue each time.

Think about a recent experience you’ve had when you reached out to customer service. Did you have to provide an agent with a lengthy back story to provide context?  How many times was your call transferred? If you were transferred, did you have to repeat yourself to the new agent?

These are just a few of the common experiences shared by your customers today. And frankly, these experiences are enough to offend some customers. Given all of the customer data available to your organization today, given all the contact center solutions on the market that can enrich the customer experience, your customers believe there is no excuse for you not to know them.

But what does it mean to know your customer? It means that your contact center should have a detailed history on every consumer, charting the entirety of their customer journey. Your agents should be able to recognize where in that journey the customer is now, and where they’re trying to go. In order to accomplish this, businesses need to focus on enterprise-wide integrations of customer service with CRM and operational systems. This is critical when considering how best to leverage ‘big data’ at the time it is most needed…at the ‘moment of truth,’ with customer and interaction data coming together to inform and personalize customer communications. And, just as the customer journey must be seamless and context-driven across channels, business processes and workflows must be unified and continuous across the front and back office so answers to customer questions can be provided quickly and accurately. According to our “2016 Aspect Consumer Experience Index,” 76 percent of customers expect either automated self-service or live agents to have the context and history of all previous interactions to provide an immediate and more personal experience.

Half of all consumers will stop doing business with organizations because of poor customer service. In order to retain your customers, be sure to invest in the innovative contact center solutions that will help your organization meet their ever-changing expectations.

See the full series on the Now Consumer:  http://blogs.aspect.com/the-now-consumer/

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Rebecca Anderson

Rebecca Anderson writes on the latest research and trends related to the customer experience focusing on omni-channel and the agent experience. Rebecca provides strategy for Aspect’s social media and public relations objectives.
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