In today’s highly commoditized age where there is often little differentiation when it comes to competitive products and offerings, the biggest factor that prompts customers to patronise one brand over the other, is often customer engagement. There are several studies that show the impact of customer experience on both customer acquisition and retention.
A study conducted by Bain & Company in association with professors from the Harvard Business School found that just a five percent increase in customer retention rates increased profits by 25 to 95 percent. Therefore, customer experience is an important influencer of an organisation’s profitability. Organisations are already starting to realize this. A recent Frost & Sullivan study found that about 80 percent of organizations in Asia-Pacific recognized customer lifetime value as the most significant business benefit delivered by customer experience.
A recent whitepaper released by Aspect Software and Frost and Sullivan had some interesting insights on elevating customer engagement for the digital age. One important insight is that multichannel engagement is inevitable. Nearly 60 percent of Asia-Pacific customers surveyed in a Frost & Sullivan study revealed that they regularly change how they contact an organization; 84 percent use the web as the primary mode of interaction, while 35 percent use more than four channels to communicate with businesses. Today, more than 75 percent of Asia-Pacific customers regularly go online or try self-service channels as their first method of issue resolution.
While customer expectations are clear, organisations have not yet caught up. Less than 10 percent of customers surveyed feel that businesses consistently meet their expectations. At the same time, most Asia-Pacific contact centers too acknowledge that they still struggle to deliver a seamless omni-channel experience despite having some level of integration across channels. Delivering an omnichannel experience isn’t easy. There are challenges around siloed operations, high cost of implementation, application integration issues or simply lack of strategy.
In such a scenario, what should organisations focus on to build a winning formula for CX? As per the ‘Elevate Customer Engagement in the Digital Age’ whitepaper mentioned above, the chief factors that govern favourable customer engagement are personalization, ubiquity, and proactivity.
For organisations that hope to build a winning customer engagement model, the whitepaper offers three important pointers.
- Go Beyond Adding New Channels
Today, we see a growing demand for virtual assistants, intelligent personal assistants, and chatbots that provide personalized self-service options to customers. Yet, many customers still choose SMS or social customer services over voice due to their convenience and flexibility. But while adding new channels is important, a successful solution will only be possible if the organisation is able to use consumer data effectively to enhance engagement with the brand, irrespective of the channel.
- Unified View of Customer
Customers experience a fractured customer journey, as they move from automated self-service to live agent assistance. Reasons vary from a lack of executive leadership to failure in fostering a CX-centric culture and omni-channel service environment. In the whitepaper, Frost & Sullivan recommends a solid single-channel strategy over a poorly executed multichannel strategy since an individual channel mindset could lead to information silos. Organizations must unify all sources of customer intelligence and channels if they desire a single, 360-degree customer view to efficiently manage CX and break down departmental and information silos.
- Empowered Contact Center Agents
Unhappy employees = Unhappy customers. Unless your employees have the appropriate tools and the right mindset, they are not in a position to deliver the best customer experience. For example, measures such as providing your CC executives with an intuitive user interface, eliminating the need to toggle between applications, and simplifying information searches can enable CC agents to do a much better job of engaging with customers. Similarly, using AI to enable self-service channels such as chatbots can significantly reduce the burden on CC agents to help perform better.
Organizations that embrace the digital opportunity to optimize customer interactions have immense potential to successfully transform their brands, attract new customers and retain existing ones. If you’d like to know more about how you can elevate the customer experience within your organisation, click on the link below to access the entire whitepaper.