If you think about it, the need for a seamless customer experience across all channels is all technology’s fault. Without rapid advancements in mobile browsing, social media interaction and connectivity in general, your organization wouldn’t have to be worried about whether or not someone can receive the same great and low-effort customer service over Twitter DM as they can using your website’s live chat four hours later. No, if it weren’t for technological innovation all customers needing support or service would still be on hold jamming to an instrumental version of Lean on Me. Life would be more annoying, but simpler for organizations everywhere.
So really, it’s only fair that technology help share the burden of customer expectations in this so-called age of the customer. Here’s a look at what today’s businesses need to know about multi-channel customer experiences if they hope to be tomorrow’s businesses, and how technology can improve everyone’s customer service situation.
The power of empowerment
It has never been easier to be a consumer than it currently is. Almost anything can be purchased online at any hour of the day, customer service is usually available 24/7, and if a brand does something irritating or there’s something lacking in the customer experience, a competing business is a click away. Thanks to constant connectivity and an unparalleled wealth of options, today’s consumers are more empowered than ever, and their customer experience expectations are higher than ever as well.
That translates to customers who are expecting fast if not instant customer service responses, low-effort interactions, and personalized experiences, all over the channels they prefer to use. No problemo, right? Well, it could be significantly less of a problem with assistance from customer engagement solutions like customer journey optimization, customer experience analytics and real-time personalization.
Make it easy on agents and customers alike with customer journey optimization
Customer journey optimization solutions take all of a customer’s disparate interactions over any number of channels and automatically connect them into one journey in order to optimize each customer’s experience. In terms of the organizational big picture, this can identify cross-channel inefficiencies or business process issues and identify self-service customer support opportunities. In terms of the small picture, the one that immediately and directly impacts customers? It stores instantly updated customer and interaction information in a central and easily accessible database.
Having updated customer information stored in a central and accessible location makes it easy for customers to enjoy a seamless multi-channel service experience because it makes it easy for agents to instantly access the most recent customer or interaction information, regardless of which channel the customer is using. This means customers can switch from one channel to another at their convenience without losing their place in the service or support process, which means they never have to go back to square one when it comes to explaining their issue, which means agents that are new to the interaction won’t be snapped at when the customer once again has to start at the beginning. Beautiful.
Reduce customer effort with customer experience analytics
Get familiar with two of your new favorite words: predictive analytics.
Customer experience analytics solutions provide a number of improvements when it comes to customer experience. These solutions take in all customer interaction data and provide insight into why customers are contacting the support center, why customers are repeatedly making contact, and which channels they’re using to start interactions as well as end them. Armed with this information, organizations can proactively address issues before they are the reason for contact, improve first contact resolution, and identify cross-channel inefficiencies or bottlenecks.
In terms of how customer experience analytics help provide a better multi-channel customer experience, go back to those two new favorite words. By tracking and analyzing each customer’s interactions and cross-channel behavior patterns, predictive analytics make it possible for agents to actually preempt future contacts by taking optimized action for an individual customer based on their past needs and behaviors. For instance, if a customer tends to email for clarification on product installation only to later call and have that clarification reiterated, the agent writing the initial email can take the time to be as detailed and reassuring as possible in order to prevent the secondary call.
Really, is there anything that makes a multi-channel customer experience better than cutting it down to one contact over one channel?
Get personal with real-time personalization
As touched on above, nothing predicts future behavior like past behavior. When it comes to customer experience, this means that the right solution – like a real-time personalization solution – can help predict the products and services that should be recommended to a customer, either when that customer makes contact or when proactively reaching out to said customer. These solutions can also identify opportunities for making self-service tools available on the channel currently in use by the customer.
Self-service tools, often powered by advanced artificial intelligence, automate the process of a customer moving from one channel to the next. As an example, a customer may start out interacting with a chatbot after being engaged on the product page of an item that customer is likely to be interested in, and can easily be transitioned to speaking with a live agent over chat, on the phone, or via any other channel the customer would prefer when the discussion requires the insight of a customer service employee. It’s real-time personalization that collects the touchpoint and interaction data necessary to fill in each customer’s history and probable future, updating instantly for real-time decision making.
It seems as though humans are constantly finding new ways to connect thanks to the internet and its related technology. With each new method of communication, customers will naturally assume they can use those channels to connect with the organizations they do business with. This is a case where the customer should always be right.
It isn’t necessarily ever going to be easy to manage the multi-channel customer experience, but with the right solutions in place, it doesn’t have to be too hard. Besides, with everything technology has done to cause this situation in the first place, shouldn’t technology have to sweat a little? Put in a bit of work to keep customers happy? It only seems right.