Surviving and Thriving in a World Where Customers Are More Connected Than Ever

Smartphones and tablets have dramatically extended the reach of tech-savvy consumers, providing them with a rich palette of tools to interact with the companies with business. They can effortlessly scan websites in search of useful self-service options, engage in chat sessions, explore social media and communities, select click-to-call options, send and receive SMS messages, and only when all else fails, use their devices to speak directly to an agent.

As the amount of time people spend online continues increase at an astounding pace, the challenge to businesses grows. Organizations need to develop and implement a comprehensive digital strategy. But like the proverbial Mark Twain quote ‘everybody is talking about the weather, yet no one is doing anything about it,’ there’s been far more discussion than action in the corporate world.

Most companies of all are aware of the ever-growing expectations for a positive customer experience in every encounter and know that customers can change their allegiance with a single click. A recent PAC study in Europe revealed that 69% of companies have made customer experience a strategic issue to be addressed at the top management levels. But only 14% of the companies surveyed have created a position for a customer experience manager, or have set up a relevant department. Although 80 percent of decision makers perceive customer interaction across the various channels as a crucial task, fully 60 percent of the companies remain in a stage of early development in this area.

While taking a long-term view of customer experience issues may begin with upper management, that does not mean that progress can’t be made by proactive internal teams who focus on addressing some of the more urgent issues, including:

Reducing customer effort. How can companies make it simpler for people to get the information they need and resolve their issues? Gaining a better handle on the voice of the customer, understanding the stages of the evolving customer journey and finding simple ways to increase the level of personalization can go a long way toward simplifying people’s lives.

Offering more convenient channels to anticipate your customer’s changing priorities. Millennials and those who think like them are looking for effective self-service options and would prefer to use text to execute tasks they have traditionally accomplished through an Interactive Voice Response (IVR). They are also interested in better SoLoMo (Social, Local and Mobile) choices. Exploring affordable, easy-to-implement solutions in these areas can give a business a leg up in the marketplace.

Establishing new metrics to ensure consistent high quality service. Only 1% of consumers feel vendors consistently meet their customer service expectations. Furthermore, 86% are actually willing to pay extra for a better experience. One way to close this gap is to leverage existing customer data to create a more responsive customer journey and to establish a proactive customer communication strategy.

Mapping the customer journey to provide consistent context across the channels. Understanding the thought process and the conversation is a best practice for staying competitive in the Age of the Customer. It’s also helpful to know how and when consumers interact with your organization, what the most frequent channels they employ are and to explore how your business can better coordinate responses across all touchpoints without significant added expense.

All of these topics and more will be discussed in depth at the upcoming online Virtual Conference, “Shaping the Journey of the Connected Customer, March 21st-24th. Registration is free and you can send multiple members of your team for a more complete learning experience.

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