OmniChannel

Is Customer Experience The Ultimate Marketing Tool?

Contributed article by Frank Hamilton

Advertising surrounds us everywhere. Companies have to try hard to stand out from the crowd and prove that their product or service is trustworthy to customers. Improving marketing customer experience is one of the top opportunities to turn customers into brand ambassadors, win more clients, raise brand awareness and get a competitive edge. But is customer experience the ultimate marketing tool in 2022? Let’s find it out.

What Is Customer Experience?

To put it simply, customer experience in marketing is a general term that covers all the impressions the customers have when interacting with a brand. In response to digital marketing development, customer experience has become one of the strongest digital trends of recent years.

This marketing tool creates the conditions for interacting with customers to meet or exceed their expectations. Customers go through many points of interaction with a company. And it is very important that at each of these points your customer is satisfied.

Modern marketing is customer-centric so the customers are the only ones to decide what kind of products to buy, and what level of service to choose.  In a couple of clicks, customers can view product features, reviews, and ratings, and decide “To buy or not to buy?” They can quickly change brands without compromising themselves if a competitor offers a better product, or service or anticipates their desires.

In such an abundance of choice, when the customer experience is far from being enjoyable, 32% of modern users are willing to give up on their favorite brand. At the same time, one unsatisfied customer will tell about their negative experience to 16  friends and damage the company’s reputation with the word of mouth.

Why Is Customer Experience So Important?

Let’s be honest with each other – there is no perfect marketing tool that will fit every company and every brand. But improving customer experience day after day is a must-follow strategy for every company. Firstly, a positive customer experience is a confirmation that your core business processes are set up right. After all, if at any point of interaction your customer isn’t happy, you need to make adjustments to your team or your marketing strategy. What’s more, the customer experience is directly dependent on employees being competent, responsible, and proactive.

Here are a few more reasons why companies should care even more about a successful modern customer experience:

 1. Increase the Check

Modern customers will never be satisfied with little. Today, they want the most from brands and companies at every stage of interaction. Studies show that 86% of customers are willing to pay more for good service. This means that companies with a customer-centric marketing strategy will be able to earn even more and grow their company faster.

 2. Win More Customers

Customers want a personalized approach that will cater to personal wishes and requests. Targeted advertising, smart content marketing and blogging increase customer trust and loyalty, allowing you to stand out from other similar brands. And as a result, grow the number of leads and customers. Surveys show that 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase if a company offers a personalized approach.

 3. Stand Out From the Competition

Customers today have a wide range of services and products to choose from, so companies should try hard to stand out. A positive customer experience is one effective way to stand out from the competition, and most importantly, to build loyalty and retain customers for a long time.

 4. Lower the Cost per Lead

Word of mouth is free advertising for your company. And it’s worth noting that it’s very effective. According to studies, more than 92% of consumers use reviews to make a purchase decision. Therefore, every satisfied customer can become an ambassador for your brand in the future and help you attract new leads with the power of social proof. Here is how you won’t have to spend any extra money to acquire new customers.

 5. Create a Recognizable Brand

Loyal customers help take a brand to the next level. After all, globally popular brands have become popular because of the consistent digital consumer experience they delivered for years. One of the ways to create a recognizable brand is to tell your potential customers about it as much as possible through highly qualified content since to date, content importance for blog is growing. This is the tool to build loyalty and improve your SEO performance at once.

How To Improve Customer Experience? 

Customer experience is one of the most important marketing tools that determine how successful your company or brand will be. So here are some important tips that can help you stand out with the best customer experience.  

  • Develop an omnichannel strategy to enhance the customer experience. Always be accessible to your customers. For example, if the customer feels more comfortable contacting you through social media, you should be ready to support them via social channels. If the user likes to find information on their own, run a meaningful blog. If the customer wants to contact you after business hours, it would be nice to offer them a chatbot. It will stay in touch with your customers 24 hours a day, which will allow for a better customer experience. Look here for more insights into omnichannel customer experience and the benefits it drives.
  • Train your employees. At certain stages of interacting with the brand, your customers will work with your employees. Be sure that they correctly communicate the company’s values and culture, and have perfect knowledge of the product and the algorithm for dealing with various atypical situations. Regular training sessions can help your sales, customer support, and marketing teams provide impeccable assistance.
  • Provide feedback on time. Listen to and read feedback from your customers. Use this information wisely to improve your service and product. Once you have worked out the weaknesses, try to keep your customers informed about the work done, the troubleshooting, or the improvement of the service.
  • Optimize the customer journey. Identify all stages of the customer’s interaction with your company. Think about how you can make customers’ experience of choosing, buying, using, and committing to your brand stronger and more positive. Use analytics and Big Data to keep up to date with your customers’ preferences and desires.
  • Collect feedback and ratings. Monitor the feedback and ratings you get from customers. If some of these are negative, respond immediately and try to rectify the situation by offering an alternative, a discount, or a personal offer. This will help to retain the customer and save your reputation. Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive feedback as well.
  • Implement loyalty programs. The main aim of a loyalty program is to build long-term relationships. Only sincere attention and a personalized approach will persuade customers to stay with you for the long term. A good loyalty program helps increase lifetime customer value (LTV), the loyalty index (NPS), and grow brand advocates, who are particularly useful in attracting new leads at no extra cost. 

Conclusion

Customer experience is the ultimate marketing tool. If consumers like you, they will happily spend money on your product and recommend it to others. In a world where competition between brands is huge, the one who manages to make more people fall in love with you wins.

4 Contact Center Technology Trends to Pay Attention To

Knowing the tech trends that have been overtaking the market is different from actually making moves to adopt those trends. Don’t be like so many other contact centers out there that lag behind when it comes to customer expectations and contact center trends. Instead, stay on top of the newest technologies and solutions to improve the customer experience now and in the future.

Here are 4 contact center trends to know now and as you move into the new year.

  1. Migration to the cloud.

The cloud itself isn’t a new technology, but more and more contact centers are realizing the importance of migrating their system to the cloud. If you stick with your on-premise contact center system, you’ll limit your ability to manage several locations and to add more communication channels.

  1. Full adoption of omnichannel.

Just like with the cloud, omnichannel isn’t exactly a new idea, but now contact centers are actually taking the steps to make it a reality (instead of just educating themselves about its benefits). The silos that exist between billing, customer service and support have to be broken down, as do the separations between your assisted service and self-service channels. Slowly rolling out omnichannel solutions only keeps data siloed (and customers annoyed) for longer; instead, find the right technology that will let you marry all of your channels at the same time.

  1. Smarter IVR solutions.

IVR is one of those technologies that’s always seeing new innovations and improvements. These include:

  • Better personalization based on context to resolve more issues within the IVR
  • Identifying customers from caller ID to reduce the number of necessary identification steps
  • Speech recognition to determine level of stress beyond curse word cues
  1. Better testing methods for chat bots.

Chat bots are now being used by contact centers for first line interactions, which means you also need more advanced ways of measuring outcomes. A/B testing, which has traditionally been used just with digital marketing, is now used to optimize chat bots so they can continue to offer more advanced support.

By combining a willingness to be adaptable with a culture of constant improvement, your contact center can continue to keep up with technology changes, now and in the future. You’ll also set yourself up as a strong competitor in the industry while retaining both your workforce and your customer base.

5 Trends in the Customer Service Industry

Every year sees new changes to the customer service industry, and 2018 has been no different. This year, the focus has been on improving customer service in order to meet growing expectations. Here are 5 trends that are influencing the industry right now, and they’ll likely continue – and be built upon – in 2019.

  1. Chatbots are providing customer care.

According to IBM, by the year 2020 as much as 85% of customer interactions will not be handled by a human. For the contact center, this means making sure chatbots are providing a great experience for the customer – poor technology or chatbots that are used incorrectly can seriously impact your bottom line.

  1. Cloud-based customer service software is the norm.

Contact centers that rely on cloud-based solutions can have remote agents located around the world. This means that different time zones and extended hours can be covered, offering customer service practically any time and from anywhere. This software can give a complete history of customer interaction, including past communication and notes that agents make about a customer.

  1. Success of the team has become a priority.

If individuals can provide great service, then teams of excellent agents can do even more. Teammate success is now a priority and contact centers are investing more in educating and training their teams. One way of making customer service teams more successful is by hiring agile agents who can handle more than one type of job.

  1. Increased reliance on self-service.

Self-service has been trending for a long time, but now companies are taking self-service to the next level by personalizing it. For example, customers may be shown only certain self-service options based on the products or services they have. This means that customers can get quicker access to the information they need without having to weed through an entire knowledge base.

  1. Software will seamlessly integrate.

Contact center technology systems are a big expense and they carry out integral jobs, like analyzing data and storing all sorts of customer information. Since software is so essential to the contact center, it’s important for different software and tools to integrate with one another. We’ll continue to see software that’s specifically designed to work seamlessly with complementary software so that you can piece together the best system for your contact center.

Have you noticed trends in the customer service world? Tell us about them in the comments.

How Financial Service Providers are Improving ROI with Omnichannel Customer Service

As more financial service providers move to the cloud, they are looking for sophisticated omnichannel technology to improve ROI and digitally transform their customer communications. Whether you are a bank, brokerage firm, credit union, or other financial service provider, you can provide best-in-class customer service with omnichannel contact center technology.

Omnichannel Technology for Financial Service Providers

Differentiate yourself by providing multichannel interactions via voice, email, SMS, social messenger apps, and video. Financial service providers should select a contact center solution that includes the following features to improve ROI.

  • Outbound Calling Functionality – Make sure you select contact center technology that will enable your agent to be more efficient. Predictive, preview, progressive, and manual preview modes let campaign operators tailor their dialer for any list quality and/or desired agent engagement.
  • Banking Functionality – The banking industry has faced a number of challenges, one being the increase in omnichannel interactions. Consumers are demanding an omnichannel experience, and banks have become competitive with offerings like in-app mobile deposits and video ATMs. It is necessary to implement an innovative omnichannel experience to keep pace with competitors. Just make sure your channels work together seamlessly to improve the overall experience.
  • Integrate with Existing CRMs, Out of the Box – Increase agent productivity with an integration UI, click-to-call, screen pop, and activity history automatically saved with each ticket. Bright Pattern has out-of-the-box integrations with top CRM providers, including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Zendesk, Oracle Service Cloud, and ServiceNow.
  • Unified Agent Desktop – Many omnichannel contact centers comprise multiple technology vendors, making it difficult for agents to navigate. Select a platform that allows agents to work in a single user interface for all supported channels. Use a technology that pulls important data to the front of the agent’s screen to reduce scrolling and hopping from pages to locate important customer data like bank statements and payments due.
  • PCI Compliance – As a financial service provider, you must comply with strict regulations to protect consumer data and avoid litigation. Bright Pattern is compliant with PCI DSS 3.2, the highest level of PCI security, which provides the framework for your business’s compliance.

For more information, view Bright Pattern Omnichannel Contact Center Technology for Finance and Banking.

Unbeatable Omnichannel Technology Helps BPOs Get an Edge on the Competition and Retain Clients Longer

From Guest Blogger Bright Pattern

As more consumers use digital channels to talk to friends and family, the more they expect to find top brands on all their favorite digital channels, such as chat, forums, and social messengers. Companies need to respond by meeting their customers on these channels, or else risk losing them to the competition.

Business processing outsourcing companies (BPOs), in particular, need to respond swiftly to new client demands and offer a service that is impressive and efficient without breaking the bank.

Omnichannel Technology for BPOs

BPOs can use omnichannel contact center functionality to differentiate their offering and stand out among the competition. They can also experience cost savings when consolidating from multiple vendors to a single platform that provides all necessary channels. BPOs should select a contact center solution that includes the following features to gain and retain top brands.

  • Easily Add More Channels – As a BPO, some of your customers will need only inbound/outbound voice, but other brands will need to scale to a full omnichannel solution and add new channels as they grow. Choose a vendor that has all the channels necessary for your customers today, with continuous innovation plans for future channels.
  • Unified Agent Desktop – Many omnichannel contact centers comprise multiple technology vendors, making it difficult for agents to navigate. Select a platform that allows agents to work in a single user interface for all supported channels. Consider running specific use cases with the vendor to see how it prioritizes different channels and whether it allows agents and customers to move seamlessly from digital channels to voice.
  • Strong Integration Ecosystem – As BPOs, you may need to support multiple customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. Select a contact center provider that provides out-of-the-box CRM integrations with top providers and has a well established integration ecosystem for workforce optimization (WFO), workforce management (WFM), Natural Language Understanding (NLU), artificial intelligence (AI), and bot capabilities.
  • Flexible Reporting Options – Retain customers by providing them with quality control and oversight options, including direct client access to monitoring, call grading, ad-hoc reporting, and customer survey data.
  • Fast Client Ramp-Up – Select a vendor with a web-based Agent Desktop in Citrix that can work through firewalls, one that boasts built-in softphone and other telephony features for easy deployment.
  • Compliance – As a BPO, you work within several different industries, including contact centers with strict compliance requirements. Ensure compliance by partnering with a vendor that’s third-party certified for compliance with PCI, HIPAA, TCPA, and other top security standards.
  • High Availability – Select a vendor with a strong disaster recovery plan and near 100% uptime. Any time your provider is down, you are losing money. Inquire about uptime, active-active disaster containment, and service-level agreements (SLAs).

 

Customer Journey KPIs Every Contact Center Should Track

 

The customer journey can be a difficult thing to map and understand. With so many touchpoints along the journey, the map isn’t predictable and linear, yet it’s still necessary to monitor and analyze. These Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will help you gain insight from the customer journey and move on to improve it.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Even if a customer prefers self-service to live agent support, they don’t necessarily want to put a ton of effort into solving their own issue. Self-service shouldn’t be a difficult-to-implement alternative to normal customer support. Instead, it should meet the needs of the type of customer who seeks out self-service via quick, easy-to-find answers and the ability to make changes sans agent assistance.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Some of the most important customer journey touchpoints will occur when the customer interacts with a support agent. CSAT is the measure of the customer’s satisfaction before, during and after they contact customer service. If CSAT scores are dropping, it may be time to look closely at agent productivity, ticket management and self-service options.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The NPS will tell you if your customers are going to recommend your products and services to others. You have to go deeper here, though – why will your customers recommend your products and services, or what it is that’s keeping them from doing so?

Customer Churn / Retention Rate

Customer support teams for subscription-based products and services have to pay special attention to retention rate. If you see a lot of customers leaving around renewal time, it’s necessary to figure out why you lost them. What part of the customer journey is causing customers to change their mind? There’s a snag somewhere.

Customer Success

Customer Success isn’t a single KPI, but instead a customized KPI program based on your specific business, customers and goals. A Customer Success strategy may include Up- and Cross-Sell Rates; Average Revenue per Customer; or Rate of Adoption, which starts with defining beginner, intermediate and advanced customers or users. You may also want to include Retention Rate, NPS and CES in your customer success KPIs. Think of Customer Success as an overarching customer journey strategy based on what success means for you.

Customer journey KPIs may be difficult to track, but they come with a big benefit – often, improving one will have a positive impact on another.

The Omni-Channel Self-Service Journey

Contact center management knows that success is based on customer satisfaction. The omni-channel contact center was designed to improve the customer experience by unifying multi-channel platforms to offer a seamless experience at any time and on any channel. As more contact centers adopt the omni-channel approach, they’re figuring out ways to make it part of customer self-service.

Omni-channel self-service means that service channels are not separated into silos; instead, they’re synced in order to support the customer’s entire journey, no matter what path they take. Here’s an example of a self-service journey a customer may take:

• You’re ready to shop for a new smartphone. On your current smartphone, you log into your cell phone provider’s app and start browsing their selection. You choose a few phones to take a closer look at.

• Later that evening, you want to continue phone shopping, but this time you login to your account on your desktop. The phones you looked at on your app show up at the top of your screen in case you want to check them out again.

• You want to learn more about one of the phones, so you click on an explainer video that guides you through the phone’s different features.

• You order the phone online, but then realize that you may have been able to save money. You submit a support ticket and ask for a live phone call back.

• The next morning, you get a call from a rep for the cell phone provider and they immediately start talking about the phone you recently purchased and your options for getting a credit on your first bill, no need to provide any extra information.

• Once the phone call has ended, you immediately receive an email with a recap of everything you discussed, the credit you can expect to see on your bill, and helpful links to learn more about your new phone.

Omni-channel service aims to meet the customer wherever and whenever they need help. The best part about having an omni-channel strategy now is that your contact center will be able to scale as new communication channels are introduced down the road. New communication platforms are quickly becoming available, like live video, wearables and virtual reality tools. With both cloud technology and an omni-channel approach, your contact center will find it easy to integrate a new channel as soon as it becomes available.

 

4 Social Media Best Practices for Omnichannel Customer Service

It wasn’t long ago that the only way to get in touch with customer service was by phone – and only phone. Today, customers can choose any – or every – mode of communication available, including phone, email, chat, text and social media. To keep up, contact centers have had to make themselves accessible across every channel. Plus, they had to figure out how to deliver consistent, dependable customer service.

Here are four social media best practices to use with an omnichannel strategy.

  1. Respond quickly on social media.

When a customer contacts you by phone or live chat, you would never think of making them wait an entire hour to reach a rep. According to Convince and Convert, 42% of customers who have a complaint and who voice that complaint on social media want to hear back within 60 minutes, but a majority of companies don’t respond within this window of time (or at all). Neglecting to give your customers a positive experience through social media can increase churn rate.

  1. Use the same tags and hashtags on all social platforms.

Offering help across a variety of channels only works if customers are willing and able to engage with you there. No matter what social media platform you’re using, the message should be consistent. Your branded tag (the @yourname) should be the same everywhere and you should utilize the same hashtags across all channels as well.

  1. Offer rich content on all channels.

Customers want to access the information they need even if they’re not on a company’s website or app. Every social media platform comes with the option for adding rich content. Some channels have more space than others (LinkedIn and Facebook have more room in their profiles than Instagram and Twitter), but each has its own way of letting you optimize both the profile and feed.

  1. Record metrics in a unified way.

The more social media platforms you use for customer support, the more metrics you’re going to need to collect. Since you need a comprehensive view of your communications and touchpoints, your contact center will need to track metrics in a way that doesn’t allow for duplicate or disconnected stats.

Omnichannel support integrates every avenue of communication in order to give the customer a unified and high-quality experience. Done correctly, omnichannel service is effective and convenient for the customer

4 Trends that Improve the Customer Experience

When customer service teams want to differentiate themselves from the rest, they focus on improving and optimizing the customer experience. Companies are more than willing to go above and beyond for the sake of meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Here are four trends that will help distinguish your contact center.

Relying on Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, from video games to the automobile industry. Customer service has been impacted by the increase in AI, too. This technology can be used to chat with customers about easy-to-solve issues, which frees up live agents for more difficult and complex matters. Automation with AI can reduce customer wait time, interact with customers and collect important data for the contact center to later analyze.

Implementing an Omnichannel Strategy

One major gripe that customers have is repeating themselves to various customer support agents in order to get an answer or have a problem solved. Channel integration isn’t the same as omnichannel service. Today’s companies can’t just respond to a customer, they have to know as much as possible about the customer and their problem beforehand in order to provide customized, relevant support. Customer service requires empathy and a human touch in order to connect meaningfully to the customer.

Analyzing Big Data

While much of the customer experience is about interaction and communication, big data still has a pertinent place in understanding customer behavior. Big data can actually help the contact center connect on a more personal level with customers. There’s so much information that can be tracked now, from customer behavior at every point of the journey to customer preferences regarding any number of attributes. Data helps customer support do things like figure out what a customer is going to want before they even ask for it and determine the best way to reach a customer on the channel of their choice.

Providing Real-Time Communication

Using things like AI, which can automate several processes, and ominchannel strategies, which can cut down on the length of time it takes to solve a problem, gives customer support agents the extra time to handle some queries personally. Real-time communication, specifically via mobile and social media, is in demand, especially by younger generations who are used to communicating in these ways. Being able to provide immediate support improves the customer experience and builds trust in customers.

5 Barriers to Overcome When Creating an Omnichannel Strategy

If a contact center is going to understand how important omnichannel is, to them and their customers, they need to know the benefits of seamless interaction across all channels. Furthermore, it has to be understood that a one-size-fits-all solution will no longer work; it won’t provide a modern, enjoyable customer experience. Everything from antiquated technology to a lack of understanding or concern regarding omnichannel service can get in the way of creating a true omnichannel experience.

1. Not Providing All Departments with a Single View

Every department needs to have a synced, singular view of the customer, no matter what channel they’re on. Just as the different channels need to work together, so do the contact center’s various departments.

2. Not Understanding the Depths of the Customer

In the past, customer buying history was the main – and often, only – important detail to pay attention to and track. Today, omnichannel goes far beyond buying history, looking at what happened before, during and after the buying process. This plays into being able to define what omnichannel means to your specific contact center – it’s not a metric, but instead of way of offering a certain type of customer experience.

3. Poor Technology and Missing System Integrations

Even with the best omnichannel plan in place, contact centers can’t attain their goals if they don’t have a system that supports them.

4. Poor Management Regarding Big Changes

Instating an omnichannel system requires everyone at the contact center to get updated on the new processes. This requires training and education, as well as someone who is going to lead and manage the change.

5. Providing Consistent Service on Varying Channels

It can be incredibly difficult to provide the same level of service when switching from channel to channel. Specific strategies and specialty training have to be in place in order to provide high quality customer service on everything from email and phone calls, which have no communication limits, to something like Twitter, which has a distinct character limit.

While an omnichannel strategy puts the customer first, it requires a lot of setup and management on the backend, in the contact center. While switching to an omnichannel strategy or updating your current one can take some time and effort, ultimately what’s best for the customer is what’s going to be best for the contact center.