If the Information Age is over, we’re now living in an Experience Age. That was the key message from a recent ‘Future CX’ event, which revealed what top brands like Ocado, Virgin Trains, MicroSoft and LinkedIn to name just a few are doing within the realm of customer experience (CX) and engagement. The consensus was that emotion drives behaviour. If brands can be there instantly, effectively and meaningfully when customers need them most, they can create amazing online experiences and inspire positive emotions, influencing behaviour at scale.
Creating powerful online customer experiences and marketing ROI by harnessing emotional connections with customers is key and here are some key take-outs for everyone to consider for 2019 success….
Future-proof your CX
94% of companies across Europe agreed that customer experience is an absolutely key part of business strategy in 2019, with larger organisations of 1000+ employees placing the most focus on customer experience next year. Against this backdrop, responding quickly to customer queries is no longer enough for a truly future-proof CX strategy. Sales and marketing teams now need to mirror consumers by moving easily between online communication channels and conversations, while retaining linked records of those conversations to provide a greater level of personalisation.
AI – not everything that can be automated should be automated
With customer support channels are multiplying and dynamic shifts in consumer, AI is making contact centre roles easier work by automated repetitive, low value tasks, leaving humans to handle more complex, niche situations. AI and chatbots are transforming customer experience, but not everything that can be automated, should be automated. At the heart of every great consumer experience is a perfect synergy between human empathy and digital engagement. Achieving the perfect balance between ruthless efficiency and meaningful engagement is key.
Change behaviours and turn customers into advocates
By creating powerful experiences and inspiring positive emotions with customers, brands can influence behaviour at scale. Digital winners are experience-led but with deep human focus and, as consumers continue to adopt technology at a fast pace, the barriers to switching allegiance are becoming more non-existent. Digital economies have reset the balance of power between brand and consumer and by focusing on CX in 2019, marketers can turn valued customers into advocates.
Self-service customer support is vital
Customers are more interested in getting their issue resolved quickly, rather than using their preferred channel, and web chat is the easiest channel to resolve most queries, making this actively visible to customers provides an effortless experience.
Providing clearer guidance for customers to self-serve, and find the right channel for their queries where, for instance, web chat is not best suited, is key. Over the last few years, there has been a channel shift, with web chat outstripping social media as the communications platform of choice, and also reducing the number of calls, emails and social media queries received by brands. So, although web chat is the cheapest, don’t overlook other self-serve options.
Don’t be rendered obsolete by digital transformation
Keep up with the proliferation of data and communication channels or risk being left behind. This includes marketers focusing on customer experience in their social media strategies and noting how social initiatives impact a business/brand’s bottom line. Key metrics to keep an eye on include brand perception as social networks influence 74% of consumer buying decisions, while 75% of B2B buyers are influenced by information found on social channels. 62% of top salespeople attribute closing more deals to leveraging social technology and 55% of customers have a more favourable view of brands that respond to queries raised via social media.
Support holistic CX via new technologies
Conversations and data need to be interlinked (and not lost) which, hugely enhances customer understanding, satisfaction and value. Internally, this helps customer service and marketing teams to work in tandem, producing a better digital experience for the customer by breaking down internal silos in favour of a more joined-up approach. Orlo, for example, drives the creation of powerful online relationships and enhanced emotional connections with customers, bringing something new to the digital customer experience sector with an integrated social, live chat and CRM ‘conversation ecosystem’.
Social keeps your finger on the pulse
Resolving an issue as quickly and easily as possible is of a far higher priority to customers than resolving the issue via their channel of choice. Organisations are using social media to better connect with their customers, that means listening to what customers are saying, engaging with them, and leveraging broad social data sets to gain insights that can be used to support customers. Social is a great way to keep the pulse of what your customers are saying.
Empower organisations with the right social data
When customers are using all social channels to communicate with any organisation, employees must have the ability to respond using those same channels. Almost every person in any organisation can benefit from the rich data available from social media.
Whether it’s a marketer better understanding what topics are popular among customer conversations about the brand, business strategy team studying competitors, a product manager gleaning insights about feature requests and customer frustrations, or a service agent taking a quick pulse check to see if other customers are encountering similar issues to the one they’re working on, social data helps employees do their jobs better.
Measuring social value in terms of real return
Social media presents some measurement challenges, and it’s difficult for most businesses to establish precisely the ROI of various social media efforts. Many ignore the tough challenge of measuring their efforts in terms of business value in favour of focusing on vanity metrics: likes, comments, shares, retweets, and posts. However, social results can be measured in terms of real return to answer questions such as: “Are we increasing customer satisfaction?” and “Have we improved customer retention?”.
A business’ website, app or social media accounts all have the ability to leave a lasting impression on a customer. Whether that impression is good or bad depends on a lot of factors. Understanding how and why your users interact with your digital asset is key to providing a greater experience.
Using data to help customers navigate to information in as few clicks as possible, analysing heat maps to see the most used areas of your app, or scrutinising social media data to understand which advert to serve to your customers and when, are all useful and relevant applications that will improve user experience today, and in the future.