Six ways to improve your customer experience in 2016

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January is behind us, and a new year gets well underway. Here are some of the emerging trends that we saw in 2015 that are sure to help you get the most out of your customer communications to drive a great customer experience in 2016.

1. Focus on the health of your customer experience ecosystem

Most companies today present themselves to the world through a large variety of channels, vendor platforms, and outsourcers in addition to their employees. The complexities of this customer experience “ecosystem” is transparent to most customers, who expect an exceptional experience across the board when dealing with a company. Ensuring an exceptional customer journey across your customer ecosystem requires the entire ecosystem to work together – including partners, channels and employees – to ensure that the final customer experience is as seamless and positive as possible.

For examples of CX techniques that can help and stories of real world success, watch this webinar featuring guest speaker Megan Burns, VP, Principal Analyst Service Customer Experience Professionals from Forrester Research.

2. Start mapping your customer journey

Customer journey mapping is THE trend for 2016. A quick search through Google trends shows the increasing interest in customer journey mapping over time.

HBR defines customer journey maps as a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it be a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.

The reason for the increased attention to customer journey maps is that they can help your organization quickly gain an understanding of the overall customer experience ecosystem, offering great short and long term benefits to your organization.

For more info on customer journey mapping, check out this great blog post by Scott Draeger, VP, Products at GMC Software.

3. Leverage multichannel proofing & design

In a recent TechValidate® survey of GMC Software customers, 57% of users indicated that one of their top purchasing criteria for selecting customer communications management software was to enhance omnichannel customer experience, and 94% of respondents were looking to leverage tighter integration with multiple IT systems into these communications.

These findings are also evident in the 2015 Gartner® Magic Quadrant for CCM Software, where multichannel proofing & design was identified as a key offering for enterprises to consider when researching CCM.

4. Empower more employees to engage with your customers

A recent report from Forrester entitled “The Top 10 Technology Trends To Watch: 2016 To 2018” highlights that 60% of information workers spend at least 1 hour each day directly engaging with customers. Most organizations do not have strong customer communications solutions in place to help teams across the enterprise work together to answer customer questions and deliver impactful communications. Considering the rapid growth in information workers, enabling your staff to work collaboratively to create and deliver impactful and compliant regulations will be a game changer for your organization in 2016.

5. Digitize operational processes

Customer communications started in the print world – and many companies remain stuck communicating with templates that were designed for that era. Companies that are looking to move away from legacy fixed templates to embrace both new technology and more impactful design need to focus instead on interactive CCM and a digital experience delivery platform. The result is fewer CCM “silos” making communications with your customers faster, more accurate, and streamlined. To learn more, watch this webinar featuring Craig Le Clair from Forrester Research.

6. Focus on the digital future

A recent GMC Software publication entitled “Insurance and CCM – Give Consumers What they Want” focuses on the need to look into the future of communications. This includes emerging technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), remote devices, home automations and telematics. It cites:

“The launch of a new digital CCM strategy is not the finish line, but rather the starting point. A clear operating model is critical in order to ensure that customers are continually being engaged, communicated with or serviced effectively. This is not just about back office operations or technical operations, but an organizational change that involves strategy, communications, marketing, distribution and data teams.”

Re-examining your customer communications processes and systems with an eye to the future can help you identify game changing ways of engaging with your customers more fully. I hope these six focus areas can help you accomplish your goals of driving a great customer experience for your enterprise in 2016.

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