As a society, we’ve embraced a digital existence, but not all businesses have made the full transition. For example, though brands now accept social media customer service as a means of engaging customers, they often fail to approach their overall CX from a digital mindset. Adapting to this framework not only helps businesses to better address their customers but also boost satisfaction scores and improve sales. So if you want to stay competitive in 2019, here are the digital customer experience strategies that you need to master.
Multiple Channels, One Journey
Let’s face it: your customers don’t think of your voice, email, and various social media accounts as separate. Each is a different aspect of the same brand. Hence, any examples of exceptional handle times and first contact resolutions on Facebook won’t make up for a sluggish Twitter response. Acting otherwise misses the forest for the trees – and partitions the customer journey in ways that reduce satisfaction and lifetime customer value.
Consumers now expect continuity across their brand experience. Why shouldn’t they? What happens across social channels pertains to the big picture. That’s why your agents, whether interacting with a customer through a series of Twitter DMs or Facebook posts, should have access to a central source of truth on each consumer. It’s the responsibility of leadership to simplify customer care efforts and consolidate the total customer journey.
Start with a unified system, collecting data in real-time from across omnichannel interactions. The right platform will seamlessly integrate with your social media tools, VoIP systems, sales programs, and even your marketing automation tools. That way, your agents have access to a real-time history of customer interactions in addition to automatic updates from online purchases or in-store POS systems. This is the difference between an impressionistic understanding of a consumer and a photorealistic snapshot of their preferences, needs, and paint points.
The next step is to participate in some knowledge sharing with your agents. They not only need to know how to use the CRM platform but the importance of a digital customer experience to your brand. In our experience, the more agents understand the why of an action, the more they are invested in carrying that action out to completion.
Improving the Channels for Feedback
Digital platforms have given consumers a megaphone and they’re not afraid to use it. Some are quick to express their frustration with brands in the public forum, but other people remain silent. In fact, long-established studies find that 96% of people don’t complain about a bad experience, and that 91% of that group will simply leave your brand before they initiate a conversation. If your brand fails to take action, they’ll be long gone before you notice their absence. Fortunately, the magnitude of touch points throughout the digital customer journey provides businesses with feedback galore – if they leverage the right tools.
Always strike while the iron is hot for customer feedback. Real-time feedback results in more candid responses. Plus, there is no shortage of opportunities. If you have your own mobile app, follow the Uber model and encourage customers to give feedback immediately after a purchase or service completion. On your website, consider the Hyatt Regency approach with a pop out feedback window.
Your customer care team also plays a proactive part in the feedback funnel. Social listening, where your agents are analyzing the conversations, trends, and mentions on social media, gives you unparalleled insight into what’s important to your consumers – and where they need help. This goes beyond direct mentions. Your agents can set up social monitoring tools to hunt for keyword phrases and hashtags (as they’re posted) that are relevant to your customers.
For example, if you’re in the donut business, your agents need to search #donuts, #coffee, #breakfast, and other variations and misspellings to ensure you don’t miss an opportunity to interact. Remaining aware of these instances provides your brand with an opportunity to deliver fixes for those dissatisfied customers and engage with happy customers, adding more remarkable moments to their day.
Embracing Live Chat
A company’s website has long been an integral part of the digital customer experience – but mostly as a one-way conversation. Brands tended to talk about their products/services, values, and differentiators without providing customers many opportunities to connect. Web savvy brands have provided more links to ask questions and engage but even traditional contact us forms fall short of the drive for instant gratification. And that misses a huge opportunity.
Studies show 92% of first-time visitors are not there to make a purchase. They want answers. Prospects want to learn more about your products and services, compare your prices, and get to know what sets you apart. When that information is beyond the boundaries of your usual FAQs, there needs to be a real-time way for consumers to ask questions – before their interest wanes. Live chat is crucial to engaging that portion of your digital audience.
According to the Comm100 Live Chat Benchmark Report 2019, live chat has been on the rise with over 45 million chats taking place in 2018. As these interactions become commonplace, consumer expectations increase. The report finds that for highest satisfaction rates and shortest wait times, companies need teams of 50 agents. While juggling other customer service platforms, that’s a difficult feat for businesses of any size to achieve.
Yet brands that work with an outsourced contact center can access talent and resources that improve their performance without breaking the bank. The right partner can provide live agents on standby, AI powered natural language processing tools, or a combination of both – depending on your exact needs.
Always Keeping Your Eye on the Future
At the end of the day, these digital customer experience strategies are part of a living, breathing approach to customer service. The components of a digital experience are constantly evolving, and your business needs to remain aware of the tactics and tools that are reinventing the landscape. As you strive to sustain your brand in a changing world, an experienced partner can help you continue to deliver exceptional experiences.