Creating a proactive customer-centric organisation, cross departmental collaboration and keeping up with evolving customer expectations are the key challenges that businesses today say they face when it comes to customer service. That’s according to the recently published State of Customer Service 2020 report which has over 1500 respondents from around the world and brands including the likes of Uber, Zurich, Mastercard and Microsoft.
Along with the fact that integrating AI and machine learning into customer service operations is rated as the most challenging aspect businesses are facing, among the many insightful statistics, the one that particularly struck me was the top 4 priorities for customer service departments in 2020 are:
- Creating a customer – centric organisation and collaborating internally – 18.7%
- Scaling to keep up with evolving customer expectations – 17.9%
- Moving from reactive to proactive customer support – 13.4%
- Synchronising channels to deliver a seamless omnichannel customer journey – 13.1%.
It’s clearly about a mix of getting the culture right and utilising technology to create outstanding customer experiences, but how are businesses actually doing that? I’ve written in the past about great examples of culture at the likes of fantastic 3D Businesses like Zappos (which I’ve written about frequently), but what about the ‘technology’ side of things?
Well, here are some examples that I’ve seen recently…
1. Shop Remotely At IKEA…
IKEA has launched a new app that allows customers to shop remotely for products and visualize the products in different scenarios in their own homes. It saves time and effort for customers and makes them easier to buy from by allowing customers to ‘personalise’ their browsing and then purchase goods. The app also uses augmented reality to allow customers in store to point their phone at a piece of furniture to see other textures or colours and to see it in the context of a room back in their house. Again, it’s all about ‘personalisation’!
How easy are you to buy from and deal with?
2. Accor Hotels Make It Personal…
Personalising the customer experience has always been a source of ‘Dramatic Difference’ and Accor Hotels maximises the information they have about their 58 million customers they have on their database across their whole chain of hotels to allow them to personalise the experience. In seconds, a receptionist has access to details of the customer’s habits and preferences so they can quickly respond to, and even anticipate, their customers needs. It’s about using information to ’empower’ people to create outstanding customer experiences.
How well do you maximise your customer data?
3. The Drop…
The Drop is an online business that allows you to buy a tailor made suit from as little as £295! You let them have your measurements, details of the fabric and style of your suit and it’s delivered to you in 5 weeks, or 3 weeks if you pay £50 extra. They are a great example of a business that has looked at the traditional customer journey and ‘digitalised’ it making it simpler, quicker and cheaper.
How could you ‘digitalise’ (part of) your customer journey?
4. Redbrik’s Virtual House Tour…
In days gone by, if you were looking to buy a house, it was all about scanning the local newspaper property guard, visiting the estate agents and booking an appointment to look round the property – not anymore! Local estate agents (and clients of ours!) Redbrik offer virtual tours of the houses that they are selling with 3D Walkthroughs. You can literally ‘walk through’ a house using virtual reality and a get a real feel for it!
They can be viewed on any internet-enabled device and provide the most realistic and immersive property viewing experience without being in the property. The incredible ‘dolls house’ view shows the home from a 360-degree perspective and even allows you to see floor-by-floor. It saves customers lots of time and effort and helps them focus on the properties that you are really interested in. Check out what it look like here.
How could you save your customers time, effort (and money)?
5. Virgin Media Reduce Cancelled Visit Numbers…
Apparently, lots of people (about 10%!) forget that they have an appointment with a tradesman coming to their house and this can obviously cost the business lots of money in wasted time and resources. Virgin Media identified this as a big problem for their installers so to fix this they partnered up with a business called ContactEngine. They helped them implement an automated proactive SMS and voice conversation process a couple of days before the installation. Customers would get a message to confirm the correct address, and importantly that the customer would be there when they visited. The automated conversations also allowed customers to cancel, reschedule, or correct the address if necessary and there was also the opportunity to talk to a ‘real’ person if required. The results were impressive, with significantly reduced cancellations and financial losses, and I suspect an increase in happy customers.
How could you improve the customer experience and save yourself time, effort (and money)?
Clearly, technology on its own is not the answer, but, it’s obvious – it’s definitely not going away. In fact, you could argue it’s being commoditised and if you’re not maximising it, your customers are the ones that will!