Customers do not interact with businesses the same way that they did in the past. Thanks to social media, digital technologies, and mobile devices, the customer journey is transforming. People expect to be able to connect with businesses through a number of channels. They want flexibility, convenience, and personalization to be part of the entire customer journey.
Creating positive experiences is critical to business success. Studies show that consumers are more than twice as likely to share an unpleasant experience than a positive one. Furthermore, they will go to social media to spread the message if they feel their concerns aren’t acknowledged. When service is handled poorly, companies are likely to lose valuable customers, and attracting new ones can cost 6 to 7 times as much as retaining current ones.
However, when companies excel at customer experiences and service, they have a competitive edge. Poor service is the top reason for losing customers. On the other hand, decreasing that loss by just 5 percent could increase revenue by 5 to 95 percent, according to Bain and Company.
How are companies improving the customer experience (CX)? Many are doing so with the help of big data and IT.
Responsive Customer Service
People now expect their issues to be resolved quickly, many expect a resolution within 24 hours or less. According to a recent report, 42 percent of people expect a response within one hour or less when contacting organizations through social media. Meeting those expectations can be difficult and extremely costly for the customer service team to do on their own. This is where IT has helped tackle the challenge.
In many organizations, IT has helped automate certain parts of the support process. Individuals can go to a company’s website, submit a request, and automatically receive a notification that their problem is being reviewed. This still relies on the customer service team to address the problem. However, now that process has been accelerated too, with many organizations implementing systems that help agents identify customers, their previous contact history, and other data that can be used to improve support.
Possibly one of the most important ways that IT has improved the customer experience is by helping companies understand them. Big data has made it easier and more cost-effective for businesses to track purchases, consumer behaviors, and industry trends. Companies like Amazon and Netflix excel at crafting personalized experiences. For example, Amazon users are given recommendations based on their previous order history. A majority of the media streamed on Netflix is watched by users as a result of personalized recommendations.
Companies that enable the IT and CX team to work together can craft personalized interactions with their audiences. These experiences make customers feel important and valued, which is key to maintaining long-lasting relationships.
Channel Integration
Advanced technologies like collaboration tools, cloud computing, wireless presentation software, customer relationship systems, and others have a common theme. They have helped integrate what used to be accomplished with many moving parts and departments into one organized, easy-to-use system.
Instead of working in organizational silos, departments are working together to improve overall business performance. Technology has helped make this type of collaboration possible, and individuals expect a similar approach when it comes to their customer journey. They want to have a number of channels in which to connect with organizations but they want to be able seamlessly move from one area to the next.
For example, they may want to browse a store’s inventory online, reserve a product, and pick it up in-store. They want to be able to pull up a coupon code or discount in-store at the cash register using their mobile device. In other words, they want traditional and digital channels to be able to communicate with each other–a challenge that in most cases, IT leaders have been charged with facilitating.
Providing a positive customer experience is among the top differentiators and priorities for companies today. The increased demand for digital channels and personalized experiences have made improving individual experiences more than just a challenge for the customer service team. The IT team plays a crucial part in giving customer service the tools they need to understand their customers better and provide the support they need.