Not too long ago, providing customer support via social media, live chat, or mobile channels would have been considered as going above and beyond. But this isn’t the case anymore – it’s now the norm and businesses of all sizes are expected to rise to the occasion. Research from Gartner suggests that companies to who to fail to respond to customers via social channels can incur a 15% increase in their customer churn rate.
With the sheer abundance of ways customers are expecting businesses to engage with them, staying on top of it all can often feel like an impossible task. For many companies, the biggest challenge is being able work across all the different engagement channels while also providing an exceptional and consistent experience in each. So how can companies keep up?
Re-Evaluate Legacy Systems
There is no guarantee that what worked for customers yesterday, will work for them today. So, as customer expectations continue to change and evolve, the technology that underpins the customer experience needs to adapt as well, including the way in which we capture and organise customer data.
Research from McKinsey & Company confirms that 50% of customer interactions now occur over a multi-channel, multi-event journey. Traditional CRM systems, for example, were developed to cope in an environment with episodic engagements and a far smaller variety of channels of communication to keep tabs on. Though those systems may well have been adequate at the time, the way in which businesses interact with their customers has changed radically, and solutions developed to handle single telephone interactions will likely be insufficient in the customer service world of today.
Understand Customer Pain Points
Most of us can attest that there is nothing worse than having to speak to a seemingly endless stream of people, in a multitude of different departments to get your problem sorted. Every customer is a unique entity, each with their own personality, set of preferences, and history with your business – and they should be treated as such. Traditional CRM systems only hold a small subset of available customer information – making it hard for service teams to understand the customer’s full journey. Why? Customer data is often stored in disparate systems that don’t talk to each other. Each of these systems contain information related to interactions that have occurred in a specific channel, but the information dead ends when the customer moves to a new channel.
This information gap is making it hard for companies to understand, let alone address customer pain points in a quick and efficient manner. Relying on the processes and technologies of decades ago is quickly becoming a recipe for a customer experience disaster.
Employ Technologies to Create a Better Customer Experiences
According to Forrester, 23 per cent of B2B CMOs and 32 percent of B2B CMOs rate improved customer experience as a top three objective. Emerging technologies – like AI-powered customer engagement tools — are gaining steam to help improve the customer experience. In fact, research from Gartner indicates that 25 percent of customer service operations will use virtual customer assistants by 2020. Adding AI to the customer engagement strategy is helping companies quickly scale to be able to support customers 24/7 and is closing the aforementioned information gap by bringing together these data sets and providing agents with the background they need to create personalized and meaningful engagements that breed customer loyalty.
As customer expectations continue to change, emerging technologies like AI will become more important to fulfil those needs. The legacy CRM solutions that companies have always relied on may still have their place but can no longer stand as the single source of truth about a customer. AI is helping to breathe new life into these systems – making the information they hold actionable and putting that information at the fingertips of the people who need it most. In the end, the expectations of customers are evolving every single day and the tools and technologies that agents use to support them need to evolve with them.
By Ryan Lester, Director of Customer Engagement Technologies, LogMeIn