Communication is the pillar of excellent customer service. That is why Gartner predicts that businesses will invest a massive $1.5 trillion of their IT budget to communication services technologies. Managers from across industries are looking for new and innovative ways to reach out to their customers and to improve their customer service productivity.
However, spending money and investing in technology is not enough. Deep understanding of customers and the ability to determine touch points and motivations by following their decision-making journey is necessary for companies to maximize the benefits of their investment.
Unfortunately, most businesses don’t.
While most companies heavily invest in keeping customer relationships at a positive, many of them fail because of their inability to make their efforts customer-centric. That is when they focus more on trying a lot of cx service strategies that don’t necessarily work in their customer base.
Understand your customer, listen to them.
As we live in a technologically advanced world (well, relatively), where artificial intelligence (AI) can effectively tailor services to a customer based on its history and behavior, the way customers respond to companies have also changed. Right now, people also expect the same level of automation and customization as other services offer them.
Customers do not want generic treatment anymore. They want a service that is tailored to their needs and provide solutions specific to their problems.
Customers now want to have the ability to decide what channel to use for business communication; from phone and email to online chats and forums, SMS, and various social media platforms and apps. In fact, a study conducted by Microsoft revealed that 66% of American consumers actively use at least three different communication channels to contact businesses.
These small hints that customers drop to businesses and a company’s response is a make-or-break deal. This information has to be harmoniously collected by the company to provide the proper customization that customers crave. However, due to the complexity of technology, managers and businesses often get past behind.
Customers are well ahead of most businesses in this aspect; using new tools more quickly than companies can instantaneously adapt to get their customer service teams up to speed. But, even when companies do take these technologies, in hopes of serving their customers, they often fail to use the tools harmoniously. As a result, managers and businesses struggle to keep track of what customers are communicating across different platforms, which negatively affects the customer relationship.
Do not let your customers repeat themselves
There is nothing more frustrating than having to repeat yourself. That is why, studies have revealed that 63% of business professionals experience communication-related issues with their customers, colleagues, or team that stop them from achieving business goals at least once a week. This eventually led to losing their customers in the process.
Without the ability to understand your customers at first touch base, it’s easy for them to feel less valued. At the same time, it is also frustrating for businesses to not have relevant information about the prospective and existing customer journeys at their disposal.
A survey by The Northridge Group found that one-third of consumers say, customer service personnel, rarely or never know about their accounts. Half say the staff rarely or never know their history with the company. And, even more (54%) say customer service representatives rarely or never know the previous reasons they’ve contacted the company.
On the other hand, studies also suggest that adopting a holistic and customer-centric approach the company can deliver a more compelling message, resulting to reduced call center volume to reduced customer churn and reduction of operational spending.
What can you do?
In today’s business environment, in order to succeed, businesses should shift the focus from how consumers contact them to how the information they can collect from every contact used to transform their overall experience with the company.
MIT Sloan senior research scientist, Peter Weill, chair of the Center for Information Systems Research, has said that “to increase the quality of the customer experience using digitization dramatically usually does require fairly radical organizational surgery.” And, I couldn’t agree more.
Numerous technologies are available right now in the market. Managers and business owners should be able to find a tool that helps them with their communication needs. Digitizing their communication processes and using VoIP and artificial intelligence is one way to do it. /apr