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This is the era of competing on customer experience. With the rise of eCommerce, social, mobile and an explosion of new touchpoints, digital exclusion is a legitimate concern. Customers choose the touchpoints that work best for them, and enterprises need to honor their channel preferences.
Meeting customers at their preferred touchpoints enables companies to increase first call resolution and reduce call handle time—two compelling factors for driving a digital transformation, according to a study by Dimension Data, 2017 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Report. Traditionally, reducing costs to serve or sell was the key objective; however, leading companies now embrace opportunities to engage more with their customers through various touchpoints to avoid missing out on revenue opportunities.
There are several pain points associated with online sales, service, and support: an increasing number of incoming calls, no follow-up of abandoned online sale transactions, and websites that can’t offer adequate assistance. Following are some key factors businesses must keep in mind to remedy pain points and improve customer engagement. Doing so will ensure that your business creates a differentiated and more valuable experience for your customers in the digital age.
1. Customer Acquisition and Retention
Digital channels are critical for boosting customer acquisition and retention. Businesses can engage technology-savvy millennial customers who are more willing to share their personal data to receive better and more personalized services. Profitability depends on a business’ ability to deliver services to millennial generations in new ways; they must master a dynamic, rapidly changing and complex landscape.
According to Gartner Alternative Channels for Engaging Customers of the Future, co-browsing, consumer messaging apps and SMS will have a critical mass of customer adoption by 2020. The user base of the top four messaging apps combined has surpassed the user base of the top four social networks. And, by 2019, requests for customer support through consumer mobile messaging apps will exceed those submitted through traditional social media.
Not only do messaging apps reduce the number of calls to the contact center for less-complex issues, they also are a platform for entertainment and payment. WeChat, which started as a messaging app, has evolved into more with the addition of payment capabilities, eCommerce, games, and advertising.
Soon businesses will promote brand engagement to billions of iPhone users via Apple Business Chat. A customer might search for a product; initiate chats with a customer service agent through Safari, search, Siri or maps to inquire about a product; and even pay for this all through a secure authentication for purchases using Apple Pay. Furthermore, adding a messaging app-bot gateway can initiate a session with users connected via web chat, mobile chat, SMS or Facebook Messenger—or it can pass messages to a bot and retrieve responses from a bot, escalating a session from a bot to a human agent. Companies can use messaging app-bot gateways for routing, orchestration, and reporting.
2. More Channels, More Data
Gaining customer insights at each digital touchpoint creates an opportunity to drive incremental revenue or reduce costs. To increase sales, companies leverage the captured data across channels to maximize online revenues by targeting and engaging the right customers (using intent-driven prediction), personalizing the touchpoints, cross-sell and up-sell, and improving the end-to-end customer journey.
To improve service, detect distress conditions and proactively engage customers to provide information and help complete transactions. This also fends off increasingly high levels of abandoned shopping carts, improves conversion rates, reduces churn and increases the likelihood that a customer will recommend your product or service for a higher overall NPS.
3. Help Employees Deliver Great Service
When consumers escalate their requests to an agent, being able to access to the right set of information eliminates customer frustrations with repeating information. It also helps employees better serve customers. Additionally, integrating cross-channel data into the agent desktop enables agents can use those insights to process a higher volume of more complex requests.
According to Forrester 2018 Customer Service Trends: How Operations Become Faster, Cheaper — And Yet, More Human, there will be an increase in visual engagement interactions in 2018—spanning video, co-browsing, and screen sharing. This will cut through the conversation clutter and enhance the show-and-tell experience. Visual engagement helps agents connect emotionally with customers during high-value purchases, and makes it easier for agents to understand the customer’s expression and emotional state.
Giving customers the option to reach out via their preferred channels helps retain existing customers and acquire new ones. Companies must prioritize top cross-channel possibilities that will enhance revenue growth in this ever-changing and complex landscape. To address the shift to digital channels and to bolster and expand customer service efforts, contact centers need to understand the customer journey holistically and empower customers to “do it yourself” to accelerate digital adoption.
Check out additional resources on digital channels and how it increases engagement and revenue.
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