Providing a positive experience for customers while also managing costs is one of the most vital, yet biggest challenges for any company. However, driving positive customer interactions and reducing costs do not have to be mutually exclusive goals. It just means communicating with consumers the right way at the right time. By creating a customer experience strategy that leverages consumer preferences, multi-channel communications and automation technologies, you can keep costs down while delivering results to your customers – the ultimate ingredient for a better ROI.The right way to communicate with customers is constantly evolving as communications options and consumer expectations change. Everything from online banking to grocery store self-checkout lines is geared towards putting the power back in the hands of consumers. To keep up with this changing customer landscape, consider these tactics:
A Society of Self-Service
Let’s face it, self-service is both effective and efficient. And, no one wants to wait in a queue for their call to be handled. Customers should not have to wait a long time on hold nor do they necessarily need to wait at all when you use self-service techniques like call automation. For more sensitive issues, such as responding to a debt collection request, customers often prefer the option to self-serve over speaking with a live agent. Just be sure you are offering your customers the right options for self-service to ensure both you and the customer reach your desired outcomes.
Mobility Rules - Customers want the ability to receive communications through their channels of choice and act upon them when they are ready. It’s a mobile world. With more people accessing the Internet through their mobile devices versus their laptops or desktops, companies must be prepared to handle two-way communications with their customers over mobile channels.
Immediacy - The customer wants to be in the driver’s seat and control his or her experience. Communication should be nearly instantaneous whenever possible. The new, constantly on-the-go consumer has created a need in the market for immediacy and flexibility. By providing your customers multiple ways to interact with your company, they are able to communicate on their own terms.
Capture the Data - Many companies are measuring customer transactions and their value across multiple channels and databases. Using this information, companies are trying to build that magic customer interaction database – a “one view customer profile”. This is an extremely difficult task. Call centers have one view of a customer; interactive marketers may have another; and, brick and mortar stores have yet another. So, when discussions start around applying automatic business rules based on customer behaviors, most IT groups break out in hives, with good reason. Data integration and behavioral / predictive analytics will be a trend that will continue to grow, especially as we get smarter on how to use all of our customer data.
Personalization - Having a complete 360-degree view of your customer is more important than ever. Knowing your customers’ preferences give you the tools to develop very targeted and personalized communications. This means everything, including:
- Communicating the right message in the right language.
- Reaching out to your customer during the right time of day on their preferred communication channel or multiple communication channels.
- Communicating with your customer using the right tone of voice based on the message being communicated.
Personalizing communications to this degree can help you achieve your desired customer response; whether you are attempting to resolve a debt payment, enroll a patient in a healthcare program, visiting a company website for information, or calling into your contact center for a more extended conversation.
It’s important to take a step back and look at how you are currently speaking with your customers to evaluate how different communication technologies can help. Leveraging these tactics may be the answer in creating a positive customer experience without increasing your spending. By implementing communications strategies that help your company take advantage of new technologies, you will not only keep up with customer expectations but you could also significantly influence your bottom line.
You can also read this blog via the Contact Center Association website at http://bit.ly/dW7jqc. In addition, please join me in Nashville March 21st – 24th for the Contact Center Association 2011 Conference and Expo. I will be attending and presenting about Multi –Channel Communications Strategies: http://bit.ly/h0TPbb.
- Understanding Your Customer's Contact Preferences
- Top Call Center Trends to Watch Out for in 2011
- 'Customer dynamics optimization' needed to improve customer communications
- Companies increasing investment in mobile, social and collaboration technologies to improve customer relationships
- Customer communications will grow in importance in 2011