By Brian Atkinson, GM & VP, Five9
Customer service has taken the spotlight over the past year. Stores were forced to remain shut for extended periods of time and the contact centre became the new front door for many businesses. This meant engaging in meaningful interactions was more important than ever, and brands needed to ensure every customer felt important and valued. More and more, we have seen brands opt for personalised interactions that lead with empathy. To deliver a more human experience, brands need the right people, processes, and technology in place.
The way we experience everyday life has changed dramatically and the way in which we interact with brands changed too – the use of digital channels is growing exponentially, and some stores might have closed their door permanently. It is no surprise that consumer demand and expectations have evolved with these changes. Businesses deployed digital channels to interact with their customers as in-store shopping was not possible for a long time – and partly still is not. Therefore, it’s imperative that brands have to stay ahead of customer expectations and go above and beyond in order to win new customers while retaining existing ones.
As a result of the move into digital channels, the contact centre has become the new front door to businesses and there is now no room for failure. Brands need to make the most of every single interaction with customers – knowing who they are, meeting them on their channel of choice, empowering them to self-serve when they can, remembering them and enabling them to pick up where they last left off on a different channel and, ultimately, resolving their issues quickly and to their satisfaction.
Brands also need to utilise the right means of communication so they can deliver the service and support their customers need at any given point. The key to delivering exceptional CX is for brands to know their customers and cater to their norms of communication whether that be by phone, email, live chat or even through social media channels. Organisations that want to reimagine their CX strategies need to invest in building ecommerce highways to access these thriving digital communities of their customer base.
CX is worth the time
CX is about how organisations make the customer feel throughout their entire journey. What may be right for one customer, might not be for another, and it’s the understanding that it’s not a one size fits all for everyone which will set brands apart from the rest. Catering to any and all customers is what organisations should strive for to provide the best experiences and build brand loyalty. As customer bases grow or adopt new messaging trends, brands must ensure they remain agile and adaptable to move at speed with changing consumer demands.
Customer loyalty is the hardest thing to win and the easiest thing to lose. Therefore, ensuring each and every customer has a great experience is crucial. To do this, brands need to be providing targeted communications to drive customer engagement and begin interactions on a high. We’ve seen this evolving already, with many brands offering ‘opt-out’ services at potentially sensitive times of the year.
Brands don’t need to blow a huge budget to deliver great personalisation, it can be as simple as offering these types of opt-out emails for particular times of the year, and consumers have been quick to praise these offerings.
Consistently providing exceptional customer service isn’t easy, but worth it. Great CX consists of seamless, easy interactions with fast, accurate resolutions – but better experiences are also more human experiences. The technology that brands use should empower connections between a brand and its customers to deliver a more empathetic interaction, with the ability to focus on and relate to customers.
People respond to how brands make them feel. The more positive the experience is – making them feel loved, admired, and respected – the more they value the brand, spend money on the brand, and tell their friends about the brand.
There is value in appreciation
In these uncertain times, messages of comfort and positive support were welcomed by consumers and employees alike. Empathy and human connections are now more valued than they have ever been, and people just want to feel cared about. Consumers now want to be valued and appreciated every step of the way.
Brands that continue to deliver on changing behaviours and demands will be able to cater for their customers’ needs and succeed in the ever-changing market landscape.