Today, we witness a vast customer service reformation driven by IT service providers, customers, and vendors. The classical models of customer experience are being disrupted by global digital transformation. The digital age has changed the way we shop and share our experiences with others. We’re fastly switching the commerce into an online mode, providing shopping experiences on websites, social platforms, and mobile applications.
According to research from IDC, two-thirds of the CEOs of Global 2,000 companies will shift their focus from traditional, offline strategies to more modern digital strategies to improve the customer experience – with 34% of companies believing they’ll fully adopt benefits of digital transformation within 12 months or less.
The rules of customer engagement are changing too. To continue acquiring and retaining customers, companies should accept this and adapt to these new dynamics. Many organizations leverage the power of leading-edge technologies to disrupt the market and offer customers even more personalized and enjoyable purchasing experiences. They apply intelligent software solutions based on Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Predictive Analytics, that allow them to collect and analyze large volumes of real-time data about customer behavior, get invaluable insights, and build more effective marketing strategies.
In this article, we will consider how customer experience has changed under a magnifying glass. We will also outline current trends and bright future plans related to the digital transformation’s implementation in customer experiences.
Omnichannel Customer Interactions
The digital transformation brings ever-increasing popularity of digital services. It means that companies need to investigate the entire customer journey and just optimize contact points. According to Deloitte, 60% of customers interact with a company via different channels and expect consistency of user experience irrespectively to time, place, device, or any other medium.
Companies should invest in creating a smooth and easily accessible omnichannel customer experience to increase customer satisfaction and prevent abandons. An omnichannel approach means the blending of digital channels (mobile, social media) and traditional ones (call center, offline store).
It is also required to develop a beautiful and responsive website, mobile version of the site, and separate cross-platform application that allows customers to stay in touch with a company anytime and from any device. The omnichannel approach also implies that an organization should have a strong social media presence and be ready to interact with a target audience everywhere. An omnichannel strategy helps to create customer touchpoints that complement each other and allows customers to switch between different platforms.
Servicing Connected Devices
In the digital era, service teams can use connected devices to monitor processes remotely and analyze equipment data to forecast possible mistakes and mitigate risks. Connected devices provide the ability to monitor asset conditions such as usage, temperature, and vibration in real-time. It opens up an entirely new area for services and more efficient maintenance approaches. Enhanced analytics techniques and software provide new incredible opportunities that can level up customer service, forecast future failures, and prevent them.
Earlier, we were able to apply only the correction or preventative approach to customer maintenance services. Today, however, technology innovations in data analytics and the Internet of Things bring the opportunity to improve upon traditional methods and apply a predictive maintenance approach. Today’s technology advances in both data analytics and connected devices present the opportunity to improve upon traditional methods and use a predictive maintenance approach.
Creating Loyalty Through Customer Service
We live in a connected world. Today, many business processes have become transparent to customers. On the other hand, customer experiences, good or bad, can reach millions of people within millions. People share their experiences with a product on social media, forums, and blogs to help others in their purchasing decisions. That’s why customer service teams play an even more crucial role in building customer loyalty to a brand than ever before.
Moreover, after considering the cost of acquiring new customers, many companies realize the critical need to build long-term relationships with current customers. Nowadays, customer service teams should be particularly helpful and polite, especially when it comes to operating in a crisis. The service team needs to be well-trained and equipped with helpful answers that also help and guide the customer during a purchasing path.
The customer support team should bring together people who are consultative, friendly, and helpful communicators, as well as great listeners. The best rule for today’s customer service is to hire good people with great character and attitude and train them for the up-skill.
Engaging User Experiences
Today, online channels have become a significant part of a complete customer journey. The quality of a user interface design and experience of interacting with a brand via these digital channels have a great influence on the way a company is perceived by its target audience in general. Therefore, we realize that the current conditions require companies to invest more in creating a more intuitive user experience and implementing creative digital initiatives. They can help a company increase customer satisfaction and brand recognition.
Building Customer Communities
In times when half of our interaction with the world happens in an online mode, building a strong customer community is crucial. It helps reduce the number of calls and requests to a support team, get invaluable customer insights, introduce new products or services to people, build plans about improvements with your target audience, and fuel a positive word-of-mouth marketing.
Human-to-human interactions, even if they happen via digital channels, can create authentic long-term relationships between companies and their audiences. With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other online platforms available today, brands can build their communities much more quickly and easily than before. Applying state-of-the-art social media listening tools, powered by artificial intelligence, companies can identify customer preferences, behavior, purchasing patterns, and stay updated with industry trends.
It helps brands optimize their offering for the customer’s real needs and equip their customer support teams with valuable information on how to serve customers better in order to meet all their expectations.
More Personalized Customer Experience
Modern customers expect that companies already “know” them and offer them a more personalized shopping experience. According to Accenture, 75% of customers admit that they are more likely to buy from a brand that knows their name, purchase history, and can recommend relevant products based on their previous purchasing experience.
The good news is that most customers happily share their data to enable companies to create more personalized shopping. To leverage this opportunity, companies need to invest in developing CRM systems. With a CRM system, companies can collect, process, analyze, and research customer-related data based on their previous interactions with a brand. It will help companies create highly targeted messages to their customers and increase their loyalty to a brand.
The Power of Digitized Data
It has become vital for companies to have the right technologies and software to collect, store, process, and analyze customer-related data at each step of a purchasing journey. All data about a customer can flow from different channels to a centralized database, allowing us to create a flawless experience even when there are some interruptions between communication mediums and formats.
Micro segmented data provides an opportunity to match customer profiles with offerings directly, and anticipate customer needs to fulfill them in real-time. Companies can use data from social networks and mobile devices to enable geo-targeting and perform highly targeted actions based on predictive analytics.
Additionally, brands can also gather customer information and feedback from mobile surveys, social feeds, and other online channels to reduce the costs of market research and get a better understanding of consumer desires and pain-points.
The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Customer Service
Artificial intelligence is influencing customer experience in different ways, from offering chatbots enhancing customer support with human-like communication experience to predictive analytics providing real-time suggestions for consumers.
Maxie Schmidt, Principal Analyst at Forrester comments: “Using in-stream analytics, firms can analyze interactions as they occur and provide prompts that help employees improve the customer experience at the moment. AI algorithms also help with micro-learning so employees can practice customer-centric behaviors in near real-time.”
Today, we can see an exciting cohesion of digital innovations, commerce, and human-to-human interactions – all blended into the next-generation customer experience empowered by emerging technologies. To stay competitive, companies should quickly adapt to the new normal by implementing digital transformation in different fields, from the organization of teamwork to sales and marketing initiatives to customer support. Hopefully, these insights will help you take a different look at the customer experience and reimagine it in 2020.
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