It's the age of rising channel proliferation. It's a multi-screen world. And it is imperative for businesses to meet customers' demands and deliver a seamless, integrated experience across channels. And profit from it too.
While reviewing the details of checked-in passengers, the employee of a major American airline noticed that one of them had done so five hours early. Immediately, the airline called the passenger and asked if reserving a seat on an earlier flight would be more convenient. This not only delighted the customer but perhaps won the airline a lifelong fan! A McKinsey report states that 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. Naturally, a memorable and trustworthy customer experience draws business and retains it as well. However, before embarking on delivering the best, companies must ensure that their infrastructure is equipped to execute their vision in customer experience.
For identifying the right infrastructure requirement, organizations must understand how customer service environment has changed significantly over the years. Loyalty is now being dictated by vastly different factors as compared to the past. Customer service was once ruled by client determined engagement, where the client had control over when, where and how customer interactions took place. But, with the rise in multiple channels, internet and social media, the tables have been turned, with the customer controlling most aspects of the interactions. With immense competition in every industry, customer service of any kind is completely focused on Customer Lifetime value-by driving a consistent experience to increase the revenue per customer. And, organizations can achieve this by helping them keep the levels of customer experience consistent regardless of the channel, differentiate services based on customer identity and channel using context-aware methods, and by reducing the overhead costs incurred to service a customer by increasing the efficiency of business activities and services meted out.
It is worrying that the cost of poor customer service in the US is $41 billion per year, according to industry sources. With omni-channel access redefining the rules of engagement, customer service groups need to reexamine various aspects of customer service to ensure efficient and consistent delivery of the ever-evolving customer needs. Effectively engaging a customer through different stages of the engagement lifecycle ensures organizations with increased CSAT, consistent customer experience, differentiation and customer loyalty.
Customers, young and old, working professionals from all segments, homemakers and freelancers are all Tweeting, Facebooking and Instagramming. A telecommunications company studied its customers and classified those who were extremely active on social media as young, active and fun. Using social media and web chat, the company connected with these customers to suggest better download packs for 3G services with success. Including social networks like Facebook and Twitter into your omni-channel services is a cost-free affair. They not only help organizations reduce marketing and advertising costs, but are an effective medium to cross-sell and up-sell as they are capable of providing granular and predictive analysis of customer behavior.
Unlike the traditional medium, social media allows proactive resolution of customer complaints. The CEO of an Indian start up stated that customer complaint resolution is 70% faster on social media than escalations to the management. For instance, a low cost American airline took less than hour to respond to a passenger complaining about flight delays on Twitter. The staff directed him to a lounge and even offered him free goodies in-flight to make up for the inconvenience, finding a winning resolution to the potentially disappointing situation.
With Digital becoming an important aspect of finding, serving and retaining your customers, McKinsey tells us that is that ‘Digital’ has the inherent potential to drive higher customer satisfaction and there by customer loyalty.
Big Data profiling has the potential to produce huge benefits by creating an effective decision engine to help companies take smarter, more effective actions. Further, predictive analysis of customer data that lets firms provide suitable offers is another important aspect of customer experience. It can make the timeliness and the nature of their actions effective. For instance, due to a delayed flight, an airline pacified an irate passenger by offering him a wine as well a movie of his liking, having got those insights from his social media profiles. The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% whereas that of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. It goes without saying that omni-channel engagement requires deep insight into consumers and who they are as individuals.
In the end, consumers will acknowledge a brand that actually knows them and is aware of how they interact across each touch point - that's when something magical happens. When done right, not only does omni-channel engagement increase brand loyalty and customer lifecycle value, but also builds trust. Consumers become more willing to share their data, realizing that the personalized experience received outweighs privacy concerns they may have. And a virtuous cycle begins.