In today’s increasingly digital landscape, customer experience extends far beyond face-to-face interactions. Before they ever enter your place of business, prospective customers have seen how well you treat your clients based on previous digital interactions. These experiences include everything from the chatbots on your website to contact forms and online self-service tools.
Not having digital tools in place can also lead to a less-than-favorable customer impression. Today’s customers expect some form of self-service and online interaction.
Online encounters with your brand are more than an extension of customer experience. In some cases, these interactions form the entirety of the customer experience. Just as important as in-person interactions, digital tools and platforms have the power to draw people in and create a genuine connection.
Making it easier for customers to get the answers they need from the sources they prefer is a good start. However, a solid digital transformation strategy elevates the capabilities of support teams and integrates them with personalized, flexible customer experiences. Listed below are a few ways companies can use digital tools and resources to take customer service up a notch.
1: Highly Personalized and Efficient Points of Contact
When customers need answers or help, they may turn to your social media page or email contact form. Some might take advantage of a chatbot or an FAQ page. However, it’s a safe bet that a sizable portion will reach out to your customer support line. When they do, customers don’t want to repeat themselves. They may get annoyed when they provide personal information only to be asked to do so a second or third time.
Implementing call center software that captures and transfers customer information to live agents helps eliminate this all-too-common source of irritation. These platforms can also quickly assess which live agents can best address a specific customer’s needs. For example, if they need help with a billing question, the software will route them to that group. If callers need to report fraud, they won’t have to speak to multiple agents to get to the right person.
Robust contact center software can also switch customers between help desk and self-service channels. If a customer prefers to interact with an online support team or via email, well-deployed software solutions can facilitate those interactions. For instance, e-commerce and social media teams can take over the interaction and/or follow up with the client as appropriate.
Call center solutions help your business track these interactions by logging customer contact events in customer relationship management platforms. In some cases, the logging of an event might trigger an automated email, text, or phone call. Live agents or automated processes can personalize the experience by leveraging the data stored in CRM software. Using customer names and making recommendations based on individual account histories give your company a personal touch.
Personalizing customer experience with every interaction creates positive perceptions about your company. These can translate into repeat sales. Research shows that 74% of customers become frustrated when digital content lacks personalization. Additionally, 91% of consumers are more willing to shop with companies that provide individualized recommendations.
2: Manage the Customer Journey
In theory, the typical customer journey starts with the awareness stage and — hopefully — ends with the advocacy stage. During the awareness stage, a person acquires knowledge of potential solutions to a felt need. The advocacy stage represents post-purchase behavior and sentiment. Ideally, a positive overall impression prompts happy customers to leave online reviews.
Between the beginning and endpoint are multiple stages in which the customer engages in searching, researching, and deciding whether to make a purchase. These stages are where companies are most likely to lose leads or those leads become stagnant. Customers may need more time to gather information and make a decision.
There’s also the possibility that the information they receive from you — online or in-person — makes them think that it’s probably better to go with someone else.
A lack of understanding and insight into customer personas is a primary reason for disconnects between leads and companies. Customer personas represent descriptions of typical or ideal groups of consumers most likely to buy your products or services. These descriptions often spell out the demographics of these groups, in addition to lifestyle behaviors and preferences.
Investing in customer journey management tools can help your company separate lead generation and acquisition activities according to different personas. Using these tools, your team can plot which activities, campaigns, and initiatives resonate best with various personas.
It’s easy to allow ourselves to think that a certain advertising message or email will get prospective customers to convert. However, reality quickly sets in once you begin tracking which promotional and communication efforts actually succeeded or proved disappointing.
It’s entirely possible for one message to work well with one target consumer and fall flat with another. However, your company won’t know that unless it has some way to track and differentiate results. By measuring results through customer journey mapping and management platforms, you’ll begin targeting customers more effectively. You won’t alienate leads with messages and outreach efforts that don’t speak to them.
Your company can also leverage these tools and principles to improve the experience for existing customers. It’s easier to encourage loyalty and make current clients feel like they haven’t been forgotten through the use of accurate insights. You can continue to engage nonintrusively once you know what brought customers to your company in the first place.
3: Communicate After the Purchase
Once someone makes an online purchase, they’ll want to know their next steps. Automated tools that send out confirmation emails or text messages are essential for providing a positive customer experience. Even for the internet-savvy consumer, making an online purchase can raise questions and feelings of anxiety. It’s natural for them to wonder whether you received their order and will fulfill it correctly.
Consumers also wish to know when and how their order will arrive. For service industries, they’ll most often want to know when to expect a follow-up call.
Post-purchase software handles immediate communication so there isn’t a confirmation delay that could cause someone to cancel a transaction. These tools send electronic receipts detailing what was ordered and the final or estimated costs. Within electronic receipts or confirmation notices, customers often have the option to make changes or report errors. These may be limited to a specific time window, but at least they help ensure customers won’t receive the wrong item.
In addition to order confirmations, post-purchase tools can provide customers with delivery information. These normally include estimated arrival times and tracking numbers. Post-purchase communications can also incorporate personalized offers for future or repeat orders. In cases where the purchase or delivery didn’t meet customer expectations, post-purchase platforms can generate a one-time discount offer.
4: Set It and Forget It’ Won’t Be Enough for Online Customers
Providing exceptional customer experiences is something your company has to manage throughout multiple interactions and purchase stages. Doing so online will require ongoing attention and monitoring.
Digital tools such as contact center software, customer journey mapping platforms, and post-purchase platforms can cover many communication opportunities and touchpoints. With purposeful outreach that integrates data-driven insights and support functions, your company can start creating customer experiences that convert.