Understanding the Impact of the New Mobile Consumer’s Expectations on Your Digital Customer Experience
The impact of this shift in usage patterns on business is clear. Just as voice calls eliminated the wait time associated with sending a letter and the inconvenience associated with physically visiting a business, digital communications options have reduced wait times and eliminated the need for a live voice connection with a customer service center. Web chat and SMS offer alternatives to fit any situation. They eliminate wait times and offer instant gratification that an issue is being addressed. And, they allow consumers to multitask while awaiting a response.
Meanwhile, the evolution of Web 2.0 has created a shift toward user-generated content and social media platforms for 24/7 communications, whether for corresponding directly with one another or broadcasting messages, pictures, and video to the world. These social outlets give consumers a new voice and an undeniable power as word-of-mouth marketers. And in the online world, hell hath no fury like a customer scorned. The social networking soapbox extends the reach of customer complaints exponentially. Luckily, the same applies to compliments.
Today’s consumers are no longer content to work within a company’s set business hours. They expect the freedom to choose how they interact from a variety of communications channels.
In this always-on, always-connected, continuously broadcasting world, the expectations of consumers have changed. Today’s consumers are no longer content to work within a company’s set business hours. They expect to connect at any time of day or night. They expect the freedom to choose how they interact from a variety of communications channels. And, they expect to receive instant answers to their queries through seamless digital interactions. As noted by Gartner, failure to respond to social channels will lead to a 15 per cent increase in churn rate for existing customers.
Transitioning from dated to digital
Communicating with customers through channels other than voice calls or in-person meetings is not an entirely new concept. Unfortunately, many businesses that have embraced additional communications vehicles to complement their standard telephony offerings still have some way to go to achieve efficiency and full-scale integration. In most businesses, communications silos have emerged as a result of the addition of digital capabilities (such as email, SMS, social media, and chat) that enhance interactions with customers. These silos are rarely under the control of the same business function.
For example, the marketing department may own the social media feeds and corporate identities that customers inevitably wind up expecting to engage with. And, the engineering team may own the technical support portal that addresses product issues. Each silo performs to a different set of standards and is enabled by independent processes and infrastructures that waste resources through unnecessary duplication. Typically, each silo also fails to make full use of the knowledge base within the organization and its performance is not measured and recorded.
To truly deliver an optimal customer experience, independent communications silos must be transitioned to an integrated digital framework that funnels all interactions to one central location.
To truly deliver an optimal customer experience in today’s digital environment, businesses must transition independent communications silos to an integrated digital framework, either funneling all interactions to one central location or facilitating easy collaboration between customer touchpoints and subject matter experts. With this framework, employees can assess and respond to customer queries in an appropriate, efficient, and consistent manner. Plus, each interaction can be stored for compliance purposes.
Enhancing self-service options
The inefficiencies of communications silos are also evident in self-service options The myth that self-service is an inferior alternative to providing a constructive and personalized customer experience has been eliminated by many market innovations. The most visible example is offered by the banking sector.
Although consumers love self-service when it works for them, they really hate it when it doesn’t. This is especially true for phone interactions.
For years, the only way to make deposits and withdrawals at a bank was to visit the bank and stand in line. Today, banks offer consumers 24/7 access to bank accounts from millions of automated teller machines (ATMs), through online banking, and smartphone-based apps. Consumers like the convenience these options offer. They don’t complain about how much more impersonal the experience is compared to standing in line to see a teller during business hours. They recognize that these alternatives offer a good self-service option that provides an opportunity to get things done quicker. As a result, they are more likely to be more loyal to the bank that offers the most convenient self-service alternatives. Consumers get the experience they expect and the bank gets an enhanced reputation, as well as a dramatic drop in operating costs.
But, although consumers love self-service when it works for them, they really hate it when it doesn’t. This is especially true for phone interactions. In many cases, consumers calling into most businesses run the risk of encountering the kind of “Dial 1 for Sales” sprawling menu hell that gives automated self-service — and consequently the business providing it — a bad name. As a result, many consumers now have very low expectations for these self-service options. This gives businesses an opportunity to create a truly memorable customer experience by enhancing self-service offerings.