Three Steps to Improve the Customer Experience

    In an increasingly connected world, customers are exerting more influence than ever on businesses. With the ability to reach out directly to companies via phone, email, social media and more, customers are actively engaging companies more than ever.

    This is putting a new emphasis on the customer experience. Walker Information, a consulting firm that specializes in customer intelligence, predicts customer experience will surpass price and product as the top brand asset by 2020. As CIO Magazine points out in a recent article, businesses are increasingly looking to IT for a more customer-centric approach. That begins with communications and a closer look at the contact center.

    Let them have it their way

    Customer interaction is the front line for delivering a positive experience. Customers today expect options to communicate via their preferred channel.

    We’ve seen the research that confirms Millennials prefer not to make phone calls. Even Generation X has shifted toward email and text options, while Baby Boomers still prefer a live phone conversation. To reach this broad range of customers, business have to offer multiple ways to engage, from calls to email to texting, and in some cases video. Social options are also growing in popularity, especially to reach a younger demographic.

    Businesses should assess their contact centers and explore ways to enable a full set of options for customer interactions.

    Know your customer

    Understanding a customer’s recent activity and past history with your business can help agents better understand the customer and anticipate needs. It leads to a more personal connection and faster, better service. In short, it creates a more engaging customer experience.

    Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software provides customer insight that is key to understanding and appropriately reacting to customers. It provides visibility across all channels including phone, email and texts.

    Keep it simple

    Ultimately, customers want their interactions to be easy and convenient. No one likes to wait for an agent and then be transferred to yet another. Finding the right resource shouldn’t feel like navigating an intricate maze. Businesses should focus on making the customer experience intuitive and simple.

    And that begins with vendors that understand that simplicity is a priority for customers who are busy and want easy solutions. In fact, this is so important at ShoreTel, that we’ve made it central to our business. It’s in our DNA and reflected in our tagline – Brilliantly Simple.

    By giving customers options in how they interact while showing a deeper knowledge of their individual needs and by keeping it simple, businesses can offer more immersive customer experiences. And as research is proving, that could be the defining business differentiator going forward.

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