How Brands Can Modernize Customer Engagement

brian

Many businesses today are finding it hard to engage modern customers – millennials that grew up in an increasingly online and socially-networked world with familiar services such as Amazon, Uber, Air BnB, and Just-Eat. Naturally, modern customers have heightened expectations for interacting with a business, but has customer engagement adapted? Not really. 

In a mobile-first world, here is an example of how the above scenario should work. A banking customer on their mobile phone wants to open a new account and starts a conversation via chat. With a single click, that interaction can be moved to video call with an agent who already holds the entire context from the customer’s online chat and can seamlessly continue the transaction. Via video, the agent is able to securely gather all needed identification to satisfy government regulations and open then account. The customer saves time and effort, and the bank improves customer satisfaction and has the ability to more easily drive account growth.

Modern customers command the purchasing power moving forward so failure to engage them effectively will increasingly lead to customer frustration, defection and loss of revenue. There simply must be a better way - this is the customer engagement juxtaposition, where companies must modernize now or fail later. 

In other words, businesses must embrace digital transformation and this kind of mobile-friendly mindset to thrive in today’s online economy. In fact, 67% of respondent’s taking part in a recent Nemertes Benchmark survey noted “Improvement to Customer Experience” as a key driver for digital transformation. Businesses know they need to adapt, but they must act now as part of a digital transformation strategy to foster meaningful and lasting customer relationships. This can be achieved by following five key steps to customer engagement modernization and deliver rich, live experiences to customers:

1.       Engagement should be resident within the app or website. Forcing customers to call the generic contact center is not a desirable customer experience. This should be modernized by allowing customers to engage businesses on mobile, web and directly from within branded applications which are already installed on customers’ digital devices. Associates should be better prepared to handle the call, such as by knowing both relevant information about who is calling but also the contextual details about the current customer journey, to alleviate customers from having to retell this information.

2.       Proactively engage customers at key moments of individual journeys. Hoping that customers take the first step in contacting a business is primitive. Is the static 1-800 number plopped onto a page really the way to go?  Being able to proactively present communication channels into the customers buying journey is critical.  The modern buyer expects to be helped along with information and communication at any point in the journey. More needs to be done to deliver an exceptional experience by prompting customers to effortlessly engage at the right time, via a single click of a button, such as during new user registration, when exploring a premium offer or for timely interjection when customers are experiencing issues.

3.       Develop a blended associate model to seamlessly connect customers to the right blended associate – the first time.  Customers hate wasting time traversing IVR systems and speaking with scripted agents clueless on how to assist. By leveraging the in-application customer behavior, customers should intelligently be connected to the right blended associate to handle the call first-time using business rules and contextual routing. For example, a customer seeking help on how to install a recently purchased home theatre system should be connected to a support engineer that has the knowledge to guide the customer. 

4.       Leverage digital channels to assist customers and convert engagements into sales and loyalty. Provide human touch assistance aided by modern digital communications which provide the ability to seamlessly upgrade the channel from HD voice to HD video. Engagements should incorporate visual and interactive toolslike screen sharing and live annotation. These tools are extremely useful to provide troubleshooting, to upsell new offers or services or to streamline processes. For example, a support associate could request to see the external camera of a customer to give real-time instructions on how to connect the installation of a home theatre system.

5.       Use cloud-based technology as an accelerator. Companies need to undergo a digital customer experience transformation – to do this, companies must consider cloud as mission critical for rapid adaptation and agility.

The mobile and digital landscape is shaping the way customers interact with businesses. Companies must quickly adapt to changing expectations to deliver frictionless, real-time and contextual experiences across channels. This includes bringing a new dimension to their mobile and business applications – on the front end - that serve customers in the way that best meets their needs, be it HD voice, HD video, screen-sharing, and annotations.

On the back end, those applications need to capture, analyze, and mine for insights across all of these channels. All interactions and media types (voice, video, screen share) should be recorded in real-time, tagged with metadata and stored. As such, the entire interaction history becomes instantly searchable and available for deeper learning and analysis – enabling business to better understand patterns in behaviour and modify customer engagement scenarios to deliver an even better experience moving forward.  

The ability to quickly resolve customer issues with modern communications capabilities will drive greater customer loyalty, and increase satisfaction by engaging users on the right channel at the right time will separate the business winners from the losers. A good product alone is not enough. Your associates must also be empowered to deliver better customer experiences by having access to contextual tools, customer data and insights, cutting call times and limiting customer frustration. Don’t wait to fail, modernize customer engagement NOW.