Optimal Customer Engagement Leads To Better RoI

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Effective customer engagement as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible – that is what all organizations today strive for as the world grows increasingly competitive. In reality often customer experience takes a back seat when the top line and bottom line for organizations comes into play. However, comes to managing the customer experience, only considering the profits and returns in monetary terms may inhibit customer engagement and derail the customer journey. It can even cost organizations their customers in the long term—particularly if they are in a market with low barriers to entry.

At the heart of the issue are these simple questions: Are organizations truly engaging with their customers? Are organizations giving them the experience they want, or the experience organizations think they want? And are the organization’s process decisions completely based on ROI?

It’s time to loosen up that Six Sigma belt and take a fresh look at specific actions to help organizations engage customers and expedite the customer journey.

1. Align channels with customer needs.

For years, many organizations relied on the least expensive ways to serve their customers. But we’re in the era of digital disruption, and new channels—web, mobile, self-service, chat, and more—have dramatically changed customer expectations and the customer journey itself, especially within certain demographics. There’s no escaping this. If competitors are easier to contact and do business with, it won’t take customers long to find out—or defect.

 2. Refresh the viewpoint.

Whether organization are B2C or B2B, there is a tendency to work strictly from an “inside - out” viewpoint that targets efficiency, internal effectiveness, and productivity. That’s in stark contrast, however, to how customers view and approach sales and service experiences.  They care about fundamental things, such as the product or service itself, price, quality, timeliness, and ease of doing business. But they also care about being engaged, treated, and valued as individuals. It’s no longer acceptable to defer responsibility for customer engagement to corporate marketing. As an operations or technology leader, organizations responsible for developing the right processes and systems infrastructure to deliver it.

 3. Include everyone who impacts the customer experience.

Are organizations focusing on the customer experience during specific interactions at the point of purchase and/or during customer service transactions? That’s what many companies do first. While that’s a great start, there’s more that hangs in the balance, such as having the ability to get to the root cause of customer experience challenges, analyzing the issues, and taking corrective action.

To be sure, sales and customer service are critical, but in today’s omni-channel world, it’s critical to look beyond those areas and include everyone in the company who interacts with the customer, either directly or indirectly. For example, customers may interact with staff in procurement, legal, scheduling, training, billing, delivery, renewals, and disposals, as well as with technicians and partners. These interactions are vital to delivering positive customer experiences and creating long-term relationships.

4. Move from personas to people.

Journey mapping and creating customer personas can be a great way to begin to understand a customer’s perspective. However organizations should be careful not to do this in a vacuum. Sitting in a room with a group of smart internal people and using the data organizations currently collect to project their views and perceptions to personas, and then developing the customer’s perspective can be risky. How do organizations know the data they are collecting is adequate? Do they understand the holistic customer journey, or just what happens at the transactional touchpoints?

So, how do organizations understand what your customers really want? They can start by asking customers—in a coordinated, thoughtful and systemic way. Too many decisions are made without getting external customer input. They will tell you exactly what they want, and how they want it. Organizations can also study the journey they take their customer on. Then, they can invest their valuable capital (human and financial) in improvements that are meaningful to their customers and beneficial to the bottom line.