The key to satisfying your customers is to maximise your digital tools and increase personalisation in order to interact with them the most efficiently.
How to ensure instant response and make sure your customers do not have to wait?
We all know speed and agility matters in the digital age. A minor lag of mere seconds and even fraction of seconds on a website breaks the entire customer’s journey. Speed is a deciding factor in purchasing behaviour! This goes true for any other touch point be it app or call center wait times with the ever increasingly demanding customer. It is even more important when a customer messages a brand on any particular channel and does not receive a response or is not able to get a resolution of a complaint due to a broken Customer Experience (CX). If the company has not strategised in laying out the Customer Experience vision with a consistent CX strategy and invested in a CRM system, omnichannel capabilities and digital technologies like data analytics, AI and chatbots, it would be really difficult to maintain a dynamic 360 degrees view of the customers. The result would be long resolution times to complaints, queries and inquires and not being able to provide specific information required by customer to their specific customer journey step.
Deploying self service, automation and digital technologies like Bots, Virtual Agents powered by AI can help shorten wait times and meet customer demand by giving instant answers to their most basic questions.
Do you think some people still prefer human interaction over chatbots? How has this changed during the pandemic times?
People need their brand expectations met and expect brands to deliver on their brand promises. They expect brands to be empathetic, to address their pain points and provide a seamless customer journey. To satisfy customers, companies should combine high tech with high touch as much as possible, maximising digital tools like machine learning and personalisation to create more customised, effective interactions with customers. Investing in data and technology provides businesses with actionable insights about consumer preferences and behaviours, which makes it easier to provide service that satisfies. AI and bots can help reduce in-person contact time and ease the customer service process by automating repetitive and time-consuming front-end employee tasks.
The change going forward definitely is ‘more digital’ with increasing online interactions and transactions and also ‘contactless services’ which is driving a whole new low touch economy of Buy Online Pickup Instore (BOPIS), Curb Side pickup etc. However, brands must find ways to make digital more ‘human’ like considering implementing hybrid chatbots, i.e. a chatbot with a combination of both automated and human intervention, as these can add that critical ‘human touch’. Video interactions, human-assisted online shopping, consultations through video calls, are just a few methods brands and companies can use to help their customers deal with loneliness and to keep human experience still relevant. It is a time for brands and companies to communicate with care, honesty, and empathy, and build trust as a result. Also it is a perfect time to put the concept of fail fast and being agile into action.
Lastly, since the pandemic has put the consumer spending in check, prospects of new customers look uncertain. Brands and companies have to be taking steps to ensure current customers are satisfied and retain their loyal customers or risk losing its core revenue and profits.
Why is investing in omnichannel technology essential for the business?
People like to access services, content from anywhere in the world at their own pace and ease. Today’s ‘connected customer’ prefers to interact with brands through digital channels such as websites, apps or voice assistants like Alexa and expect the same seamless experience. Success of the engagement is not just determind by which channel is being used, but by how well the channels are seamlessly integrated with a consistent CX across all channels complementing each other and being ‘always on’ that works anytime, anywhere online, offline and a mixture of both. Nothing is as bad as a customer service interaction where the customer needs to explain their issue to more than one person when contacting a company. For effective omnichannel service, I follow my personal basic 4Cs rule: connect (data of customers and their needs), contact (content), capabilities (tools & people) and care (CX strategy driven by empathy).
Investing in omnichannel requires an agile and iterative approach to be able to fix any broken interaction in the customer journey. Agile companies’ processes and structures such as cross-functional teams, empowered frontline teams, and clear data on outputs and outcomes, prove critical to adapt to changing customer insights and dynamics. According to a research by McKinsey and Harvard Business School, companies that launched agile transformations before COVID-19 performed better, moved faster in releasing new services and product adjustments post-COVID-19 than those that did not.
Seham EL-BEHISSY, General Manager Digital & Connected Cars at Groupe Renault has over 16 years of extensive experience, her areas of expertise include Brand & Content Strategy, Growth Hacking, Digital & CX Transformation, and Performance Management. She currently leads Digital & Connected Cars projects for Renault Middle East focusing on leveraging the emerging technologies to digitalise the customer journeys, implement the best practices in Customer Engagement & Rewards Programmes, and to Innovate in Big Data and process modeling to create new capabilities & services.