When you consider 52,117 new actively-trading businesses entered the Australian market in the year to June 30, 2016, it’s clear there’s ever-increasing competition for organisations to prove their worth to consumers in today’s battle for customer engagement and satisfaction. But, as we all well know, it’s one thing to sell a product or service, and a completely different one to deliver a memorable customer experience (CX).
CX is ranked a key competitive differentiator by 82 per cent of companies, however, only 11 per cent self-rate their CX as nine out of 10 or better. These figures highlight just how challenging it can be to adapt to today’s digitally-demanding consumer, particularly with the breadth and complexity of day-to-day customer interactions.
However, it is a tough balancing act, requiring organisations to executive their product vision but with customers’ demands as the top priority. It’s also increasingly difficult now that consumers have more options at their whim, and far more means of expressing dissatisfaction should the experience take a downturn.
But while business leaders – including C-level executives– commonly promote their ‘customer-centricity’, the reality is many haven’t quite unravelled what that really means for their organisations. And unfortunately, there are still many instances where existing (archaic) policies inhibit the ability to serve the customer.
Although there’s an understanding that customer experience must incorporate traditional telephony, apps, email, web chat and social media, the reality is that it takes much more than simply providing different platforms for consumers to use. Organisations need to start addressing individualisation as ‘omni-channel’ isn’t enough.
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Contact Centre Assessment by Fifth Quadrant
In order to optimise customer experience, companies must ask the following questions: How well do our various channels communicate? How can we reduce the number of times clients need to pass a security check without jeopardising their privacy and data? Can we start a conversation over web chat then move it to phone call or video? And perhaps most importantly, how can we better understand every one of our unique customers? And finally, how can all of these elements be wrapped together to ensure the entire organisation is ‘ready to serve’?
What do these questions have in common? They rely on a modern platform which is flexible enough to deliver to every customer’s unique needs, as well as the ability to collect and analyse data to inform intelligent decisions that will boost the value the brand can deliver. Furthermore, to effectively serve customers, companies are not just required to aggregate touch points to deliver a consistent, seamless experience through various channels. They must also ensure that every team member is a ‘customer experience expert’ who is prepared with the right tools and data when he or she receives a call.
Companies stuck with traditional contact centres will need to fundamentally transform their services delivery models in order to enable experiences that align to the needs of their businesses while catering for the expectations of their customers. With a flexible software core than can be customised to almost every customer experience scenario, team members will be prepared to serve to maximise customer satisfaction and subsequent retention.
CX is of such prominence that analyst firm IDC argued the evolving contact centre market is buoyed by business leaders’ focus on improving CX. This demonstrates the opportunity at hand, however organisations must do more than simply provide a selection of channels for consumers to use. Just as long wait times are perceived as unacceptable, so too should the limited flow of data within an omni-channel environment. Companies need to let their customers determine value rather than dictating a one-size-fits-all experience.
This article was prepared by a guest blogger and the opinions expressed may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Fifth Quadrant.
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Recently, Dr. Steve Nuttall, Head of CX Research at Fifth Quadrant had a short chat with Peter Chidiac about a recently published report by YouGov titled, Customer Experience in Banking 2017. Listen in as Steve and Peter explore the evolving omni-channnel in banking and discuss the coming of Artificial Intelligence (AI), the changing contact centre, personalisation, passive voice authentication and more.