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How to elevate your CX and retain more customers in 2020

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The Impactful Way to Drive @Shop Touch Features

As a child of the 70s, the Sunday newspaper and Big Book holiday catalogs served as the conduit to elevating the customer experience and driving shoppers to the brick and mortar locations to gain the best deals and spend their hard-earned dollars. With fierce competition and high customer expectations, your business’s customer service experience can be your most vital asset as the brick and mortar of yesterday has completely evolved into a one-of-a-kind instant gratification digital shopping experience. 

Advancements in technology have removed the need for endless pages of costly print ads, quickly eradicated the need for cash, and ushering in new digital payment forms, often a one-touch approach, such as Instagram’s @Shop touch feature. The new ways consumers shop and interact using their devices to purchase goods and services from companies force businesses to consider impactful ways to elevate their CX to retain more customers in 2020. There are also plenty of customer service software solutions.

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Digital-First Customer Service Strategies 

These peer-to-peer and C2B customer experiences have elevated the way the consumer market has advanced the customer’s relation to spending and helped businesses retain more and more customers. For example, the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis has revealed that a robust, digital-first customer service strategy is required to maintain long-term business resilience and success. 

It is imperative to organize micro-customer service teams to triage unexpected issues during unprecedented times, such as delays in delivering a product not living up to the consumer’s expectations. These innovative and real-time technology-driven advancements allow companies to pivot quickly, provide a cost-effective real-time solution, and sustain customer loyalty in the process. 97% of executives believe that customer satisfaction is the key to business success.

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Getting to this seamless customer experience isn’t as easy as waving a magic wand. Consumers are moving towards a fully connected world enabled by technology. They demand immediacy, connectivity, and simplicity in every interaction on their buying journey. There isn’t a software program or plug-in to get to this level of a valued and loyal customer experience, enhanced by the brand’s ability to deliver exceptional products and services without first putting in a little elbow grease. Traditional means of customer service alone will no longer be sufficient for serving the needs of connected customers as these slow and reactive processes cannot effectively anticipate and deliver against fast-changing customer expectations.

Customer Loyalty versus Business Investment

So, what do customers want to retain their loyalty and buying behaviors? Better yet, what are businesses willing to invest to meet the demands of an increasingly growing online buying market, learning to differentiate from your competitors for starters? Companies that can provide relevant and agile customer service will be the ones that separate and differentiate themselves from their competitors. 

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For example:

By 2022 – 70% of customer support will be supported by machine learning, chatbots, and mobile messaging. 

By 2023 – just one year later, up to 70% of customers will be more apt to rely on speech interfaces for self-service.

By 2025 – companies investing in AI across multi-channel messaging platforms will increase operation efficiency by 25%. Labor costs will decrease by up to 35%.

Building a successful customer service strategy includes leveraging traditional and digital support channels and understanding its journey.

The Customer’s Journey

Every aspect of the customer’s experience with your business needs to be understood to make every experience better every time a B2C connection occurs digitally. How exactly does your customer interact with your business?

  • Communication channels – which digital communication channels, which traditional communication channels your company provides, and those channels, which are the most popular? Seamless and engaging communication channels, invest in multichannel customer service software, and give agents the tools they need to be where the customer is and when they need them. A company can incorporate Facebook messenger, following up with personalized emails, speaking on the phone, or quickly triaging an entire set of consumers that demand the immediacy of sending quick texts via WhatsApp.
  • Interactive Digital Interactions – when omnichannel silos disappear, agents learn to manage any channel with a single tool. Customer preferences may change from day to day, messaging today, live chat tomorrow, or phone if they’re traveling internationally, so by becoming channel-agnostic, brands gain the flexibility to deploy new touchpoints where and when customers expect them quickly. The significance during the introduction, when the communication begins, means asking the user their preferred form of communication, such as messaging and then supporting the conversation by asking for a second form, perhaps phone, building confidence, and delaying the time in solving if there is a disconnection during the dialogue and a back up to keep the user for feeling important, instead of feeling ignored.
  • Recognizing Pain Points – these are critical time zappers and can pull agents and managers off the floor for hours if a workflow or policy doesn’t speak to these kinds of one-off situations. Remember to consider the entire journey, from first-touch to purchase, and afterward. 

You’ll avoid running amok trying to put out many fires if you know from the start what the user’s journey is to their preferred communication channel. Also, take lots of chronological time-stamped admin notes to keep the case fluid and the caller from repeating themselves, which creates frustration. 

And make time for direct follow up. Any time a user receives a phone call or follow up message asking about their situation elevates the CX and guarantees an excellent NPS and agent review.

These exclusive instances should be noted and shared cross-functionally, in weekly meetings to be integrated for increased platform tool productivity and iteration for ease-of-use to avoid repeat scenarios.

  • Cross-Functional Support – no man is an island, and therefore no department should function as one. The worst thing a customer should hear is, “I don’t know,” instead, “That’s not in my wheelhouse, so let’s find out together.” Companies that offer a “path beyond the purchase,” using internal communication channels, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, allow instant peer-to-peer case sharing and help measure what details, pain points surface, and matter most. An examination of the dialogue and admin notes takes the case, if necessary, through an escalation process, with a department better suited as the source of truth, to build on the experience’s Support until the customer finds a confident and viable resolution.
  • Loyalty Recognition programs – the loyalty program has many businesses on the fence. What exactly is the best incentive? Punch cards are wallet stuffers; first, visit %-off incentives don’t drive return traffic. So what is the best loyalty recognition program to retain more customers in 2020? 

One issue about loyalty programs is how they work. Their efficacy depends on a dedicated team assigned to track who is being loyal and how effectively the rewards are being allocated and redeemed. The good news is your business can make user retention your #1 priority. 

You don’t want an endless-amount-of-environmentally-unfriendly-flyers-in-the-inbox approach; instead, you utilize tools that consolidate and track users 360° behaviors hyper-targeted campaigns to entice and improve user retention for those users that may have “dropped off” the platform temporarily. See exactly when and how often new users come back to your app with cohort analysis and real-time behavioral insights. 

  • AI Enhances Agents ways of working – AI and automation can be a scary place for a company to invest in full; after all, the lack of a human voice removes the empath. All related tasks streamlined through automated and AI responses for resolution do not efficiently elevate CX service outcomes. Reduced to rubber-stamped reactions, typically increase the number of frustrated users contacting the service department again demanding to “speak to a human.” Customer service software unifies the customer experience across phone, email, chat, and messaging apps to ensure that no customer gets left behind while empowering agents with customer data for a better working experience.

Black Friday 2020 for Example

Face it; it’s coming. Not only is Black Friday and holiday spending in 2020 isn’t going to look nearly as crazy, like camping on sidewalks overnight for the cheap flatscreen – however, but most, if not all, of the holiday shopping, will also be performed virtually. Businesses need to pivot quickly to get ahead of the competition and avoid a massive flood of poor customer experiences tainted by unrealistic expectations. Even if you, as the business owner, aren’t quite what the best communication channels are to utilize, live chat is your best bet for three reasons:

Customers will have questions for you in real-time while they’re shopping, and live chat will be the key, instant way of asking and assisting them. Customers:

  1. May not understand deals – direct them using Remote Control with their permission.
  2. Will want a clearer idea of what they’re spending money on – apps allow customers to “try on” products virtually or experience a real-time demonstration.
  3. Will be interacting with your online store more than usual – this is the CX retention golden ticket and gives consumers an incentive to revisit your shop. 

Set the Most Realistic Expectations.

Now that live chat is installed, peer-to-peer and B2C transactions require users to set clear and realistic expectations in a perfect world. A world with more and more customers is coming to expect faster, real-time omnichannel solutions. After all, these are business transactions involving currency in exchange for products and services occurring at a rapid-fire pace. When a company like Amazon guarantees delivery in 2 hours, the business selling the product better have a communication system in place to process and ship to meet that demand. 

Business transactions ideally flow much more freely through the ether using live chat and business conducts more seamlessly without much effort or thought as customer retention increases based on immediate customer support experiences. 

But, in 2020, the game changed, and so did the players. Once controlled by a simplistic singular customer support network, the central role given to customer experience, i.e., phone support or antiquated and time-consuming email channel, has radically shifted. That form of customer experience from a few years ago has now uniquely become a reality for most companies and is the ultimate form of pivoting if elevating CX and increasing retention is the target on the businesses bullseye for customer retention, profit and ultimately success.

Businesses and brands which were once determined to market and sell are now finding themselves invested fully in CX’s value and are prioritizing the areas most vital to match customers’ expectations with accurate precision. The challenge is simple: adopt the right strategy and tools, provide multi-experience communication channels and outreach, rather than merely setting up an expensive call center, waiting for the phones to ring, spending millions of dollars on training, and in turn experiencing high turnover rates. Nothing about this scenario elevates, and businesses watch retention rates plummet. At the same time, other companies seek to incorporate omnichannel support systems with integrated AI and automation, which makes support agents work more efficiently and solve tickets and cases more quickly and more efficiently.  

About the Author:

Mikkel Andreassen is passionate about customer experience in every color of the beautiful customer engagement spectrum. He loves building great connections with his customers, which often lead to meaningful friendships that last a lifetime and inspire his work. Driven by the genuine belief that CX is the pivotal force that drives a successful business, he is currently at the helm of Dixa’s customer experience strategy.

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Twitter handle: @MikkelVes

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