The way people communicate with each other has evolved, but what about the way that your business communicates with your customers? Here are 7 steps for creating a successful digital customer experience:
1. Take Responsibility
Who is ultimately responsible for customer engagements: the CEO, sales director, marketing director, customer service director? If this isn’t immediately clear within your business, then your journey to a digital customer experience is already off to a bad start. Once you’ve determined who is responsible, they can begin defining the customer experience strategy. What should this strategy include?
Keep in mind that responsibility goes beyond the “owner” of the customer. It extends to anyone that will be affected by the customer experience strategy. Therefore, taking responsibility for the customer experience starts with hiring the right people, enabling those people to take ownership of customer experience issues, empowering staff to solve problems without escalations, finding solutions, and fixing problems quickly. Ultimately, the goal is to understand customers, give them the experiences they want, and keep those experiences consistent across all touch points. This will create loyal customers.
2. Understand the stakeholders
Find out as much as possible about the experiences of your agents and other customer service staff. Most importantly, understand your customers’ preferences:
• What is their preferred way of communicating?
• What are their expectations and needs around operating hours?
• How willing are they to self-serve?
• What emerging technologies are starting to become more important to them?
This treasure trove of information can be put to good use ensuring that optimum customer journeys are aligned to workflows. Involve your IT team at an early stage and outline the value and purpose of your technology solution. Plan for CRM system integration and allow the team to evaluate whether any changes to underlying infrastructure are necessary.
Consider the impact on:
• Architecture: Do you have IT staff on-site to manage premise equipment or does a cloud-based deployment make more sense? Are there multiple sites? Will you need redundant, resilient, or highly available contact center servers?
• Contact centre workers: Do agents and supervisors work only on site or do they have the option to work from home or while they’re on the road?
• Integrations: Are there other business systems that must be integrated with the contact center, such as ERP tools? Are there other ordering, fulfilment, and support tools that can be integrated into the contact centre to streamline business processes?
Finally, give the marketing team the opportunity to influence how brand perception can be improved.
3. Automate common inquires with self-service capabilities
With modern digital customer experience tools, self-service is no longer restricted to voice interactions. Analyse frequently asked questions, simple agent transactions (whether through voice, web chat, SMS, etc.), and customer survey responses to decide which processes are the most suitable for automation. Use digital workflow routing capabilities to provide self-service to customers through email auto-acknowledgements, automated web chat responses, and even inbound and outbound SMS inquiries.
Self-service options offer a significant opportunity to improve the customer experience and reduce costs. They have a critical role to play in your digital customer experience. But, take nothing for granted. There are plenty of examples of organisations that fail to empathize sufficiently with customer frustrations around automation. These organizations then establish self-service options that don’t meet customer expectations.
4. Prepare for the full scope of digital channels
Whether it’s social, web chat, email, or SMS, all channels represent some level of importance to your customers. If you aren’t ready to apply the full scope of options, identify which channels are most important to your business based on your target demographic and the nature of your customer relationships, and leverage a modular approach that lets you scale up and out over time, and plug in specific capabilities where applicable.
Mobile apps are the fastest growing digital channel today. Make sure you’re in a position to take advantage of this channel and other trends when the time is right, without having to re-engineer your entire infrastructure.
5. Empower your agents
Deploy state-of-the-art tools that enable employees to work efficiently and flexibly:
-Select the right phone solution for seamless integration with remote agents, CRM, chat/ presence engines, and other business processes
-Define unified communications capabilities to ensure customer queries can be resolved first time by empowering agents to instantly locate, message or conference-in subject matter experts to obtain immediate answers
-Provide special service levels for VIP customers by profiling, identifying, and prioritising them through skills-based or preferred agent routing
-Offer call-back services and self-service options to smooth out peaks and extend availability
-Implement mobile solutions to allow agents and supervisors to work from anywhere at any time
-Use analytics and reporting to enable root cause analysis and improve future processes
-Consider work force management solutions to help predict call volumes and optimize resourcing
-Include call recording to meet regulatory compliance and for training purposes
6. Run a tight ship
Build a modern and reliable customer service environment that integrates traditional ACD with sophisticated voice and digital workflow processes and multiple customer contact points. Ensure business continuity with robust and highly resilient communications solutions designed to provide seamless and uninterrupted service, and no loss of reporting or real-time capabilities during hardware failure or network outages. Most importantly, wherever possible, leverage virtual networking and process options to reduce hardware and operations costs.
7. Apply effective management and reporting metrics
Maintain constant business and operational visibility over the customer experience you provide by leveraging feature-rich, real-time management and reporting tools.
Integrate management capabilities, such as quality monitoring, call recording, outbound dialing, and campaign management.
Ensure you can “join the dots” at the management and agent level by combining the power of multiple management applications. For example, potential spikes in demand can be predicted via global social media monitoring and addressed immediately through agent workforce scheduling.
Similarly, reporting and call recording can provide insights on scheduling, agent metrics, and campaign performance.