In a previous post, we discussed why the customer experience is the universal, number one priority across industry. While everyone seems to acknowledge the importance of the customer experience, most organizations fail to deliver. This disconnect can often be attributed to the lack of a customer experience strategy.
Some organizations assume that hiring and training friendly people with the right attitude is enough to ensure the kind of experience customers demand. Having the right people is indeed an essential component of the customer experience, but people need processes and technology to meet heightened demands of today’s customers. Let’s examine why people, process and technology must be aligned to drive positive perceptions that shape the customer experience.
When it comes to people, leadership is just as important as your customer-facing employees. Effective leaders will create a culture that prioritizes the customer experience at all levels of the organization. This will ensure that you hire the right team – problem-solvers and analytical thinkers who can express genuine empathy to the customer. Effective leaders will also ensure that your team is properly trained, using video and gamification to improve engagement and retention. Training and employee evaluations should be ongoing to reinforce key points and account for evolving customer needs.
These efforts have obvious value in the contact center, where agents are on the front lines with your customers. Agents need to be trained to handle different types of customer questions and levels of frustration. They need the knowledge and the data to resolve customer issues as quickly as possible. They need a clear process to follow, and they need the right technology that allows them to seamlessly shift between communication channels while accessing a current interaction history.
Because the customer experience is a competitive differentiator that can build loyalty and increase profits, organizations should develop processes from the customer’s perspective. Step into the shoes of the customer. Follow the journey from the home page of your website to checkout. Test phone support, chat bots and other customer service channels. See what works and what doesn’t. Request customer feedback and apply those insights to your decision-making process.
To personalize the customer experience, leverage the customer data you collect throughout their journey. At the same time, address privacy concerns by protecting customer data in a way that complies with California’s new data privacy law and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation.
Of course, most processes your people follow and tasks they perform are dependent on technology. To optimize the customer experience, you need intuitive, simple tools that remove friction and increase engagement. For example, self-service tools that use artificial intelligence to understand and automatically respond to customer needs allow you to resolve issues without human intervention. The key is to first identify the needs and preferences of the customer, create processes that address those needs and preferences, and find technological solutions that support those processes.
Cloud-based communication makes it easier to bring together people, process and technology as part of a cohesive customer experience strategy. The cloud provides the flexibility to deploy people and services according to current customer demand rather than overpaying to account for peak demand. You can also test various services on a small scale and deploy only those that offer measurable improvements to the customer experience. Let us help you align your organization’s people, processes and technology and identify cloud-based communications solutions that ensure all three components meet customer expectations.