There has never been a better time to be a consumer. The digitally-driven experience economy has resulted in unprecedented ease in comparing – and switching between brands. To delight customers and stand out among the rest, businesses are embracing improved customer experience to influence buying decisions, no longer focusing solely on quality of product or service.
Leading businesses are finding that in this new customer experience economy, there is a wide range of opportunities to build meaningful customer relationships. Contact centers play a unique role in helping customers along their entire journey: purchase, fulfillment, ongoing support, and renew/reorder. Moving beyond their traditional position as a “cost center” by creating delightful experiences, contact centers can now play a key role in increasing customer lifetime value – and your bottom line.
Here are three ways customer experience can enrich the brand-customer relationship, ultimately leading to new forms of topline and bottom line growth:
Customers – led by millennials and Gen Z – increasingly rely on third-party validation such as online reviews or peer feedback rather than traditional advertising messages. Converting customers to brand advocates begins with delivering exceptional customer experience at every interaction opportunity – and the best way to do that is to resolve customer inquiries quickly by providing a personalized touch across all channels in their journey. Whether it’s through self-service or agent-assisted channels, businesses need to be proactive in recommending the right channel that will resolve issues the fastest. And, critical customer context, delivered via true omnichannel service and seamless integration with CRM, can help tailor every interaction to the individual.
Once you’ve delivered exceptional customer experience with speedy and personalized interactions, use customer feedback and digital outreach to make it easy for your happy customers to spread the word via reviews and social. For example, send those happy customers a direct link to review your product or service on your most impactful review site. Fostering these kinds of immersive, personalized relationships can build trust while increasing customer advocacy.
Voice or digital conversations with a live agent are often one of the most effective ways to build trust and unlock upsell opportunities – even if the conversation starts with a problem. Agents who are driven primarily to reduce average handle time (AHT) or spend too much time troubleshooting the same problems over and over, or are distracted with wrapping up after contact work, are not given enough time to build more meaningful relationships.
Behind a business’ ability to deliver engaging experiences and superior value is the right platform that powers immersive experiences for customers and agents alike. Deploy a combination of intelligent self-service options to offload routine tasks, and automation to offload after-contact work so agents can spend more time with customers on conversations that can unlock new opportunities. If AHT goes up for the right conversations, this can be a very good thing for revenue generation and customer service reputation. And when agents work on a unified cloud platform that provides both customer context and predictive analytics, they can deliver a personalized experience to every customer and help drive revenue growth.
As digital transformation strategies mature, businesses have had to learn quickly that the customer experience economy is one of rapid change. Customers are often excited by the opportunity afforded by new communication channels that can generate greater personalization and proactive outreach by brands. Businesses need to continually innovate – the true lesson of digital transformation is that speed and agility is the new standard. Staying at the leading edge of the customer experience curve requires fact-based insights from analytics and voice-of-the-customer programs, executive commitment to experiment and move quickly, plus a customer experience platform that is open and extensible to meet future needs quickly.
When analyzed, contact center metrics like Net Promoter Score® have been directly tied to revenue growth. For example, research by Forrester shows that a one-point improvement in a mass market auto manufacturer’s CX Index score could result in $874 million in increased revenue (Drive Business Growth With Great Customer Experience, Forrester Research, Inc., October 12, 2017). Furthermore, a U.S.-based online flower delivery company that switched from on-premises technology to an open cloud customer experience platform was able to process 64 percent more orders during peak season – Valentine’s Day – compared to the previous year. Because of the platform’s scalability and improved agent performance capabilities, they were able to handle all of their traffic, directly leading to more revenue.
Customer-centricity has become the defining feature of leading businesses, with contact centers serving as the key battleground. As customer experience becomes an increasingly influential driver of topline and bottom line growth, understanding the technology that powers it becomes even more important. In an age of market saturation, building and delivering on the right customer experience strategy is the difference between driving just surviving—or thriving—in the customer experience economy.
Chris Bauserman is VP, Product and Segment Marketing at NICE inContact, a NICE company. Chris has successfully driven technology strategy and go-to-market (GTM) growth initiatives for software startups and large enterprises over the past 20 years, focusing on solutions that help organizations improve customer experience. He currently leads product marketing and market intelligence for inContact, a leader in cloud contact center software.
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