Published: July 16, 2018 | Comments
It was Albert Einstein who said, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
Those words still ring true. Today we live in an era of disruption. A world where new ways of thinking are re-inventing markets and providing exciting new solutions to old problems.
New market forces are re-inventing their sectors and industries. Familiar companies, such as Uber, Airbnb, and LendingClub (a leading social lending company) are just a few examples of the pioneers leading the way.
One of the forces driving this trend is the rise of a new breed of customer - The NOW customer.
Forrester is calling this era the age of the customer. Is your company prepared? Here are some questions and trends to consider.
Are you ready for the Millennials?
The Millennial segment, currently defined as those between the ages of 18 and 34, makes up 25% of the population.
Millennials will soon enter their peak earning and spending years, and they have very high expectations about the type of customer service they want to receive, and how and when it should be delivered.
All this is creating a shift in what matters for consumers - brand loyalty, especially for sizeable traditional consumer institutions is often replaced with suspicion and mistrust. We're seeing a rise in importance of a mix of old and new values: "transparency," "value for money," "saving" and "stability," family, friends, home, environment and local communities.
"I use self-service in McDonald's so that I don't have to talk to anyone or take off my headphones."
OMNI Channel is no longer an option - it's a MUST
98% of today's consumers are omnichannel users, taking advantage on average, of 6-7 different channels to connect with enterprises. The digital revolution is creating consumers that are much more connected, knowledgeable and have more power than ever before.
However, when customers fail to achieve what they wanted on a specific channel, their favorite escalation channel is a voice call to the contact center so they can speak with a live rep.
These customers are calling the contact center expecting the agent to solve the problem they couldn't solve on the previous channel.
From self-service to selfie-service
The combination of the three elements of personalization, self-service, and social consumption creates a phenomenon I dubbed 'selfie-service.' This represents an evolution of self-service because it doesn't just enable a customer to serve themselves, but also to create their own service paradigm, tailor their experience, and be more creative. It embraces the concept that the customer wants more control and may wish to support, recommend, interact or otherwise document their experiences. In selfie-service, co-creation becomes the norm and an emerging, but fundamental need is addressed - the wish of the customer to be in total control of the experience to build, appraise and innovate it.
The employee landscape is changing as well
Millennials are quickly becoming a large part of the customer service workforce. Recent reports show that over a third of our workforce is millennial based (and in some enterprises even more than that). But other workforce generations are adopting millennial behaviors and expectations as well.
Millennials bring with them to the workforce expectations that are similar to the ones they exhibit as consumers:
A sense of purpose and loyalty driven by the perception of the brand
Transparency into the processes and being empowered to impact it - millennials need to feel they have a voice within the enterprise
Personalized recognition in their skills and capabilities as an individual - Millennials want meaningful interactions in the workplace and expect real-time feedback on their actions (annual performance reviews are not good enough) and immediate support for their professional needs
Flexibility through innovation - technically advanced systems that are easy to use and can be adapted to their needs to help them maintain their work-life balance.
So should enterprises prepare themselves for this revolution?
Enterprises have to adapt and evolve more quickly to the new era of the empowered consumer, the growing number of communication channels and the challenges of the new millennial employee or risk losing customers to smaller and more nimble competitors. The contact center, with its unique position, seated at the crossroads of customers, channel, and employees, has been leading the customer service evolution for decades.
ENTERPRISES CAN'T COMPRIMISE ON CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE!
So how should enterprise adapt to ever-changing Employee and Customer experience expectations?
I believe that to be FIRST, enterprises need to be able to:
RESPOND FASTER and ACT SMARTER
Responding faster is all about:
Arming your teams with the tools and insights to act quickly
Spending time on innovation, not integration
Scaling and adapting instantaneously to any change
Working smarter is all about:
- Knowing your customer journey, uncovering their intent and predicting their next action
Serving with personalization and consistency, across all channels and touchpoints
Figuring out what it takes to win every interaction and earn lifelong customers
The ideal customer experience solution is a unified, integrated platform, providing all the capabilities an enterprise needs to manage the customer experience and provide exceptional service. Where employees can find all the tools, they need to do their job efficiently and successfully, creating exceptional experiences for customers. No more 'mix and match' of different tools, capabilities, and solutions that don't really work together.
And finally, I can't end this post without a tribute to the legendary Tracy Chapman - 'Talkin' Bout a Revolution.'