Is your customer engagement digital ready?

Johannesburg, 29 Oct 2018
Read time 4min 00sec

In today's highly commoditised age where there is often little differentiation when it comes to competitive products and offerings, the biggest factor that prompts customers to patronise one brand over the other is often customer engagement. There are several studies that show the impact of customer experience on both customer acquisition and retention.

A study conducted by Bain & Company, in association with professors from the Harvard Business School, found just a 5% increase in customer retention rates increased profit by 25% to 95%. Therefore, customer experience is an important influencer of an organisation's profitability. Organisations are already starting to realize this. A recent Frost & Sullivan study found that about 80% of organisations in Asia-Pacific recognised customer lifetime value as the most significant business benefit delivered by customer experience.

A recent white paper released by Aspect Software and Frost & Sullivan had some interesting insights on elevating customer engagement for the digital age. One important insight is that multi-channel engagement is inevitable. Nearly 60% of Asia-Pacific customers surveyed in a Frost & Sullivan study revealed they regularly change how they contact an organisation; 84% use the Web as the primary mode of interaction, while 35% use more than four channels to communicate with businesses. Today, more than 75% of Asia-Pacific customers regularly go online or try self-service channels as their first method of issue resolution.

While customer expectations are clear, organisations have not yet caught up. Less than 10% of customers surveyed feel that businesses consistently meet their expectations. At the same time, most Asia-Pacific contact centres too acknowledge they still struggle to deliver a seamless omni-channel experience, despite having some level of integration across channels. Delivering an omni-channel experience isn't easy. There are challenges around siloed operations, high cost of implementation, application integration issues or simply lack of strategy.

In such a scenario, what should organisations focus on to build a winning formula for CX? As per the 'Elevate Customer Engagement in the Digital Age' white paper mentioned above, the chief factors that govern favourable customer engagement are personalisation, ubiquity, and proactivity.

For organisations that hope to build a winning customer engagement model, the white paper offers three important pointers.

* Go beyond adding new channels

Today, we see a growing demand for virtual assistants, intelligent personal assistants, and chatbots that provide personalised self-service options to customers. Yet, many customers still choose SMS or social customer services over voice due to their convenience and flexibility. But, while adding new channels is important, a successful solution will only be possible if the organisation is able to use consumer data effectively to enhance engagement with the brand, irrespective of the channel.

* Unified view of customer

Customers experience a fractured customer journey as they move from automated self-service to live agent assistance. Reasons vary from a lack of executive leadership to failure in fostering a CX-centric culture and omni-channel service environment. In the white paper, Frost & Sullivan recommends a solid single-channel strategy over a poorly executed multi-channel strategy since an individual channel mindset could lead to information silos. Organisations must unify all sources of customer intelligence and channels if they desire a single, 360-degree customer view to efficiently manage CX and break down departmental and information silos.

* Empowered contact centre agents

Unhappy employees = unhappy customers. Unless your employees have the appropriate tools and the right mindset, they are not in a position to deliver the best customer experience. For example, measures such as providing your CC executives with an intuitive user interface, eliminating the need to toggle between applications, and simplifying information searches can enable CC agents to do a much better job of engaging with customers. Similarly, using AI to enable self-service channels such as chatbots can significantly reduce the burden on CC agents to help perform better.

Organisations that embrace the digital opportunity to optimise customer interactions have immense potential to successfully transform their brands, attract new customers and retain existing ones. If you'd like to know more about how you can elevate the customer experience within your organisation, click on the link below to access the entire white paper.

APAC White paper: Elevate Customer Engagement in the Digital Age

Editorial contacts
Aspect Software Clare Angood
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