You may recall that just two years ago, Ovum reported that nearly 75% of customers used at least three channels when interacting with an organization for customer-related issues. At the time, many observers thought this was a bit controversial, with many challenging the notion that customers were indeed this advanced.
Fast forward to 2015 and there’s no longer any debate that customers are using multiple channels. The challenge now is for companies to manage all these various interactions and touchpoints consistently, as part of an omnichannel customer experience strategy.
This isn’t the end game, however, from the customer’s perspective.
Let’s step back for a second and think about how we have defined omnichannel customer experience to date. For a few years now, we have been developing a definition of omnichannel that is centered around three key elements:
- Serving all channels relevant for your customers
- Offering smooth cross-channel transitions
- Ensuring end-to-end consistency across the customer journey
What makes things even harder for companies trying to excel accross these three areas is that customer behaviors are evolving fast. Consider the fact that that the availability omnichannel options are boosting customer expectations. According to an SAP survey of marketing decision-makers in omnichannel consumer products organizations, 86% agree that omnichannel has meant that customer and consumer expectations of the organization have increased. At the same time, technological and societal trends have changed and will continue to change customer behavior and demands. Customers are more empowered and informed than ever before, and less tolerant, less loyal.
2015 will perhaps then be the first year where a baseline omnichannel strategy isn’t enough. In other words, with omnichannel as the new normal, companies need to innovate beyond this powerful foundation.
Here are three pillars to make your customer experience beyond what your competitors are likely offering today:
- Contextual – By leveraging the whole conversation with a customer across time and channels across the customer journey, a company can inform next best interactions based on that customer’s preferences, the context of his or her relationship with the company, and actual and potential value at hand. Leveraging customer profiles isn’t enough anymore. Companies need to take advantage of the full customer interaction history and preferences to personalize the customer experience across channels and touch points, improving service and reducing customer effort. Learn more by reading our white paper titled, Connecting the Dots: Proven Methodologies for Managing Customer Conversations.
- Proactive – Customer loyalty varies from one industry to another, but research shows that there’s typically a 25% drop in loyalty among customers who experience a problem. If, however, you can deliver the right response at the right time, it’s possible to end up with a more satisfied and loyal customer than you had before they experienced the issue. The key is to offer a proactive human touch at the moments of customer need. To learn more, check out our white paper titled, Drive More Valuable Customer Experience With Proactive Engagement Across the Life Cycle.
- Digital – A recent Forrester survey found that web self-service was the most widely used communication channel for customer service. In 2015, the analyst firm predicts that customers will continue to demand effortless interactions over web and mobile self-service channels. The need to stay competitive and respond to customers over the web, mobile and social channels requires more self-service automation and digital support than ever before. In particular, rising communication channels, such as video or co-browse, can play a strong role here. Additional detail is available in our white paper titled, Transforming Customer Experience in the New Digital World.
Thanks for reading!