Posted on: January 24, 2012
By: Cindy Waxer
It’s all about her - Turning everyday customer interactions into engaging, two-way conversations
It’s no longer enough to simply claim your company is “customer-focused.”
Businesses now need prove it by engaging with each customer as an individual and creating a consistent experience across multiple platforms.
“You must create a compelling experience for your current customers so that they want to continue to do business with you,” says Jeanne Bliss, founder of Customer Bliss, a customer experience consultancy, and author of I Love You More than My Dog: Five Decisions for Extreme Customer Loyalty In Good Times and Bad. “But more importantly, you must create an experience that’s deliberate, reliable and memorable at critical interception points.”
Fortunately, customer experience technologies can help companies turn everyday interactions into engaging, two-way conversations. Forget about staid customer relationship management programs that merely collect customer contact information and purchasing data. Today, high-tech tools are enabling companies to:
- Choreograph the entire customer life cycle to maximize value.
- Understand past customer behavior and predict future behavior.
- Reach out to customers across multiple touch points.
- Boost efficiency using dialogue automation.
Making the most of customer-centric solutions, as well as technologies like social media and mobile, however, requires an understanding of just how quickly customer engagement strategies are evolving. Here’s what you need to know about the latest customer experience technologies.
With predictive analytics, companies can provide customers with the most appropriate offer and increase profitability.
“It’s all about what a customer is about to do next so that you can better target your product offers,” says Ray Wang, an analyst with Constellation Research and blogger at blog.softwareinsider.org.
By carefully tracking behavior patterns, and employing predictive analytics technology, companies can provide customers with the most appropriate offer and increase profitability.
Take, for example, a local bank. By tracking recent credit card purchases, credit line withdrawals and mortgage payments, a bank can then use customer experience software to better predict which customers are more likely to default on a loan or which ones might qualify for a credit card upgrade.
An enterprise-wide endeavor
Large companies often become compartmentalized, with little coordination across the marketing, human resources, and IT teams. But when it comes to customer engagement, deploying the technology across an entire organization magnifies its full effect.
“The challenge the customer feels is that companies often don’t connect across multiple silos,” warns Bliss. “So a company could send out a marketing message around how important you are to the business, and another silo could have cancelled your policy.”
For this reason, Bliss recommends that organizations roll out their customer engagement technologies across all customer touch points — marketing channels such as email, catalogues, websites, and customer service representatives — to ensure a reliable and consistent message and experience.
Combine the personal and technological
While customer engagement technologies can drive sales and enhance customer satisfaction, there is no single right answer when choosing a solution. “At the end of the day, there is no technology silver bullet,” warns Bliss. “The most powerful organizations that really connect with their customers do a good job of blending high-tech solutions and processes to inform and deliver high touch that is relevant, responsive and proactive at the right time.”
Bliss adds, “If you want to improve your customers’ life, you need to go back and do the basic work of inventorying all the touch points and deciding what you want your customer experience to be.”
So ask yourself, is your business more likely to connect with a customer via email? Or is your customer base more responsive to phone calls from customer service representatives? Canvassing your customers to determine their preferred touch points, and frequency of contact, is an excellent starting point for establishing a customer experience strategy.
Once this due diligence is complete, a company can begin the process of deploying technology solutions that help to drive sales, boost revenue and convert everyday conversations into meaningful dialogues.
After all, says Bliss, the right customer engagement strategy is an “opportunity to have a two-way conversation with a customer, to understand what customers are saying in an open, honest and human way, and to intersect with these conversations.”