Adding the personal touch to omnichannel
The need for omnichannel has never been more apparent. Whether you are a retailer, an insurer or a local authority, the ability to connect with customers seamlessly across multiple channels has enabled organisations to keep going throughout the uncertainty of the pandemic.
Organisations have had to pivot quickly to adapt to changing regulations and with that there has been a corresponding shift in customer interactions. In fact, research from McKinsey suggests the vast majority of consumers who have increased their use of digital and omnichannel services expect to sustain these activities into the future.
Even pre-pandemic, this was a trend on the up. Customers like the flexibility of looking at a product in a shop, then searching for reviews online, and then looking for the best place to buy it. In such a highly competitive market, one way to differentiate amongst the competition is to offer a more personalised service.
Making it personal
Indeed, as we move towards a greater convergence between the offline and online world, more can be done to personalise the customer experience – the gateway to customer loyalty.
Long gone are the days when personalisation was an optional bonus. Customer expectations have shifted (upwards) and now, irrespective of industry segment, customers expect personalised engagement with organisations as part of their standard service, irrespective of the channel used.
In fact Salesforce found that Sixty-four percent of customers expect tailored engagement based on past interactions. And as a strategy, it can be considerably valuable, with Deloitte finding that 1 out of 5 of those interested in personalised services were willing to pay a 20% premium on products.
The fact is that personalisation should be a natural extension for companies. As customers increasingly use digital channels to communicate with companies, they in turn have access to an increasing wealth of data on their customers, making the whole process around personalisation easier.
Personalisation in practice
So how can we make interactions with an increasing number of customers, via an increasing array of channels, feel personal? We all are familiar with the usual incentivisation tools – sending personalised offers, resharing your forgotten shopping basket, promotional vouchers around your birthday and so on. However, going beyond this, what else can organisations do? Well there is a lot to be said for re-examining your contact centre operations. Here are our three top tips:
- Identify callers upfront – It might sound relatively simple, but sometimes the most effective measures are. Use Caller Line Identification to recognise the caller’s contact information which can be linked to their unique customer record. This will enable your contact centre agent to answer the call with the customer’s name – putting the caller instantly at ease. By linking the contact information with the callers’ customer account, the agent also has access to their account history readily to help with any potential issues. By being able to personally help with the customer’s challenges, organisations stand a better chance of successful first-time call resolution and turning that customer into a brand advocate.
- Managing waiting times – One of the most frustrating things for customers calling into the contact centre is the time it can take to get through to an agent. At peak periods, contact routing can be used to share information with customers queuing, detailing queue position, estimated wait times, offering call-back options or alternative channels. To make this more personal, messages can be programmed to only be sent to targeted customers, based on their history, geography or other identifier that relates to them and provide updates such as stock or delivery status.
- Prioritise your high-value customers – By using the information available to you through your CRM system, you can identify your high-value customers and make sure, through some savvy contact routing rules, that their calls are directed through the system as a priority. By connecting these customers promptly with the correct teams and by-passing potentially lengthy queues, customers are offered a higher level of service – again boosting their overall experience with your brand.
Organisations understand the pivotal role that customer experience plays in determining loyalty. However, in this age of uncertainty, organisations would do well to remember the vital part that personalisation can play in enhancing that customer journey. By using the data already available on your customer base, organisations can offer a more tailored and personal service to customers by enhancing call centre operations, offering promotions and incentives and personalised recommendations. The outlay required may be relatively minimal, but the payoffs can be huge.
With over 20 years’ experience in contact centres, I spent the first half of my career in operational roles across the contact centre industry, with a particular focus on technology, workforce engagement and leadership. Since then, I’ve worked with leading brands across the globe, helping them utilise the latest technology and optimising their...