Six steps to understanding the digital customerby
Going digital is no longer a strategy planned for the future – it’s simply a requirement for doing business in today’s multichannel world. But there are many parties involved in managing the 'digital customer experience'. But ecommerce managers, digital buyers and marketing managers can take the following six steps to truly understand digital customers and ultimately drive clicks.
1. The medium is the message. The smartphone may be the hub of today's customers' digital life, but the interactive customer experience involves multiple channels – whether it's voice, web, SMS, chat or social. It's not good enough to just provide these channels, the customer experience is unique to whichever channel the customer chooses – what works well on the telephone may not work so well on web chat. Make the response appropriate to the channel, even co-browse or chat to help customers on their journey to deliver the clicks you are looking for. Given that most of today's digital channels are available on a smartphone – email, SMS, voice, web chat – make the most of this device. Mobile marketing can provide a great avenue to attract new customers and reward loyalty.
2. The customer only has one voice, but uses many channels. Integrate the channels so you have a single view of the customer. No customer wants to send an email explaining an issue and then have to call and explain. Agent desktops are also fast becoming the technology of choice for contact centres – they store all the information from whatever channel about a customer in one place so no customer has to repeat the question as they change channel or agent. They are also completely customisable and much more flexible than traditional CRM systems – and most can be fully integrated into your legacy system. A sophisticated agent desktop also has another important management benefit – they can be personalised for each individual agent with business rules and targets through advanced scripting, item queuing and blended work schedules. Adopting a holistic agent desktop will ultimately improve the customer's digital experience.
3. Never miss a (relevant) tweet. So you've made the move to social media, now how do you keep on top of it? As a company, you will receive 100s of tweets a day, too many to sift through individually to make sure you provide good customer service to each person. Social analytics – often available as a cloud offering – will do it all for you, showing you tweets that don't contain your twitter handle but contain your company name, only showing you tweets that are actionable and relevant, and listing tweets based on selected topics such as “good service” or “poor service”.
4. Go self-service but don't leave your customer high and dry. Companies that use proven self-service solutions tend to foster a higher rate of first-contact resolution, leading to positive experiences and loyal customers. It has even been shown that in some situations the majority of customers prefer self-service over calling an agent or sending an email. Here, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) provides one of the quickest, easiest and best self-service options available. Easy to install – IVR can be deployed through a cloud service – an IVR self-service solution must be simple to navigate. But never abandon the customer – you want your customers not just to click through today, but tomorrow and next week – so make sure you offer an assisted service option.
5. Don't underestimate email. Email is long thought to be dwindling in popularity thanks to the abundance of new social media channels and alternative communication channels. But this isn't necessarily the case. In fact, it has been suggested that email use is actually increasing, thanks to its instant accessibility on the smartphone. It's convenient and while it isn't necessarily instant, this works in its favour as a channel – a customer and can send and receive emails back at times convenient to them – and for a company, agents don't have to tell a customer “I will find out and give you a call back” or “can you hold the line while I find out the information”, they can respond to the email as soon as they have the information, increasing first-contact resolution rate.
6. Manage leads effectively. Through all of these channels, it's essential that lead management is integrated across different departments in the company. Whether that's the marketing department, sales team, website administrator or the customer service department. Using an intelligent workload management system, companies will make the most of digital interactions and maximise opportunities wherever possible, making each click count.
Companies need to be there when and where it is convenient for the customer. Going digital is the answer but it involves much more that just adding digital channels for customers to use.
The customer may use many digital channels but they still have just one voice, and this means using digital customer service to understand that voice and engage with it. Only that way will ecommerce managers, digital buyers and marketing managers start to get a handle on their elusive customers in a digital world.
Richard McCrossan is strategic business director at Genesys.