Today’s mobile customer is more intelligent and more social than ever before. They tend to spend more time on social media, and share personal details about themselves. But they also have higher expectations. There’s a lot of pressure on having a great experience each time customers interact with your brand, whether you are a mobile phone company, a utility company or a retailer. Businesses are responding by prioritizing the customer experience as a competitive differentiator. According to Forrester, 89 percent of businesses are planning to compete mainly on customer experience.1
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What does it take to stay competitive in this kind of environment? In the past, contact centers and web teams have been operated and staffed separately. With the digital transformation of customer experience, however, we now see these two functions merging. Your business needs to consider the full range of your customers’ experience: not just the call they make to sales or support, but all the different departments and technologies that your customers interact with to make a sale or resolve an issue.
Here are seven ways to deliver exceptional omni-channel customer experience in the digital age:
1. Be holistic
Review your current customer experience; it doesn’t start and stop with one phone call. It’s important to take a 360-degree view of the whole experience, encompassing chat, social media, direct messages and beyond. This will give you a more holistic view of your customer, and how you can better serve them in a way that will resonate.
2. Respond immediately
Today’s customers don’t want to spend minutes being transferred from agent to agent. You need real-time presence on your agents, to make sure that the right person is available to handle a customer request immediately. To avoid customer frustration with misdirected calls, consider implementing a unified communications and collaboration system to allow your agents to collaborate on customer issues without leaving the call.
3. Consider IoT
Customer requests take a wide range of form, including automated ones. Implementing IoT automated responses to certain triggers can prevent problems before they take place. Imagine, for example, a sensor installed in your customer’s air conditioning unit that signals your business when the unit is not running properly. You can send a notification directly to your customer to schedule a time for a technician to maintain the unit, and your customer can respond natively to your request from within their own messaging application. This kind of integrated customer experience will speak loudly to a customer base looking for immediate response.
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4. Go beyond voice
While voice calls are still the most used medium, the total number of voice interactions per year has stopped growing. At the same time, social media, self-serve knowledge articles, web chats, SMS, and other digital methods of interacting with businesses have been growing steadily. When you’re looking at your own contact center, make sure you’re not relying too heavily on how your voice calls are going; factor in responses and workflows that come via alternative media.
5. Get more out of open APIs with microservices
Most modern systems leverage open, standardized APIs and microservices to ease interoperability and add sophistication to software solutions, and customer experience solutions are a prime example. Consider an IoT device alarm: the IoT device sends a API-based notification to your contact center routing system, which can then automate responses or send that alarm to a skilled agent. Microservices, which are connections you can install inside applications using standardized API interfaces, are an easier way of redesigning the way your contact center applications work. Instead of replicating a service that already exists, like Google’s two-factor authentication, for example, by using a microservice you can bring that feature into your contact center application.
6. Flexible APIs to bring in non-traditional media types
If your business is going to stay competitive with customer experience, you need to be able to respond to the customer messages your business receives in a systematic way, even when those messages are coming in via social media. With the right architecture, you can set up routing for email, chat, SMS, and third-party media types like WebRTC voice and video, native messaging applications, or social media to run like voice call routing. With Mitel’s Open Media solutions, for example, you can build in workflows and responses for all types of media, and connect them directly to your corporate CRM.
7. Push for high availability
Your customer experience doesn’t stop when there is a disaster or system malfunction. If you are relying on only one system, you are jeopardizing your customer experience. Push for high availability by keeping a physical or virtual replication of your main contact center server.
The customer experience is going to become increasingly digital, and to stay competitive, businesses need to meet their customers where they are. By leveraging key APIs, your business can be more responsive more quickly than ever before.
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1 Gartner – Importance of Customer Experience Is on the Rise; Marketing Is on the Hook