Today most of our daily needs can be met at the click of a button: grocery shopping, banking, buying a car, getting takeout, voting, going to school—the list goes on. But just because customers can complete transactions online, does it mean they actually enjoy it? How satisfied are customers with digital interactions compared to face-to-face ones?
It’s an important question every company should be asking as they plan their CX strategy. Let’s look at what customer expect in terms of service delivery and how your strategy can improve their experience on every channel.
The great debate: in person or digital?
Oftentimes channel preferences depend on your customer’s age, interests, location, and more, as well as the type of product or service you’re offering. Recent research shows that 75% of consumers prefer to interact with a real person over technology. But that doesn’t mean you should forget about the rest who represent up to 25% of your business.
In-person and digital interactions can be used together successfully, as long as you’re monitoring and paying equal attention to both types of customers and experiences. And both come with their own unique set of benefits.
Face-to-face interactions can be highly effective because they:
- Instill trust and reliability
- Let you connect through eye contact and non-verbal cues like facial expressions and handshakes (before masks, social distancing, and pandemic hand hygiene, of course)
- Build lasting relationships through common experiences, such as sharing a meal together
One of the major downsides to face-to-face communication in a CX context is that it can be difficult to measure success. Digital interactions, on the other hand, can be tracked, monitored, and built in a strategic manner based on data-driven insights.
On top of being easier to measure, digital interactions and experiences are non-negotiable because they:
- Give customers an unmatched level of speed, ease, and convenience
- Make it easier for people to find information, get support, and make (impulse) purchases
- Eliminate geographical barriers, allowing you to reach a wider audience
- Enable you to target the online spaces where customers already spend their time
Six ways to improve CX across channels
With omnichannel engagement becoming table stakes in the world of CX, organizations are under a lot of pressure to deliver a consistent experience, no matter where the customer chooses to meet them. How can you be sure you’re meeting every customer’s needs and maximizing their satisfaction in person, on the phone AND online, so they’ll return, repurchase, and recommend?
While the way you engage with customers on each channel may vary slightly, there are some best practices that are consistent across the board. Here are six ways you can improve CX across all your channels.
- Ask for feedback - The only way to really know what your customers think is by asking them. The ideal time to capture their feedback is immediately after an interaction with your brand when the experience is still fresh in their minds. When asking for feedback, pay attention to how you craft your questions. The more engaging your survey is, the more descriptive and illuminating your customers’ feedback about their experience will be. Learn more about how to capture and analyze true voice of customer (VoC) insights.
- Close the loop - It’s not enough to simply talk the talk by asking customers for feedback. You also have to walk the walk. Especially if customers share a negative experience, it’s important to follow up with a phone call or email to address and resolve the issue. Implementing a closed loop strategy ensures, not only that you’re aware of customer pain points, but also that you have the opportunity to turn a customer around from being a possible detractor to a recommender.
- Brush up on your communication skills - Strong communication skills are some of the most valuable qualities of effective frontline CX teams, but we also tend to take them for granted. Good communication is learned and it’s something you can easily brush up on to improve how your team engages with customers, whether digitally or in person. There are lots of online courses you can take, like these free classes on LinkedIn.
- Monitor social reputation - Along with asking for direct customer feedback through surveys and polls, you’ll also want to capture indirect feedback from social channels (also knowns as social reputation management). By successfully monitoring your social media platforms, you can keep your finger on the pulse of customer sentiment and act in real time to address complaints and resolve issues. Check out this webinar for more helpful tips on how to create a social listening strategy.
- Ease the burden with AI - Depending on the size of your team, it’s not always possible to have a large number of agents available to answer phones or respond to social posts. Technology powered by artificial intelligence (AI) can function as your first line of defense to determine if human interaction is required. This approach gives customers the immediate response they’re seeking and, if the problem can’t be resolved by AI, it gets escalated to a human agent.
- Monitor first response time - For better or worse, we live in a culture of immediacy. Customers expect an instant response, whether they’re getting in touch by phone, email, or social media. In fact, according to Forrester, 73% say delivering a fast response is the most important thing a company can do. And 75% of customers expect a response in 5 minutes. Unfortunately for most brands, the average response time is 12 hours and 10 minutes! To meet customers’ expectations for lightning-speed service, ensure you have the right tools in place (such as AI-powered support) to be able to react quickly to customer comments, whether negative, positive, or neutral.
Ready to take customer satisfaction to new heights on every channel? Discover more at www.ibex.co/cx.