Knowing what lies up ahead is something businesses spend vast amounts of resources and time on. Yet, knowing the future and adapting to it are two very separate things.
Those who choose to live in the past are at a huge disadvantage – you wouldn’t have wanted to be the last horse and carriage salesman when the motorcar came onto the market.
One area where change has come incredibly quickly is customer experience management (CEM). Driven by new technologies, this is leading to a fundamental shift in customer and business behaviour.
The technologies that customers and businesses have access to, such as social media, data analytics, IoT etc., is changing how transactions and communication between the two takes place – people don’t necessarily want to go into a brick and mortar store to make a complaint or purchase.
Whether it’s a consumer using Twitter to enquire about product availability from a retailer, or a customer looking to change mobile tariffs via web chat – the entire experience is transforming. There are four fundamental shifts set to impact how businesses manage customer experience:
The first shift: power to access
The power dynamics between the enterprise and the consumer have changed dramatically in recent years, influenced by the increased use of technology. This has meant that the way consumers ‘access’ enterprises has transformed.
Perhaps more importantly, the ‘power to access’ has shifted from the enterprise to the consumer. In the days of ‘walk-ins’, enterprises had a lot of say on the time and manner of access, but now channels such as mobile devices and social media, have given consumers this power. T
his has meant that businesses are having to completely rethink how they interact with customers and what to say to them.
The second shift: power to be heard
The ability for customers to leave detailed reviewed for businesses has put a huge amount of information about the performance of a business into customers’ hands. As a result, brands are being talked about more and more on social media.
This highlights the importance of managing an organisation’s online reputation, as even a small amount of negative publicity could affect sales. While digital marketing has already arrived, digital and social customer care is becoming increasingly important.
A report published by Nielsen showed on average 47% of social media users engaged with brands over social channels – highlighting the need to monitor, analyse and communicate with customers effectively across all channels.
The third shift: power to demand
The third shift centres on the availability of information about both businesses and customers, and how businesses need to treat customers differently as a result. A complaint posted publicly by a customer could cause irreparable damage if it isn’t handled effectively by the business concerned.
This boils down to enterprises trawling the digital universe and carefully listening to everything their customers are saying. Businesses must also harness the advent of high speed, high volume and high velocity analytics which will help them to respond more quickly – which is vital given customer expectations for a response to a complaint is already less than hour on social-media.
Marketers are calling this a ‘segment of one’; in short, every consumer is the ‘centre of a universe’ and businesses end up treating them accordingly by listening to every word they share.
The fourth shift: power of IoT
The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT), could see the physical world of the consumer merge into the digital one. More devices will be connected to the internet – such as home automation systems like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Echo – enabling new ways of communicating with manufacturers and service providers.
Businesses will constantly be receiving information from these devices and through the use of AI and advanced analytics, will analyse the data to learn what customers want without them having to communicate with the organisation directly.
Anticipating what a customer needs through the interpretation of data is key, and businesses will need to learn how to communicate and create experiences with their customers through devices and communications platforms, rather than directly to the customer.
Ultimately, the ability of the consumer to demand answers from a business and control the relationship, is forcing organisations to up their CEM game. A
As such, businesses must harness new technologies such as automation and advanced CEM platforms, in conjunction with analytics, to ensure they can manage communication with customers quickly and consistently – whatever the channel.
Those that embrace these technologies stand to make huge gains over their competitors, by being able to communicate more effectively with customers and event predict their needs in advance so they can keep them happier in the long-term.
Sourced by Shashi Nirale, senior vice president & SBU head at Servion Global Solutions