All posts by Stella Noutsis

How to Boost Customer Engagement Through Multiple Channels

By | CCM, CRM, Customer Communication Management, Customer Engagement, Uncategorized | No Comments

When it comes to communicating effectively with your customers, consistency is absolutely crucial. Consistency breeds trust and it also helps you develop a strong brand identity. Customers are more likely to engage with an organisation that they trust and feel confident in. On the other hand, inconsistent brand messaging and communication are likely to have the opposite effect and can even drive customers away from your business.

Increasingly, customers are engaging with organisations through multiple channels, from email to social media to a mobile app. They may switch between different channels and they want to access their details, process transactions and interact with your business at all times and from anywhere they might happen to be.

According to mynewsdesk.com, today’s customers expect to be able to retrieve their information and have a consistent experience across all these different platforms and this expectation is only going to grow in the future.

Customer experience has never been more important than it is today and this means you need to be able to deliver your customers the right message whenever they come into contact with your business. Due to the range of choice that today’s customers enjoy, if your organisation isn’t delivering the great experience people expect, they are likely to leave and just go elsewhere.

Fortunately we also live in a time where we have the technology and the means to provide a consistent customer experience and it doesn’t have to be too difficult or time consuming. Purpose designed CRM and CCM platforms allow you to deliver a multi channel experience by gathering data from customers and tracking their information across different channels, allowing for a more integrated experience.

All this data is then easily retrieved from any device, by call centre or customer service staff when communicating with a customer, or via the customer themselves from their mobile, laptop or tablet. This guarantees a consistent, unified message is delivered across all platforms.

Using the right automated communication management solution, organisations can track and capture all the data they need regarding customer engagement across the different channels. Many automated CCM platforms automatically update customer information and activities in internal systems and automate personalised follow up communications that are relevant to each individual customer.

Multi channel communication is the foundation of any great customer experience. By using the power of data and automating your communication processes you can save costs and provide your customers with a better experience that’s tailored to their individual needs across multiple channels.

Why You Should Use Mobile Technology to Engage Customers

By | Changing Technology, Customer Engagement | No Comments

In case you hadn’t noticed it, mobile is here. The switch to mobile has been taking place over the last few years but in spite of mobile’s widespread use, a surprising number of organisations are still not using it to its fullest potential.

Often this is due to the challenge of switching their customer communications to a mobile-based platform. At other times it could be because of out-dated assumptions and beliefs or just a lack of understanding of how important mobile is to customers, and how that will increase in the future.

If you’re not sure whether it’s worth investing the time and money in mobile customer communications, according to opentext.com, here are a few of the benefits you can expect if and when you do:

  • Reduced costs. This is a big priority for many organisations. While there may be an initial investment involved in setting up mobile systems and migrating to them, once they are up and running there is far less need for printed communication, and thanks to automated features that make up a big part of many mobile platforms, you can also reduce staffing costs.
  • Better customer engagement. An engaged customer is usually a happy and loyal one and this is important as we move into a more competitive business environment in the future. More and more businesses are focusing on customer experience and mobile lets your customers interact with your organisation wherever and whenever they like. If they aren’t on mobile already, chances are your competitors will be soon and unless you can keep up, you’re likely to fall behind.
  • Easier agility and innovation. Innovation is the key to standing out among the crowd and mobile lets you be more innovative in your customer communications. Mobile platforms are also easier to scale and they are generally more agile, meaning you can respond to changing customer expectations faster than using a desktop based customer communication platform.

Engaging your customers through mobile technology means you can offer a much higher quality of experience and interact with them on a whole new level.

There are so many reasons why you should be using mobile now, and in the future we will no doubt see many more. Instead of asking yourself whether your organisation can afford to connect with your customer over mobile, it might be better to ask if you can afford not to.

Six Steps to Successful Customer Journey Mapping

By | Customer Experience, Customer Journey Mapping | No Comments

Customer journey mapping is the process of documenting your customers’ experience with your business from their point of view. Done right, it is a fantastic tool for businesses and organisations of all different shapes and sizes.

A customer journey map lets you see the different ways that customers interact with your business, and shows you where you can improve and where there might be a gap. Most of these maps break the customer journey down into stages, from initial contact through to engagement and then long-term loyalty.  They show how customers move through these stages and identify any blockages that might be preventing them moving smoothly from initial contact to repeat customer.

If you’re looking at improving your organisation’s customer experience, creating a customer journey map is a great exercise to take on. Here are a few tips for effective customer journey mapping from gmc.net:

  1. Use a digital platform instead of pen and paper. Using digital mapping software makes it easier to incorporate data into the whole process, collaborate across departments and share the results. It also reduces the overall workload required to translate a pen and paper document into an online format.
  2. Use all the data you can find. This includes information like social media metrics, website visits, email marketing data and more. You can gain valuable insight from search data and can easily see whether or not your marketing is hitting the right spot.
  3. Don’t rely solely on data. While it’s tempting to make use of all those numbers you’ve got hanging around, they won’t give you the full picture. Make sure you incorporate anecdotal data into your customer journey map as this can give you all important context and direct feedback from customers.
  4. Include copies of all the different types of communication your customers receive, from beginning to end. Don’t forget audio files and videos as well as written communication. Looking at everything together lets you spot inconsistencies in your voice and messaging and see whether you are on the right track overall or not.
  5. Be as in depth as possible. When it comes to customer experience, the devil is in the detail. The more in depth you can make your customer journey map, the more insight you will gather. A customer journey map that just skims over the surface isn’t likely to be much help at all.
  6. Make it actionable. Many customer journey maps end up gathering dust on the wall. Make sure you take it to the next level by assigning accountability and actions to the map. Follow up to make sure that any areas highlighted by the mapping process are taken care of.

Customer journey mapping is a very powerful tool when it comes to creating better customer experiences. If you’re going to make the most of this tool, use these six tips and most importantly of all, follow your map up with concrete action.

 

What does the Future of Customer Communications Look Like?

By | Changing Technology, Customer Communication Management | No Comments

Customer experience is more important than it’s ever been before and this has led to the development and widespread use of new technology solely for the purpose of providing a better experience for customers.

More and more organisations are making customer experience a priority and this, along with the rapid pace of technological development, means that the future of customer communication will probably look very different than it does now.

So what can we expect to see in the world of customer communication in the future? According to Scott Draeger from GMC Software, over the next decade or so we can expect the following:

  • Ultra personalisation. Customers will be able to receive contextually appropriate messages at the exact right time thanks to the development of greater personalisation.
  • New devices made possible by the Internet of things. We could see customers receiving messages through their clothes, glasses, cars or other personal items instead of just through phones, tablets and computers.
  • Communication will get faster. While we might think today’s technology is fast, that’s nothing compared to how things will be in the future. With expected developments in processing technology it won’t be long before today’s fastest devices look like dinosaurs in comparison.
  • Robots and other services will manage the information that customers receive, and that organisations send. This will free up time for customers and also mean that organisations can use their resources more effectively.
  • Communication will be useful, but not intrusive. Filtering technology means that messages which are not valuable will be filtered out and only the relevant ones will get through. Organisations will need to tighten up their act and make sure they are sending messages that are useful and relevant to their customers if they want them to be received.

While many of these changes will relate to technology in general, they all can and probably will be applied to customer communication technology and practices. Customer experience is already becoming a focus for many organisations and this is only going to increase in the future.

The decisions you make for your organisation today will have a direct impact on how well you are able to meet your customers’ needs in the future. By keeping up to date with the latest technology and where we are headed in the future you can make decisions now that will stand your organisation in good stead as these changes happen.

What is Customer Centric vs. Product Centric thinking?

By | Customer Engagement, Customer Insights, Customer Relationship Management, Digital Customer Engagement | No Comments

Consumers have never been as connected as they are today and their changing expectations have led to some necessary changes in the way organisations define themselves. For many this has led to a massive shift from product centric to customer centric thinking.

So what is the difference between an organisation that is product centred and one that’s customer centred? There are two main differences according to In Context Mag.

Attitude

The main distinction is that customer centric businesses put the customer at the very centre of all their systems and policies. This means creating a strategy that details how they plan to handle their customer communications across the organisation and not only investing in the software to provide this, but also looking at the entire organisation from a customer’s perspective.

Businesses that are still product centric prioritise the product and sales over the experience of their customers. They may believe that customer experience is important and put customer experience strategies in place, but this belief does not form the foundation of the entire organisation.

Use of technology

Customer centric businesses know they need to communicate with customers through their own preferred medium, which these days, means digitally. Mobile apps, websites, SMS and instant messaging all come into play here as different customers have different preferred methods of communication. While print does still have a place, its importance is diminishing rapidly and customer centric organisations know they need to be available when and where their customers want them to be.

Many product centric businesses still fail to interact digitally with their customers, or they have limited means of doing so and this can be a mistake. With changing customer expectations, loyalty is likely to lie with the organisations that meet their customers’ needs and wants – people are less willing to bend to the demands of product centric businesses and this is only going to increase in the future.

Is your organisation product or customer centric? Businesses that adopt a customer centric approach from the top down are going to be the ones that succeed and thrive in the future. Think about your organisational attitudes, not just that of your customer service team, and how well you are able to use technology to meet your customers’ changing needs.

Making your business customer centric may be a big shift now, but it’s one that is likely to pay off in the future.

 

 

 

 

 

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How Changing Technology is Impacting Customer Service

By | Changing Technology, Customer Service | No Comments

Customer service is the mainstay of your organisation’s reputation. Looking after your customers is paramount if you want to remain in business but over the last few years, customer care has gone though a number of changes. It’s now easier than ever for customers to share negative feedback online and switch providers but there are also more great ways that organisations can meet the needs of their customers and exceed their expectations.

Changing technology has had a huge impact on customer care in recent years. Here are a few of the most significant changes that have taken place according to Toolbox.com:

Predictive analytics

We might not yet have a crystal ball to tell us when something is going to go wrong with a product or service, but predictive analytics is the next best thing.

Anticipating customer issues and taking proactive steps to fixing them is one of the best ways to build customer loyalty and a great customer experience, and with predictive analytics this process is much easier. With the Internet of things, products can be connected to the Internet so they can let organisations know when there is a problem, before the customer does.

Chatbots and artificial intelligence

While we’re not quite ready to replace human customer service agents, we are seeing an increase in automated chat services that can take care of routine queries, leaving human customer support agents to tackle the more complex issues. Robot customer support is cost effective and available 24/7 and it means that human customer support agents can be utilised where they are most effective, building relationships and helping customers with more complex issues.

Readily available feedback

These days there is no excuse not to know exactly what your customers think of your organisation and products. Technology has given us a multitude of different ways to gather feedback in real time and use this insight to improve processes and products.

Not only is it important to seek out feedback and act on it, your business reputation depends on it. With social media and review sites it’s now very easy for a negative review to go viral and this can cause untold damage to your reputation if it happens.

Technology is coming to the forefront of customer care in many organisations and there are numerous ways that new technology can help businesses better meet the needs of their customers. Keeping up to date with the latest developments in customer care technology lets you find new, innovative ways to keep your customers happy and ensure their loyalty in the future.

 

Are We In the Age of the Customer?

By | Customer Experience, Customer Satisfaction, Salesforce | No Comments

If you’ve been keeping an ear to the ground you’ve probably heard rumours about the ‘age of the customer’. While there’s no denying that we’ve entered a period where customer experience and satisfaction is more important than ever before, is customer experience really the be all and end all we’re led to believe?

While it might sound a bit over the top to talk about it as the ‘age of the customer,’ according to the Salesforce blog that’s exactly where we are now. Customers are now at the centre of the entire business process and as customer centred businesses grow, we’re all going to have to accept these changes if we’re going to be able to keep up.

According to Salesforce there are a number of signs that indicate the age of the customer is now upon us. Here are a few of our favourites:

  1. Everyone has a smartphone. With smartphone technology becoming ubiquitous, virtually every single customer now has a purchasing device in his or her pocket. It’s no longer up to customers to go to a physical store if they want to make a purchase, they expect brands to be available to them, on the device of their choosing, 24/7.
  2. The Internet of Things. It’s not just phones that allow customers to connect, it’s everything. Ordinary household appliances are now capable of remembering a customer’s preferences and delivering them an experience that is tailored to them specifically. Brands need to be able to do the same if they want to keep up.
  3. Social media allows the flow of ideas. Customers are increasingly able to connect with each other and share ideas over social networks. There are communities set up for just about every possible interest and idea you can think about and its up to marketers and brands to get in on the action by giving customers a place where they can come together and share their ideas.
  4. Personalisation is huge. Now that we have the technology available for intensive personalisation, it’s becoming an expectation. Brands now have the means to place their customers at the centre of their process through tools like automation, where it just wouldn’t have been possible before.

The combination of technological development and changing customer expectations has created a perfect storm with the customer at the centre.

Organisations need to put their customers first if they are going to succeed – those who continue to resist this development are going to find they start losing customers very soon. Make sure your organisation is set up to thrive in the age of the customer by making customer experience a priority now.

 

 

 

How to Create an Effective Customer Experience Strategy

By | Customer Experience, Customer Experience Strategy, Customer Service | No Comments

Customer experience is a crucial aspect of customer relationship management and a great experience forms the cornerstone of any successful sales strategy.

A good experience makes it more likely that a new customer will make a repeat purchase and become a loyal customer. Not only that but loyal customers make great brand advocates and if treated well, they are likely to bring in more customers.

More and more organisations are starting to see the benefits of creating a great experience for their customers and as a result are investing heavily in customer experience tools and strategies. In the future, organisations that don’t put customer experience at the forefront of their brand are likely to fall behind those who do, which is why it’s important to think about it now.

In spite of all this time and attention spent on creating a great customer experience, very few brands actually deliver successfully. Often this is down to their strategy, or lack of.

An effective strategy will get you off to a better start than jumping straight in without any particular idea of what you want to do. Here are a few pointers we found on the SuperOffice blog that will help get you started when you’re looking to create an effective customer experience strategy:

  • Set a clear vision for your business. If you’re going to deliver effectively you need to first have a clear customer experience vision. How do you want your customers to feel about your brand? What do you want them to say? This vision will set the foundation for your entire strategy.
  • Know your customers. To provide a great customer experience you need to understand your customers, to know their wants, their fears and their interests. Once you know what they want, you can go about giving it to them, otherwise you’re just taking a wild guess – you might hit the mark, but it’s more likely you will miss.
  • Create a structured feedback system. Feedback is crucial to delivering an outstanding customer experience but unless you ask for it you’re not likely to get it. There are plenty of automated survey tools that can be sent out to customers once they have made a purchase and it’s a good idea to do this. If a customer raises an issue make sure you deal with it promptly.
  • Listen to your employees. However clear your strategy, unmotivated, disgruntled employees are not going to provide a great customer experience. It’s a good idea to create a feedback policy for your employees as well as your customers. Create an organisational culture where employees can speak up and regularly seek feedback from them. You might be surprised at the results!
  • Measure your results. Measuring your ROI, sales, leads, customer engagement and other results should be an integral part of your customer experience strategy. This is the only way you’ll know if your hard work is actually paying off. One great metric to track is your Net Promoter Score or NPS. This is the number of customers who would recommend you to a friend or relative.

Creating a great customer experience shouldn’t be about guesswork. Taking a strategic approach can save you time and money, and most importantly, help you get better results and happier customers.

What’s the Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Experience?

By | Customer Experience, Customer Service | No Comments

We hear a lot about customer experience these days and it’s a term that can be confusing and misleading. While you might be aware of the importance of customer experience, it’s easy to lump it in with customer service and assume that your great customer service team have it all under control.

The truth is, customer experience and customer service are related but they are also different. Still confused? Well, customer service is part of the customer’s overall experience with your organisation, but it is not the whole picture.

The Superoffice blog clarifies this more extensively by explaining that when we talk about customer experience we are talking about the entire experience a customer has with your brand, from the moment they first search for your products on their mobile, to their request for support after they’ve taken it out of the box.

Customer service is all about the interactions a customer has with a person working for your organisation. Great customer service is absolutely crucial for building loyalty and a good reputation, but it is only one part of the story. If you want to create a great customer experience you want to look at the entire picture and ensure that anywhere and any time your customers come into contact with your brand, their experience is a positive one.

Customer experience covers factors like the functionality of your website, the timeliness of your service, how easy completing a transaction is, and how straightforward it is for them to set up and use your product once they get it home. All these can and often do take place without your customer coming into contact with a human at all.

The power of technology is such that customer experience now depends largely on the software you are using for your CRM, your delivery tracking systems, how well developed and fast your website is and a number of other criteria. The best software platforms are personalised and tailored to your business, and are able to automate much of the personalisation that is expected by customers these days.

Keeping customers up to date about the status of their orders, responding promptly to feedback and support requests and meeting and exceeding expectations are all part of a great customer experience, as is fantastic customer service.

Think about your business. What are you doing to create a great customer experience independently of your customer service staff? Do you have systems in place that are designed to help your customers and provide a great experience?