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.

1% pledge

What If we all gave 1%

By | Pledge 1%, Uncategorized | No Comments

What if all companies in the world pledged 1% of their employees time, product and profit. At CoTé , we take this commitment to heart.

So what’s our why?  We believe that business and technology can be a platform for change, and that if we all gave 1% – We could all help change the world!

We take great pride in announcing that CoTé has joined the Pledge 1% Initiative, a global movement that encourages and challenges companies to make a positive impact within their respective communities. The initiative has been successful at promoting a model of early-stage corporate philanthropy, as a way to promote the integration of philanthropy and business and to make it easier for founders and business leaders to give back.

As part of our pledge, CoTé will be giving 1% of employee time and product to projects within our local community, charities and Not for profits.

Pledge 1% launched as a partnership between a small group of companies and foundations in December 2014, and now boasts a membership of more than 1,200 companies in 30 countries around the world. This initiative is also supported through a vast ecosystem of partners, including nonprofits, incubators, investors, venture capital firms, accelerators and co-working spaces. Through the Pledge 1% website, companies pledge 1% of their equity, profit, product or employee time in service of their communities. Take a look at the full list of companies who have taken the pledge alongside CoTé here

If you would like to know more about our pledge or are a not for profit that would benefit, please contact us at info@cote.com.au.

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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?

 

How to Use Personalisation to Boost Your Customer Relationships (and Sales!)

By | Customer Relationship Management | No Comments

Personalisation is important when it comes to building customer relationships but many organisations underestimate just how important it is to tailor your content and offers to the individual rather than taking a general approach. It’s easy to be confused as to the definition of personalisation and exactly what it means. The reality is, personalisation is an incredibly powerful marketing tool and it’s something that is not only wanted by customers, it’s increasingly becoming expected.

What is personalisation?

Personalisation is about providing tailored experiences and bespoke content across different stages of the customer journey. It’s about paying attention to customer behavior and providing them with information based on their behavior and previous choices.

When done properly, personalisation lets you anticipate what your customer might purchase and what interests them so you can provide it to them. This makes their life easier and helps build and maintain a great relationship with your brand.

How to use personalisation

The Prestashop blog lists three ways you can personalise your customer journey to boost your sales. They are:

  1. Collaborative filtering: This is where you filter information based on what the majority of shoppers are doing. This taps into a basic herd mentality and encourages other shoppers to follow suit. You can do things like highlight best selling products, or list items that customers with similar shopping habits also bought.
  2. Audience segmentation: This is where an organisation targets individuals according to certain traits that they share, for instance their age, location, or other demographics. They might also target by purchasing habits or other behaviour. Once you have your segments clearly defined you can tailor content that is most likely suit each segment and that’s relevant to them.
  3. One on one: This is personalisation in its truest form. By collecting a whole range of data on a single customer you can then personalise every communication with them to provide a much better experience and increase the chances of them buying from you. You can use a broad spectrum of data for one on one personalisation including behaviour, their interaction on social media or via email, purchasing history, interests and their stage on the customer journey.

Personalisation is a powerful marketing strategy that can help you build those all important customer relationships and increase your sales over time. Much of it can be automated, making it the ideal strategy for organisations of all different shapes and sizes.

customer service

How to Build Amazing Bonds With Your Customers

By | Customer Experience, Digital Customer Engagement, Salesforce | No Comments

Getting up close and personal with your customers has never been more important than it is now. In an increasingly competitive business environment, customer bonds and close relationships can be a crucial factor in getting ahead of the competition and growing those sales.

Many businesses struggle to come up with effective ways to stay close to their customers and build those relationships. It doesn’t have to be difficult but you do need to be consistent and adopt a customer centric attitude. According to Salesforce, here are five great ways to build those bonds with your customers and help ensure their loyalty over the long term.

1. Prioritise customer experience

It’s important that your customers feel they are your priority and this will need to be demonstrated through a clear commitment to customer service at every touchpoint. Without this commitment to customer experience it’s unlikely you’ll be able to build those strong bonds.

2. Present a good image

Your brand image is the first impression you give to people. Make sure you keep it as shiny and clean as possible. Your customers are not likely to want to deal with an organisation that is known for being untrustworthy, unethical or anything else negative.

3. Create content for your customers

The right content helps your customers engage with your brand and feel connected on a deeper level. If it’s useful, funny or informative your customers will appreciate it and they are more likely to return to your business over and over again. Great content doesn’t focus on selling, it provides something of value and creates awareness about the story behind your brand.

4. Be proactive in seeking feedback

More and more customers rely on feedback before they make a decision to buy and the more positive feedback they can find, the more likely they are to purchase from you. To establish a good base of feedback, you can actively encourage your customers to leave a review or rating. This will give you a steady flow of good feedback that you can publish on your website or another digital platform.

5. Be transparent

Trust is an essential factor in any relationship and once it’s gone it’s very hard to get back again. If you want to build strong bonds with your customers you need to be honest and transparent at all times. Keep your customers informed of changes and deal with any complaints openly and honestly and you will build a reputation for integrity and trustworthiness that will stand you in good stead over the long term.

It’s well worth taking the time to build those great relationships with your customers now. As we go into the next few years we’re going to see an increase in customer centric businesses and if you can gain the hearts and minds of your customers now, you can set yourself up for greater future success.

Customer EXperience

Why is it so Hard to Make Customer Experience a Priority?

By | Customer Experience, Digital Customer Engagement | No Comments

Customer experience is not a new concept but it’s one that’s really come to the fore in the last five years or so. As more and more organisations realise the need to move away from product centered business models and put the customer at the center of their brand, they often struggle to find the time to commit 100% to creating an amazing customer experience.

We find that most companies struggle to “connect the dots” across their organisation.

This leaves many of us with a half in half out approach where organisations develop a few customer centered policies but struggle to sustain them over the long term. They might see the importance of creating an outstanding customer experience but struggle to make it viable. This eventually brings them back to their old ways, confusing their customers and creating an inconsistent brand message.

So just why is it so difficult for businesses to really give 100% to customer experience and make it their number one priority? According to Customer Experience specialist Ian Golding, there are five main reasons why it’s such a challenge:

  1. Failure to create an operational plan. When it comes to focusing on customer experience, it’s all very easy to talk about it but without making operational changes, nothing is actually going to happen.
  2. Lack of stability in an organisation. The problem with making sweeping changes in an organisation is that it also brings restructuring and instability. This in turn will impact customer experience, probably negatively.
  3. Not thinking long term. Changing to a customer experience focus isn’t going to bring you any short-term results and this can make it hard to get over the line with those stakeholders who lack the vision to think long term.
  4. Lack of knowledge and education. Without the necessary skills and competencies to focus on customer experience it’s going to be very difficult to achieve any success. Many employees and organisational leaders simply don’t have the knowledge to make customer experience work.
  5. Inability to put others first. If an organisation doesn’t put its employees first, they’re going to have a hard time putting customers first. Employees who are unhappy or unempowered are not going to be capable of putting customers first.

While these are all common obstacles to creating a truly customer focused business, none of them are insurmountable. The truth is customer experience is only going to get more important in the future, not less. Now is the time to think about what might be holding your business back and take steps to commit 100% to putting your customers front and center of your organisation.