Simon Harrison, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Avaya
What creates loyal and brand-supporting customers? After years of striving to “please” customers to exceed service expectations, the trend has shifted to creating a comfortable experience — and for good reason. Enchanting customers with “fun” moments does not fulfill their promise of building loyalty. Rather, it raises customer expectations and prepares the business for the final CX failure.This point was emphasized in Gartner research Of the 97,000 customers who made little difference between the loyalty of customers who exceeded expectations and the loyalty of customers who simply met expectations.
So what do customers want? Perhaps more than ever, customers expect consistent and predictable service from companies that solve problems and make life easier. But what does the easy thing look like in this digital age, and more importantly, how can it be provided?
An easy customer experience begins with removing friction and making the whole experience as smooth as possible. However, as you know, many companies do not fully meet this level of service, which creates a common problem on many customer journeys. From complex IVR menus to inadequate hand-overs between front and back office teams, friction is still widespread and customers can move quickly.
To get rid of friction, you need to look at the customer experience as a whole. By mapping the customer journey from the first interaction to the touchpoint after purchase, you can start seeing the true experience from the customer’s perspective. All marketing, sales, operations, and CX teams need to be involved in this ongoing exercise and coordinate how to eliminate friction on the customer journey. By working together to eliminate the issues that cause friction, companies can begin to eliminate the silos that create them.
Effortless is also built on consistency. A single “wow” experience can instantly get the attention of your customers. However, maintaining consistency across all channels and touchpoints reduces the chance of error and provides customers with peace of mind and continuity. The challenge is to infuse consistency into the journey with customers who are increasingly expecting better personalization and more modes of engagement. The rewards can be great for companies that overcome this challenge.
Starbucks is a great example of this. The iconic brand has been successful on the basis of consistency. Despite its global expansion in the stratosphere, Starbucks remains loyal to delivering incredibly predictable experiences in more than 30,000 locations around the world. Whether you’re in Dubai or Detroit, you’ll know exactly what you’ll get when you step inside the store and place an order. And this level of consistency continues to expand Starbucks’ loyal customer base.
Effort also means giving customers the freedom to change their minds. For example, suppose you buy a new laptop, unbox it, set it up, and decide that it’s not what you want. Does the retailer make it easy for you to return it and get a refund? If so, you may buy from them again.
In contrast, complex processes and restrictive policies increase customer attrition. According to Forter’s research 80% of consumers If the store has an inconvenient return policy, it will be deterred. Reversibility has become an integral part of providing a comfortable experience, but some brands require customers to jump over the hoop in order to cancel or return the service. Restrictive policies can reduce the costs associated with returns, but often at the expense of the customer experience.
Fortunately, preventing customers from misusing their return policy does not necessarily mean sacrificing the customer experience. Tools that analyze customer touchpoints to identify abusers and implement real-time decision making can apply policies at each step of the customer’s journey. This allows good customers to gain legitimate interests and prevent malicious individuals from misusing policies.
Easy is expected now
An easy experience has become a table bet to win customer attention and loyalty. The reality is daunting, but there’s a lot to be gained. Advances in digital technology, along with greater control over digital technology, provide an easy experience within the reach of any business. And artificial intelligence (AI) is built into the core of applications that can make them happen.
AI applications such as intelligent virtual agents, bio-authentication, predictive analytics, and AI-based knowledge bases are already helping businesses reduce friction and provide a more consistent and satisfying experience.Emerging AI-based experience platform Takes these advances further by enabling enterprises to use these applications to create experiences that are tailored to the exact needs of their customers.
Communication-related tasks can be performed through automated and purposeful apps that provide a consistent experience across mobile, web, wearable, conversational, and immersive touchpoints. And as the enjoyable experience becomes more and more common, customers gain complete control over the services being adopted. This means that you will receive services at exactly the time you want, depending on the situation, and spend little or no effort to use them.
Transcosmos, Inc., a Japan-based business process outsourcing provider based in 30 countries, is already taking advantage of the many possibilities currently available in its AI-based experience platform. The company chose Avaya OneCloud with Google Cloud Contact Center AI to deploy advanced virtual agents that provide intuitive and natural conversational interactions. No agent invention is required at all touchpoints. This solution eliminates the need for customers to repeat the problem and allows agents to resolve the problem more quickly. Transcosmos uses sentiment analysis capabilities built into solutions powered by natural language processing technology to gain new insights and analytics, improving CSAT scores and operational efficiency.
The future is here
An easy future is already happening. Activities that used to take a lot of time and effort are now done in seconds. As technology advances and immediate satisfaction is expected, comfort is becoming an integral part of customer comfort. With an AI-powered experience platform, you can configure the simple experiences your customers are currently expecting, while opening up countless new opportunities to maximize the growth potential of AI.
Learn more about here.
Simon Harrison is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, leading global marketing capabilities, engaging with new and existing customers and partners, driving adoption of the company’s software solutions and leading the dynamic digital communications market. Supports Avaya.
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