Consumers expect brands to deliver a consistent customer experience (CX) across multiple touch points. They also want the ability to communicate with businesses or receive support via channels of their preferences from anywhere –– at any time.
This shift in consumer preferences has made customer experience a top priority for many businesses, and there are a few good reasons why.
- Eight-six percent (86%) of consumers are willing to pay more for better CX.
- By 2020, CX will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
- Fourty-nine (49%) of buyers have made impulse purchases after receiving a personalized experience.
- An outstanding CX is key to improving customer retention, boosting customer satisfaction, and increasing up-selling or cross-selling.
- Eighty-eight (88%) of companies are now prioritizing CX in their contact center operations.
To stay competitive, you need the latest tools and technologies to create a responsive and relevant customer experience that meets the fast-evolving consumer expectations.
Here are four key tech-savvy tools you can implement to deliver a seamless customer experience:
1. Live chat
Live chat is the most convenient way for online visitors to contact your company and get their questions answered in real-time without leaving your website. It’s an essential customer engagement tool because you can:
- Answer shoppers’ questions in real-time when they need assistance so they can get the product recommendations or assistance needed to complete a purchase.
- Provide immediate resolutions to issues and queries. This can help improve pre-sale support to increase conversion rates and post-sale customer care to boost loyalty.
- Combine customer profile (e.g., from your CRM system) and visitors’ browsing history so agents can have the contextual information they need to provide the most relevant content and offers.
- Use chatbot technologies to route customer inquiries to the right agents to minimize wait time and streamline the support experience.
2. Text messaging (SMS)
Ninety-eight percent (98%) of all text messages are opened (compared to 22% of all emails), making SMS a highly effective channel for customer communications. Also, 52% of consumers prefer texting with a customer service rep to other modes of communication.
To effectively use SMS as a customer support tool, make sure your agents are delivering a friendly, conversational, and personalized experience. You can also grow your business with SMS, gather customer feedback and following up with customers to increase engagement.
In addition, you can implement a unified messaging app to manage voice, fax, and text messages (e.g., SMS, MMS, Google Voice, and Google Talk, etc.) on a single platform to streamline workflows and ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
3. Self-service customer support
Today’s consumers want access to information when they need it. In fact, according to customer feedback studies, 67% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to an agent and 91% of customers would use an online knowledgebase whenever available. Also, Gartner predicted that up to 75% of customer engagements will be conducted via self-service tools.
The most common ways to improve customer experience through self-service include offering robust e-commerce account management functions, a comprehensive FAQ page, and a searchable knowledge base.
If you offer self-service resources, make sure the features are working properly while the information is comprehensive and up-to-date to avoid frustration. Also, make continuous improvements by gathering input from your agents and tracking usage so you can create the most relevant content.
4. Social media support
Consumers connect with brands and share their experiences on social media. A social media presence allows you to not only build relationships with your audience and answer their questions directly but also see how they think about your brand and products so you can make improvements.
To offer effective customer support via social media, make sure you’re using social media automation and management tools. Also, ensure you’re adequately staffed to monitor activity and respond to inquiries or complaints promptly. Doing so demonstrates to prospects that you take CX seriously and it can help you attract more customers.
In addition, use a social media support application or a social media listening tool to monitor new posts and mentions about your brand. Some applications offer sentiment analysis, which interprets customers’ language to determine the nature of the message (e.g., a compliment vs. a complaint) so you can prioritize responses.
Creating a seamless CX
Implementing the right technology and tools allows you to deliver a seamless and consistent customer experience across multiple channels in real-time to meet today’s consumer expectations.
To select the right technologies, identify touchpoints that your customers use most frequently so you can digitalize the channel and automate workflows to streamline the customer experience.
Also, apply solutions that’ll deliver a user experience that complements your business model while meeting your customers’ needs and expectations so you can maximize your ROI.
Megan Wright is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. Chamber specializes in helping small businesses grow their business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
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