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What technologies must be utilised to keep up with the post-pandemic customer

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By Helen Briggs, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Genesys

Helen Briggs, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Genesys

The pandemic has profoundly changed the way in which customers and businesses interact with one another. With lockdowns, remote working and uncertainty about what the future holds, people’s sense of connection to others have shifted. We found in our recent survey that one in three consumers report feeling more isolated than before. This is reflected in the change of expectations from customers around how, when and where businesses should communicate with customers.  

Now, there is mounting pressure on businesses to provide customers with empathetic experiences as they want to feel heard and understood after experiencing such challenging times. This can be achieved by providing a service that is personalised to each of their individual needs. 

By leveraging technology, businesses can provide support to customers when it’s needed in a way that is suited to them. Whether it’s through a traditional phone call, a live chat, or a messaging service, consumers can engage with brands in more ways than ever before. Alongside this, businesses need to make sure they are utilising customer data collected through these channels that allows them to anticipate and predict needs before a customer is aware of it themselves.

If there is one thing that the pandemic accelerated, it is the digitisation of services, with many consumers now preferring and expecting to use digital channels for their purchases and experiences. Organisations need to be able to keep up with the rate of change, so that they can connect with customers at their exact moment of need and scale empathetic digital experiences that help to drive loyalty, establish long lasting relationships and positively impact the bottom line. To connect with the post-pandemic customer, businesses need to consider the following six points. 

Digital is the new norm

Customers want contextual, personalised and seamless experiences across every channel and touch point. The harder it is for them to contact a business, the more likely they are to choose its competitors. Businesses need cloud software that is open, scalable and easy to integrate with existing infrastructures. Having the right cloud technology in place, in combination with AI, enables organisations to better orchestrate experiences that ensures customers are treated as individuals from the outset. 

Designing and managing seamless experiences.

Modern businesses need to support many digital channels, touch points and interaction modes that allow customers to seek self-service, assisted-service or proactive-service options. This is important in providing customers support in a way that best suits their situation.  However, many companies are missing a key component — the ability to link interactions, across channels, in a step-by-step workflow. Without this, they miss pieces of the customer journey, which limits their ability to provide personalised, contextual experiences.

Businesses need to use modern tools to automate processes which ensure that, no matter how users reach out, they receive consistent responses and experiences.

Using contextual information to personalise journeys.

When users engage digitally, businesses can gather key customer insights which can be used to craft a clear customer profile and offer personalised interactions. This is especially important as 34% of consumers reported that their experience of customer service is improved when a business remembers them and anticipates why they are contacting them.

Customer context management tools can help to create these personalised experiences, allowing businesses to keep track of how, why and when users reach out. Over time, this information paints a clear picture of the customer that allows businesses to understand their preferences, anticipate what they need and provide solutions that are meaningful to them.

Offering a human touch at the right time.

Monitoring digital engagement shows businesses how users want to interact with them, providing insights into their intent and the details of their recent interactions. Plus, the data adds to overarching customer profiles.

Comparing real-time customer behaviours with historical data about similar customers and events, predictive analytics tools then use that data to inform outreach efforts. This means uses can be contacted on the most appropriate channel and at the best time for them. 

It’s important to offer a personal touch that’s relevant and helpful. For example, offer chat, co-browse and call-back invitations that are unobtrusive. This lets businesses offer help in a way that doesn’t turn customers away from their current task and is best suited to their individual situation.

Communicate to connect, not just sell.

Customers want to feel a sense of connection when they interact with businesses, not that they are simply trying to sell them something.59% of consumers reported that companies they saw as providing excellent service sent non-sales related communications. That means sending out notifications such as appointment and bill reminders, service notices and so on that make the customer feel that a business is thinking of them and that their needs are important. 

When a business reaches out to its customers, they need to deliver messages that are timely, relevant and helpful. This can be achieved by offering automatic reminders or updates at all stages of the customer journey and giving options across channels (email, text, etc.) to customise these communications. 

 Simplifying employees’ workflows.

Customers expect seamless service now, no matter how they connect with a business. If employees have to switch between different tools and interfaces, it limits their ability to deliver good customer service. This makes interactions frustrating for both the agents and customers.

To offer a seamless experience, there needs to be the right tools and infrastructure in place. Employees and other knowledge workers need a desktop application that should integrates with an existing CRM and back-office systems to give a single, unified view of all channel interactions. It should also back up agents with supporting context and relevant knowledge base articles.

When businesses make it easier for their employees to access the information and tools they need, everyone benefits. It reduces employee frustrations and increases job satisfaction. Plus, it drives first-contact resolution rates, which boosts customer satisfaction by making sure they receive the best solutions when and where needed.

Investing in the future.

It is important now more than ever for businesses to make a real investment in their customer experience management to deliver truly empathetic experiences at scale. After customers have faced such challenging times, they need to be met with understanding and provided solutions that are personalised to their individual situation. Only through this, will businesses be able to establish themselves as loyalty leaders, with long-lasting relationships with the communities that they serve.

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