Five things I’ve learned: Operating in a new customer landscape
- 26 March, 2012 11:06
- Customers, not systems, should drive the conversation
In recent years, I’ve seen a shift away from system-driven customer interaction to an increased focus on the customer experience. People expect more of your business — this requires a way of engaging which reflects the needs of the customer first. Companies who allow customers to define their own journey are seeing many benefits in contrast to those who let systems or internal process dictate customer interactions.
- Customers want to communicate on a variety of devices, via multiple channels
An abundance of new devices has given customers access to many more channels of communication; such as SMS, instant chat and social networks. Customers want the opportunity communicate across multiple channels, often on different devices, to solve problems on their terms. More and more organisations are striving to implement cross-channel customer service solutions that offer multi-platform access. One of my clients, a telco with millions of customers, offers the option of iPhone, iPad, Kindle, Macbook and PC platforms. To stay relevant, you must provide these device options and ways to interact.
- Consistency drives positive customer experience
Customers now expect information and services to be the same each time they interact with an individual organisation — and why not? Once a customer has chosen their preferred channel, the underlying process should be intuitive, dynamic, efficient but most importantly consistent. This is where many companies struggle. Implementing a consistent and efficient cross channel strategy is fundamental to customer satisfaction.
- The workforce wants access ‘anywhere, anytime’
Increasingly, I’m seeing clients faced with demands from internal staff who want to be online anywhere, anytime. From the Contact Centre to the Field Agent, the workforce expects flexibility in their roles, and it’s important that organisations respond if they’re to keep their employees motivated and productive. This is especially true in terms of attracting and retaining the best talent. Within reason, companies need to embrace a mobile work environment, where process and data can be accessed seamlessly on demand.
- It’s (still) all about the process
Getting the business process right is key, now, more than ever. Yet, I still see companies tackling new world customer problems with rigid, inflexible and siloed technology. Organisations need to deliver the right message, on the right device via the right channel to cater for each individual customer. The best way to address this challenge is to first forget the system and focus on fine tuning the customer process the way you think it should be. The systems job is simply to deliver on that business process vision. The implementation of solid processes based upon customer insight significantly improves satisfaction and drives revenue. Results such as ‘First Contact Resolution up 75 per cent’ speak for themselves; process-based CRM is a proven way to both achieve a business return and put the customer first.
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