Digital Transformation: Redefining Customer Experience in 2020
In current times, we’ve seen a massive change in customer experience and service practices driven by IT service providers, customers and vendors. Due to global digital transformation, the classical framework of customer experience is being disrupted. The digital age has completely transformed the way and manner in which we shop and share our experiences with others. Commerce is rapidly moving online, with shopping experiences being optimized websites, mobile apps and even social platforms.
In a research conducted by IDC, two-thirds of the CEOs of Global 2,000 companies will move their focus from traditional, offline strategies to advanced modern digital strategies to enhance their customer experience – with 34% of companies believing they’ll adopt the full benefits of digital transformation in12 months or less.
The customer engagement rules are quickly changing as well. For a business to continue to acquire and retain customers, they need to welcome this change and adapt to the new dynamics. A lot of organizations leverage the power and capabilities of leading-edge technologies to disrupt the market and provide their customers with an even more personalized and fulfilling purchasing experience.
They employ intelligent software solutions that are based on Artificial Intelligence, Predictive Analysis and Big Data, which allow them to collect and analyze huge volumes of real-time data on customer behaviour, gain invaluable insights, and build more enhanced and effective marketing strategies.
This article will cover how customer experience has evolved in all its intricacies. It will also touch on current trends and exciting future plans that are related to the digital transformation application in customer experiences.
Omnichannel Customer Interactions
The digital transformation has resulted in the ever-increasing popularity of digital services. This requires companies to take a step back and evaluate their entire customer journey, in order to optimize contact points.
In a research conducted by Deloitte, it was ascertained that about 60% of customers interact with a company through different channels and expect consistency of user experience irrespective of the selected channel to time, device, place, or any other medium.
Companies need to invest in creating a smooth and easy to access omnichannel customer experience to enhance customer satisfaction and minimize churn. An omnichannel approach means an effective mix of digital channels (mobile, social media) and traditional ones (call centre, offline store) to deliver a seamless experience.
It is very critical to develop not just a beautiful but responsive easy to navigate the website, a mobile version of the site, and unique cross-platform application which allows customers to stay connected with a company at any point in time and from any device. The omnichannel approach also means that an organization should have a solid social media presence and at all times be ready to interact with customers and prospects everywhere. The benefit of an omnichannel strategy is that it helps to create customer touch-points that complement each other allowing customers to be in constant interaction with your brand or business as they switch between different platforms.
Servicing Connected Devices
Thanks to digital transformation, service teams can utilize connected devices to monitor processes remotely and analyze equipment data to predict possible errors and mitigate risks. Connected devices enable service teams to monitor asset conditions like usage, temperature, and vibration all in real-time. It opens up a completely new area for services and increases efficiency in maintaining approaches. Improved analytics techniques and software provide new incredible opportunities that can also improve customer service, predict future failures, and prevent them.
Early on in time, we were able to make use of only the correction or preventative approach to customer maintenance services. In recent times, however, technological innovations in data analytics and the Internet of Things provide the opportunity to improve on already existing traditional methods and employ a predictive maintenance approach.
Technology advancement in both data analytics and connected devices today present the opportunity to improve on traditional methods and make use of a predictive maintenance approach.
Fostering Loyalty Through Customer Service
We live in an interconnected world, and in modern times, many business processes are becoming more and more transparent to customers. On the other side of the coin, customer experiences, excellent or shambolic, can reach millions of people within minutes. People share their experiences with a product on forums, social media and blogs to help others in their purchasing decisions or prevent them from making such purchases as the case may be. This is why customer service teams play an extremely crucial role in building and fostering customer loyalty to a brand than ever before.
More so, after considering the cost of acquiring new customers, a lot of companies realize the critical need to build and encourage longer-term relationships with its customers. These days customer service teams need to be extremely helpful and polite, most especially when it comes to operating during a crisis. The customer service should be well trained and fully equipped with frequently asked questions (FAQs) and helpful answers that will assist and guide the customer easily on the purchasing path.
The general characteristics of those who make up the support should be people who are generally friendly, consultative, helpful communicators and most of all who are great listeners. The key rule for hiring customer service representatives today is to hire people who are good with great character and attitude and train them for the up-skill.
Engaging User Experiences
In recent times, online channels have become an integral part of a complete customer journey. The quality of a user interface design and experience of interacting with a brand through these digital channels have a huge influence on how the company is perceived by its target audience in general. Hence, it is clear that the current conditions demand that companies increasingly invest in creating a more intuitive user experience and putting in place creative digital initiatives. These measures will help a company increase customer satisfaction and brand recognition.
Building Customer Communities
In times such as these where half of our interaction with the world happens via the web, building a strong customer community is very important. This helps in reducing the number of calls and requests to the support team, get invaluable customer insights, introducing new products or services to people, develop improvement plans alongside your target audience, and fuel a positive word-of-mouth marketing.
Human-to-human interactions, regardless of if they happen via digital channels, can create genuine long-term relationships between companies and their audiences. With Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other online platforms available today, brands can grow their communities much faster and easier than ever before. Applying state-of-the-art social media listening tools, powered by artificial intelligence, companies can identify their customer preferences, behaviours, purchasing patterns, and keep up to date with industry trends.
It enables brands to optimize their offering for the customer’s real needs and provides their customer support teams with valuable information on the best ways to serve their customers better by meeting all their expectations.
More Personalized Customer Experience
Customers these days expect that companies already “know” them and offer them a more customized shopping experience. In a research conducted by Accenture, they found that 75% of customers admit that they are more likely to buy from a brand that is aware of their name, purchase history, and will recommend relevant products based on their previous purchasing experience and patterns.
The good news about this is that majority of customers gladly share their data to allow companies create more personalized shopping. To make the most of this opportunity, companies need to invest in developing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. With a CRM system in place, companies can collate, process, analyze, and research customer-related data on the basis of their previous interactions with a brand. It will help companies create highly customized messages to their customers and increase their brand loyalty.
The Power of Digitized Data
It has become essential for companies to invest in getting the right technologies and software to collate, store, process, and analyze customer-related data at each stage of the customer journey. All data about a customer can be directed from different channels to a centralized database, giving them the ability to create a smooth experience even when there are some disruptions between communication mediums and formats.
Micro segmented data gives the opportunity for businesses to match customer profiles with offerings directly, and further anticipate customer needs to fulfil them in real-time. Business can utilize data from mobile devices and social networks to enable geo-targeting and perform highly customized actions based on predictive analytics.
It is important to add that brands can also collate customer information and feedback from mobile surveys, social feeds, as well as other online channels to minimize the cost of conducting full-fledged market research and get a better understanding of consumer wants and pain-points.
The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Customer Service
Artificial intelligence impacts the customer experience in various ways, from improving customer support with human-like communication experience by offering chatbots to predictive analytics giving real-time suggestions to consumers.
Maxie Schmidt, Principal Analyst at Forrester opines: “Using in-stream analytics, firms can analyze interactions as they occur and provide prompts that help employees improve the customer experience at the moment. AI algorithms also help with micro-learning so employees can practice customer-centric behaviours in near real-time.”
Customer Service in the B2B World
While the B2C world has made immense progress in customer experience over the past few years for many customer-facing companies. The B2B space is however still lagging behind. Many B2B companies don’t focus on customer experience, and B2B customers have become accustomed to the same mediocre experience each time. This is in contrast to the convenient, customized experiences they see in their personal lives as they interact with their favourite brands every day. B2B has a lot of ground to cover in terms of tools and a greater emphasis placed on customer experience.
In the same vein, B2B companies are growing at a rapid pace. Amazon Business, which is Amazon’s B2B branch, is predicted to be worth $31 billion in four years, even as experts consider investors largely ignore it. The same holds true for B2B companies across many industries facing incredible growth. It is clear that there are customers waiting for better service.
Although there are B2B companies that have made the push for customer experience, like IBM, which assigns each customer a team of specialists to help them with integrating the IBM Cloud into their current programs and best leverage the program, and FedEx, which streamlined its customer communication to become one of the most trusted B2B companies, have been super successful in driving innovation and separating themselves from their competition. The rest of the B2B world need to follow this example in serving its customers well and get the attention they deserve.
It is expected that 2020 will bring customer experience into a new decade. The immense growth in customer-centric practices we’ve seen in recent years will only continue to grow in the coming decade, giving customers greater power and companies more opportunity to grow than ever before.
In today’s world, we can see an exciting interrelationship of digital innovations, commerce, and human-to-human interactions. This all combining into the future of customer experience empowered by emerging technologies. To remain competitive, it is essential that companies adapt quickly to the ‘new normal’ by ensuring digital transformation in different fields, from the organizing of teamwork processes to sales and marketing initiatives and to customer support. We can only hope, that these insights will help you take a fresh look at the customer experience and reimagine for your business in 2020 and onward.