What Does The Ideal Customer Experience Look Like In 2022?
The ideal customer experience hasn’t changed that much, in its essence the best experience is the one where the customer reaches their desired outcome with as little friction as possible (Hubspot). What has changed is, how customers reach that outcome and how organisations deliver it.
The past two years have radically changed consumer habits and decision making, with the pandemic bringing into sharp focus what matters most. This, in combination with repeated lockdowns, has meant that more and more people are finding alternative ways to engage with brands.
How Have Behaviours Changed?
Ecommerce and online shopping have seen a significant and understandable increase during COVID-19, with BusinessLive reporting that 52% of the UK’s top retailers seeing an average 52% increase in their online traffic over the last year. For many customers, the safety of shopping at home and the convenience of online purchasing has created this appeal, not to mention the added value of fast shipping.
Whilst, there is still a place for more traditional channels of communication such as telephone calls, digital has fast become the predominant method for how customers find information and gain support. This Ranges from social media to web forms and chatbots and for consumers, these are more convenient, often instant gratification, and deliver time savings.
There has been a fundamental shift in customer attitudes and values as a result of COVID-19, and these have vastly changed throughout the pandemic. In the beginning, due to economic uncertainty, with many job losses and government furlough schemes, customers were cost-conscious, causing a dip in retail sales. Fast forward 18 months and customers are a little less cost-focused, but what is important to many is the perceived integrity of brands – whether they are responsible and deliver a good level of service.
How Can Organisations Deliver The Ideal Customer Experience?
As detailed above, customer expectations and behaviours have changed, so, the question is how do businesses respond to these changes?
Omni-Channel Support & Services
Investment in omni-channel experience for customers has increased significantly from 20% – 80%
The increase and popularity of digital channels have meant that consumers have a wider variety of channels to communicate with brands and, businesses need to be able to serve customers regardless of the channel they choose. For many organisations, this means placing additional strains on existing teams who are already dealing with an influx of queries and who would be expected to deliver a consistent level of service across all channels.
Intelligent Automation technologies such as Conversational Assistants could help businesses reduce the pressure on their contact centre teams. Assistants can automatically handle inbound queries and requests – delivering improved deflection and experiences across multiple channels (websites, social media, voice, mobile, and many more).
90% of consumers rate an “immediate” response as important or very important when they have a customer service question. (Hubspot)
The commonplace use of services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime has meant that people are used to receiving what they need almost immediately. This requirement for instant gratification is also reflected in an expectation of immediate responses from brands, whether that is from customer support or internal teams such as IT or HR.
This can often be a near-impossible challenge for businesses, who in combination with needing to serve a wider variety of channels as mentioned above, also have numerous other tasks and strategic initiatives to manage.
Intelligent Automation can again be deployed to overcome the challenge of instant gratification, delivering on-demand service. Conversational Assistants are available to users when and wherever they need them, delivering more personalised experiences using advanced AI technology such as Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing.
Crucially, many Conversational Assistants, such as those provided by Humley, can be integrated with RPA bots and internal business systems, delivering actionability to users. For example, supporting users with performing such as requesting delivery updates and amending orders. In this way, the technology can further help to improve user experiences and satisfaction.
People In The Mix
Nearly 60% of customers feel that long holds and wait times are the most frustrating parts of a service experience. (Zendesk)
Despite all the advancements in technology, communication channels, and sources of information available, often customers still want to speak with a real person. The increasing volume of inbound requests and queries being received means that enabling this for customers is not always possible – with customers often subject to long waiting times.
With the implementation of the technologies mentioned above, contact centre and other internal teams are freed up to focus on speaking and engaging with the customers who really need it. Further improving customer engagement, retention, and a brand reputation.
If you are interested in finding out more about how technology can support your customers and support teams, get in touch today.