Catalyst

And that’s how you connect to customers!

Varun Goswami | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 03, 2016

In one voice A unified view of the customer can make communication effective and businesses profitable   -  shutterstock.com/rawpixel

A spotty view can result in unproductive communication

The age of the baby boomers has given way to the age of the millennials. If your organisation has been in existence for at least a decade or more, you must have observed the change in your customer's expectations. The basic need for quality service remains constant, what changes is the way your customer expects you to connect with them. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. (Customers 2020 Report) This should give organisations a strong enough impetus to realign their customer relationship strategy. Here are some interesting insights:

Sixty-two per cent of global consumers have stopped doing business with a brand or organisation due to a poor customer service experience

Seventy per cent of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated

A 10 per cent increase in customer retention levels result in a 30 per cent increase in the value of the company

CX – a tangram of channel, message, context

The cumulative effect of individual customer interactions with the company, over the life-cycle of each customer is summed up as customer experience. Let's break this down. Individual customer interactions with the company connote one-to-one dialogue that a customer has over multiple touch points. Today the touch point scenario is more dynamic than ever. With the shifting demography, more and more innovative touch points are coming to the fore. Email, SMS, IVR and call support are being complemented by rising demand from customers to connect through social media, web portal, app notifications and the likes. Result? A need for well co-ordinated customer communication across channels.

However, having said that, doling out a good customer experience is more than just managing touch-point communication. Adding to the complexity is the customer demand for contextual, timely and precise communication. The nature of communication also influences the choice of channel. For example, on-demand communication such as an interim bank statement request or a customised holiday package order, by their very ad hoc nature, need businesses to respond via a channel keeping customer’s preference and time-frame in mind. Therefore, a long telephonic conversation or a physical dispatch of tickets might not be the best idea here while an e-mail and SMS combo could be the best suited method for ticket delivery.

Likewise, structured communications such as monthly bank statements or monthly bill alerts would do well when sent on registered e-mail and phone number (SMS). Interactive communications, on the other hand, are often customer-initiated. An insurance claim request submitted via a physical visit, a ticket raised via phone call to report suspicious bank account activity or a complaint regarding a product or service via social media are all examples involving to-and-fro interaction between the business and the customer.

In-short, a good customer experience is all about permutation and combination, a tangram of sorts – of the right communication channel, the right message and the context to deliver personalised experience to customers.

Mastering communication

Perfecting touch point communication is one part of the job done. More often than not, it has been observed that even organisations that have been able to resolve complaints within service level agreements, maintain a consistent communication with customers over touch points, have had customers complaining about poor customer experience. So where’s the chink in the armour? While companies have focused on getting communication across single touch points right, they overlooked syncing the entire process. Siloed processes continue to cause less than good customer experience. Stakeholders in businesses have different end goals. Sales people, the execution team, the front end staff, the customer complaint resolution cell have different views of the same customer. The customer is only a number and no context exists. Even if implementation is done on time, complaints are resolved in time and queries are addressed in time, the customer is dissatisfied as representatives of the same organisation are unaware of the customer history. Imagine if all stakeholders had a single unified view of the customer – when did he purchase a product, did he come back looking for another product, did he have any issue with the product, if yes, then how fast was it resolved – what a power-packed piece of service can be delivered to the customer every time!

What organisations require to master this googly is a strong backbone of customer communications management (CCM) platform. A robust CCM platform has a document management and workflow tool at its core to create, personalise and deliver consistent communications across multiple channels.

It lets stakeholders utilise customer information effectively by easily creating timely, effective, personalised and targeted communication across platforms. Multi-channel delivery of batch, interactive, and on-demand communications helps businesses enhance customer experience, and drive unprecedented enterprise growth. A good CCM system ensures end-to-end management and monitoring of various processes involved in the customer communications life cycle including request initiation, creation, output generation and distribution. It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience, according to customer software service firm Parature.

This is unnerving for businesses, but doable. To achieve customer delight, it’s a journey that needs to be undertaken. A journey that entails a shift in organisational mind-set, culture and processes. It’s a strategic change we are looking at and a CCM platform can help organisations get started on this transformational journey.

Published on November 03, 2016
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