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Be empathetic to your customers with omnichannel Customer Experience (CX)

Omnichannel customer experience – Digitalisation has grown exponentially over the course of the past few years, and for customer service, this means an expectation from consumers that they should be able to communicate easily with their best loved brands across multiple channels – from over the phone to email to social media. This is especially true for younger digital natives, who expect instant and accessible ways to reach organisations, be it their favourite retailer through TikTok or their bank through a mobile app.

But in addition to wanting and expecting an omnichannel customer experience, the customer of today, across every demographic, also wants to have an empathetic and personalised journey. Induced by the cost-of-living crisis and threat of recession, customers want to know that brands can be sympathetic whilst also delivering a personalised experience – be it an individual greeting by name by a Contact Centre agent or specifically curated offerings over social media. The customer of today is here, and they expect an exceptional experience.

Why it’s important to be aware of the views of today’s customer

From social media to online reviews, it has never been easier for today’s digital-savvy customer to leave an impact on a brand’s reputation. Considering 84% of customers say they trust online reviews as much as they would trust recommendations from friends, customers really can make or break a reputation with just a few clicks of a button.

What’s more, competition is fierce for brands across every sector, making it easy for customers to jump ship to an alternative brand – especially if the competition offers a better customer experience. For example, PWC found that 41% of customers who had difficulties with their insurers’ digital capabilities are more likely to switch providers. Keeping digital channels open then is paramount to staying ahead of competitors.

Indeed, even when it comes to complaints, companies that can achieve efficient and timely resolutions across multiple channels are in a much better position to harness customer loyalty. This is never truer than in the retail sector as customers who have complaints resolved quickly are shown to have a purchase intention rate of 82%.

Even if the problem is not one that can be instantly fixed, customers will be reassured to hear an agent express empathy and interact with them on a personal level while they work to resolve the issue. In fact, 80% of customers claim they will only shop with brands that deliver these personable touches. Understanding that today’s digital-first customer expects brands to deliver omnichannel customer experience with a human touch is paramount to securing long-term loyalty and trust from customers.

However, knowledge is just the first step. The real results come with meaningful actions.

 Technologies that can cater to the customer of today

In the age of the digital, cloud-based Contact Centre, there is a plethora of technological solutions that can enable organisations to better meet the expectations of today’s customer.

IVR for example, puts the time a customer is on hold to good use by gathering information on the customer – such as name, reason for calling and customer service history. This helps Contact Centres to triage calls, as the information collected enables them to put customers through to the right department and provide agents with all relevant information so that they can start helping the customer as soon as they’re connected. This is especially helpful in fulfilling the personalised expectations of the customer of today, as agents can greet them by name and know their previous history with that brand.

Chatbots are also great for the tech-savvy customer who prefers to get answers to questions without speaking to an agent. Available 24/7/365, chatbots that are powered by AI and with pre-prepared Q&As, can help answer customer queries at a time that suits them. They also provide reams of data that can be analysed to help improve the customer journey – for example, if the data shows that a question is repeatedly being asked on the chatbot about a particular product or service, changes can be made to improve that element.

In the same vein, incorporating an analytical element to an omnichannel offering is key to learning directly from customers how improvements can be made, and expectations better met. Speech and text analytics, for example, can provide invaluable information that is used to make positive changes. Whether customers are contacting an organisation over the phone or via text-based channels like email or chatbot, their comments are filled with data and feedback about branding, products, processes and services. What’s more, sentiment analytics enables organisations to track how customers are feeling and indicate to the customer service agent to be aware and react accordingly. If the customer mentions a specific topic, suggested answers and offers can be presented in real time to enhance the service offered.

What’s next?

As 2023 unfolds, digital omnichannel customer experience will only grow in importance. The advancements made in CX over the course of the past few years have improved both the customer journey and enabled Contact Centres to diversify their CX offerings to meet and deliver on the customer expectations of today. But as customer expectations continue to evolve and change as new challenges like the cost-of-living crisis come into play, organisations must continue to look to innovate, and deliver a customer journey that is as human and empathetic as it is technologically innovative.