For years now, CX (Customer Experience) has been one of the most important areas for any business leader to focus on. As consumers continue to gain access to endless new choices from different brands, loyalty is dropping, pushing brands to work harder to retain their clients.
According to PWC, it’s not price or product features that will determine whether your customers stick with you for the long-haul, but the experiences you can offer. 73% of customers rank CX as the top deciding factor in their purchasing choices. Plus, over 40% are willing to pay extra for better customer service, even in a time of economic distress.
Investing in new CX strategies and technology is how business leaders ensure they can future-proof, and even recession-proof their companies for the years to come. However, with so many different solutions to choose from, it can be challenging to know where to start.
Here are some of the most effective strategies worth investing in during 2023.
1. Cloud Convergence
As customer expectations evolve at a record rate, companies need to invest in tools which allow them to adapt and pivot rapidly to the needs of their customers. The cloud offers a phenomenal opportunity for this. CCaaS platforms give businesses the freedom to add new channels, strategies, and resources to their contact centre whenever they choose.
However, a CCaaS solution on its own may not offer the best advantages to growing companies. The contact centre and CX strategy shouldn’t be separate from the rest of the company’s operations. Instead, everything needs to be unified in a central cloud environment, so teams can collaborate, access shared data, and gain end-to-end visibility into the customer journey. As a result, more companies are beginning to converge their SaaS, CCaaS, and UCaaS tools into one space.
Not only does this strategy help to keep distributed teams and data connected, but it can also reduce the amount of effort involved in tracking metrics throughout the business.
2. Putting EX before CX
A strong CX strategy is essential for any company hoping to delight, retain, and engage its customers in the years to come. However, it’s important for brands to remember the customer experience isn’t the only one worth optimizing. As the workplace has continued to evolve, brands have discovered the engagement of their employees has a direct impact on customer satisfaction.
In order to deliver great customer experiences, businesses first need to build tools and environments where all kinds of staff members can thrive. This means investing in streamlined, straightforward tools for employees, as well as solutions for keeping staff engaged. Workforce management tools are becoming increasingly intertwined with CCaaS solutions, to help companies make the most of their resources. Plus, brands are beginning to monitor agent satisfaction and engagement more actively.
Ensuring the employee experience is on the right track is the first step business leaders can take to creating an amazing customer service experience. The more empowered the employee, the happier the customer is likely to be.
3. Embracing Data and Personalization
The use of data to enhance customer experiences is nothing new. But companies are rapidly discovering new ways to collect different kinds of information about their target audience. Increasingly, brands are looking into concepts like sentiment analysis and intent tracking, powered by artificial intelligence, to help them monitor the customer journey. Going forward, these strategies for advanced purchase and interaction mapping will only continue to grow.
The more information a company can safely collect from its target audience, the more they can segment each user, and deliver personalized experiences. This is crucial at a time when customers are beginning to expect more “hyper-personalized” interactions from every brand. An end-to-end environment where agents can rapidly access information about a customer and use that data to provide more relevant support will be essential for the future of CX.
Used correctly, the data captured about each customer can even power predictive strategies, which allow companies to address and target problems before they begin to cause lasting problems with customer loyalty. It all starts with having the right data strategy in place.
4. Implementing Intelligent Self-Service
It’s no secret that self-service strategies have taken the world by storm in the last few years. Around 81% of consumers now say they prefer to solve problems by themselves before they reach out to a service agent. Giving customers the power to solve their own issues without agent input is an important part of generating a good customer experience.
However, it’s important for brands to go beyond the basics with their self-service strategies. While FAQs and basic chatbots may be suitable for some simplistic issues, many consumers are now looking for more intelligent bot interactions. Natural Language Processing and conversational analytics tools will allow organizations to build bots which can actually understand and respond to a wider range of issues presented by customers.
The more intelligent your self-service strategy is, the more capable it will be of completing tasks on the behalf of employees, giving agents more time to deal with other service issues.
5. Exploring New Modes of Communication
Omnichannel CX is another concept which has been gaining increased attention in the last couple of years. However, the evolution of the communication channels consumers want to use has only just begun. For instance, many customers are now relying on voice bots with NLP features to search for content and complete transactions online. This means businesses need to be able to serve clients who are investing more heavily in voice search.
Elsewhere, consumers who want to gain extra insights and guidance from remote agents are looking more towards video conferencing as a solution for service. With video and screen-sharing tools, agents can more conveniently walk customers through the process of solving various problems and troubleshooting issues remotely.
In the years to come, we may even see a rising demand for companies to use concepts like “extended reality” in their CX strategies, so they can interact with clients through augmented, virtual, and even mixed reality applications.
6. Unlocking Greater Visibility and Control
With more channels to manage than ever before, and distributed employees working from all over the world, business leaders also need to think about how they’re managing and distributing communication tools. Concepts like SDWAN have grown increasingly popular in the UCaaS environment already, to assist companies in ensuring their employees can continue to access the same service quality for calls, wherever they are.
Going forward, as the digital investments of companies continue to accelerate, it will be important for every business leader to ensure they have absolute control and visibility over their entire communication and cloud stack. This will mean investing more heavily in tools for monitoring, tracking, and measuring important metrics.
While service management tools in the UC and CCaaS sector are still in their early stages, many vendors in this landscape are beginning to implement new reporting and analytics strategies specifically to help enhance the business intelligence companies may be able to access.
7. Strengthening Security and Compliance
Finally, in order to really deliver amazing customer experiences in the years to come, businesses will need to ensure their new technology investments don’t force them to compromise on security and compliance. Customers are becoming increasingly concerned about how their data is monitored, managed, and used in the communication space.
Implementing new tools for tracking the transmission of data, encrypting conversations, and strengthening security will be crucial for any business going forward. Brands will need to think about everything from how they remain compliant with GDPR when using AI bots, to how they can reduce fraud issues by implementing biometric tools and advanced authentication.
Implementing stronger security measures should ensure companies can gain the trust of their customers as we progress into an increasingly uncertain digital landscape.