By Vasili Triant
Customer services operations were disrupted to the core over the past 24 months. While many brands are still playing catch-up, leaders are using the disruption as a catalyst to completely revitalize and modernize the customer experience — and they are starting with the contact center. With the New Year upon us, let’s resolve to elevate and modernize how we serve our customers. Here are three CX resolutions to get started.
1. Spend more time focusing on your customer
Fifty-eight percent of consumers will switch companies because of poor customer service, according to the Microsoft Global State of Customer Service report. Similarly, brands that are customer-centric are 60 percent more profitable than those that aren’t. With numbers like this, it’s hard to understand why every business doesn’t make CX its number one priority.
The contact center has historically struggled to embrace this truth. Many brands claim a customer-first mentality — but in reality, they prioritize costs. They make it hard to interact, under-invest in agents and rely on archaic technologies. This approach leaves customers frustrated and feeling lonely.
In 2022, resolve to finally fix the customer journey to make folks feel valued. The most important aspect of a strong CX program knows your customer inside and out. Once you truly understand your audience, you can assess how people want to shop, interact and communicate, and alter your CX strategy accordingly. For example, two-thirds of millennials identified mobile apps as their preferred channel when contacting companies, yet the majority of companies still rely on a landline-approach to customer service.
Think about it: 80 percent of all customer interactions come from a smart device. Shouldn’t your customers be able to chat over video with your agents to fix the cable box? Or use Face ID to authenticate instead of answering four security questions from 2005? The technology is available and accessible. Incorporating it into your mix should be easy.
2. Reduce stress by simplifying the customer journey
Siegel+Gale reports that 55 percent of consumers will pay more for a brand that delivers a simpler customer experience. In 2022, let’s deliver on this promise. The trend of channel stacking to try and make your customer happy actually creates more complexity, friction and channel switching. This leads to a fragmented journey that requires a customer to start an interaction on a website, then make a call, then switch to an app, all while continuously needing to re-authenticate and re-explain the issue.
Salesforce says that, on average, customers are forced to switch between 10 different channels when communicating with a company. That’s an absolutely brutal experience. At the point where a customer finally reaches the correct touchpoint, they are already stressed out and frustrated. These negative emotions are not good for your brand.
Simplification should be centered on creating an experience that allows customers to act as they always do — without changing behaviour. If the customer is contacting you from the app, don’t require them to make a phone call. If they are on your website, they do not want to download another app. In 2022, let’s commit to finally delivering on the true promise of omnichannel support and making life easier on our customers.
3. Lose the weight of data breaches and mistrust
Last year was a record year for data breaches. The Identity Theft Resource Center reports a 17 percent increase in total breaches over last year, as of October 2021.
As hackers become more sophisticated, consumers become more cautious and sceptical. A new Future of Marketing report from Adobe shows that more than half of consumers will leave a brand due to a data issue. Unfortunately, the contact center is a vulnerable point for attack. High-value and sensitive data like call recordings, chat transcripts, voice authentications, payment details and other personal information are typically retained in platform environments. This is not only a compliance risk, but a recipe for disaster.
With data laws multiplying across the world, 2022 must be the year brands revamp their approach to data privacy in the contact center. The easiest way to defend the contact center is to unify data and store it directly in your CRM, instead of keeping it on multiple systems. Shifting consumer data to a single system of record increases security, reduces the number of systems you need to protect and eliminates the risk of duplicate, incomplete, or overwritten data popping up on either platform.
New Year, New CX
For most brands, customer experience is one of the only true differentiators they have left. It’s time we invest accordingly.
When you wrote down your personal resolutions for 2022, I hope you asked your team to do the same for your business, CX strategy and customers. But don’t think about how to incrementally improve your landline-based experience. Rethink it completely, from the ground up. After all, 2022 is here, and the landline is long dead.
Vasili Triant is COO of ujet.cx