Following on from our previous event, Sitel Rendezvous travelled south to our Plymouth site, The Ship to once again discuss the Future of Customer Engagement with professionals from a range of industries.
Stephen Sullivan, a member of the Institute of Customer Service and the Vice Chair of the Contact Centre Council for the UK Direct Marketing Association, joined us alongside CX specialists from sectors including government, insurance, retail and logistics, among others. In addition to this we also had experts from our Customer Experience Technology team; Innso in attendance to give their input on how technology is moulding the future of customer engagement.
Through some thought-provoking conversation, this round table discussion led to 5 Main Key Takeaways around what the future holds for customer engagement:
- Customers are driving channel preferences and shift, so it’s important to be available across the channels customers wish to use. Effort is a big concern right now and the harder it is for your customers to contact you when they need you most, the less likely your brand will retain their loyalty long term. As highlighted recently by Neil Bartholomew at EmpowerCX, too often we try and force customers through the channel that we want them to go through because we think it’ll be cheaper. This approach causes frustration for the customers and can damage their experience, potentially resulting in a lost or disenchanted customer. The key is being available to customers via their preferred choice, not ours.
- A consistent customer experience across all channels is essential – Being omni-channel means providing a frictionless, seamless experience. From voice and live chat to Messenger, your customers and their information needs to be able to move from one channel to another without the need to re-start the conversation, repeat themselves or experience a different level of service.
- Don’t be binary led and ensure the design of your CX strategy is customer led, as opposed to allowing your technical teams take control in this area. Your customers are in the best position to advise you on how to best serve them – their feedback should be the foundation from which you build your CX strategy.
- The importance of the employee experience is paramount for the customer experience. Boosting associate engagement is the only way to deliver an emotional customer experience. With associate to customer interactions becoming more and more complex, the only way an associate will be able to deliver that human, engaging, emotionally enhanced customer experience, is if that person genuinely feels integral to the company’s success.
- Internal pride is often one of the biggest challenges for companies – as businesses we must be open to new ideas and not stand by outdated strategies simply because “it’s what we’ve always done.” We must be agile in our approach and this can often mean letting go of practices that simply no longer work for the customer or the business.
The future of customer engagement is a key topic for all businesses and based on these takeaways, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ solution for everyone. What is apparent though, is the need to be agile and put our customers at the heart of what we do.
If you would like to take part in one of our Sitel Rendezvous events in the UK, or find out more about how Sitel Group can help future proof your customer experience strategy, please contact Isobel, our Business Engagement Manager, at Isobel.Rogers@sitel.com.