Traditional ways of building customer relationships may be gone forever, but even as consumers become digital by default, they still expect the quality of customer experience they received once upon a time. These customer experiences were made possible through face-to-face and even generation-to-generation interactions. Today, leading brands rise to this customer experience (CX) challenge by becoming customer interaction masters.
In a world where digitalisation is revolutionising customer relationships, and where the speed of change is greater than ever before, how do you know who your customers are? How do you know what your customers want? How do you know what your customers value most about your brand?
The time when customer relationships could be forged face-to-face and year on year has officially come to an end. Thanks to the pandemic, even the most traditionalist baby boomers have moved away from in-person purchasing and into digital channels. What’s more, they have been delighted by these customer experiences. So much so, they intend to continue interacting with brands virtually once COVID-19 is in our rear-view mirror and has relinquished its grip on our everyday lives.
However, these trends have been growing and gaining momentum for over a decade. Every year, the size of the ecommerce market share of retail was already growing by 10%; the pandemic simply served as an accelerant. For proof, look no further than the surge in Amazon’s share price.
At the other end of the spectrum, in this year’s list of the world’s most valuable brands, there isn’t a single bank or car maker – businesses built on face-to-face and generation-to-generation relationships – that made the Top 10.
This doesn’t mean customers are now looking for a transactional experience when interacting with organisations – nothing could be further from the truth. Customers still actively seek a brand connection that’s greater than the sum of its parts. In fact, 60% of brand-loyal customers speak about their favorite brands with the same emotional vocabulary usually reserved for friends, family and pets.
For 80% of consumers, customer experience is just as important a consideration as an organisation’s products or services when choosing a brand. One in four customers are prepared to pay a 12% premium for products and services that come with a great customer experience.
What has changed is the amount of time brands have to deliver on these expectations. Today, a relationship is made or lost in a single moment, and that moment is more likely to pass online through an interaction with self-service, social media, live chat, messaging or a chatbot.
Today, a brand may never meet any of its most valuable customers in person. Yet, those customers still expect you to know them – their likes, dislikes and product or service preferences – as well as they know themselves.
Fortunately, for forward-looking organisations, technology is augmenting as quickly as customer expectations. Advances in data mining and analytics mean brands have all the elements they need to uncover what their customers want. And, brands can enable personalised customer experiences so nuanced that they go a step beyond the depth of a relationship forged face-to-face and year on year.
Data is the fuel for powering a personalised customer experience and its value is truly infinite. While all businesses have insightful data flowing through their organisations, manual data-mining methods can take over 60 minutes to select, listen to, analyse and quality assess a single 8-minute customer call. No wonder that, without access to text and speech analytics for mining big data, organisations are only capable of capturing and analysing data from 1% of all customer contacts.
Furthermore, as a result of siloed or in incompatibly formatted data, as much as 73% (on average) of data within an enterprise cannot be used for analytics, while only 27% of organisations say their data is fit for purpose and analytics is delivering truly actionable insights and recommendations.
Customer surveys may help bridge this data gap and offer customer experience insights. But unless they’re properly designed and delivered at the right moment in the customer journey, they often fail to deliver. The average response rate for a Net Promoter Score™ (NPS) survey is 10% and results are skewed because customers who had the best or worst experiences are the most likely to provide feedback.
Not knowing what customers really think or feel is a real problem. Only 18% of consumers believe brands are meeting their expectations for personalised omnichannel experiences. This is why leveraging speech and text analytics is crucial for any organisation looking to understand its customers and looking to use customer experience to differentiate its brand.
With the ability to mine 100% of customer interactions across all channels, organisations can quickly identify potential pain points, reduce customer effort and increase their satisfaction. Customer analytics can also improve business decision-making and guide the development process for future products and services.
However, mining contact centre data for insights in isolation never provides an organisation with a clear understanding of who their customers are and what they really want. Structured data, such as that found in CRM systems, needs to be blended with unstructured sources that include not just contact centre transcripts. It also needs to include online reviews and social media chatter if you truly want to build a clear picture of your customers and their brand perception.
Furthermore, that data needs to flow freely through the business in order to make a real customer experience difference – a major challenge for many organisations. In their quest to operationalise data, 37% of organisations say that they’re struggling with data silos and for 18% achieving a unified view of the customer experience across touchpoints is a stumbling block.
These issues can cost businesses $15 million annually. Because, without operationalised data, customer insights, business intelligence, intelligent contact routing and intelligent chatbots are all out of reach. And, 46% of organisations admit their lack of actionable data is the most significant challenge to realising AI projects.
With analytics in place and with silos knocked down, data must be adjusted to have the greatest positive impact for both your business and your customers. Through augmented analytics, it becomes simple for anyone within an organisation to take a micro or macro view relating to customers’ relationships with its brand. This means being able to identify the customers with the greatest potential lifetime value and, crucially, those who are one interaction away from churning.
This helps enable the move from passive to proactive customer experience delivery. When agents have all the information they need at their fingertips, they’re empowered to meet customer expectations and to actually predict what customers want, before they ask for it.
Whether you want to know what your customers think of your experience or the experience delivered by your competitors, customer analytics help you gain a comprehensive understanding of the factors driving your brand’s customer experience. Customer analytics support your business decision-making through data-driven insights. Leveraging advanced artificial intelligence (AI) makes it easy to manage large and unstructured data sets, delivering actionable insights to drive customer satisfaction.
Understanding the key drivers across the competitive landscape and identifying unmet customer needs supports you in the delivery of new, or more compelling offers. This enables investment in products and services designed to drive satisfaction and loyalty, for maximum customer lifetime value.
Even once analysed, data can be hard to share effectively with internal teams to create momentum behind driving action. Leveraging advanced visualisations helps you to put easy-to-understand, actionable insights at the fingertips of your team. This, in turn, allows you to prioritise actions, pinpoint regional patterns, understand voice of the customer (VOC) trends and visualise the customer interactions flowing and burdensome events driving specific outcomes. Armed with this information, you have the insights you need to make meaningful changes to positively impact the areas that matter most for your customers – delivering what they want, when they want it.
Learn more about how EXP+™ Explore from Sitel Group® is designed to helps brands uncover insights from across data sources, driving enterprise-wide decision making and connecting seamlessly with solutions across EXP+ to simplify the delivery of end-to-end CX services, while boosting efficiency, effectiveness and customer satisfaction.