Digital Customer Experience Expectations Are High. Are You Rising to Meet Them?

By Michelle Burrows | July 16, 2019

The digital revolution is quickly (and continually) changing the expectations of today’s tech-savvy customers. And, consequently, enterprises are scrambling to adjust the way they manage customer engagement and experience. Amid the scramble, are you meeting expectations to deliver exceptional digital customer experiences?

If a customer sends an email and follows up with a call, will your contact center agent know the customer has already reached out and how that interaction was handled? When you don’t, you may pay a price.

Not only will your agents end up addressing the same customer issue more than once, but you’ll likely pay for it through increased operational expenses and customer dissatisfaction. But the biggest price—and most damaging result—may be that your brand sends the message it doesn’t prioritize customer experience.

The Gartner Customer Experience in Marketing Survey found that 81% of companies say they expect to be competing mostly or completely on the basis of customer experience by the end of 2019. That’s no surprise when we consider the forces reshaping our world. Consumers have increasingly easy access to digital technologies, and they depend on evolving and new ways of communicating and interacting (think text and social media). They expect quick and efficient, every time. That means if you’re not prioritizing customer experience, you may be gambling on your brand’s reputation and bottom line.

For contact centers to thrive in the Digital Revolution, the first step is to understand and manage customer expectations. But many brands are falling short of that. In fact, according to research by The Northridge Group, 62% of consumers needed to make multiple contacts within an organization to resolve their most recent customer service needs. When that’s the customer experience reality, contact centers that do get it right have an opportunity to rise above the competition.

Failure to Satisfy

To understand how well organizations are doing (or not) with customer service—and how it affects their brands—Vanson Bourne surveyed 3,000 consumers in the US and UK in an independent study commissioned by Serenova. Here’s what the research found:

  • The majority (77%) of respondents have experienced bad customer service in the past 12 months.
  • 94% of respondents say poor customer service would cause them to abandon the brand for a competitor.

This customer experience breakdown is seriously thwarting the ability of some businesses to thrive. And the root cause of the problem is often the failure to satisfy customer expectations for frictionless interactions.

According to the Vanson Bourne research, 73% of respondents say it is crucial or very important that brands deliver seamless experiences across their various channels. However, the vast majority (80%) have a less-than-seamless experience when they interact with brands via different channels.

In her webinar, “Migrating to a Cloud Contact Center: Tales from the Far Side,” Sheila McGee-Smith, a leading contact center and customer experience analyst and strategic consultant, issued this warning: “The combination of digital channels is heralding a new era in customer care. After years of steady change, the tipping point is upon us.”

Frictionless Integration Is the Key

 The name of the game is seamless integration. To satisfy—and keep—today’s demanding, digitally sophisticated consumers requires true omnichannel communication seamlessly integrated. A true omnichannel customer experience requires a unified cloud solution like Serenova’s CxEngage. CxEngage easily connects a customer’s journey across any channel. For instance, if a customer contacts you by chat, then switches to phone, agents can access the full interaction history so they can provide help across all channels.

When agents responding to emails, calls, texts or social channels do not have context and a complete history of all customer interactions, it’s problematic. If your contact center is siloed in that way, you may be limited in your ability to satisfy customer expectations. A survey from ContactBabel found that 50% of today’s contact centers still keep email and inbound and outbound calls separate in their contact center systems. If that describes your environment, you’re limiting your agents’ ability to smoothly address customer issues. And the customer experience suffers.

That’s not all. Twenty percent of contact centers surveyed by ContactBabel confirm the reason consumers are frustrated with their contact center experiences is that they don’t feel they get equal quality service across all channels. As more consumers choose to connect with your brand through digital channels, your contact center needs to capture a seamless and real-time flow of information—especially as customers switch channels to resolve their issues.

Now Is the Time to Rise to the Challenge of High Expectations

Contact center solutions that unify all your systems, data and processes, and provide customers with a consistent experience regardless of channel is a smart step toward a superior customer experience. It’s a dependable weapon in the battle to stay ahead of your competition in the Digital Revolution.

For more on how moving to a cloud-based, true omnichannel solution can enable the digital transformation that paves the wave for superior customer experience, download “How to Elevate Customer Experience in the Age of Digital Transformation.”

 


Michelle Burrows is Chief Marketing Officer at Serenova, where she leads the company’s global marketing strategy, brand development, communications and demand generation. Prior to Serenova, Michelle was Vice President of Marketing and Analytics at Comcast Business, leading the customer loyalty contact center. Prior to Comcast, she served as Vice President of Demand Marketing for inContact (NICE inContact) and held key leadership positions at Rally Software (CA Technologies), Verint Systems and Genesys Conferencing (West Corporation).