Who comes back for average customer experience? Nobody. Every interaction with a customer is a loyalty test. Customers expect in-store service whether their journeys start in search, include a chatbot or end with an agent conversation. These new, high service expectations leave businesses scrambling to deliver ideal service experiences across multiple entry points in customer journeys and in digital channels like apps, chat and self-service.
If you deliver consistent, superior customer experiences (CX), then it’s logical to expect you’ll reduce churn and build revenue. Improving CX by personalizing interactions in customer journeys is a good strategy. But where do you start?
Surprise and Delight the Devotees
You might rush to fix your chatbot, since a growing number of your agents got an earful from customers about having to repeat themselves, or the bot misunderstanding customer intent spectacularly, or that they could never find the answers they seek in your knowledge base system. But, believe it or not, that’s not the best place to start. What is? Focus on delivering the ideal CX to that highly desirable customer segment: your devotees, your loyal fans, the customers who spend the most. Because you know them, you can anticipate and address their needs even before they know they exist. And, there’s no better way to surprise and delight them than by understanding.
With the right tools and technology, it’s possible to create highly satisfying proactive micro moments. Proactive outreach can include things like mobile app notifications, email or automated calls and texts when important information is available such as upgrades, renewals or reminders that are relevant to specific customers based on purchase history or scheduled appointments for example. Online guidance on your website and with search articles are golden opportunities to ensure that you are always present for your customers online. In-product contextual help is another way to introduce knowledge content right into your product at the point your customers need it — before they are reaching out to you or searching for answers online.
And, even better, how do you know when to reach out? AI technology can uncover proactive opportunities that have historically led to service interactions by analyzing key topics and intents. With that information you can pinpoint key moments in the customer journey to resolve customer needs before the customer has to reach out. These may include simple things like password resets or finding lost luggage or following up with insurance claims or payments online.
Proactive outreach is an expectation you need to deliver on to achieve customer loyalty — and it pays off in lifetime customer value. In fact, customers who enjoy positive experiences are likely to spend 140 percent more than customers who report negative experiences (according to research done by Harvard Business Review).
The next step is to examine customer journeys to elevate CX at every touchpoint.
An End-to-End Approach Is Required
Customer journeys are not linear. Customers engage with companies through different entry points and channels, sometimes even a mix of channels. Instead of looking at each touchpoint individually, map the entire journey to create a whole picture of a customer’s path from first engagement to final resolution. You see what motivates them to take the next step, the questions they have at each stage of their journey, and any barriers they encounter that you need to address quickly. This end-to-end approach identifies pain points and enables you to prioritize fixing them. And, if you focus on identifying that ideal customer segment (your devotees) first, you can see where they requested elevated service and what could be improved to deliver their ideal customer experience. Then, by refining their experience, you’ll improve service overall.
We have heard it for a long time, a key element in ideal customer experiences is personalizing every interaction. Customers expect you to know them after just one interaction, and not make them repeat themselves. This is especially true to devotees. It’s an “I know you, you know me” idea. Given their passion for your brand, you will have relevant data about them — information on their wants and needs, likes, and dislikes. Their expectation that you know them is not unreasonable. If your devotees prefer to solve problems themselves, then focus on improving self-service, all aspects of it. With tools like effective knowledge management that speeds up finding right answers for all users, AI and data driven self-service that understands customer behavior and proactive outreach that resolves customer issues before they even happen, you’ll deliver their ideal experience.
If most of their interactions use live agent support, give those agents behavioral insight with real-time interaction guidance and virtual assistants who can prompt the agent to show empathy at appropriate times. Focus on personalizing devotee interactions, and you’ll retain that most valuable, revenue-generating customer base. And the overarching benefit once again — improve CX overall.
For more ways to surprise and delight your customers, check out our “Cheat Sheet for Customer Loyalty” here.