By Chris Ford, Business Development Director at Grass Roots
A common frustration when interacting with companies as a customer is being asked for information you would expect them to already know, especially when your discussions happen on a regular basis.
Being bounced around a contact centre or between web sites without actually getting to someone who can answer your query is a frustrating experience.
Given an alternative, and with so much information now available online, customers will find a supplier who really cares about them and is prepared to treat them as a market of one.
Consider how often you have contacted a company to be presented with an automated service which collects your contact details and asks you to broadly define your reason for making contact in the first place? How often do you feel this information has been used to enhance your future experience with that company going forward?
Virtually all companies now use automated data collection services at the beginning of interactions to engage a greater breadth of customers, speed up the interaction and reduce their own costs, where possible allowing the contacting party to self serve without the need for human intervention.
What is still however the resulting experience is one where the contacting party provides their end of the engagement, fully identifying themselves and their reason for contact only to be let down by a completely disconnected process. This can lead to customer frustration and falls someway short of the optimum service.
If you leave your contact information on a web site you will often be bombarded with irrelevant, untimely and unwanted information. In the contact centre scenario, when you finally get to speak with a real human being, it is still far too common to be asked for your contact information after you have just spent five minutes completing an automated service.
Although technology has developed significantly over the past five years the experience most people still encounter is one that shows little, if any, joined up services and, even more irritatingly, little knowledge of who you are and why you are making contact.
People communicate using a raft of different channels, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, on an international basis.
There is a growing expectation from consumers that companies should know who you are, what you have done previously and why you could be making contact on this occasion, and it’s the companies that perfect this “market of one” view that will retain clients and encourage new clients to migrate.
Collecting together what is known of the contacting party alongside what is being asked at the point of contact streamlines the whole engagement process allowing the right resource to be applied at the right time.
Combining contact knowledge from web, SMS, email, IVR and agent driven interactions into a single view of the contacting party is now a prerequisite of establishing a new set of supplier to customer relationships, answering the challenge of serving your customer, clients and prospects as individuals.
Add to this largely inbound paradigm the requirement to proactively outbound communicate with timely, relevant and personalised information, and one can see that there is a huge opportunity to create a rounded communications proposition, that in challenging economic times could be the difference between surviving and thriving as a business versus the all too familiar decline.
Organisations that value their clients as their greatest business asset and are prepared to make investments in maximising every interaction are the businesses that will become market leaders in their fields of expertise.
What creates loyalty and advocacy and spurns additional opportunity is treating every contact as a chance to maximise the relationship the business has with that individual.
If every time someone contacts you, you are able to combine knowledge from previous interactions with a good understanding of the demographic the customer fits into, or better still insightful information on the individual themselves, imagine the quality of experience your organisation can provide.
We have found that by running services in a hosted environment, analysing interactions across multiple channels and combining the data with a level of meaning, clients have improved their ability to retain customers and serve them more efficiently, without needing to invest in new systems and technology.
Once companies have started to extract value from this analytical approach to engagement knowledge it’s then normal for us to be asked to apply further focus on plotting what customers are most likely to do next, based on what they are looking at on a web site, how they have engaged previously or what they have requested.
Being able to predict future behaviour and apply appropriate treatments at the right time is an area that is set to explode over the coming months.
There is a lengthy journey for most businesses to take with the transition from answering enquiries in a timely fashion to answering enquiries with knowledge and intellect forged from combining contact history, client demographic and preference data.
Check out 12ahead, our brand new platform
covering the latest in cutting-edge digital marketing and creative technology from around the globe.
12ahead identifies emerging trends and helps
you to understand how they can apply to modern-day companies.
We believe 12ahead can put you and your
business 12 months ahead of the competition. Sign up for a free trial today.