Maximize Customer Lifetime Value by Improving all 360 Degrees of a Customer's Experience
The customer experience is changing ever faster today due to new technologies. The habits of customers are shifting as companies broaden when and accelerate how they deliver service. The always-on aspect of 21st century life is leading to an expectation of instant information in all areas.
Whatever the market hype, the key to creating Customer Lifetime Value requires catering to today’s expectations in all arenas and channels. So how is that relationship developed and maintained in the always-on, want-it-now, modern world?
In a webinar on January 14 (watch the recording here), Avaya’s Tore Christensen, Corporate Consulting Engineer in Innovations and Customer Experience, and Tom Hanson, Director of Product Management of Avaya Contact Center Automation Applications, explained how you can cover all 360 degrees of a customer’s experience with the right resources at the right time.
A Touching Experience
Customers are only as loyal as their last experience. Businesses must keep those customer experiences positive, or customers will defect, taking their respective revenue streams with them. Not all experiences are equal, of course. Certain “touch points… are quite memorable,” Christensen said. “Any time that we miss an opportunity to improve that, we’re really losing an opportunity to both increase that customer value and drive more lifetime value for that customer.”
Christensen also cites research by Forrester Research showing a strong correlation between a company’s quality of customer service and its stock price.
Technology is Changing the Channels of Communication
“The formal channels are really losing out to informal channels where customers are helping themselves; looking at YouTube videos, going to Google and forums for support, and going to Facebook and Twitter for recommendations,” Christensen said. “It becomes a kind of ad hoc communication, and the idea here is to reach out and proactively interact with customers,” he continued. “Identifying the pattern is what’s important, and being able to influence it.”
And what is a very clear pattern in the behavior of modern people? Mobile phones, especially smart phones. “They’ve become the go-to device for people, and drive consumer behavior, especially around consumer expectations,” he explained. “Businesses need to handle the interactions across multiple sets of channels depending on the situation, the context and the kind of capabilities consumers will be involved with. That’s really the whole story with this, about expanding to multiple channels.”
The Customer Journey
Christensen characterized today’s Customer Journey as a “life cycle” customers go through in evaluating products. “The point of this is it’s not ‘sell it to them and then you’re done.’ Sell it to them. If they’re happy, they will come back and buy more,” he elaborated. “If they’re really happy, they will promote this, so this will become something that’s a real virtuous cycle.”
Offering the customer true value in some way is the key. This is achieved through four central principals of customer experience:
Flight or Fight?
Making customer interactions count is key. So “have timely information and make this interaction proactive, not reactive,” Christensen challenged.
For example, take a common occurrence, a delayed flight. “Wouldn’t it be nice if you got a message that says, ‘Because of the delay, you missed your connection. We set this up for you – would you want to do an alternate? Yes or no?’,” said Hanson. “That’s really the concept in trying to deal with these everyday disasters.”
“Make it relevant,” elaborated Christensen. “It is something important to this user. There’s real value you can bring to the customer. ‘Why does this matter to me now?’”
“You can get alerts,” Hanson said. “Alerts are nice, but now what? Suddenly, you start to get reactive about getting in line while they are dealing with a huge volume of calls. Typically, when you’re in the situation, and you get bad news without options, this causes a lot of anxiety. ‘What am I going to do? How am I going to get where I’m going? How am I going to solve my problem?’”
The third point? “Personalize it,” Christensen said. “No generic message. Give something that is very targeted to the person. Make it personalized to the situation so they can understand what’s going on.”
Also “have it frictionless,” Christensen urged. “There doesn’t need to be a whole set of options.” He explained it is important to “try to make that as easy as possible on the end-consumers so they are able to go through those interactions and essentially help themselves in the process.”
“There’s a value in this, and it can be done in a premium kind of way,” Hanson said, and that it’s important that things are “done in a very timely manner, where customers are notified as soon as the issue becomes known, making it relevant to the situation to where customers can find out what to do about it.”
It should be done in a way which is “personalized so they are getting very specific details, resulting in it being frictionless so the customer is provided a set of options instead of having to chase after them. People want to be communicated within their channel of choice and being able to make that part of an option is the key.”
Follow these steps to ensure that customer touch points are treated as precious opportunities. Connect with your customer at the right time, make sure it relates to the customer and the situation in a personalized way, and make it easy to utilize one of your options to solve a perceived problem. This will in turn bring the value back to the customer when they are accessible and consistent in the channel of their choosing, leading to the positive Customer Experience that ensures Customer Lifetime Value.