Guest ContributorsFebruary 13, 2019

How to Design Interactions that Produce Elated Customers

This blog is authored by Robin Gareiss, President and Founder, of Nemertes Research. Ms. Gareiss leads Nemertes Digital Transformation research. She also is a widely recognized expert in the communications field, with specialty areas of VOIP/UC, collaboration, and managed/hosted/cloud communications services.

We measure success for Digital Customer Experience (DCX) initiatives in many ways – revenue generated, cost reduction ratings, or churn reduction, to name a few.

But ultimately, we want customers to walk away elated from any interaction. A satisfied customer might say: “OK, that went well. I got what I needed.” An elated customer will say: “That was fantastic! I got more than I expected, faster than I projected. I need to spread the word about this company!”

When existing or new customers become elated, all the other metrics fall into place. They post on social media or rate the company on web sites, which provides prospective customers with a sense of security that your business is a good one. Those improved ratings bring in new customers and drive more revenue. What’s more, it’s free marketing for the company!

But what actually makes a good customer interaction? We asked IT and business leaders in Nemertes’ 2018/19 Digital Customer Experience research study of 697 global organizations. I will discuss this and related topics with Avaya’s VP of product marketing, Karen Hardy, on March 14. 

Here is what both business-to-business (B2B), and business-to-consumer (B2C) customers want:

  1. Channel Flexibility – Don’t limit how customers (or prospective customers) can reach you. Long gone are the days where all customers will pick up a phone or walk into a physical location. You need multiple channels—and all must be mobile-enabled.
  2. Channel Insight – Provide information about the best channel at any given time. If the wait to speak to an agent is 15 minutes, but they can get information or do a webchat with someone immediately, let them know on a voice recording or a Web interface that posts wait times. This becomes increasingly important to high-value B2B customers—so much so, that you may want to extend presence data of their account teams to them.
  3. Fast Connectivity – Time is a commodity, so the faster you can resolve a customer’s issue, the better. Connect them quickly—and even better, to their preferred channel. Real-time and historical analytics can help determine staffing requirements and capacity engineering for each channel.
  4. Customer Familiarity – Know your customer and the value to your organization. Leverage agent screen pops so anyone who speaks or chats with customers knows their value and loyalty. Any AI engines also should connect to a customer value metric, particularly if you’re enabling AI to resolve problems.
  5. ‘Friendly’ Barometer – Deliver the right level of “friendly” service. Sometimes, customers want to talk about the weather, their travels, or their kids; other times, they need to get on with their days. Make sure agents can gauge customers’ appetite for friendly conversation vs. getting down to business.
  6. No Repeats – Perhaps the most frustrating customer experiences are those where customers must repeat themselves—whether it’s what they just said or wrote three minutes ago or last week. Historical interactions across all channels are paramount for a solid experience.
  7. Accurate Resolution – Speed is important, but so is accuracy because an inaccurate resolution requires more time to call back. So, make sure you spend that extra 30 seconds to ensure the resolution actually resolves.
  8. Proactive Engagement – The previous steps all related to customers reaching out to your But customers also want you to reach out to them, proactively, to prevent problems from emerging or to make offers to join loyalty clubs, receive discounts, or even complete a survey. The area of engagement is emerging rapidly and should be part of a overall customer interaction strategy

Delivering on these steps requires enabling strategies, technologies, and processes. Namely, organizations should consider omnichannel capabilities, mobile enablement, agent analytics, customer success analytics, and a variety of engagement apps that keep customers engaged.

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