By Ben Saitz, CCO, Rocket Fuel
There’s no doubt technology is rapidly changing customer experience practices across the board, allowing companies to provide highly personalized experiences and curated solutions to customers in real time. With the growth of information, stemming from outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, there are incredible opportunities to quickly and effectively interact with customers. A recent report from Nielsen states 33 percent of customers prefer to contact brands using social media rather than via telephone.
While real-time feedback is one of the greatest innovations in the customer experience management (CEM) industry, it’s important to understand that technology isn’t a catch-all. It’s about having the right leadership team and employees in place, all working toward the same goals.
Leverage Technology for the Greater Good
Technology opens up uncharted avenues for customer interaction. As time progresses, brands see first-hand the positive and negative impacts that customers’ experiences can induce. We’re entering an era where customer opinion acts as the most influential and impactful role in a business’s success.
More often than not, those opinions are rolling in through social channels. Social media is a huge opportunity for businesses to react in real-time and on a more personal level, yet so many fail to properly utilize these channels. Opinions and comments are left unaddressed or the interaction is robotic and impersonal. A report from Gartner found that failing to respond via social channels can lead to a 15 percent churn rate on a brand’s customer base.
To capitalize on this opportunity, CEM executives can implement new tools that safely collect consumer data. With tangible data, they can see exactly what works and makes customers happy – and they can keep giving them that same level of service, treating them in the same positive way. Conversely, data shows what practices don’t impress or benefit particular customer demographics. By personalizing interaction methods or providing specific solutions, we can maximize client benefit.
Successful Customer Experience Management (CEM) is derived from a holistic approach, including modern technological strategies, and traditional humanistic interactions.
While technology stands as a new frontier for customer interaction and service, it’s crucial not to fall behind a veil of non-human interactions and eliminate the importance of a positive company culture.Advocate for Your Customer’s Voice
Another key aspect of effective CEM is making the voice of your customer base fully operational, in order to better advocate for them. For this change to take place, organizations need to measure more than just success stories and positive feedback.
It’s common for businesses to issue and log surveys reflecting on recent interactions made up of only positive feedback. This occurs for a variety of reasons. Sometimes bonuses are awarded for high CEM ratings, or particular business growth KPIs need to be met.
Additionally, reporting practices simply are not universalized. This isn’t a new idea, yet the negative implications that come from having siloed business units are often neglected, making the practice of tracking criticism difficult. Failing to log negative feedback is a major flaw, eliminating the ability to maximize the value of a customer’s personal experience. It also reduces the ability to be an advocate. This is easily solved by putting a properly structured survey system in place. While surveys might originate in differing business units, they should all feel and look the same.
As an industry, we need to value all opinions as a source for growth. By closing the loop with customers and identifying the root cause of an issue, we can institute the proper fix throughout our respective organizations.Transform from Within the Enterprise
Customer experience management must be viewed as an enterprise-wide initiative. Too often, businesses place CEM solely on the shoulders of the customer support team, or those with direct contact to the end user. It’s even becoming normal to have AI customer service solutions, where the initial interactions with customers are handled by machines.
While these methods streamline processes, they don’t provide a clear way to implement feedback or to evolve organizational practices. A recent study from Deloitte found that customer-centric companies were 60 percent more profitable compared to companies that were not focused on the customer. It all starts with hiring the right kind of employees, who ensure positive customer interactions are always top-of-mind.
Who are those employees? They are leaders that will leave teams feeling empowered and supported. This will translate directly into a happier employee, and thus, better customer interactions. Internal advocates on the leadership team are also needed to ensure customer experience-driven insights are appropriately implemented, and that front-line employees are coached effectively.
Overall, successful CEM is derived from a holistic approach, including modern technological strategies, and traditional humanistic interactions. Technology and data analysis help identify best practices, but it’s still up to organizations to instill new, proven processes. By setting strong company values and promoting a customer-centric workplace culture, organizations are positioned to offer the best customer experiences.