Taking a unified approach to communications can boost service and sales
Analyst Forrester recently commented that “The digital revolution has forever changed the balance of power between organisations and their customers” suggesting that it is the latter who now holds all the cards when it comes to exactly how, when and with what brands they choose to communicate with.
In the eyes of customers across the globe, it is the quality of experience that matters and is now the number 1 differentiator that can determine and drive an organisation’s revenue and growth.
Not only is our always-on society wanting to communicate 24/7 across a plethora of devices and an ever-growing number of social and OTT (over the top) platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and WhatsApp, there is also a higher expectation when it comes to both the speed and quality of response from businesses.
The phone however remains one of the fastest mediums to answer a query and is often preferred if someone needs to escalate a request or has a complex issue.
The challenge for the average SME is how exactly they prepare to manage all these different channels in a unified manner and how they ensure that the quality of interactions lives up to customers’ desires.
Knowledge is Power
Research from McKinsey shows that customers don’t really rate companies on the basis of individual interactions, but more on the cumulative effect of various touch-points along the customer journey.
This means that organisations need to look at the bigger picture and ensure that each and every interaction gives the best possible experience. This not only contributes towards creating a lifetime customer but also a strong brand advocate who will share their passion for your product or service with friends, colleagues or family.
To fully understand and empathise with a customer need, you need access to all the relevant information to handle a query and this is where technology can either fail or support you.
Many organisations are still relying on out of date communications systems that are standalone and either have no access to back-office information.
Putting it into context
With a modern unified communications (UC) solution such as the likes of Swyx, whether hosted on-site or in the cloud, it is now possible to marry your customer interaction with the data stored within your internal systems or even with external web-based resources.
Whatever medium you are conversing over, whether phone, email, social or IM, being able to access the relevant data to support your conversations will significantly improve the overall CX (Customer Experience).
In the past, the phone system has been isolated from the information that is stored in silos in different databases or accounts packages, so it has been a clunky and time-consuming process for an employee to a) identify who the customer is and b) retrieve the necessary data relating to an order, invoice or product to answer a customer query.
Today, by identifying the customer from the beginning using for example their CLI (call line identity), a unified communication platform will intelligently pop up all the relevant information such as previous buyer history, preferences or other personal details.
Adding the personal touch
Personalising communications to an individual customer can pay huge dividends in the form of loyalty and repeat business. One of the largest grievances for customers is when they are forced to contact a business multiple times, are left on hold or are asked to call another department, in order to get their issue resolved.
With a UC solution it can be easily set up to recognise individuals or groups of customers and in turn will then automatically fast track them to the most relevant department or even to the same person that they spoke with last time.
Everything’s connected – harnessing the power of the web
With very few companies offering a joined-up approach to customer communications, having the ability to draw on all available data that will complement any interaction can help you to distinguish yourself in what can sometimes be a highly competitive and overcrowded market.
The advantage of IP-based technology is that it is not just your own in-house systems you can plug into, but you can also bring in other web resources.
Take for example if someone is calling about a parcel that they are waiting to be delivered. The system could recognise their STD code and then pull up the relevant delivery status from a fulfilment partner’s own website. The opportunities are endless, allowing customer service or support workers to truly take advantage of the big data that the Internet can provide.
Bottom line benefits of enhanced CX
Those companies who adopt properly integrated omni-channel capabilities currently enjoy a significant ‘digital advantage’. Research from Gartner and others suggests that these companies perform financially better than their peers with 9% higher revenues, 26% higher profits, and 12% higher market valuations.
If you want to provide a completely unified and consistent user experience across every conceivable channel, then it may be time to review how your communications technology can fully support these goals.
Complement this with a highly tech-literate workforce and you have all the ingredients you need to succeed translating into better service, repeat business and continued growth.
For further information on Swyx’s on-premises or cloud-based unified communications solutions visit www.swyx.com