As businesses reopen their office buildings, many employees will transition from remote to hybrid work, expanding their geographical footprint while also continuing to blend work and home life.
It’s important to remember the hybrid approach will impact other parts of our lives, too, including shopping, learning and banking, to name a few examples. That means companies will not only need to adapt the workplace for a hybrid world, but they’ll also need to innovate the customer experience (CX).
Of course, this is uncharted territory. Mistakes will be made. But companies can take steps now to avoid the worst of them. As you map out your course, be sure to set a path that avoids these three errors.
Mistake #1: Assuming Customers Are Either All Virtual or All In-Person
Customers are now as comfortable with virtual interactions as they are at making in-person transactions. So, their engagement with your business needs to fit into their lives―a need that will change depending on what they’re doing and where they are at that moment.
A leading CX program will engage them in whatever channel is most convenient: phone, email, SMS, web chat, social media or in-person.
As a result, your business needs to have a real-time understanding of what channels your customers are using to reach you and how they prefer to be contacted. Customer behaviors evolve rapidly, and trends that were true a year or a few months ago may not necessarily be true today.
The only way to know for sure is to capture and track data on your business, and use analytics to guide your strategy going forward.
Keep in mind it would be a mistake to go too far in the virtual direction. Exceptional CX programs establish a relationship with the customer and are there for them whenever they want a human touch.
Be sure to strike a balance between the efficiency and cost savings of technology and the strategic and purposeful use of employee time.
To make best use of valuable employee time, and to make sure customers can effortlessly make contact, your business needs a robust workforce optimization program to have the right contact center staffing in place at the right time (and attending to the right channels).
The best CX programs also have a serious, data-driven quality program with analytics and closed-loop feedback to continuously improve the operation. Mitel’s Workforce Optimization Suite can help you and your team analyze customer interactions, increase employee engagement and improve the customer experience.
Mistake #2: Not Realizing Employees Are Customers, Too
Attracting and retaining the most talented employees is imperative for the highest performing businesses. These employees can afford to be highly selective about the company they work for.
For this reason, make it a priority to deliver a seamless, integrated experience for your employees―one that includes easy access to work applications, communication and collaboration tools, employee benefits portals, and all other facets of their experience with your company.
Focusing on creating an exceptional experience for employees not only causes them to be more satisfied working for you, it helps them be more effective and productive. This is particularly important for companies and employees who adopt the hybrid style of working.
Being able to seamlessly interact with other colleagues while working remotely helps them reconnect with ease when they are in the office together.
Having the flexibility to choose the most effective means of communication is key; chat may be most efficient for some quick interactions, while other times they may opt to speak live with one or more teammates.
Being able to easily schedule or kick off a call helps them focus their time and mental energy on more value-added tasks. It also keeps them engaged and avoids frustration. Thanks to the tech products they use every day, top-performing employees have developed high expectations for the tools they use at work.
Companies that recognize and deliver on these expectations will find it easier to engage employees and make them happier. This, in turn, leads to happier customers. Indeed, research shows there is a strong link between employee well-being and customer satisfaction.
Mistake #3: Believing Your Company Has Sufficient CX Capabilities in Place Already
Exceptional customer experience is now table-stakes. To differentiate your business, it’s more important than ever to continuously push forward in this space.
For example, Accenture indicates that 80 percent of brands think they deliver a superior customer experience, while only 8 percent of their customers agree.
Customers expect a lot. In fact, Accenture also points out that one-third of business-to-business (B2B) buyers indicate their CX expectations have increased. In addition, 44 percent of B2B buyers switched sellers in the past 12 months.
With competition as intense as it has ever been, the business that delights its customers at every contact will prevail. Be intentional, and pay attention to the data trends and feedback. Most importantly, be nimble and course-correct as needed.
The CX business is an exciting place to be right now. We all have increasingly complex and multi-faceted lives, and high expectations for the businesses we interact with.
The ability to meet your customers and employees where they are is more critical than ever. Avoiding these common mistakes can differentiate your business and elevate your organization’s CX strategy to the next level.