In the business world, customer experience has long been the focus of many efforts. From marketing to lead generation, business operation, and even customer retention, brands know all too well that the customer is the one part of the equation that can make or break their business at the drop of a hat.
Digital customer service and support have quickly become a part of the landscape for businesses that are integrating omnichannel routing with support tools and strategies.
This process is critical to the success of your customer’s journey, but if it isn’t handled correctly, it can also be a downfall. To better understand the changing customer landscape and what it means to your brand, it’s time to get to know the world of the digital customer from their perspective.
It’s also time to find a robust digital contact center solution that can keep up with the ever-changing experiences and demands of your customers. Choosing your contact center platform is choosing the future for your brand.
With the right digital customer service solution, you can have an integrated omnichannel customer contact center that ensures that you have digital eyes and hands-on every single step of the customer journey from conversation start to finish and beyond.
Before we get too far into the details, let’s first inspect the digital customer experience and how it impacts the choices you’re about to make from a customer service standpoint.
What Is a Digital Customer Experience?
You can’t adapt your digital customer service until you understand the needs of the customer, which means it’s time to learn about the modern customer experience and the digital journey that people take when interacting with your brand. First, you have to understand how the digital customer differs from customers of old and why this new breed of consumer deserves a new customer service experience.
What Does a Digital Customer Look Like?
Today’s customers are more demanding than ever before, but their demands are relatively simple. They are adamant about things like dedicated support, quality products and services, and brands that they can connect with on a more personal level. They also want access to plenty of information and resources to help them make smart buying decisions.
Perhaps the biggest factor impacting digital customers’ purchase experience – and the biggest paradox – is that these customers want to be left alone while also having access to instant answers when they do have to reach out. They want a “human” engagement where they never speak to a human! It can be dizzying to keep up.
It’s All About the Journey
Because of the highly demanded digital experience, companies are learning that they can no longer focus on specific areas or single touchpoints when attempting to transform their operations or make improvements.
Today’s customer doesn’t take a linear journey. They need a brand that can keep up with them as they’re bouncing around from information to shopping to awareness to decision-making and back again.
If you cannot perfect the customer experience and be proactive with it, you cannot provide the support and solutions that your buyers need on the way to a purchase. A lot of the content out there focuses on marketing throughout the customer experience and buying journey, but there is little information on the evolving need for a more robust support process and customer service solution.
The NICE inContact CXone platform is dedicated to the customer experience and helping brands support the buying journey through every channel and level necessary.
With integrated tools and solutions, customers can find support at any point and in any form, helping you stay ahead of your audience when it comes to delivering service throughout the customer experience.
Bringing Communication to the Customer
Since consumers today may use multiple devices to complete a single buying journey, brands must be able to track these activities and respond in kind. Re-targeting and marketing efforts are good, but there are other things to consider, as well.
- Audience Mood: When we study customer behaviour we see different trends… things like more people make online purchases at home than anywhere else, people are more likely to make a spontaneous purchase on their cell phone. Why is that? Is it because of the source of the “ad”? This is something you must think about in your experience transformation, and what that behaviour is amongst your target customers.
- Consistent Messaging and Experiences: People expect to see the same user interface (a.k.a. get the same experience) from your website whether they’re on their laptop, smartphone, or tablet. You need to ensure that you present an online presence that is the same across all devices.
- Page Optimization: Why do you think people leave your website? Is it because they can’t find what they need? Because the search is terrible? Interestingly, I searched the problem and it seems the most common reason people leave a website is because of page load times. Not what I expected! The lesson: Make sure that you design with a mobile-first approach, optimizing for quick loading and easy navigation to keep your customers engaged.
- Sourcing: Where are your customers coming from? Are they more likely to visit or make a purchase via smartphone or desktop computer? Take the time to consider the sources of your traffic and make sure that you have a diverse stream. If you realize all your traffic is coming from one place, course-correct by expanding your target audience, content, or online presence.
Customer Journey vs. Customer Experience
Here’s the million-dollar question: What’s the difference between a customer journey and a customer experience?
The Customer Experience refers to the overall impression from a very high level of how a customer’s entire interaction with your brand was. It’s difficult to make changes and improvements when you have such vague information, which leads to “here and there” upgrades to make things better for customers.
The Customer Journey is a clear, mapped-out look at the entire customer experience from start to finish, including all the touchpoints and barriers encountered along the way. This is a more detailed focus on the buyer that allows brands to transform the entire experience from the top down.
Instead of trying to fix things individually, brands can analyze the customer journey and implement changes to make a sweeping transformation for swifter, better chances of success.
So, the customer experience is how the customer “feels” when they complete their journey. The customer journey is the specifics of how it happened! You fix the customer journey, you improve the experience!
Are You Your Customers’ First Choice?
The digital customer experience is growing and ever-changing. If you’re behind the eight-ball you are in luck! Fortunately, when you implement a solution like CXone, you can trust that you’ll be on top of your customers’ needs in terms of customer service. You’ll be able to deliver the robust, on-demand, dynamic solution that your audience insists upon.
Today’s consumers won’t wait. I’ve long called them the instant gratification society for a reason! And, they will not settle for second-best. The good news is, they don’t have to. If you’re constantly reacting to changes to try to keep up with the changing digital landscape, you’ll never look like the best choice – but your competitor might.
You probably need to pause, reassess, and come up with a full brand strategy to transform your experience, including your digital customer service, to solve the needs of the modern customer.
What Makes Digital Customer Service Unique?
It may seem that digital customer service is just a virtual version of traditional contact center support. While there’s some truth to this, there’s a lot more to it. For starters, the digital customer is like a nomad, seemingly randomly wandering from point to point along the journey, engaging in different ways, looking for an answer or a product.
The digital contact center has to place the right customers in the right stage with the right agent to get the best results, influencing that journey where possible. That can take some serious planning and research, even with the best support platforms.
Digital customer service is about giving your customer a dynamic experience, a seamless buying journey, and being there for them every step of the way, while also staying out of their way for the most part.
It’s about giving them a digital “hug”, so to speak. It is a double-edged sword and a bit of a conundrum to some: People don’t want to be bothered unless they need something. Then, you’d better be there, or they’ll find someone who is.
If you’re already a little confused, you’re not alone. Here are the most important things to remember with digital customer service:
- The contact center is evolving into a Customer Experience Center (you may also hear this called a customer engagement center) focused on driving efforts and delivering solutions to anticipate, nurture, engage, and deliver the best customer experience. This not only increases retention but can easily turn customers into brand advocates.
- The goal of digital customer service is to Orchestrate All Processes across all channels, functions, application silos, and the overall infrastructure to ensure that customers and support employees have all the resources, insights, and tools they need at their fingertips.
- The Digital Customer Journey Is NOT a Linear Experience; your contact solutions and digital customer service can’t be, either. You need to create a robust, connected digital customer support solution that delivers assistance and provides reassurance at every touchpoint in the customer’s brand interaction.
- Most Customers Still Prefer to Interact With Human Beings when there is an issue, but more than two-thirds of people appreciate access to self-service customer support, including AI chatbots, knowledge bases, and other support solutions.
- Scripted responses are out. Personal Attention is in. While scripts might be handy to teach and guide your team, they’re basically useless from a customer’s perspective. Customers can spot them, and they’ll immediately feel patronized, sending them to the competition. To put it simply, your service needs to be personalized as much as possible. This is where omnichannel routing programs like CXone from NICE inContact can help.
There are so many nuanced differences between traditional and digital, but these are the most significant. Essentially, it’s about knowing that customers want an entire experience and not just a transaction. People are no longer walking into the store, buying what they need, and walking out.
The digital customer is a wanderer, exploring their options and engaging with brands to get a feel for what they like best, which companies have their back, and who delivers in all aspects, not just in the product or service offered.
Digital Hugs? A Utopian Customer Experience
The term “digital hugging” is gathering some buzz, although it can be a bit simplistic in some definitions. Digital hugging isn’t just about personalization and connecting to your customer. It’s about surrounding your customers with “love” on all channels. It’s also about giving them the most relevant experience within the time and context that best suits their needs .
The best part of any hug is knowing someone is there to support you. That’s why your brand needs to step up to a dynamic customer support platform (like ours ) and make sure your customers feel supported during every interaction with your company.
Here’s the Answer to Your Customer’s Call
What better way to give your new breed of customers a new breed of support and service than by integrating a robust, omnichannel digital contact center solution? With a platform like NICE inContact CXone, you can ensure that your digital consumer has all the resources and support they need at their fingertips and still give them space to breathe during their journey.
The digital contact center is your chance to create a platform that provides customers with all the access and assistance they need instantly, no matter where they’re browsing or interacting with your brand. People should be able to get the same instant support on your social media as they would get from your website’s live chat, and so forth.
With the right solution, you will route and triage all of your customer interactions. Thanks to the help of artificial intelligence (AI), you can ensure that everyone’s journey is tailored to their needs, creating a buying experience that’s seamless and connected.
The Magic of Omnichannel
As we’ve discussed, today’s customers want to be left to their own buying journeys, for the most part. However, when they do need support, they want it to be there, in any format or medium and at any time of day. For businesses, this can be difficult to deliver. Or, at least, it used to be.
NICE inContact CXone is an example of an omnichannel contact center platform that delivers exactly what the modern customer wants, along with tools and insights to help your brand better understand the digital customer experience, the modern buying journey, and where you can make other changes or improvements to align your business with those insights.
In the past, some companies would offer email or chat in addition to their phone support, or they would monitor and respond to mentions on social media even. But these were separate departments, fragmented and rarely kept connected.
Thus, if a customer had an issue, they would likely have to re-explain themselves at every contact. With an omnichannel routing solution, customers get to the right people the first time and only have to ask for what they need, or say who they are, one time.
If you want to grow your business and build your brand, an omnichannel support system is the best solution to resolve your digital customer requests.
The Benefits of a Connected Digital Customer Service Solution
While it is still possible to function with a static customer service department that consists of several unconnected branches, it’s not efficient to do so. With a connected, integrated, customer-centric solution, brands can reap plenty of benefits.
With omnichannel customer support, there are several opportunities opened for a meaningful engagement at every step of the journey, rather than just when the customer wants to make a purchase or complete a transaction. Omnichannel support allows you to reward long-term customers, woo new customers, redefine the overall customer experience, and more.
Improved Customer Experience
Using digital customer service, your customers will have a seamless experience from start to finish. Your channels become your brand voice, and it allows you to tailor the entire experience to the buyer’s journey every time.
This helps promote self-service and ensures that customers get the assistance that they demand. There is a massive amount of data available, and using that information can help you create a strategy that serves your customers’ needs in every way.
Reinforced Brand Accountability
Trust drives almost all buying decisions and business choices for the digital consumer. In today’s world, people are searching for better connections, especially with the brands they interact with most.
Think about how many times you’ve gone to contact customer support about something, only to struggle to find relevant contact information. This is likely the result of working with a reactive support team.
While having a team that knows how to react is good, it’s more important to take a proactive approach. When you understand your optimal customer journey, that drives the optimal customer experience, and integrate a better digital customer service solution, you show people that you’ve anticipated their needs, which leaves them with a positive impression of your brand’s commitment.
Better Customer Data
As discussed in the section on meaningful engagement, it’s important to understand your customer, including where they are coming from and where you might engage with them outside the standard transactional experience.
With an omnichannel support system, customer intent and effort can be monitored and tracked across the entire buying journey, providing multichannel insights that can drive your business decisions.
You’ll also be able to use real-time data to integrate new strategies to improve the experience further and continue to stay ahead of the curve in delivering the ideal digital customer experience.
Move Ahead With an Omnichannel Approach
Companies are often panicked at the thought of having to reach out to, or allow customers to reach them, across several platforms and mediums, in several formats, and with different options for service that range from chat to phone support and everything in between.
After all, it can be a bit unsettling to consider integrating a dynamic, omnichannel support system that truly delivers at every possible touchpoint and interaction.
However, with the right tools, it’s easy to integrate and transform your digital customer service experience. You gain the benefit of being able to deliver the exact support that your digital customers need at any point in the experience, in various forms or mediums to suit their needs.
Put simply, you’re not just answering the call of the digital customer; you’re transforming your efforts to show them that you are anticipating their needs and providing solutions in whatever capacity they require.
Transform Your Digital Customer Service
If you’re not on board with the digital customer experience, you’re going to lose business. Today’s brands are making the switch and seeing the value of integrating tools like NICE inContact CXone to assist with digital customer engagement from a holistic standpoint. This way you can:
- Provide the exact support that customers need, when they need it, in the format wanted
- Anticipate customer needs and provide them with the ideal digital experience and buying journey from the start
- Improve your brand’s image through trust and accountability
- Identify key insights and valuable consumer data to help drive business decisions for future growth
For more information about NICE CXone - visit the NICE CXone Website
Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.