In 2017, we’ve witnessed numerous Customer Experience (CX) failures that have damaged the reputations of some of the largest companies in the world. From long call waiting times after a number of severe outages, to poor customer service ratings, and other critical service failures, there are a number of lessons to be learned if brands are to set themselves up for success in 2018.
According to an American Express report, 86% of Australian respondents had not completed a transaction or made an intended purchase because of poor customer service.
Looking ahead, brands must prioritise improving CX or risk losing customer trust and loyalty. As customers begin to engage with organisations in omni-channel journeys more than ever before, staying ahead of the curve and delivering consistently perfect CX is crucial for brands to survive.
Culture of transparency
As we have seen over the past year, it only takes one mistake to lose customer trust. This was made especially evident with a number of data breaches that revealed millions of customers’ private details, at companies like Uber and Verizon.
Customers want to be able to trust the brands they interact with, and it is therefore essential to stress transparency and communication across the board, especially as customers become increasingly concerned with the manner and speed by which an issue is responded to, rather than the fact it occurred in the first place.
To build trust, brands need to be equally transparent internally. When it comes to building ongoing trust, reliable service is key. Each department, location, and channel needs to have a holistic view of the customer, available at any point in time in order to make each customer feel valued, and build an ongoing and trusting relationship.
Pre-empting customer needs
Time-poor customers never want to feel like they’re interacting with a brand for the first time. Information must be easily accessible so that repetition is kept at a minimum, and interaction times are reduced. Not only does this improve CX, it also reduces operational costs.
Ultimately, the overall perception of a brand’s CX will be greatly improved through providing the customer service team with the tools to pre-empt a customer’s enquiry. For example, if someone begins a conversation with a chatbot in the wake of a data breach and the issue is not resolved, it is likely they will then call the support centre to seek further help. If support staff have easy access to the customer’s chatbot conversation history, they will be able to easily pick up where the chatbot left off, reassuring the customer and increasing their trust in the brand.
Before a major activity peak, brands need to first assess the processes and technologies working behind the scenes. These need to be thoroughly reviewed to ensure all potential security, speed, and reliability risks are assessed and tested at scale to ensure the system is ready for the anticipated increase in traffic.
In order to achieve omni-channel CX success and retain customer loyalty in 2018, brands will need to have the right measurement technologies in place to protect and future-proof by ensuring nothing is unpredictable. This means an organisation’s Operational Customer Experience (OCX) needs to be precise, flawless, and conducted at a lower cost, otherwise they risk losing market share.
Understanding these crucial elements of OCX can alert a company to where their systems are failing. By testing, measuring, and monitoring an organisation’s OCX using synthetic customer interactions, they can gain insight into their customer’s digital journey without any customer input.
OCX measurement needs to be a priority for any organisation looking to gain unique outside-in insight into the actual experiences their customers are having, in order to proactively detect and eliminate failures in real time before those customers experience them.
In 2018, effectively managing the customer experience is no longer a choice, and CX needs to be precise and flawless to ensure efficiencies are increased, and trust is maintained. Irrespective of whether brands are investing in ‘digital-first’ policies or innovative ways to provide services, the core goal should remain the same – delivering customers a seamless experience.
About the author
Alok Kulkarni is the co-founder, CEO, and chairman of Cyara. Alok founded the company with a belief that the right software testing platform would enable businesses to guarantee success in serving their customers while keeping up with the rapid pace of innovation and consumer expectations.
Prior to Cyara, he was Director, Solutions Engineering, at Genesys where he led the team that architected contact center solutions for the Asia Pacific market, driving Genesys to the top position in that market. He also held various engineering roles at National Australia Bank, NEC, Lincolne Scott, and Boral Building Technologies.