The age of the customer is here, and this is shifting the balance of power. In this opinion piece, Nick Dempsey, General Manager – Australia & New Zealand, GMC Software, dives deep into five ways you can maximise your customer experience and help your business ride the success wave.
Today, consumers have an ever-increasing wealth of information at their fingertips and a growing demand for instant communication. They want to easily interact with and receive quick responses from customer service operatives, access information readily across the multiple devices they own, and transact on-the-go.
In response, companies are changing their business strategy to meet the expectations of the more than 35 million mobile connections, 25 million active internet users and 14 million active social media users in Australia.
Improving customer experience (CX) is among many top priorities for businesses, and this is leading to large scale digital or CX transformation initiatives. Here are five key ways companies should be boosting customer experiences.
1. More personalised interactions with customers in a mobile age
Australia has seen a significant increase in the uptake of mobile and smart technology in recent years. In 2015, ownership of smart phones and tablets reached 81 per cent and 62 per cent of the Australian population, respectively. We’re gradually becoming a mobile-first population.
Globally, companies are recognising the need to adapt to new consumer habits; Google, for instance, last year announced a change to its search algorithms, factoring in a website’s mobile-friendliness in their search rankings, making it clear that user experience and website design should be high on the agenda for all companies.
Indeed, the mobile phone is already a very important device for customer communication, and companies will certainly work on improving the customer user experience to enhance their connection with customers via mobile through applications and SMS.
2. New metrics for measuring communications
Beyond laptops, tablets and mobile phones, the use of new wearables, from smart watches, clothing and more, are on the rise. An ever-increasing number of communications channels mean that traditional metrics no longer suffice for measuring the effectiveness or value of communications.
In particular, we can expect to see a surge in the popularity of social media and mobility-based metrics as companies go increasingly digital and customer communication channels become more interconnected. Companies will want to know and evaluate every aspect, including each encounter that their customers have with their services.
3. Synchronising and centralising communications across touchpoints
Every touchpoint plays a significant role in each individual’s customer experience. Forward-looking companies are always looking to streamline their communications platforms to deliver seamless and consistent messaging across all touchpoints.
Investing in an omni-channel platform allows them to communicate via a single, unified voice over the entire spectrum of media, devices and preferred channels.
4. Moving towards end-to-end solutions
In an Accenture study on driving a more personalised customer experience, it’s recommended that providing customers the quickest, easiest and most personalised experiences possible are fundamental to a successful business.
Firms will increasingly recognise the need for end-to-end solutions that connect customer experiences throughout the customer life cycle. These solutions are not just omni-channel – they are also insight-driven and consistent across the entire customer journey, from the first touchpoint and throughout the lifecycle.
Forrester predicts that from 2016 to 2018, firms’ obsession with the customer will gradually accelerate the maturity of business technology and the demand for end-to-end solutions to replace point solutions.
Finally, as companies increasingly acknowledge that customer experience is vital to the business and recognise the power of data and insights for understanding customers, it is only a matter of time before the following trend emerges among many companies, to bring together and elevate all other initiatives to improve customer communications.
5. The rise of the Chief Data Officer and Chief Experience Officer role
The Chief Data Officer (CDO) or Chief Experience Officer role is a new title for many companies. This is someone who will be key to improving the customer experience and communications in an organisation by leveraging and organising data and insights across the entire business or customer lifecycle.
Gartner predicts that by 2015, 25 per cent of large global organisations will have a CDO and by 2017, 50 per cent of companies in regulated industries will have a Chief Data Officer. Consumer expectations are progressing and customer service has not caught up.
The CDO or CXO’s role is pivotal for discovering discrepancies in user experience and cultivating a quality, consistent customer experience throughout the customer journey.
For businesses that have not seriously considered the customer experience yet, it is not too late to start. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, the options are plentiful for companies who are actively seeking new ways to enhance the customer experience, and these are the organisations that will excel in this new age.