Rick Sturge, EVP Sales & Marketing at Firstsource Solutions discusses.
For businesses, with a new year comes new business goals, and renewed focus on the latest tactics and technologies that will be shaping the coming year.
This is no different for contact centres up and down the UK. A booming digital revolution is driving unprecedented change in the way consumers now expect to interact with their favourite brands. For the sourcing industry, this means that 2017 will be the year they focus on bespoke, value added customer experience solutions, with a particular emphasis on growing digital talent.
How will this impact the next 12 months, and what else does 2017 have in store for the sourcing industry?
CX gets personal
Increasingly, customers want interactions with brands to be as easy and as personal as messaging a friend. And with eMarketer forecasting the number of IM app users worldwide to increase to two billion in 2018, we’re expecting to see a surge in consumer demand for using platforms such as Facebook Messenger to interact with brands for both marketing and customer service purposes.
In 2017 it will be up to customer experience experts to find smart ways of doing this for the businesses they work with. That’s why we are currently looking at ways of using popular messaging platforms such as WhatsApp to deliver tailored customer communications in real time, and placing real emphasis on growing digital talent.
This year, the best customer experience partners will be doing all they can to deliverservices on social media and messenger, as well as traditional contact channels. While the latter will always be important, new technologies can help connect brands with digitally-savvy customers – and 2017 needs to be the year that brands interact on customers’ own terms.
These channels are also a prime opportunity to build an intuitive and personal connection with consumers. Even the use of emojis or text speak, where appropriate, will help show the personality behind a brand, and make customers feel as if their interaction is almost as familiar as a conversation with friends – perhaps the holy grail of customer service.
Omnichannel over multi-channel
With new technologies come new ways of communicating with customers. Indeed, one of the most important ways that new technology is affecting contact centres is the greater array of channels we can now offer the end-customer. From social media to web chat and phone to email – the number of options for a customer wanting to get in touch has increased significantly.
We see channels such as messenger not as alternatives to methods such as voice, but as additional arms of communication in the omnichannel mix. This not only means more choice and greater convenience for the consumer, but also offers the businesses we work with an exciting way of standing out from the crowd.
It is important to remember that customers value a 360 degree approach to communication, and many still value being able to pick up the phone and speak to someone when they have a problem. For us, it’s all about using technology to offer more choice and ensuring that we give our clients’ end-customers the best experience possible.
But offering diverse channels is of little use to customers unless they are joined up throughout. That’s why we’re urging companies to focus on going above multi-channel to become resolutely omnichannel in the coming months. If a customer starts a journey on one channel, but then wants to continue on another, the transition should be seamless. Channel bounce is cited as one of the main frustrations of customer experience, but creating a centralised and personalised log of a customer’s profile and previous problems will help this problem become obsolete.
Act on analytics
Analytics tools are another important technological development for today’s modern contact centre. Until data is collected and trends are spotted, disjointed and untracked interactions give no indication of the steps a brand needs to take to move customer satisfaction and loyalty forwards.
Analytics tools can help capture, measure and analyse the customer journey, giving businesses the insights they need to improve business results. And by measuring the effectiveness of the way they interact with consumers, contact centres can move one step closer to building the ultimate customer experience.