Digital transformation is quickly becoming a critical component in the growth of businesses. It is being increasingly leveraged to provide enriched and enhanced experiences for the customer. One study by Altimeter reveals that the most forward-looking and progressive organizations are prioritizing investments in customer experience in their short- and long-term digital transformation blueprints. Customers are directly benefiting from companies' investments in digital transformation and companies are also boosting the modernization of cross-functional business models to better compete in rapidly evolving markets.
Customer experience & digital transformation are now going hand-in-hand and companies need to provide exceptional customer experiences if they need to succeed in today's crowded marketplaces. Customers also use many more digital channels than before and have come to expect seamless journeys throughout their transactions and even while switching between channels. So how does one stay ahead of the competition in today's competitive environment and what are the new expectations of customers? What should be the customer experience strategy? Here is our take on how an organization can enhance its customer experience and satisfaction.
Customer Experience Becomes the Main Driver of Digital Transformation
Way back in 2015, a study by Walker had predicted the customer experience become the main brand differentiator rather than product and price. The top digital transformation trends in the recent past have shown this to be true. We now live in an environment where customers value the experience of buying a product or service more than the product itself. Top companies like Amazon and Netflix have also invested heavily in providing a more seamless and enhanced customer experience that minimizes the customers' effort.
A piece of research by Hubspot also found that 93% of customers are more likely to buy again from a company that offers excellent customer service while CITE Research performed a study that showed that customers have stopped doing business with brands that offered a poor customer experience.
Customer Experience is No More Limited to a Single Department
As customer experience becomes the main driver, customer service is gaining more importance in businesses. While customer service was traditionally seen as a department solely devoted to handling customer queries, it is transitioning to a more central role as a profit center rather than a cost center. An increasingly larger number of executives also believe that customer experience with digital transformation is critical for business success.
To enhance customer experience, companies need to rely on a connected system of tools. Having an open customer engagement platform can provide a seamless experience for customers and can encourage the dissemination of data across departments. Sales and marketing departments can also leverage information from customer interactions to provide customers with more customized experiences.
Most Customer Interactions are Becoming Digital
Digital channels are gaining more prominence when it comes to customer interactions. Social media, email, and messaging have become serious alternatives to phone calls. Consumers are familiar with using these channels to communicate and are looking to use them even to interact with companies. Further enhancing the growth of digital is the multiplication of channels to provide effective and efficient customer service. Customer experience management with digital transformation as a central driver is becoming the norm.
Gartner predicts that by 2022, 72% of all customer interactions will be associated with emerging technologies like mobile applications, messaging, and chatbots, and that phone conversations will make up barely 12% of customer service interactions.
Messaging Gains in Prominence
Messaging is currently the fastest-growing channel when it comes to customer service. Unlike live chat which has disadvantages like its synchronous character, lack of conversation history, and limited use in mobile devices, messaging is synchronous, retains the chat history, and is compatible with mobile devices. Messaging services are now offered mainly through external channels like Messenger and WhatsApp.
However, it is increasingly being provided in companies' mobile apps through in-app messaging. With in-app messaging, there is more control over the features and the data. To enhance customer experiences, the next wave will likely be cross-platform and omnichannel customer experience-focused.
AI Will Aid Customer Service Agents
The rise of chatbots was previously seen with some insecurity by live support agents. However, the use of AI and chatbots has shown that rather than replacing human agents, they function great as a tool that empowers customer support agents. A whopping 88% of agents in one study believe that AI and chatbots will enhance the capability and not replace customer support agents. However, to make full use of this technology, companies need to begin creating human-machine collaborations that free up the time of employees so that they can focus on doing more important work.
AI can save agents a lot of time and having a collaborative approach towards AI and chatbots can also lead to meeting new users' expectations. In one study, a whopping 86% of customers polled believed that there should be an “escalate to agent” option when dealing with a chatbot. This collaborative approach also provides the best of both worlds to consumers – they get instant answers to basic questions from chatbots and more detailed answers to complex questions from live agents.
Personalization Becomes Even More Important
It is no secret that every customer wants to be recognized and feel special. Personalizing the customer experience can go a long way in making customers feel more valuable, thereby enhancing loyalty. Today, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine (ML) capabilities are being leveraged to provide customers with much more seamless and personalized services. This is especially prevalent with companies such as Netflix and Amazon. These companies use AI and ML to study a user's past behavior and then suggest options based on that past behavior. Carnival Cruise, a cruise company, also leverages AI and provides its customers with a wristband that provides customized directions and suggests events and sessions according to the customer's taste.
Customer experience will rule 2020 and beyond and companies must undergo adequate digital transformation to succeed in today's crowded marketplace. The shift toward providing better digital experiences to customers started a few years ago and those that incorporated digital transformation to better serve their customers have seen increased profitability. The need to undergo digital transformation has now become a reality for most companies. Companies need to adopt the right digital transformation strategy to better keep up with the evolving preferences of consumers and to stand out from the competition. We hope you enjoyed reading our digital transformation trends to enhance customer experiences.
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