In a short time, almost without our realizing it, markets changed.
Today, customer journeys can start anywhere, and they often contain a mixture of physical and digital interactions. A purchase or claim can take place on social media, on your website, or in-store.
However, many companies still hold on to old practices, with IT infrastructures that are not ready to support new consumer demand.
With accelerated digital transformation, companies have found themselves at a crossroads. Some are adopting quick fixes, others are slowly implementing new technology, and the rest are stuck between hybrid worlds – leading to a struggle to support new consumer demand.
This has led to negative customer experiences that, in the worst cases, have resulted in brand abandonment.
We surveyed 6,000 consumers across Europe and found that:
- 20% have abandoned a brand because they were unhappy with the quality of interactions
- 35% are happier engaging digitally with brands since the pandemic started
To meet these expectations, brands need to adopt new communication models and practices.
Here we highlight three key factors that impact customer experience and how embracing them can bring positive business results.
The number of communication channels for business-to-consumer interactions has increased exponentially compared to 5 or 10 years ago. Today, consumers use 3 to 5 different channels to contact a company’s customer service team.
For example, a customer can reach out to you on WhatsApp while they’re on the go, on Instagram if they have questions about a product they saw in a sponsored ad, or on the phone when they prefer to speak to a live agent.
Customers today want to connect with brands on the same channels they use to connect with family and friends – and they want to do it quickly.
For brands, however, convenience stems from having an omnichannel approach – rather than multichannel. Adding more channels to your communications mix is a good starting point, but having one solution that helps these channels work together is what impacts customer experience.
When you analyze your customer journey, you’ll notice that customers use different channels to connect with your brand at each stage. They might search for a product or service and have your brand appear among the first results. In this case, it would be best to set up search-to-chat channels such as Google’s Business Messages.
Once they contact you, you’ll be able to share timely offers and promotional deals that fit their previous search intent. Then, they might use a different channel such as Live Chat on your website to contact your support team – in which case, having the customer’s conversation history at hand will help agents resolve their query faster with more accuracy.
Rich, two-way conversations
Another trend we’ve seen on the horizon is a shift to conversational channels that allow for direct, two-way communication.
According to Facebook, 53% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a brand they can message.
A chat-and-buy model is an example of a good conversational experience, where customers can start an interaction with your brand on Instagram and then click on a CTA that opens a chat on WhatsApp. Then the customer can choose to receive more information from a chatbot or make a purchase directly through the chat app.
Here are a few ways adding two-way chat communication impacts customer experience:
- adds a personalized, friendly aspect to your customer service and marketing
- enables customers to ask questions about a product or your sales process
- provides upsell and cross-sell opportunities
- minimizes calls to your call center
- helps agents handle more than one query at a time
- simplifies communication with the use of images, documents, videos, and more
Chatbots are another trend we see growing steadily. Juniper Research shows that by 2025, chatbot investments will reach a record $145 billion, while in 2019 the investment was $2.8 million.
This comes as little surprise as millennials (ages 24-40) are willing to wait up to 10 minutes for a response – and we expect this number to decrease by the time generation alpha becomes a key consumer.
Automating communication with chatbot technology has many benefits, but the main aspects that impact customer experience include:
- Providing fast answers to frequently asked questions
- Simplifying upsell and cross-sell efforts
- Automating tedious processes for customers and agents
- Prioritizing customer feedback through surveys and reviews
With the ability to choose between simple, keyword chatbots and intent-based, AI chatbots – the options are limitless for your business. And, with the right platform provider, you can leverage industry expertise to build and train your chatbot to communicate with customers the way humans do.
Setting up the right triggers and understanding customer intent and sentiment can turn your automated communication into the personalized experience customers expect.
Upgrade your customer experience
Customers are the number one priority for businesses. That’s why focusing on customer experience and adapting new tools and technology that impact it can be what sets you apart from competitors. Learn more about customer experience and how you can take yours from good to great:
- Future-proof your tech stack with conversational customer experience
- How to enhance customer experience in retail with WhatsApp
- Managing a customer experience transformation in banking with Infobip
Ready to upgrade your CX?