As the world begins to reopen post-COVID-19, customer experience is more important than it’s ever been, with 80% of companies saying their core business model needs to go and/or stay digital to remain economically viable. And, while this unprecedented shift to digital has been embraced in the world of customer service, confidence in the quality of digital-first customer service is lagging behind. In fact, one out of three businesses surveyed in 2020 said they were not confident that the experience they were providing to their customers was “good.”
Amid all this chaos, companies need to consider which tools to add to the customer experience stack to help better serve the customer journey. But this creates its own concern, as consumers are continually using more devices in more ways to access support. So, let’s step back for a minute to consider a better way forward: Streamlining the customer journey for a better customer experience.
We’re long past the days where customer experience is an afterthought and the contact center is viewed as a cost center. But we aren’t yet to a place where adopting next generation solutions to streamline customer journeys is standard practice. But the tide is rapidly turning, so you’ll need to be aware of what’s possible with the next generation of digital and mobile-first CX solutions.
Your Customers Are Mobile-First. Period.
Unsurprisingly, mobile usage skyrocketed during the pandemic, and the percentage of mobile interactions with the contact center is now estimated to be 80% or higher globally. This major shift in device utilization means that mobile customer experience is an essential consideration. But this operative shift in the customer journey was already well underway before the pandemic.
According to our fall 2019 survey, 61% of customers were using a mobile device for support, and 48% were using in-app messaging with agents for on-demand delivery services. So, as more consumers continue to use their phones as their preferred device, mobile-first customer service capabilities natively housed within smartphone apps are becoming a concrete competitive advantage—especially when it comes to factors inherent in customer service that can’t be totally eliminated – like putting customers on hold.
For example, Wag!, a mobile app that connects pet owners to sitters and dog walkers in a given area, embraced the streamlined mentality by leveraging UJET to integrate voice calls directly into their app. Doing so reduced its in-app voice wait times by 50%. Public switched telephone network (PSTN) caller wait time dropped to less than one minute, and PSTN call abandonment fell a solid 8%.
Eliminate Channel Switching By Blending Channels
Omnichannel call center solutions have promised for years to reduce the inefficiency and frustration that occurs when your customers switch between channels in their attempts to resolve an issue. But we all know what really happens – every time your customer is forced to switch channels, they’re effectively starting over.
So while you’re obsessing over data and traffic and how and why customers flit from web to email to text and back again, the customers themselves are not. The customers just want (and expect) their experience to be seamless as they do so.
There’s no lasting benefit to getting all of the individual touchpoints in disparate channels “right” to benefit the hurried perma-distracted customer trying to complete a transaction or resolve an issue.Instead, the first and most beneficial streamlining is to eliminate channel switching altogether – and any and all associated friction along with it.
The goal is a zero-friction customer experience. That’s what omnichannel vendors continue to promise yet fail to deliver, especially for the 80% of interactions that are now originating from a smartphone or other smart device. With CCaaS 3.0, you can stop treating mobile like a channel, and instead harness the native capabilities of this new modality to actually deliver the type of customer experience that omnichannel promised.
By blending together channels like voice, SMS, and chat, you can streamline both the customer journey and the experience you deliver to your customers. And, by doing so, everything from text messages to virtual agents and voice synergize, ensuring that experience is branded and consistent as well.
Your Customer Experience Should Be Visual and Contextual
Artificial intelligence (AI) shows great promise in customer service. But while the benefits at certain touchpoints in the customer journey (and call centers in general) have proven out during the COVID-19 pandemic, AI alone can’t handle all your customer’s needs. Because while robots and learning algorithms excel at straightforward, repetitive tasks, they are not yet able to fully tap into the power of human empathy communication required for more complex issues.
It’s clear then that empathy in real-time will always play a powerful role in CX. Contact Center software that supports agents in connecting with their customers is essential. One way to boost your agent’s ability to connect (and convey empathy) is to leverage the native capabilities of their smartphone to streamline customer information collection and availability through the sharing of media like photos and videos.
Since the communication needs of customers can vary along their journey, providing them with the means to share photos, video, links, and audio (or whatever’s most convenient to them) in the moment increases communication efficiency and can further reduce friction within their experience.
Unify the Data
All of the major contact center providers will integrate with the leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, so they will selectively share and reconcile data between systems. UJET, on the other hand, was built from the ground up to uniquely enhance your CRM, providing for a number of advantages from improved data privacy and security, reduced storage costs, and unification of your customer data across sales, marketing, and support.
With all interaction data stored in the CRM, a holistic view of the historical customer record and real-time context can be analyzed to inform routing, assist agents, and accelerate resolution. And your agents have one less set of screens to toggle through to get the information they need to better serve your customers.
Mobile-first CX is Here to Stay
Remember, while COVID-19 may be passing, this is just the beginning of how consumer demand and, by extension, customer service will continue to evolve. This bodes well for forward-thinking customer service leaders who understand that a streamlined, mobile-first customer journey is not just the way of the future – but the current expectation.