A common frustration when interacting with companies as a customer, is being asked for information you would expect them to already know, especially when your discussions happen on a regular basis. Being bounced around a contact centre or between websites without actually getting to the person who can answer your query is a frustrating experience.
Given an alternative, and with so much information now available online, customers will find a supplier who really cares about them and is prepared to treat them as a market of one. Consider how often you have contacted a company, only to be presented with an automated service that collects your contact details and asks you to broadly define your reason for making contact in the first place.
How often do you feel this information has been used to enhance your future experience with that company going forward?
Virtually all companies now use automated data collection services at the beginning of customer interactions to engage a greater breadth of customers, speed up the interaction and reduce their own costs, where possible allowing the contacting party to self serve without the need for human intervention.
The resulting experience is still one where the contacting party provides their end of the engagement, fully identifying themselves and their reason for contact, only to be let down by a completely disconnected process. This can lead to customer frustration and falls some way short of the optimum service.
If you leave your contact information on a website you will often be bombarded with irrelevant, untimely and unwanted information. In the contact centre scenario, when you finally get to speak with a real human being, it is still far too common to be asked to confirm your contact information after you have just spent five minutes completing an automated service.
Although technology has developed significantly over the past five years, the experience most people still encounter is one that shows little, if any, joined up services and, even more irritatingly, little knowledge of who you are and why you are making contact.
People communicate using a raft of different channels, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There is now an expectation from consumers that companies should know who you are, what you have done previously and why you could be making contact on this occasion, and it’s the companies that perfect this ’market of one’ view that will retain clients and encourage new clients to migrate.
Collecting together what is known of the contacting party alongside what is being asked at the point of contact streamlines the whole engagement process allowing the right resource to be applied at the right time.
Combining contact knowledge from web, SMS, email, IVR and agent driven interactions into a single view of the contacting party is now a pre-requisite of establishing a new set of supplier to customer relationships, answering the challenge of serving your customer, clients and prospects as individuals.
Add to this largely inbound paradigm, the requirement to proactively communicate with timely, relevant and personalised information, and one can see that there is a huge opportunity to create a rounded communications proposition. Organisations that value their clients as their greatest business asset and are prepared to make investments in maximising every interaction, are the businesses that will become market leaders in their fields of expertise.
What creates loyalty and advocacy and spurns additional opportunity, is treating every contact as a chance to maximise the relationship the business has with that individual. If every time someone contacts you, you are able to combine knowledge from previous interactions with a good understanding of the demographic the customer fits into, or better still insightful information on the individuals themselves, imagine the quality of experience your organisation can provide?
Once companies have started to extract value from this analytical approach to engagement knowledge, the next step is to apply further focus on plotting what customers are most likely to do next, based on what they are looking at on a website, how they have engaged previously or what they have requested. Being able to predict future behaviour and apply appropriate treatments at the right time is becoming essential.
This transition from answering enquiries in a timely fashion to answering enquiries with knowledge and intellect forged from combining contact history, client demographic and preference data is a lengthy, but necessary journey for businesses to take.