Customers today are empowered. They use a rich set of technology tools and channels to educate themselves on different products, services and organizations. This customer-driven purchase and loyalty process means that using a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach in sales, marketing and service activities no longer works in eliciting desired buyer behavior. Organizations must regularly track and understand the evolving customer needs, and they must do so on their buyers’ terms by using the channels they prefer.
Findings from Aberdeen’s March 2014 The Business Value of Integrating the Contact Center within your Omni-Channel Strategy study shows that 99% of businesses today are using at least two channels to interact with their buyers. Furthermore, the average number of channels companies use to interact with customers has changed from five in 2012 to six in 2013 to nine in 2014. In other words, within the span of just two years, organizations have almost doubled the number of touch-points they use to interact with buyers. When put together, these findings show that adopting multiple channels as part of your customer care mix is not an option, but a requirement to remain relevant in the eyes of your customers.
A common mistake many organizations repeat over time is assuming that adding new channels within the customer care channel-mix will be enough to create happy clients and drive additional revenue. The harsh reality is that not every channel is right for every business. Therefore, before adding channels within your CEM channel-mix simply for the sake of doing it, we recommend companies capture feedback from customers on which channels they prefer to use to interact with the organization. This activity should be repeated at least every year as preferred channels, buyer needs, and behaviors are constantly changing.
Once you implement the activities highlighted within Aberdeen’s related report and identify the right set of channels for your organization, we also recommend that you establish the foundation for a true omni-channel customer care program. You might be asking, “What does that mean?” Well, this term refers to an organization’s ability to deliver consistent messages to each client across every touch-point – while ensuring that the look and feel (visual experience) they have also remains consistent across different devices (e.g. tablet, laptop and smart phone).
Companies that establish and maintain a best-in-class omni-channel customer care program have a significant competitive advantage against those that don’t. This differentiation helps them enjoy a 233% greater (9.0% vs. 2.7%) annual increase in customer retention, compared to organizations without an omni-channel program.
In our next blog post we will discuss the steps best-in-class companies take to succeed in a marketplace where omni-channel is not an option, but a requirement.