I hear it all the time when talking to partners, colleagues, and customers. In our always-on connected world, the marketplace for retaining and attracting consumers is fiercely competitive. Competitive prices and premium products are no longer sufficient enough to maintain customers.
According to a recent in-depth Frost & Sullivan survey, 80% of customers base their choice of provider on Customer Experience (CX). It has become the single-most important differentiator in making or breaking a brand. The need for personalized, relevant experiences are not only raising customer expectations, but making them more difficult to please. Companies, including Plantronics, are responding by offering multichannel support to communicate with customers, be it via phone, online, offline, social media, mobile, in order to offer 24/7 services. But it begs the question, is this necessarily leading to better CX?
These are the trends that companies need to be aware of. Given the imporantance of CX in attracting and retaining customers, businesses must understand how easy it is to make important improvements.
- According to the Frost & Sullivan survey, despite the increased availability of multichannel customer support, voice calls are the most used and most preferred channel across all age groups, and demand is increasing.
- Although customers like to move between channels, they still expect effortless, consistent CX. It’s clear that businesses need to adopt new technologies that allow for seamless channel integration, as well as improved efficiency and call quality. Clear and stable call audio is essential for CX, minimizing the need to repeat information.
- Better CX starts with happier call center agents — the frontline of customer services. Equipping agents with the right tools, training, and technology can make them better, faster, and more comfortable. Something as simple as noise cancellation equipment can result in better outcomes for both the agent and customer.
- Data collection and data analysis are important for businesses to learn how to improve CX. Tools that can measure call quality and efficacy (over-talk, silence time, mute/hold time, etc.) enable significant improvements in CX over the long term.
As brands compete in CX, the takeaways from the Frost & Sullivan survey confirms my own first-hand experiences: businesses should not ignore the value of integrating human interaction to connect with customers at an emotional level. Also, companies need to embrace new technologies that can intelligently anticipate customer needs.
According to the survey, nearly 70% of global contact centers saw an increase in voice calls over the past year, with 56% experiencing a rise in average call time, and an overwhelming 85% expecting these interactions to become more complex. The trend is clear — customers want to hear a voice. We should take this to heart in our own businesses.
Moving in the right direction includes embracing innovative technology (headsets, other devices and applications) and smarter data analytics. By leveraging these tools, our businesses can create the most productive and efficient CX interactions which build and retain loyal customers – and keep them coming back for more.
To learn how to enhance CX in the age of empowered customers, view the Frost & Sullivan whitepaper and infographics here.