Where customer experience is concerned (aka everywhere), personal preference is king. Let’s face it: We want what we want, when we want it, the way we like it, wherever we can get it.
As Fjord/Accenture put it in spellbinding terms in the Fjord Trends 2015 report: “The impact of digital on the real world is coming into focus… Magic is now expected.”
Furthermore, we expect to be able to make our own magic. Consumers, particularly the younger set, want to be able to self-serve with mobile devices and other digital interfaces. For example, during our webcast with CRMXchange on June 11th – Tech Tank: IVR, Self-Service and Analytics – it was noted that 1/3 of Millennials would reportedly rather clean a toilet than speak on the phone with a customer service rep. Convenient self-resolution actually makes us feel good about ourselves.
Of course, the complexity and urgency of one’s message directly impacts the channel of choice. If we are desperate for a more detailed response, right this minute, we call; but if someone doesn’t pick up, we’ll turn to another channel. Consumers want phone-based care to be immediate, and otherwise seek a different kind of support altogether. (Even when IVR isn’t a part of the equation, many companies are doing away with voicemail because it’s a less-than-gratifying resource with a relatively hefty price-tag, as NPR’s Yuki Noguchi reported earlier this month on Morning Addition.)
Meanwhile, our collective investment in mobile technology is skyrocketing. As Business 2 Community highlighted recently, Forrester Research projects $38 billion in mobile phone sales and $76 billion in tablet sales across the U.S. this year. Digital technology is transforming the way we reach out to brands and one another, across the board.
This digital transformation has a profound impact on our population’s affinity for proactive (company-initiated) communication too, and that’s where preference management really comes into play. It is imperative that companies ask customers what, when and how they want various communication; track data and behaviors to learn from them; and, whenever possible, predict user intent.
As much as individuals would like to believe that our preferences are completely unique to each of us, soft research shows that there are only so many types of people in the world; the challenge each organization faces is identifying the right preference points and population triggers to intuitively, efficiently and cost-effectively give customers exactly what they’re asking for. Getting on the front end of user needs to offer updates and support before concerns arise – from weather alerts and insurance claim updates, to payment due dates and flash-sale announcements – make self-service options feel that much more rewarding.
However, smart proactive communication strategies – even when supported by powerful preference management tools – involve much more than a series of scheduled or ad hoc blasts. Occasionally, a single channel isn’t enough to walk users through to resolution. After all, mobile phone users don’t distinguish “voice call” vs. “text message” interaction the same way corporate customer service providers do.
During the Tech Tank webcast (catch the recording here), West Interactive Services SVP Strategy & Development Dan Gordon presented a multi-modal solution for the next generation of voice technology. A visual IVR solutions enables callers to stay on the line as voice technology walks them through SMS or Web-based prompts to change settings, make payments or solve other questions. You may have heard us talk about catching the next wave in inbound IVR customer service in the past, but multi-modal transformation of the voice platform is sure to have a profound effect on proactive communication, as well. This next generation technology is making it even easier to help users help themselves.
So, here’s the question: Is your organization getting personal with your customers, prioritizing the “magic” of a great user experience, and realizing the profitable productivity gains that come with intelligent automated interaction and improved satisfaction; or are your communication strategies leaving customers in unfortunate predicaments?
Talk to us. Replenish that roll. Get personal with customer care. Experience Connected.