In an age where consumers can Google competitors at an instant, companies can no longer take customer loyalty for granted. Instead, they must earn it over and over again with each interaction across the customer’s journey. This means that sales and support staff must know what their customers want and need, to boost retention and drive sales.
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With 57% of customers willing to switch to a competitor providing better customer service, it’s clear that this applies more than ever for businesses of all sizes. But with customer expectations ever-evolving, how can sales and support teams keep track and respond appropriately?
A unified, personalised and seamless customer experience
As customer attitudes evolve, so should sales and support teams. Millennials now have $2.6 trillion in direct annual purchasing power; brands aiming to engage with this huge demographic, need to match their expectations and resolve issues in one interaction.
No longer can sales and support teams provide a blanket response to all queries and rely on standardised answers. Contemporary consumers expect rapid and tailored responses, with an already established knowledge of all prior conversations and queries. If brands fail to personalise that service in today’s fast-paced world, customers are quick to penalise them. Recent research has shown that 64% of consumers claim to have avoided a product or service from a company because of one bad experience they had with it, highlighting the need to deliver a consistent and positive interaction every step of the way.
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In order to achieve a personalised approach, businesses need to base customer communications on data insights. When customer support and sales teams are lacking information on previous interactions, completed via a wide number of channels, they will fall short in providing adequate responses to consumer queries.
Re-inventing the call centre
Powerful communication hubs and integrated channels are a crucial tool for brands to facilitate complete conversations, faster resolutions, and more five-star reviews.
For teams receiving a lot of incoming requests, using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software that integrates with all major communication channels will help pull essential data from all conversations – be that a phone call, email, chat or voice message. By accumulating information about a customer’s issue across different platforms, brands can build a complete picture of their specific needs and wants.
The multiplication of the means of communication has led to a segmentation of customer services, as opposed to enhancing it. Instant messaging, email, collaborative platforms are each associated with certain types of exchanges, depending on the place, time and content. In this landscape, calls and voice messages have become the go-to channel for complex issues, which require a contact or an immediate call to action in order to resolve an issue. Cloud telephony is a perfect solution in such cases – it allows to digitise the entire infrastructure for support and sales teams, and to treat the voice as a piece of data that can be integrated into CRM tools. Furthermore, it makes it possible to give each employee a number that will follow them on all journeys, drastically reducing costs while guaranteeing the quality of service.
Setting customer support and sales teams up for success
Seamless and integrated communications not only benefit a company’s bottom line but are also a real asset to sales and support staff – they provide employees with the ability to manage conversations more efficiently and address any issues quickly.
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Brands need to ensure they set up their customer support teams for success while driving efficiencies by optimising processes for a new workforce more familiar with new technologies. Millennials will comprise three-quarters of the global workforce by 2025, and this new generation of employees is expecting to work with flexibility and efficiency, using the latest tools they are familiar with and use in their everyday lives – such as phone, chats or email apps.
By integrating solutions and moving customer service away from siloed channels to a fully digitised system, businesses allow teams to set up customer support operations in several locations. This is especially beneficial for companies that have teams spread around the world and for remote staff to build and maintain a strong customer support experience.
An integrated customer support or sales system, which ‘lives’ also on the mobile phone, enables collaboration and flexibility across a company and allows staff to never miss a call, a chat or an email. With 43% of UK employees spending half of a working day away from the desk, digitising customer support services through unified channels means that calls are directed to the person rather than a physical location.
The future of customer experience
With customer expectations changing at a rapid pace, support services need to be more holistic and effective. With 47% of customers keen to take their business to a competitor within a day of experiencing poor customer service, brands can’t afford to fail.
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A unified and seamless customer experience is a significant step towards meaningful interactions, putting the customer at the heart of support services. By aggregating conversations across different channels, and follow customers’ preferred ways of communications, brands can gather invaluable insight and inspire trust in existing and prospective clients. By giving sales and support teams the ability to view previous communications via a number of channels, staff can answer customer queries and concerns with confidence – knowing that they have all the information needed to provide a personalised approach, and above all, offer a superior customer experience.
Sourced by Jonathan Anguelov, Co-founder & COO at Aircall