A rise in demand for personalisation, and individually-tailored customer service has seen growing emphasis on the importance of delivering a digital omnichannel experience. Customers want their queries and requirements dealt with in a variety of different ways, with the freedom to choose what works best for them. The problem for businesses, especially those dealing with legacy platforms or lacking scale, is how best to deliver them.
It is a challenge that is only growing. As recently as a few years ago, four or five channels available to the customer was considered a good standard of omnichannel delivery. Today, the standard is around ten, though without the human element built in, problems still have a tendency to go unsolved, simply because the consumer won’t have confidence that someone is catering to their needs.
“The shift toward omnichannel is about making channels pull-based rather than push,” says SVP of presales, solutions & marketing at Hexaware Technologies, Pranav Rai. “Whether the trend of hyper-personalisation has become a game changer for the better, or whether it has inadvertently created more trouble is irrelevant. Consumer needs are changing and if businesses don’t change along with them, their competitors gain full advantage over them.
“The question then becomes: ‘How do I cater to what my customers want,’ rather than ‘how do I convince them to buy this specific product.’”
Building empathy into retail contact centersBy Hexaware-Technologies
And what the customer wants is for businesses to be able to adapt the consumer journey to their specific needs. This has been driven in large part by cloud-native, digital enterprises and platforms, but presents much more of a challenge for incumbents operating legacy technology.
The pandemic accelerated the longstanding need for such enterprises to modernise, as consumer behaviour began to transform at an unprecedented rate and has presented an enormous stumbling block for some enterprises unable to keep pace with the rate of change.
Personalisation is about recognising that consumers want instant gratification, and building an effective omnichannel strategy is vital for making that happen.
One of the most important aspects of building an effective omnichannel experience is enabling User Generated Content (UGC) which, Rai says, is a huge game changer for revenue growth. More than anyone else, consumers trust the opinions of their peers – certainly more than slick, professional sales pitches. In this sense, pre-sales is as important as the sales process itself.
The most logical step is to bring all of these elements together in the cloud, enabling marketing and contact centre operations to become properly integrated.
“Different business units used to be separated and were not talking to each other,” explains the Hexaware executive. “Now because of the personalisation aspect, everything on the backend needs to be intertwined. Out of this, cloud has been massively destigmatised because things can be merged more easily and options such as chatbots created.
“The businesses who are continuing to face problems are those who can’t move beyond the old business model of operating in siloes.”
The Power of Three
To help businesses successfully execute such a strategy – driving customer engagement, delivering quicker resolutions, with zero queues, and utilising a well-balanced combination of human/bot support – Hexaware has developed a process it refers to as ‘The Power of Three’.
“It is a growth engine which focuses on marketing ops, contact centre operations and ultimately, contact centre transformation,” Rai explains. “In this context, the perception within Hexaware is that if revenue grows commensurate to headcount we’ve failed.
“Instead of ending our relationship with customers the moment we’ve delivered our product or service, we build a journey map with them. We encourage them to think about the end consumer and become a part of their team until that product or service reaches its intended target. In this way, they get to see what the ‘Power of Three’ is about. That is, tailoring services to every customer’s specific need.”
The future of omnichannel experiences
Indeed, the process must be collaborative and involve open dialogue in order to get all parties on the same page.
“One of our major challenges is convincing our customers’ end users of the merits of digitalisation,” Rai says. “Second is helping our customers remember that they shouldn’t neglect suppliers – for example, in e-commerce – in favour of only thinking about their end user, because if they’re not receiving the same treatment as you would give your end consumers, then they will go elsewhere.”
The thing to keep in mind is that the definition of customer satisfaction has changed. That’s why it is so important to think in terms of a business’s entire customer base, and remember that in many cases the line between B2B and B2C has all but disappeared. In this regard, metrics have changed to the point where customers are almost treated as brand ambassadors. Having the technology to facilitate a full 360 view is vital.
While technology makes the process of delivering personalisation easier for the agent, and marketing operations, in particular, provide the agent with the interactions and analytics – that is, the details of what the customer requires – businesses still need to stay engaged with the human element. That’s where contact centres are vital, since there is no substitute for possessing high social intelligence; the skills needed to solve problems and close sales.
Join us on the 8th December for a webinar in partnership with Hexaware Technologies with guest speaker, Forrester senior analyst Michelle Beeson, who will share insights and research to illustrate changing consumer behaviours that will shape the future of retail, as well as the engagement strategies consumer-facing organisations are adopting to navigate this rapidly changing landscape.
To find out more, please register today: https://nsmg.live/event/vast-fast-and-relentless-consumer-buying-enters-a-new-era/