By now most company owners and managers should be aware that customer experience (CX) is the driving force for business success. The collective impression customers get from interacting with you and your brand is behind how often they buy from you, how much they buy, and whether or not they tell others about you. But CX isn’t something that comes in a box, ready for you to deploy. It’s a way of doing business that should permeate every department and decision.
One tool you can use to create a positive CX is technology. While technology can’t replace human connection and care, it can go a long way toward helping customers get what they want from their interactions with you, including convenience, personalization, and self-service. Companies may need to experiment with those applications that work best for their customers. A custom software development company can help by creating bespoke software for specific needs.
In the sections below, we explore some of the most effective technology tools available. They can help you ensure customers love doing business with you now and well into the future.
Personalized marketing is nothing new. It’s the foundation of highly successful advertising platforms like Google and Facebook. This technique benefits both you and your customers. You get to identify the people most likely to be interested in your offerings, based on their demographics and past purchases, determined through predictive analytics. Customers, on the other hand, get ready access to information about products and services they might like to buy.
You can choose the attributes of people most likely to appreciate your offerings, including age, income, marital status, education, and location. This strategy can be deployed across your marketing vehicles, including catalogs, newsletters, text alerts, and social media.
Surveys consistently show that consumers prefer self-help options whenever possible. Chatbots, which answer common customer questions, can be part of a successful self-help implementation. When used effectively, they help customers automatically, without human involvement. You can program them to provide answers to questions like, “How do I return something?” “Where is the store nearest to me?” and “What are your hours?”
The responses should include helpful information as well as links to additional content in case the customer wants more details. The system should be set up to allow users to take their conversation to the next level, contacting a human if needed.
Chatbots have more than one benefit. In addition to serving as the first line of assistance for customers, their use can help you reduce customer care staffing costs.
Beacons are transforming the way retail establishments operate. They are Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices that collect information about customer behavior, using Bluetooth technology to connect to their phones. They then provide relevant services or notifications. For example, if a customer in a craft store spends several minutes at a fabric display, the beacon system can send them a coupon for 20% off all fabrics, good only for that day.
As another example, say a customer at a home improvement store is shopping for refrigerators. The beacon network can alert a clerk, who can approach the customer already armed with warranty and shipping information. Beacons can even be used for the checkout process, with customers enabled to simply swipe their card or electronic wallet at a convenient location within the store (goodbye checkout lines!).
There’s a reason social media is so popular. People like to share what they’re doing with others. Of course, you can make use of social media sites to promote your products or services, ask for customer feedback, create a customer community, or just have fun. But you can also create spaces for a more select group of people, namely your best customers. Develop your own online community with forums, Q&As, photo sharing, or games.
These types of experiences help customers feel special and connected to others with similar interests. That level of immersion with your brand can lead to more visits, bigger purchases per visit, and referrals to family and friends.
As more companies offer omnichannel support, more customers have come to expect it. Being able to reach out to customer care representatives at the time and in the manner of their choosing is a big convenience for those who need to complete a transaction, troubleshoot a problem, or return an item.
Even better, customers should be able to change seamlessly between different methods. A text conversation should be available to the next representative helping that same customer over the phone. To make such a system work well, care representatives should be equipped with dashboards to help them get an overall view of a customer’s history. Companies that provide multiple ways to reach their representatives are likely to stand out against their competition.
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to improving CX. Each company must target its efforts based on its customers’ preferences, abilities, and habits. For example, companies that cater to a younger demographic will likely use more social media and omnichannel support systems than those that serve older customers.
There is a wide range of technology that can be used to suit just about any customer need.
The solutions listed here are just a few of them. Company operators interested in happier customers and more revenue should take the time to research those that could be a good fit.