For the last few years, revenue growth via digital transformation has been the driving force behind shaping how brands set their KPIs and yearly goals; with many businesses leveraging technology to improve conversions and innovate their service offerings. However, the tide is now changing. Companies now say their core goal for the years ahead is to improve their customer experience (CX).
There are a few reasons for this; the main one being that the internet has allowed for customers to access hundreds of companies that all do the same thing, meaning competition for businesses is excruciating. In many instances, the key differentiator between companies is the customer experience afforded, which is why the focus is to provide excellence at every stage.
So, how does technology fit into this? Well, one thing that is clear is customers like to have options. Some want to self-serve whilst others want to speak to a real person. This means businesses need to invest in an intuitive omnichannel approach for both self-serve and agent assisted journeys. To do this, technology must be leveraged. Customer service isn’t just a case of picking up the phone or replying to an email anymore – it’s so much more.
If your business is looking to enhance its customer experience in a bid to outshine competitors, keep reading as we explore how to use technology to improve your customer satisfaction overall.
What is customer experience?
Customer experience is often muddled with customer service, and whilst the two are intertwined, they’re not the same. Customer experience pertains to the journey a customer takes from their first interaction with your brand to completing a transaction at the end. It looks at how the user is able to navigate through each stage of the proces and how they feel at every point. Ideally, you want the customer experience to be as smooth and efficient as possible. If it’s not, friction can cause customers and prospects to be lost.
When your customers have a poor experience, they turn to customer service for support and guidance. Not every poor experience can be helped through support, though. For example, if a customer wants the option to self-serve, but the technology to do so hasn’t been implemented, needs simply aren’t met. On the other hand, if the user is confused on one of the steps and needs a bit more assistance, such as filling in a form, customer service may be able to help.
In a nutshell, customer experience is how users interact with your brand throughout their journey, and customer service is how your brand supports customers if they get stuck or need help at any point.
Why is improving customer experience important?
In the modern day, technology is astounding. People need not do too much thinking or leg-work themselves – they expect brands to make things as easy as possible for them. This alone is one of the reasons why customer experience is important, but as mentioned before, customer experience is often tied to customer service and overall customer satisfaction, and these are some of the only defining factors amongst brands and their competitors.
The experience your customers have is almost as important as the product or service they’re buying, and is one of the determining factors over customer loyalty. For any business to succeed, it needs loyal customers, and that’s why improving customer experience across the board should be at the top of your agenda.
How can technology help improve CX?
There are several ways that technology can improve customer experience, as outlined below.
Automates services for customers
A lot of customers like to do things themselves and want to minimise contact with other humans where possible, and this is especially true after the pandemic. Where possible, you should take steps to provide as much self-help as possible for customers, including things like FAQs and tutorials.
Another example would be implementing tools on your website that provide much-needed answers. For example, if you sell floor mobile devices and a customer isn’t sure about a model spec or how much it might cost, you could implement a comparison online that highlights functionalities and packages available. This automation makes it much more efficient for customers to get the information they need without having to speak to a person if they don’t want to.
Provides better support for customers
Customer experience is all about providing a high level of clear support for customers at all times so that they can move from one stage to the next with ease. Certain technology applications can assist with this, with many being specifically designed to provide support for users. When a customer feels supported, they feel valued and like their needs are at the forefront of your mind, and that’s what will ultimately keep them coming back.
Provides personalised recommendations for customers
Sometimes, you don’t know what you need until you see it. Technology can make it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for through personalised recommendations. This can shorten the time they spend trawling through your product or service catalogue and expedite their overall experience. Time is precious, so this is something most customers will hold in high regard.
What types of technology can improve customer experience?
Now you’re familiar with the benefits of implementing technology for CX purposes, let’s take a look at the types of technology you might want to consider.
There are some instances in which more nuanced support is necessary, but speaking to a person isn’t actually needed. Chatbots are a great alternative and can provide fast answers to things like delivery tracking queries and refund policies.
Virtual and augmented reality
You want to give your customers as much information as you can about your products or services, and one way you can do this whilst maintaining good user engagement is with the help of virtual reality (VR) technology. For example, if you sell cars, you might use VR technology to do a 360-degree tour of the inside of the car so that customers can get a real feel for what they’re looking at buying.
Cloud technology has been around for a while, largely in the form of data storage, but it’s being used increasingly to improve customer experience. It’s doing this by making back-end processes much smoother, and this has a knock-on effect on customer experience due to reduced downtime etc.
Data is one of the most valuable tools you have to improve every aspect of your business, including customer experience. You can use data to track client behaviour and see if they may be running into any problems anywhere, or to identify patterns in complaints or feedback to see what aspects of the customer journey should be improved.
Integrated CRM systems make it easier than ever for you to find customer data and provide a fluent experience should customers need to speak to a service agent. They help to prevent downtime by keeping relevant customer data readily accessible and stored in a manageable way.
Perhaps the most valuable way you can improve customer experience is by asking your customers directly for feedback. You can send them a few questions electronically to help determine what they thought of your service via designated feedback surveys. A common example of this is when you go to unsubscribe from a service and are asked exactly what it was that made you want to leave. This data can then be used to create a more positive customer experience moving forward.
A recent trend that has arisen in the customer experience arena relates to how customers engage with your brand. Customisation is key, and this is where screen sharing really comes into its own. Through screen sharing, you can give live product demos and guidance to customers in real time, providing them with a personalised and intuitive experience.
Co-browsing follows a similar premise to screen sharing, except it’s more interactive. Through co-browsing, if a customer is having difficulty navigating an aspect of your app, software or website, you can jump in and press buttons, fill in text fields, and annotate the screen on their behalf. This improves overall efficiency and shows a commitment to an engaging service, both of which are core components of a positive customer experience.
Improve customer experience with Vizolution
At Vizolution, we offer a number of different technology solutions to aid customer experience. Please contact us to find out more about how we can help your business implement customer-centric solutions.