Facebook, Twitter, in-app messaging—customer preferences for engaging with brands are quickly shifting to digital channels. Which means that as customers continue gaining power and influence over brands, businesses will need to step up their digital transformation efforts if they want to satisfy the customer. As a consequence, companies will rely on positive customer engagements as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors. And we believe there’s no better place to start than with the communications experience.
Most enterprises have contact centers that do a competent job of handling voice interactions. But the same can’t be said for the ever-growing number of digital channels that customers are embracing. These customers want to be able to interact with brands through their favorite channels, whether social, SMS, video, or messaging apps—the same ones they use with their friends and family. Above all, customers will want a consistent, seamless communications experience that allows their needs to be met quickly and without friction.
Here, then, are three ways customer engagement is going to change over the next year and what businesses will need to do to keep pace and ensure a positive customer experience.
1. Deliver personalized and immersive brand experiences
As customers adopt new communication channels, companies are going to have to focus more on delivering personalized brand experiences across all digital channels. This means investing in communications technology that enables the company to move from siloed email, web chat, social media interactions, and messaging to a more unified, context-rich digital customer engagement solution that drives hyper-personalized customer experiences.
Take customer review sites, for example. A customer logs on and starts describing a less-than-stellar customer experience, and then what? Well, today, companies can respond to service needs directly on the review sites. By reaching out and offering immediate support through these popular digital channels, what might have been a negative customer experience now becomes an opportunity to showcase personalized customer engagement.
2. Use big data and AI to optimize efficiency
As communications systems continue to multiply, relying on even the brightest and most talented employees to make sense of an ever-expanding store of customer data will not be enough to ensure maximum efficiency. What’s more, making sense of that data, drawing conclusions, and then sharing those conclusions is extremely difficult.
So here’s where artificial intelligence comes in. AI and business analytics can be used to optimize a company’s communications, make critical customer information available across communication platforms, and automate repetitive tasks to increase efficiency and decrease costs. For example, more and more companies are turning to AI to do the following:
- Enabling probabilistic decision making. Insureon, the nation’s leading online provider of small business insurance, uses machine learning and RingCentral technology to provide their agents with real-time feedback; As a result, customer conversion rates have gone up by 50 percent, and call-handle times have gone down by 45 percent.
- Saving money through automation. More companies are using intelligent bots as virtual agents. Interactive voice response (IVR) technology means customers can find the information they need without human agents.
3. Protect customer data and build trust
All these digital channels are generating more data than we ever thought possible. And a lot of this data is highly sensitive and is beginning to require formal governance and protection. The EU’s landmark privacy regulation, GDPR, went into effect in 2018 and has had sweeping effects on the way businesses collect and use customer data.
Make no mistake, customers are well aware of issues surrounding data security and privacy, and they expect that their personal data will be protected.
Ensuring a positive customer experience in 2019
Effective customer engagement is central to business success, and it starts with meeting customer expectations for effective communications. If customers can’t use their preferred digital communications channel, they will take their business to brands that do. The answer’s simple:to engage tomorrow’s customers, businesses have got to find a way to span the range of digital channels with a solution that provides a consistent, seamless, and responsive customer experience.
Learn more about how RingCentral Engage powers effective digital customer engagement.
Originally published Feb 22, 2019, updated Aug 27, 2020