Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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Swati Sharma, Co-founder & COO, Thriwe Consulting

As per Microsoft ‘State of global customer service report’ – Compared to one year ago, 54% customers have higher expectations from customer service today. Customer ‘satisfaction’ is not enough, brands need to identify ways to bring customer ‘delight’.

Enhance the quality of data collection and categorisation

Data is a dry, impersonal, quantitative figure, and it is up-to the organisations to convert it into tools for creating joyful and qualitative customer relationships. Despite immense progress by organisations in this domain, data is largely being used by organizations in a half-baked manner.

In a recent 2020 study by analytics firm ContentSquare, only 15% consumers reported to be happy with their online shopping experience. They surveyed over 4000 consumers across US, UK and Europe. Almost 50% of the respondents were frustrated with the apparently personalised pop-ups and advertising and not being able to find what they are looking for.

The challenge lies in the customer data not being robust enough to understand the hugely diverse requirements and demographics of customers. Hence the personalisation efforts partly delight but partly annoy the customers. Organisations need to spend considerable time and resources on their data strategy:

  • Restructure systems or establish new systems that ensure singular repository of customer-wide and company-wide data points,
  • Even though it is painstaking, spend considerable time in sorting through quantitative and qualitative data to create manual structures and personal touches in the AI driven customer experience initiatives.

Use Data to Empower Service Agents

This model brings out the best from the combination of man and tech. While it is a norm now to provide the basic information such as customer demographics, purchase history and order details to the agents, the true differentiator lies in providing high quality insights, trend analysis and predictive behaviour analytics to the on-ground agents at a click of a button. This will enable them to go above and beyond in their recommendations, quality of conversations, time to resolve issues and overall providing more efficient assistance.

I am a very frequent buyer from one of the online apparel websites. Their loyalty program calls me their top tier ‘Iconic’ member. Yet, most of my interactions with their customer care leaves me quite dissatisfied. It is not possible to manually assess all customer interactions, but these data points are a pot of gold in understanding customer expectations. If you deploy a large contact centre, then it is worthwhile to invest in Speech Analytics for your recorded calls and Text analysis for emails and messages. This collects data on customer issue patterns and flags certain calls and emails by studying the tone and verbiage of the customer’s voice/message. Every flagged call must be studied and customer relationship improved.

It is good to see a prevalent use of data to create resources for customers to help themselves. A study by Forrester has found that 70% customers preferred to search online solutions over getting in touch with the contact centre. By identifying recurring and common questions, doubts and challenges – the customer support resource bank can be created. However this activity should not be done only once, but this data should be merged with the contact centre data and the resource bank should be consistently evolved.

Data privacy and security will be at the heart of customer care

In the McKenzie consumer data report published in 2020, 87% of the respondents declared that they would ‘not do business with a company if they had concerns about its security practices’.

With increasing digital penetration, these concerns have only been growing. The high-profile data breaches at and by leading brands have not helped. Organisations will have heightened responsibility for keeping their customer’s data secure and private. This data must be used responsibly to retain and build their customer’s trust. Amazon and Apple have built a unique positioning amongst consumers for their stringent data practices and are reaping the benefits with each passing year.

Success in this era will be defined by commitment to customers. The good news is that, over 66% of companies’ competitive advantage and primary focus today is customer experience, up from 36% in 2010. Large scale customer delight can only be delivered with the help of data centricity. Make customer and data at the centre of your strategy while establishing new businesses or transforming existing businesses for survival in this decade.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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