If there’s one thing retailers should know about the future of customer experience, it’s that customers will be in the driver’s seat.
Customers today are empowered and emboldened to do business with companies that treat them well.
Kustomer, a customer relationship management company which was recently acquired by Meta, is helping many of the world’s leading brands embrace that trend by providing tools to improve their customer service and experience.
“Our software can truly power modern customer service experiences,” said Andrea Paul Salerno, Senior Manager of Content Marketing for Kustomer. “Kustomer has a single timeline view where you can see every interaction that a customer has had with you in the past, whether that’s customer service conversations or purchases or preferences. You can have very personalized one-on-one conversations. In the old way of customer service, you would lose the history of what came before with each new conversation. That’s no longer feasible.
“It saves a ton of time for customer service agents because they have everything they need to know in one single view. We’re also very omni-channel. So every possible channel you can work in is aggregated into our system. You can service someone via email, then switch to social media, text messaging, and not lose the context of that conversation. It’s a much more modern experience. When customer service channels are siloed, it’s not only frustrating for the customers, but also the agents.
Kustomer provides its technology to some of the leading direct to consumer retailers – the businesses that put consumers at the centre of their business.
A recent survey by Kustomer found that 79 per cent of CX professionals believe the role of customer service to fuel business growth will become more important over the next three years – delivering an exceptional experience is more important than ever.
“Especially after the pandemic, it’s becoming more and more of a differentiator as businesses went online and the Great Resignation happened and people, with inflation, are feeling they’re paying more and getting less. Customer service, and the customer experience, can truly be a differentiator. People don’t care if you’re a mom and pop shop or Amazon, they still expect a convenient experience, a personalized experience, and if you’re able to deliver on that, it can be a huge differentiator for a brand,” said Paul Salerno.
“We have a ton of research on how quickly consumers are willing to just leave a business altogether and never shop with them again after one bad experience. It’s getting more and more important, especially in a digital-first world.”
Paul Salerno said personalization is going to play an important role in the future – personalized experiences are an acknowledged weak point for service organizations today.
The top challenge that CX organizations want to solve is customers’ need to repeat information. This reflects their current biggest weakness, which is data scattered across too many systems, as well as lack of personalization.
To personalize a customer’s experience, you have to know the customer — and that requires data. A platform that brings all the data about a customer into one place helps customer service agents understand the context of a customer’s conversations and helps them deliver more efficient, proactive and relevant service.
There’s no need to waste the customer’s or agent’s time by asking for repeat information. Instead, that information is available at the click of a button, allowing the agent to personalize the customer’s experience by giving fine-tuned advice, addressing problems proactively, and suggesting other products or services the customer might enjoy. The result? An efficient but personal interaction that builds a lifelong customer relationship.
The Kustomer report also found that 84 per cent of CX leaders predict personalization will become more important over the next three years.
“Customers just prefer real human interactions over everything else. They don’t necessarily want to think of your brand as just a faceless entity. They actually want to connect with it and feel like they’re part of some sort of community,” said Paul Salerno.
“CX professionals are saying that’s the future of our business, ensuring you’re not only hearing what a customer has to say but you’re truly listening and you’re able to have these experiences that feel much more personal, feel much more human.”
In the digital-first economy, both businesses and consumers are starting to adopt a new mindset around the role of CX, added the report. Customer service agents are no longer simple problem solvers when something goes wrong.
“They now build relationships, reflect company values, and even deliver consultative support. Businesses must ensure they have tools in place that can not only delegate busy work to technology, giving CX agents more time to tackle challenging inquiries, but also surface relevant insights to agents so they are able to deliver personalized and human experiences when necessary,” explained Kustomer.
The Kustomer report also found that 52 per cent of organizations are preparing to be able to service customers via live video over the next three years; 43 per cent of organizations are preparing to be able to service customers via virtual assistants (like Alexa or Siri) over the next three years; and 26 per cent of organizations are preparing to be able to service customers via virtual reality over the next three years.
The study found that 81 per cent of CX organizations report that reducing wait times is an extremely important priority to achieve within the next three years. No doubt, waiting on hold with customer service is a tale as old as time, one that provides a surefire way to create an angry customer. And amidst the labor shortage and pandemic curveballs, wait times have only been exacerbated.
*Retail Insider partnered with Kustomer for this content.