As companies, organisations or service providers, we are all looking to deliver a great customer experience. But what does that mean to you? Over the past decade, the definition of customer experience has shifted somewhat - changing from an attractive shop front, polite face-to-face interactions and helpful after service, to a 24/7 presence and multi-channel availability through digital transformation.
Bridging the gap between your digital and physical presence can be as difficult as it sounds, especially in industries such as retail, which, in the past, would deliver products through traditional methods. But the good news is, if you have managed to weather the trials and tribulations that came along with the pandemic, then you’re already well on your way to becoming confident in digital and overcoming the omnichannel hurdle.
But business is more than just surviving, it’s about thriving! And making small touches to your customer experience can offer you the marginal gains you need to really go for gold. Connecting people with a great digital and physical service at all times may sound like a big ask - but actually, it’s quite doable if you have the right team, knowledge and tools at your fingertips…
#1 An Omnichannel Approach 📺
In today’s society, consumers are not just using a single channel to browse products or access services, they aren’t even using just two, or three, or four! Creating an omnichannel experience for your customers, citizens or clients means integrating a variety of platforms into your business. So, as well as traditional channels such as telephone and email, you’re now looking at including an array of touchpoints through popular social media channels, Live Chat and more.
Check this out - Google reported that omnichannel strategies help generate around 80% of in-store visits by customers, and Omnisend suggests that retention rates are a whopping 90% higher for omnichannel customers - reports that we have absolutely no trouble believing.
Having an omnichannel approach essentially means providing a consistent experience no matter which channel a consumer is using. So, if you aren’t currently covering all the bases, what can you do to change that?
Simple. There are a whole host of different channels you can explore. Check out the most popular social channels: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and even TikTok, and start to take a look at competitors in your industry to see what kind of presence they have.
Customer service through these channels is key, with 67% of consumers or service users typically taking to social media to make complaints and spread negative sentiment around brands (Social Media Today). Being everywhere at once can seem like a daunting task, sure, but with a platform that has a Unified Inbox, like Orlo, you can actually manage your inbound and outbound communication, across channels, all in one place… pretty neat right? And once you have tools like that, it’s up to you then to accurately represent your company… which leads us onto our next need-to-know.
#2 Brand consistency 👯
Getting all your ducks in a row with your customer experience isn’t easy, and maintaining your brand recognition and reputation in the digital realm can be difficult when there are so many others in the market doing such a great job.
It’s a given that you’ll be looking to provide the same great products and services across your business, and this all starts with your web presence and social media. Think of your digital presence as a shop front or place of business that’s open to prospective customers or service users 24/7. According to Small Biz Genius, it takes between 5 and 7 impressions for an individual to remember your brand, so getting it out there across channels is an absolute must.
Ensuring your brand colours, logos and tone of voice flow into your digital channels should make your brand recognisable for both new digital customers and traditional customers alike, allowing the latter the safe knowledge that they are getting the same service from their favourite brand. In fact, some companies have even taken it the other way, and started to let digital exploration affect their traditional branding…
Take a look at one of our favourite crisp manufacturers, Pringles. We all know the Pringles logo, but did you know they have actually completely changed it? Looking at the logo in 2022, it’s considerably less detailed and complex than it was 10 years ago - making it easier to construct, share and recognise through social media, where there is a lot less room for complexities. Being forced to alter your brand in this way to work across digital channels is sometimes called pixel pressure, but companies like Pringles, Mozilla and Mastercard have proved that simplifying brand logos and colours to work on digital channels first, can be effective, and actually go unnoticed.
Taking a digital-first approach goes for your customer interactions too. With social media holding a large presence in modern day marketing operations, you need to ensure that you’re making enough noise, enough of the time, to grow and maintain your brand awareness and digital engagement. Utilising Content Creation tools, you can effortlessly create, publish or schedule content across your social channels, reminding your community of the products and services you offer, as well as giving them the opportunity to engage with your brand. What’s more, by working with a solid Content Calendar, you can ensure that no stone is left unturned by planning your posts in advance, and boosting the ones that matter the most.
#3 Rapid Customer Service 🏃
As connectivity through digital channels rises, an expectation to quickly react to customer service queries has grown. According to HubSpot Research, 90% of customers rate an immediate response as important or very important when they have a customer service question - 60% of those customers define an immediate response as 10 minutes or less.
Making alterations or additions to your customer service strategy can have a great effect on the overall experience with your brand. With modern AI solutions, being available 24/7 doesn’t necessarily mean you need to be at your laptop around the clock.
As a consumer, you’re probably used to the Live Chat system by now, or maybe you even prefer it… In fact, 44% of people say live chat is the most valuable tool a company can offer on their website (ThriveMyWay). The truth is, we’re all too busy to talk on the phone these days, meaning social media and Live Chat are often the go-to.
But all too often, unless there’s someone on the other end of your Live Chat, your customers will be hit with that dreaded automated response. So, if you want to get the advantage on your competition, perhaps it’s time to start looking at implementing an AI Chatbot into your customer service operations?
AI Chatbots can have a huge impact on multiple areas of your customer service department, and injecting your contact centre’s knowledgebase straight into the tech can actually improve the chance of first contact resolution, and work towards smashing those customer service metrics.
Interested in finding out more about how AI Chatbots can impact your contact centre? Check out our 5 ways AI Chatbots can send contact centres into the future blog.
#4 Value-driven content 🆓
A good customer experience is not always about buying and selling. Thinking traditionally, one of the great things for many people when browsing for new products and services used to be the experience and conversation in-store or over the phone - learning the do’s and don'ts from the people that knew industries inside-out.
Well… this experience rides on in the digital sphere with free-to-access, value-driven content, and if you’re wondering what that is, you’re actually enjoying it now - cue Inception vibes…
Value-driven content is not necessarily a sales pitch for products, it’s conversation and thought leadership through a variety of different digital mediums. Maybe it’s an insightful customer experience infographic (check out ours here), a helpful how-to guide, or a thought-provoking blog. Either way these free-to-read tidbits of information can build brand trust and reputation, nurture your existing customers or community, and promote your brand to new leads - they’re also a great way to build your SEO ranking up!
According to GrowthBadger, 86% of B2C marketers reported that their companies blog or use other forms of content marketing - plus, if that isn’t enough of an incentive to start creating content, then think about it like this… it’s just nice to share experiences and give something back, isn’t it?
#5 Listening to the customer 👂
We’ve mentioned that the interpretation of what makes up an overall customer experience has changed in the last decade alone - and if you’re not constantly innovating, you can easily get lost in the waves that change brings.
To get a handle on the constantly changing customer experience ecosystem, it’s important to keep your ears to the ground with your existing and prospective customers. The only problem is that, with new social, blogging and forum channels opening up across the web every day, it’s an impossible task to keep up with everything… or is it?
The good news for anyone that wants to keep their head in the game and one step ahead of the game, is that it’s now possible through Social Listening…
96% of unhappy customers won’t tell you directly but will tell 15 friends about their disappointment with you across channels (Andy Beal), and using Social Listening you could be privy to this information, and address it with positive action before it snowballs into experience-damaging rumours.
We have taken listening to the next level with Orlo Insights, that no longer limits listening to traditional social channels. In fact, it expands it to over 2 million data sources, including forums, blogs, news sites, reviews, and breaks reactions down by Emotion and Sentiment, as well as trends. Plus, Insights breaks down the information into easy-to-understand reports, giving you the chance to address negative attention, or dive onto the topic of conversations with topical marketing campaigns and social posts.
Innovation doesn’t stop there either, every day there are new tools and platforms to get a hold of. Look at TikTok for instance - the new popular social media platform on the block in 2016. Fast forward to 2021 and they were celebrated with 1 billion active users (Forbes) - how’s that for innovation?
Suddenly, if you’re not on TikTok you are falling behind. But don’t worry, there's still time to stay up to date with social innovations. Check out our blog 3 ways you can use TikTok for your business and find out how to take advantage of the latest social channel and boost your experience metrics!
Wrap it up 🌯
Customer experience means so much more than it did just a few decades ago. There has been a collision of traditional and digital methods through entire businesses and organisations, from marketing and sales, all the way through to customer service.
So the trick to creating a great customer experience? Constant evolution of your existing strategy based on listening to the voice of your customer! Take informed risks, bring new tools and platforms into your tech stack, and connect them seamlessly through great and recognisable branding. Using an omnichannel approach and letting AI do some of the work when you’re not around are just some of the ways you can get that all important reputational trait of always being there when you’re needed.
Not falling behind the competition is absolutely key to creating that experience with a difference. So we can’t stress enough the importance of listening into the thoughts, feelings and discussions around your current experience.
Most importantly, digging deep to find out where the gaps are in your current experience will highlight the areas that you need to improve the most - and at Orlo, we’ve got your back!