But today, the ‘Conversational Age’ is transforming CX putting Customer Friendship at the very heart.
Nowadays technology is able to support truly proactive and conversation-based customer experiences.
And while technology can make it tempting to delegate customer service to automated solutions — this won’t breed the person-to-person trust world-class customer service demands. Instead, AI, machine learning and data generation all have their place within the Customer Friendship strategy — helping power better conversations.
How do you achieve Conversational Customer Engagement?
Here’s three key things to understand:
In today’s Conversational Age, great CX is an essential part of supporting a happy, ongoing relationship between brands and customers.
So how do you do it? There are three key parameters, for getting Customer Friendship right…
1.It’s not about using technology for technology’s sake
There’s no shortage of examples out there, illustrating what happens when well-intended customer service goes wrong. From poorly automated Twitter responses, to that Target pregnancy reveal, it goes to show that technology shouldn’t be applied, just for technology’s sake.
Instead, think about the valid role that new digital solutions can play in your customer service. If it’s not bringing you closer to your customers, or helping conversations flow more freely, then it’s not doing its job.
2. Every piece of communication needs to be genuine and useful
However you approach Conversational Customer Engagement, it needs to reinforce authentic, meaningful and useful conversations with your customers.
This means ensuring your efforts are of genuine use to your customer base. After all, this friendly tone of voice can quickly backfire if it’s felt to be a disingenuous sales tactic — interestingly, a customer survey found that 78% had a negative reaction to an overly casual tone, when the customer service agent was denying their request.
Ensuring the tone of voice is genuine is one part of the picture, but technology plays an important role here, too. Companies should be very wary of over automating because what may seem like a useful, time-saving customer service tool may end up feeling like deflection for the customer.
Truth is, it’s better to leave a message unanswered for slightly longer, to give you time to craft an authentic, meaningful and useful response, than firing a quick response that doesn’t completely solve the customer’s issue.
Instead, focus on implementing intelligent features like smart routing, which automatically puts the customer in contact with the best suited agent for their inquiry without requiring any manual dispatching efforts from managers. Additionally, make sure your customer service software supports customer recognition too, displaying previously collected data the second a customer reaches out so you know who you are talking to, where they are in their customer journey and the potential context of why they are reaching out to you.
3. You prioritize friendship at every stage of the customer journey
Studies show that human friendships are reliant on a key set of criteria — similarity, attractiveness, love, support, problem solving and emotional intelligence. Keep in mind, these traits need to be developed over a long period of time. Friendships aren’t forged overnight; in fact, it takes 200 hours on average for two individuals to become close friends.
The same can be said for the relationship between a brand and their customer — the day-to-day CX needs to continually reinforce friendly characteristics, to create Customer Friendship.
Let’s look at how that might play out, at each stage of the customer journey:
Awareness: great customer service starts as soon as a shopper comes into contact with your brand, whether that’s online, in-store, on social media, or through word of mouth. How you immediately demonstrate your attractiveness and shared interest, as well as the ability, and desire, to deliver trustworthy customer support will persuade a potential buyer to consider your product. Here, integrating your channels means no matter where a customer first comes across your brand, you’ll be there to talk to them.
Consideration: once you are into the customer’s thought process, you need to make it as simple as possible for them to make a purchase. Lack of friction is important here in order to show you understand and empathize with the customer’s needs. Make sure to display emotional intelligence and support, give them all the information they need and don’t ask for too much in return. Your business should be available in whatever channels make sense for your customer: Phone, email, live chat, Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp, etc. Make it easy and keep it authentic.
Purchase: now that this individual has put their trust in you, you need to deliver. This means their purchase must arrive on time, live up to (or even better, exceed) their expectations, and illustrate how much you appreciate them as a customer. At this stage, if the customer doesn’t love your product and your service, you’ll have a hard time winning them back. If at any point they need to ask a question about their order, you need to be at-hand, with full background knowledge of their history to help (think name, recent orders, tracking, previous conversations, etc.).
Retention: the post-purchase stages of the customer journey are just as important as the earlier stages. This is where delivering great customer service consistently really moves front and center. If a company can perform outstanding problem solving and efficiently troubleshoot any customer issues or inquiries, as well as support a happy, ongoing relationship, it will result in customer loyalty. Remember, it’s far more economical to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one, so use technology to keep adding value.
Advocacy: now that this customer loves you, you want them to share the love with other people. Customer service in the way of personalized engagement and human-centric, omnichannel communication, is what will keep you top of mind and in favor with your most loyal customers.
If at any stage of the journey, the use of technology is diluting the quality of your customer service, then it’s not helping you deliver Customer Friendship (or grow your business).
It’s never too late to redesign your customer service experience. And, considering it takes as many as 12 good experiences to make up for a disappointing one, even if your CX is hitting the mark most of the time, there’s definitely still room for improvement.
Learn more about Dixa
The Customer Friendship Platform that helps you deliver gold-standard CX every single day
True friendships stand the test of time. With Dixa, your CX can do the same — no matter how long it’s been, our powerful platform, smart routing and customer recognition technology will enable your agents to always deliver the best possible customer service.
By breaking down the silos in your current customer service process and unifying email, live chat, phone systems and messaging apps our Customer Friendship software empowers your staff to have centralized, continuous conversations with customers — so your company never misses an opportunity to deliver value.
No one wants to be treated as a number in a CRM system. So do away with ‘tickets’ and transactional customer service, and help usher in the age of Customer Friendship to your business. Because if you do, your customer loyalty will increase; boosting sales and bringing in new business through referrals and recommendations.
Eliminate bad customer service for good. Get in touch with Dixa today to try our platform for yourself.