Your customers are your most precious resource. Handling their needs with care is paramount for sustainable growth of a company brand. From marketing and sales to service and aftercare, knowing how to create a seamless customer experience means your customers won’t slip between the cracks.
Here’s a guide to help you pave the way to a smooth customer journey.
Manage your channels
Make sure your call center is equipped with a smart omnichannel CRM system and a well-trained staff to use it. Being aware of past customer interactions on other channels (live chat, SMS, phone, email) means a call center agent is well-equipped with the information needed to move the customer to a resolution quickly and minimize or avoid frustration.
Right tool for the right job
Omnichannel sales and service is only helpful to the customer if each channel is available and utilized at the right time and for the right reason.
The marketing that occurs before the sale, the service during the sale, and the customer care and additional marketing after the sale are all phases of the customer experience.
Knowing how to create a seamless customer experience means reaching out (or being available) to the right customer on the right channel at the right time. Gather data to determine your customers’ habits, and design your service points and processes accordingly.
Timing is everything
If a customer reaches out for support and doesn’t receive a response quickly enough, he or she is likely to switch to another channel (at best; at worst, another brand). At this point, the customer has the same query initiated with more than one agent on more than one channel.
Although a good omnichannel CRM system can help to manage a duplicate query such as this, the fact remains that the customer is off to a rocky start navigating your service department. Keep close tabs on KPI’s related to timing, such as average hold times, first call resolution, average handling time.
Make all channels known and visible to the customer at various points in the customer journey.
If a customer is on hold, the queue recording should include instructions for connecting via SMS, live chat, or email. Your live chat window should also display a phone number and be linked to email. Your email sign-off should include other contact information.
In short, customers should be able to switch from one channel to another as needed without having to return to your website to gather more contact information. Always be one click away.
But don’t push other channels, especially to customers who have clearly shown a preference for the phones.
For some, the most seamless customer experience possible is talking to a knowledgeable agent on the phone.
Some people are just more comfortable talking to a human, and offering other channels to them too insistently may make them feel like you don’t have time to talk to them on the phone.
Keep track of your customers’ previous interactions. If for certain customers there’s clearly an established preference for the phone, make sure suggestions for other channels are light and seldom.
For complicated service calls, it is sometimes necessary to transfer a customer to one or more additional agents who specialize in certain types of solutions. Customers don’t always like the fragmented customer care they receive in situations such as this.
To keep the process seamless and personal, consider having a customer start and end with the same agent in complicated service situations. This way, one agent takes ownership over the satisfaction of the customer. The agent they initially expressed an issue with can re-check with the customer to ensure that a satisfactory solution was achieved.
Create a customer journey map
Knowing the route your customers move along from start to finish can provide valuable insights as to any bumps, hiccups, or chasms along the way.
Consider using your data to create a customer journey map in order to determine how to create a seamless customer experience. Mapping the customer journey involves compiling data-- both analytical and anecdotal-- into an infographic that shows the flow of customer movement through the company’s touch points.
Humans crave consistency, and brand consistency across all channels of customer interaction shows that your company is reliable and legit.
Conduct an overview of your company’s channels; are customers experiencing brand consistency in the look, sound, and feel of every interaction with your company?
In addition to being consistent, this style or voice should align with your company’s values and goals. Any time your company adds another channel for customer contact, make sure to evaluate it for consistency of design and delivery.
Keep the conversation going
At the end of every successful customer interaction, make sure agents extend an invitation for further contact. This way, customers who experience a future need for service can quickly and easily click or call and pick up where they left off. If staffing and resources allow, you may even encourage customers to reach out to the same agent that brought them a positive experience in the past.
From start to finish, your customers should be handled with utmost care and attention. If the omnichannel approach is becoming the new normal for companies, then it will also be a new criteria by which consumers compare and by which companies compete.
Making sure your customer experience is as seamless as possible means happy, loyal customers.