59% of consumers will walk away from a brand after a few negative experiences and 17% over just one. They expect to be able to easily engage with a business on their terms and that experience must also be convenient and hassle-free. And when you factor in the explosion of e-commerce in recent years, the writing on the wall is clear. It’s high time to take stock of your digital customer experience and engagement strategy to ensure your customers’ journeys are seamless from self-service to live, from customer service to sales, and from any channel or device.
Build your digital customer engagement strategy at a pace that’s right for you
Yet, oftentimes, it can feel daunting to design and implement an all-encompassing digital strategy. The good news, though, is that you don’t have to do everything right out of the gate. Instead, you can start small and focused using a step-by-step approach. Applying this more iterative approach can still yield impressive results that offer significant value to both your customers and your company’s bottom line. Here’s how to best get started:
Step 1: Determine the highest needs of the business. Before you implement your digital strategy, you need to first understand the needs of your business. Take a deep dive to uncover your company’s pain points when it comes to the digital customer journey. Where is there friction between your brand and your customers? Perhaps your customer service agents aren’t well equipped to help a website visitor easily find what they’re looking for? Or maybe your shopping cart abandonment rates are too high and online sales are lagging behind in-store sales? Or maybe you don’t have a good way of greeting new website visitors and qualifying new leads?
Step 2: Identify and prioritize customer experience and engagement use cases. Once you figure out the most important needs to address, then you must determine where the specific friction is bubbling to the surface. For instance, is it in customer service or sales? Or maybe marketing? Next, identify the discrete use cases that require improvement, but don’t take on more than you can handle at once. Keep it simple. Think of a skier who has different runs to take down a mountain to the base lodge — a green circle for easy, a blue square requiring an intermediate level of skill, and a black diamond for experts only. If you’re just getting started with digital engagement, choosing a black diamond trail is unwise, but a green trail still delivers the desired outcome. Let’s look at an example:
If increased sales are one of your key objectives, you can take the “beginner run” by simply adding live video chat to better engage with online customers. Face-to-face video allows for more personalized interactions that are proven to drive more sales. Then in the next phase, you may decide to take the “intermediate run” by turning a distinct area of your website into a virtual boutique with immediate access to highly consultative product specialists and demos. Using this phased-in approach is a wise way to ensure success with customers without taking on too much risk and complexity.
Step 3: Finalize your approach. Once you have determined your use cases and prioritized them, it’s time to create a project plan including key metrics to keep your team laser-focused on the expected outcomes. Be sure to also take one more look before you start to implement too. A “low-hanging fruit” use case from a future phase may help increase the impact of your priority area.
Once you achieve your first win, you will gain confidence and momentum before moving to resolve the next point of friction — not to mention buy-in from key stakeholders. And once you successfully complete your first initiative, you can start using your now tried-and-true formula in other areas of the business to expand upon that success.
Self-service and live engagement technologies enable omnichannel experiences
Depending on your use cases, you can deploy key customer engagement technologies such as text chat, chatBOTs, video chat, voice, cobrowsing, screen sharing, scheduling tools, and others to ensure seamless interactions no matter where customers are on their journey, and what device and channel they’re using when they engage. These tools also empower your customer service and sales agents to better serve them. Having the right supporting technology in place makes for productive agents and happy customers, so be sure to include good self-service and live technologies that can seamlessly route and engage customers throughout their journey in your strategy.
Implement best practices to optimize customer service
Now that you understand the basics, here’s a detailed example of these digital customer engagement best practices for customer service:
Add conversational AI to your website to automate simple interactions such as answering FAQs or guiding customers to specific web pages with cobrowsing. ChatBOTs are quick and easy to implement and can handle many customers’ inquires on their own, which will significantly reduce overall call volume. And with a BOT handling initial conversations and passing along what it learns when a live agent is required, customers will be much further along in the resolution process, therefore, decreasing average handle time (AHT) by 40%.
Build on your quick wins and enhance customer engagement further by adding video chat to better personalize and humanize the interaction. Contact center agents can also cobrowse with customers, offer complementary products, and even co-fill out forms and shopping cart information leading to higher average order values and lower cart abandonment rates.
These powerful technologies work synergistically with seamless movement from automated to live regardless of the channel or device. You can also easily switch between online customer service and sales when needed or even transfer to an in-store representative. And these VIP experiences can increase average CSAT scores to 96% while at the same time providing upselling opportunities for additional products or services.
And when you’re ready to expand the customer use cases, you can leverage these same engagement technologies to other customer service points of friction or perhaps move on to a sales or marketing use case.
Work with a reputable partner to ensure success
A strong digital customer experience can make or break your business, so you must give it the care and due diligence it deserves. To ensure you uncover the friction, prioritize use cases, and build a successful plan to reach your goals now and in the future, it’s important to partner with the right vendor. You can lean on their digital expertise as you create and phase in your strategy over time. A good partner will work with you every step of the way and will continue to be there as your company grows in the future.