Contemporary customer experience strategy leans heavily on solutions that address consumer choice and engagement options through a holistic and customized approach. This unified customer experience strategy is sharply focused on preferences, ideally tailoring to the consumer or member ecosystem or “household,” for personalized service and support that meets the needs of various demographics, age cohorts, and comfort with technology. At HGS, our clients are finding great value in focusing on these consumer communication preferences, meeting demand with more new channels as well as self-service and social media as checkpoints in their customers’ journeys. And a recent IDC study on consumer communication preferences is well aligned with our own assessment of the required service elements for delivery of an optimal customer experience for today’s customer.
IDC on Changing Preferences
The IDC research concludes that preferences are changing dramatically, due to the wide variety of channels and the fact that consumers expect simple and low-effort customer care interactions. As a result, today’s companies are working harder than ever to:
- Better understand the customer journey
- Find missed opportunities for customer engagement
- Create a unified strategy for communication across channels
- Take advantage of opportunities for greater personalization of customer communication, based on understanding of demographic differences in preferences
A key consumer satisfaction consideration, according to the IDC data, is ease of use/simplicity of process. In fact, when asked about the most important characteristic to ensure satisfaction when communicating with a company, 34% of respondents chose ease of use/simplicity of process, 24% chose cost, and 19% chose a friendly person/personal interaction. These responses varied by age demographic, with the 45-65+ segment valuing simplicity and the youngest (18-44) segment favoring friendly interpersonal interaction for customer satisfaction.
Benefits of Preferences Focus
The consumer communication process is maturing as a business area of emphasis that provides high return on investment. Allocating fiscal and other resources to customer experience helps companies become more competitive by working to:
- Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, reduce churn. IDC survey data indicates that a user-friendly interaction or transaction process will build retention and a more satisfied customer base.
- Create more marketing and sales opportunities. With a higher-level customer view, companies can better determine marketing and sales effectiveness.
- Better anticipate future customer needs. Customer dialogue can be extremely helpful in generating input and ideas for product planning and research and development.
According to IDC data, to support an optimized customer experience, agent and technology investment includes multichannel capabilities and also a seamless view of touchpoints. Additionally, BPO providers applying analytics to customer data can reveal weaknesses that are essential for setting key benchmarks and metrics. Equipped with today’s tools and resources, these partners are integral to both day-to-day execution and high-level strategy of an optimal customer experience. There also must be engagement from all areas of the company involved with product and service delivery. This requires cross-department communication, for a consistent vision of customer experience and brand.
We have partnered with IDC to share their research: Identifying Missed Opportunities to Improve Customer Experience. Here you’ll find comprehensive customer preferences insights, as well as insights to help you create a unified customer experience strategy.