Today, we live in the age of the customer. The customer is always right, and the customer will rarely wait. Long gone are the days of lengthy hold times, generic responses and uninformed representatives when it comes to delivering a competitive customer experience.
Consumers now have more options than ever before when they have a question or concern and “great expectations” of fast, friendly and flawless interactions with the brands they choose, regardless of the medium or channel.
According to Shep Hyken’s 2021 Achieving Customer Amazement report, “83 percent of customers will leave a brand for poor service. Customers keep getting smarter about customer service and CX. They know what great looks like.”
Innovative technology isn’t enough to win over customers and beat out competitors. It’s about how brands leverage the technology that matters, which is where contextual communication plays into the modern-day customer experience.
Leading companies understand how important it is to deliver excellent customer experiences in the moment and how challenging that can be in a data-driven world. A recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research on behalf of Braze, a leading comprehensive customer engagement platform, showed that as they continue to expand their digital strategies, they are generating exponentially more data as customers interact through a multitude of digital avenues.
“While this data is integral to meeting customers’ wants and needs, our report found that it has become overwhelming for brands to manage, with 32% of brands ranking collecting, integrating, and managing data as its top concern for 2022,” Braze reported. “In fact, three of the four top concerns for brands this year are all about data and how to leverage it effectively.”
Specifically, the report lists those three concerns as applying data to business decisions; collecting, integrating and managing data; and enabling cross-team access to relevant data in a timely and productive fashion, all equally rated.
One way to optimize and monetize this data is to create applications that make it possible to serve personalized offerings while also protecting user privacy. An ideal way to do this is to embed real-time communications applications into experiences on the desktop, on mobile devices or on other customer service points such as kiosks and future innovations.
Adding Context To CX
By using new technology and contextual communications, businesses can use more relevant insights from customer interactions to deliver on these high expectations.
In terms of the customer experience, contextual communication is simply making sure that both the customer and the company understand what the current conversation is about. In the digital realm, there are three types of contextual moments that offer opportunities to deliver a consistently excellent CX.
First, there’s visual context, which refers to what the user is seeing in the user interface. For example, the apps they’re using or the websites they’re browsing.
Second, there’s physical context. This is information gathered from sensors such as microphones and cameras, as well as movement, location and temperature.
Third, there’s analytic and big data context. These are the insights that an application can generate when linked to cloud platforms or a local database. Behaviors, preferences and stored information can all be processed and leveraged to deliver highly orchestrated, automated and personalized CX.
All three can be used separately or combined to understand the customer’s intent, which is the priority when it comes to enhanced contextual communication.
Is the customer looking to purchase something? Or are they looking for some form of support? Are they nearby, and would they benefit from in-person help? By identifying the customer’s needs from the start of the CX journey, brands can create a flawless customer experience in which the consumer understands everything going on at every step. This greatly benefits the customer and the company.
Brands can no longer differentiate on product, pricing or customer experience in today’s world where goods can be ordered and delivered on the same day and returned as easily and quickly. Delivering on these great expectations is essential and driving exciting innovation, including highly personalized (automated) engagements.
In everyday life, consumers encounter applications powered by intelligent AI without even realizing it. From online shopping and targeted advertising to web searches, digital personal assistants, smart cars, homes, cities and infrastructures, AI combined with omnichannel engagement furthers the consumer expectation for instant engagement, responses and gratification, as well as their ability to connect directly with the proper expert if needed and without the need to repeat themselves.
Omnichannel Customer Experience
A major part of figuring out the context and the intent of a customer during the CX depends on what medium they’re using. Traditionally, the customer experience was primarily done through phone calls, but thanks to digitalization, a customer today can reach out using a myriad of different devices.
AI chatbots are on the rise, and according to Invesp, 67% of global consumers had an AI chatbot interaction within the past year. Consumers are also enjoying more virtual face-to-face time, as there has been a 300% growth in video chat as the number one preferred channel for talking to companies since January 2020. Messaging during the CX has also become popular thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, with currently over five billion monthly messaging app users, according to Statista.
An omnichannel customer experience is essential for success in today’s highly competitive markets. It’s also mission-critical in being able to understand intent in the moment and to meet or exceed growing expectations from savvy and spoiled consumers.
Advanced real-time communications APIs combined with communications platform as a service offerings enable brands to develop applications that provide seamless, contextual experiences to their customers regardless of the devices they use.
In 2022, the world’s greatest brands understand and are investing in the science of immediate gratification for their customers. With contextual, immersive, automated, intelligent and creative real-time experiences, blending software-based and human conversational service is no longer out of reach, helping create a flawless CX on every occasion.