The Best Way to Retain Customers While Implementing Digital CX

These days, businesses are rushing to push more leads with their customers on digital channels. This is because the benefit of incorporating digital support tools, such as SMS, chat, and assisted AI, into the overall customer experience (CX) is evident.

These tools help companies increase customer satisfaction by providing agents with the automation, data and information they need to effortlessly resolve customer pain points and achieve greater personalization. In fact, companies that excel at CX can achieve a 20% improvement in customer satisfaction, a 15% increase in sales conversion, and a 30% reduction in customer service costs, according to McKinsey & Company.

Of course, while having a defined strategy for the digital channel is vital and has a place in every organization, it should be noted that digital support tools are no silver bullet. As an example, in a 2020 study, around 57% of consumers who use chatbots said they are often frustrated by the “inconsistent responses” they receive. They also said they prefer other digital channels, such as social media, over chatbots, because those channels work better for solving more complex individual problems.

Success begins with analyzing your CX efforts

So how can you do better with your digital CX efforts and create a more enjoyable experience for your customers?

Start by analyzing all the contacts with your customers and the complexity of those interactions. As part of the process, ask yourself the following questions: How complex are the supported problems, products or services? What agent knowledge is needed to support each type of contact? How many steps are required to reach a successful resolution? Start by looking at the simple contact types and move upstream once they are perfected.

If the goal is to keep customers engaged in a digital support channel, it’s also important to closely monitor and measure first contact resolution and repeat contact rates. These are key measurements, as they are directly related to the NPS, CSAT, and CX scores.

It is also vital to create a library of tutorials, “how to” articles, interactive knowledge bases, and other useful tools to help your agents guide one-time resolution. These library items can also be shared with customers during interactions to help them be more self-reliant over time.

Additional support is essential

The danger of keeping customers in a digital channel is that if there is no path to resolution, customers can become frustrated, which results in lower satisfaction rates. This is why you need additional support channels, such as voice managed by a level 2 or escalation group, to troubleshoot. Many companies make the mistake of being so tied to a certain channel that they lose sight of what’s really important: the satisfaction of their customers.

This lack of additional support for the digital experience and the growing customer frustration that comes with it are becoming more and more prevalent. In fact, according to Forrester’s Customer Experience Index 2022 in the United States, CX quality declined for 19% of brands, the largest decline in a single year ever recorded by the survey.

Why such a steep fall? Forrester says companies are looking away from the ball at a time when customers are demanding more. The study found that only 3% of businesses in the United States are obsessed with customers, which means they put customers at the center of everything they do. This is a 7% decrease from the previous year.

Uncertain digital efforts will harm your brand

Personally, I have seen a shift in CX in recent years, especially among New Economy companies, which tend to aggressively launch products and services supported by a digital channel. This has worked for many, but most end up with some element of traditional customer support, such as voice, over time. I also see more mature companies aggressively redesigning their support strategy to emphasize digital channels.

But many are jumping on the digital bandwagon without doing a thorough analysis of meaning or not. “Everyone else does it, we should do it too,” seems to be the common refrain. Many digital endeavors are uncertain at best, which helps explain the drop in CX quality shown by the Forrester report.

It can be a dangerous approach to let certain digital media guide your decisions ahead of customer service outcomes, with one exception. I agree that if businesses intend to pursue digital CX channels over traditional ones, a good place to start is to move away from the email support channel.

How come? Because email-supported issues require an average of four back and forth communications to resolve a customer issue. Chat and SMS are better alternatives. With these, an agent can simultaneously solve an average of two problems at a time. When designed and executed well, these tools deliver great efficiencies and results for customers.

Final takeaway

Bad CX can be fatal for a business, while companies that optimize CX can increase customer satisfaction and increase revenue. Over time, AI and digital will become favorite CX channels. When customers have a problem, they want to fix it quickly and fix it easily. Increasingly, they also want brands to simplify the solution themselves. Companies that do this successfully, those that focus on the customer and use technology as an enabling tool, will build the best brand loyalty and ultimately emerge as long-term winners.

Written by Bruce Dawson.
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