For Marije Gould, Marketing Vice President, EMEA, at Verint, the undisputed mode of service that customers prefer is still human interaction, but this time it can't do without digital capabilities and integrated systems and processes.
“Our latest global research of more than 24,000 consumers revealed that four in five customers still prefer human customer service interactions to digital alternatives. It also found that those who prefer digital customer service channels are more prone to switching brands or providers,” shares Verint’s Marketing Vice President Marije Gould, “So, while omnichannel is widely accepted as the minimum, the challenge now for organizations is to get the balance right between offering more cost-effective digital tools and the more traditional or ‘human’ customer experiences.'”
Organizations need to be truly customer-centric, “They need to have the capabilities to offer a wide variety of channels, including a mix of digital and traditional channels, and ensure they have the infrastructure to provide a consistent experience for the customer. It gives customers the choice to engage with a customer service agent or go digital, if they prefer.”
But the Marketing VP cautions that, “A good customer experience is not simply about technology and offering many channels. Successful organizations arm themselves with the right information, tools and processes to provide the speedy service that customers demand across all channels. This includes engaging and empowering staff to deliver great service and work as effectively as possible. It also means having the capability to capture information on all customer interactions and the tools available to turn this information into insights. These insights must be made available for customer service agents on all channels, to build a complete picture of the customer’s preferences, history and journey – so they can provide the speedy and high quality service that customers crave.”
But what does being truly customer-centric mean? Verint conducted a global research in conjunction with IDC, a leading analyst firm, and identified eight core characteristics of strong customer-centric organizations:
Digital capabilities help improve customer experience by providing more choices and convenience through new engagement avenues, “However, it comes with the expectation that customers will be able to interact with the organization on their desired channel and get the same result regardless. Whether it’s asking a question on Twitter, buying a product in a store, looking for an item on a smartphone app, or anything in-between. Every single interaction a customer has with an organization forms part of the customer experience. It’s all about helping customers perform their desired action as quickly and simply as possible, and via the channel of their choice.”
Digital also helps to streamline customer experience by facilitating automation and cost reductions and create more opportunities to analyze customer data and truly understand customers and their preferences, “This includes measurement of customer experience and mapping out the customer journey. But those don’t spell the end of the contact center. Organizations still need to get the balance right between digital and human customer service channels.”
While getting the balance right between digital and human elements sounds simple in theory, “It’s much more complex in reality, because it intersects with so many different business areas to include those things you suggest such as company culture, capabilities and technological systems. Being able to deliver the best possible customer experience requires an integrated and holistic view of the customer which is where the systems and processes come together to facilitate that perspective.”
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