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How Integrated Communications Enhance the Customer Experience

April 28, 2017

How Integrated Communications Enhance the Customer Experience

Companies are looking for ways to enhance the customer experience by integrating communications with business processes. The desired result is improving service, growing their base, increasing customer retention rates, and providing optimal cradle-to-grave customer value, resulting in overall increased corporate profitability. Integrating communications with business processes can take many forms and provide different levels of value. Companies that really focus on the customer experience will understand that it requires a combination of people, processes, and working from a single view using a common data source instead of in silos in order to understand what their customers need in order to be satisfied.

Those that focus on customer experience and business objectives will be more successful in today’s environment than those using the traditional function-and-product focus. Multi-channel access, including phone, email, the Web, fax, interactive voice response, interactive chat, and visits to brick-and-mortar offices, are an important part of this philosophy. Value-added resellers (VARs) should speak with customers about integrated communication strategies, including these:

Take Advantage of Mobility 

About 85 percent of customers use mobile devices as a part of their daily life and routine. Most use their mobile devices in order to search, email, and message. According to a recent study, about 73 percent of searches culminate in some type of reaction, including a purchase, contact with a business, or visiting a site. In fact, more than 60 percent of total online retail sales are expected to be made using mobile devices by 2019. Organizations that do not have a mobile strategy in place for customer contact are likely to end up on the losing side of enhanced customer service. Mobile customers should be able to reach companies in order to view Web sites, make purchases, ask questions, resolve issues, make comments and suggestions, and get help. Companies can send targeted marketing messages to mobile customers based on their sales history, search history, and location. A central view of customer contacts, through a CRM system, should be available to all departments so that all employees have the opportunity to gain or retain a customer and provide excellent service. Contact center technology used in order to provide multi-channel access can be customized to address different business and client needs.

Utilize Big Data and Analytics 

Big data and analytics can be used in order to improve the customer experience. Companies can use information in order to notify customers about bill or service thresholds through email or text messaging and then provide them options to avoid interrupted service. Service organizations can determine a customer’s preferred method of communication and contact the customer before the service date, using that method in order to assure them of arrival times. Manufacturers can integrate and communicate information from R&D, engineering, and manufacturing divisions in order to fuel the product development cycle, improving competitiveness. Enriching the customer experience depends on an organization's ability to respond quickly via the customer’s preferred channels. Software analytics will allow companies to process the appropriate data and metrics so that they can proactively provide applicable information.

Use a Social Media Strategy

Ongoing exchanges of information and content help build and bond relationships that continue to grow stronger. Social media tools are becoming more prevalent in helping businesses improve the customer experience. In 2016, 78 percent of Americans had a social network profile, so companies need to have a strategy or risk losing customers. When customers have issues, and they don’t find answers on the corporate Web site, they will use social media and forums in order to find out if others have encountered the same problems. With social networking, companies can participate in community discussion and gain insights that can be used in order to improve products, quality control, marketing, and other areas. These social interactions should be integrated with the rest of the company’s support and communication channels, as well as their knowledge bases, or they will lose their impact. By integrating their social network strategy with a centralized knowledge management platform and a single, streamlined process, companies can get the most out of social networking and reduce costs.

Enhancing the customer experience with integrated communications can help companies grow their customer base, retain existing customers, improve service, and get more value from their customers. VARs should work with customers in order to find out what makes sense for their business. In the end, VARs and companies will both realize greater profitability by putting customers first.

What integrated communications tools does your company offer in order to improve the customer experience? Please comment below.