Today’s customers have complex expectations. Despite having a wide array of channels on which to voice their needs and concerns, they often feel unheard. In spite of the plethora of platforms on which brands attempt to connect, customers often feel unengaged.
For customer experience leaders and business owners, the struggle is real. Simply “listening more” isn’t the solution, either. 73% of customers expect businesses to understand their unique needs and expectations, but receiving information is only half of the equation.
From product and pricing to sales and support, the modern customer expects businesses to align their customer experiences based on responsive, real-time listening. The expectation is that every interaction should be tailored to their activities, and every engagement across every channel should be nearly instantaneous. omnichannel listening and real-time engagement are increasingly critical to driving positive CX and repeat business across industries.
Listen with intent
In such a customer-led environment, it can do your business little good to have a cut-and-dried listening ecosystem. An annual customer satisfaction survey is a good start, but it’s not enough to elevate customer engagement if you’re not able to take real-time action to improve customer interactions. Asking a single question — Net Promoter Score (NPS) is the classic example — is a good way to start a conversation, but one metric does not tell the whole story. What about the follow-up open-ended questions that power deeper listening through Natural Language Processing, and the key driver questions that uncover critical actionable next steps?
Strong omnichannel listening programs help to build a comprehensive and fluid understanding of what customers feel. The goal of these listening exercises should be to go beyond business best practices and make a real difference at the CX level.
This, of course, is easier said than done. You might already be struggling with terra bytes of fragmented listening data and reports on an everyday basis. To strike a genuine connection with your customer, you need to get past operational bottlenecks and invest in end-to-end CX management. It can help you get past typical listening gaps and:
- Leverage multiple channels and formats to interact with the customer where they are
- Get an instant, unified insight into the Voice of the Customer
- Align feedback programs and listening campaigns to business priorities
Shape customer engagement
Effective listening or empathy alone won’t win and retain the present-day customer. You must continuously stay ahead of the interaction race – beat the customer to the next touchpoint with predictive analytics and hyper personalization.
How do you do this in an always-on, omnichannel environment that is being steered by the customer? This is precisely where automation comes in. Whether customers are serving themselves or interacting with a sales or support execution, CX-focused AI and automation can prompt and define the next set of customer interactions. Leveraging the right set of technology and tools can help you a) turn around a bad or neutral experience into a positive one and b) empower every team with the customer insight they need to grow revenue faster.
The best of such a CX management ecosystem also streamlines your processes and workflows for agile action. It lets you ensure you aren’t just listening to the customer; you are understanding the customer at a deeper, authentic level. With sentiment-driven CX set to emerge as a top trend, such an approach to knowing and influencing customer engagement will soon become a business imperative.
Retain control of the customer journey
Future engagement models prioritize an increasingly self-service style. With customers constantly engaging with your brand — and your competitors — you need to strategize to best serve your priorities based on your resources. This calls for you to lean in, listen, respond, and predict at the speed of human intuition. Simply scaling on channels to send out standard responses won’t help you retain customers. Continuing to treat listening as a stand-alone activity can prove to be the biggest threat to your customer engagement and revenue.
Instead, you need to redesign your operations to put customer listening and sentiment management at the center. Customers will feel heard and understood when every team in your organization is focused and agile enough to enable personalized offerings based on real-time customer sentiment.
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