Empowering Agents to Personalize the Customer Journey – Changes and Improvements
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(Note – This is the ninth post in our 10-part series, “Empowering Agents to Personalize the Customer Journey.” If you missed the last one, “Refining Processes,” please click here to view it now. We will release new posts for this series every week. Therefore, please be sure to sign up to follow our blog to receive updates when we post new articles.)
More than ever, customers are better connected, educated, and informed. Therefore, to thrive in an ultra-competitive environment, your company needs to deliver a consistent and customized experience to customers. To that end, the use of an omnichannel implementation can help your business to reach its goals.
Making sure your customers receive the same experience from various channels, including social media, email, chatbots, and phone, is part of omnichannel implementation. At the same time, creating a tailored customer journey is a necessary component for establishing a dedicated customer base and delivering exceptional customer service.
In this article, “Personalize the Customer Journey – Changes and Improvements,” we will explain why it is important to make occasional improvements and changes to your omnichannel implementation, and how to do so. So, let’s get started.
Omnichannel Implementation and Personalization
Omnichannel refers to unifying customer touchpoints via multiple platforms to make a connected, reliable, and personal customer experience. A study by Accenture concluded that 91% of customers prefer to shop with companies that recognize them, recall their past transactions, and offer suitable proposals and recommendations. These numbers clearly demonstrate the need for personalization in the customer experience.
This article delves into how to enable agents to give personalized customer experiences across different channels, offering factual data and examples. When trying to enable your agents to personalize the customer journey, changes and improvements are an important part of the process.
Why Improvements and Changes are Important in Omnichannel Implementation
Establishing an omnichannel strategy is not something that happens quickly, but rather a process that needs to be regularly evaluated and tweaked. A number of reasons necessitate businesses to make changes and adjustments in their omnichannel approach. Here are a few of those reasons:
Meeting Customer Expectations
Customers expect a personalized experience that meets their unique needs and preferences. They want to communicate with businesses in the way that works best for them and want the same experience, no matter which channel they use. For instance, a customer might begin looking at your products on your website and then continue the conversation on social media or in a chatroom. In this case, the customer expects that the service and information will be consistent – no matter which channel they use.
Businesses that provide a great omnichannel experience have an edge over those that don’t. Customers are more likely to choose a business that meets their expectations and provides a personalized experience. For example, Amazon has earned a competitive edge over other retailers because of its great customer service and tailored recommendations.
Companies that don’t provide a smooth and customized experience risk losing customers to their competitors.
Research conducted by Boston Consulting Group shows that brands that create personalized experiences can expect a 6-10% boost in revenue, almost three times the rate of those who do not. Amazon, for instance, applies personalization to recommend products based on customer browsing and purchasing history, which leads to increased sales and customer loyalty.
Adjusting and refining your omnichannel approach can help you save money. Streamline your operations and increase efficiency by optimizing your processes and technology. For instance, a chatbot can reduce the amount of support calls and emails, which could save you money on support costs. Minimizing costs can help your business devote more resources to enhancing the customer experience.
A McKinsey study found that optimizing omnichannel operations can result in cost savings of up to 15%. As an illustration, Bank of America made its operations more efficient by bringing together digital channels with its call center, resulting in reduced costs and higher customer satisfaction.
Improved Customer Satisfaction
Enhancing your omnichannel strategy can boost customer satisfaction. Customers that have a positive experience are more likely to become repeat customers and spread the word about your business. An example would be a customer who gets a specific recommendation based on their past purchases is more inclined to buy again in the future. In short, greater customer satisfaction leads to increased customer retention and more business.
According to Forbes, 84% of companies that improve their customer experiences report an increase in customer retention and revenues. Creating personalized customer experiences through tailored interactions can cause a significant increase in customer satisfaction, resulting in positive reviews and long-term success. Take Disney’s MagicBand for example – it makes the guest experience at its theme parks highly personalized, creating an enjoyable, stress-free journey.
Review Your Current Omnichannel Approach
Before introducing changes and improvements, it’s important to review your current omnichannel implementation. Doing so will help you identify areas where improvements are necessary. With that in mind, here are some things to consider when doing your review.
Assessing Your Omnichannel Stack
The initial step in reviewing your current omnichannel approach is to consider the strengths and weaknesses of your current technology stack. This will help you identify areas that require improvement. For example, if your website is slow, you may need to invest in a better hosting provider.
Examining the strong points and weak points of your technology stack can help you make wise decisions on where to invest resources for improvements.
What impact has your current stack and/or system had on the customer journey/environment?
Looking at the effect your current technology stack has had on the customer experience and environment is important. Therefore, it’s important to identify pain points in customer journeys and areas for improvement. For example, if your customers are having difficulty finding the information they need on your website, you may have to reorganize your content. Understanding the impact of your technology stack on the customer journey can assist you in prioritizing improvements that will have the most beneficial impact.
Evaluating Progress and Refining Processes
Looking at how far you’ve come and changing your methods is key to advancing your omnichannel approach. This involves analyzing data and feedback, identifying pain points, prioritizing improvements, and implementing changes.
Data Analysis and Feedback
Analyzing data and feedback is a must to making data-driven decisions. To gain insight into customer behavior and preferences, it is important to collect data from a variety of channels (i.e., social media, email, and chatbots.) To illustrate, if you have an e-commerce store, you can look at customer browsing and purchase data to present them personalized product tips. Reviewing data and comments can help you recognize areas for enhancement and make sound decisions on where to devote resources.
The insights in a DataPine report emphasize the importance of making decisions based on data to create a better customer experience. For instance, tools like Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics can provide information on customer behavior and preferences, assisting your business in recognizing areas that can be improved. Gaining and evaluating information from multiple sources, such as customer feedback, can help determine problem areas and set the order of necessary changes.
Identifying Pain Points
Pain points are areas where customers are experiencing difficulties or frustrations. Let’s say, for instance, customers are dropping out of their checkout process on your website. In this scenario, you might need to launch an abandoned cart recovery campaign. Identifying issues and pain points can help you prioritize modifications that will have the most powerful impact on the customer experience.
Maximizing the use of your resources requires you to prioritize improvements. Therefore, when considering improvements, it is important to consider the resources needed and their influence on the customer journey. As an example, if you’re looking to use a chatbot, you may need to invest in a chatbot platform and train your customer service agents to manage more complex questions. Prioritizing improvements can help you make informed decisions on where to allocate resources for the most significant impact.
You should always monitor agent sentiment to ensure any changes don’t adversely affect agent experiences. Agents are the key to giving customers a personalized experience. Therefore, it is important to make sure they have the tools and backing they need. For example, if you implement a new customer service system, make sure your agents receive adequate training to prevent frustration and burnout.
Additionally, give your agents the autonomy and authority they need to make decisions on their own (without always having to confer with a supervisor or manager.) Continuously examining agent sentiment can help you determine which areas need work and make wise choices to make sure both customers and agents have a positive experience.
A study by Gallup found that companies with high employee engagement, experience 10% higher customer loyalty and 23% higher profitability. Understanding agent sentiment is crucial in refining processes, as happy and empowered agents are more likely to provide personalized, empathetic support to customers.
Types of Changes in Omnichannel Implementation
There are three primary types of changes that your business can make to improve its omnichannel approach: changes in technology, changes in processes, and changes in people.
Improvements in technology are necessary to improve the customer experience and make operations more efficient. What type of improvements? Well, this could include things, such as AI chatbots, customer relationship management software (CRM), and data analytics tools. For instance, if you’re in the e-commerce business, you could add a product recommendation engine to your website to offer customers product proposals based on their past activities.
Utilize innovations in technology that can customize experiences and streamline processes, e.g. AI-powered tools. These tools can help agents provide personalized assistance to customers in real-time.
Changes in processes are another essential component needed to improve efficiency and reduce costs. These types of changes might include optimizing your supply chain and inventory management processes. For example, if you have a physical store and an online store, you might implement a unified inventory management system to prevent overselling and allow real-time access to all inventory for your team.
You should modify existing processes and workflows to eliminate redundancies and enhance efficiency, which leads to better customer experiences.
Changes in people involve training and empowering your agents to deliver a personalized experience to customers. By providing ongoing training and development opportunities, you can ensure that your agents have the skills they need to succeed. One example might be to train your customer service agents to personalize their communication and tailor their responses based on customers’ previous interactions with your business.
One of the most powerful process improvements your business can make is to invest in agent training and development. Thus, empowering them to deliver personalized customer journeys through every interaction.
Implementing Changes in Your Omnichannel Implementation
Introducing changes in your omnichannel implementation requires a well-thought-out plan. Therefore, to help you come up with a plan that works for your business, here are some things to consider.
Create a Roadmap for Change
Creating a roadmap for change is the first step in implementing changes. A roadmap outlines the steps you need to take to achieve your goals and sets timelines and milestones to measure progress. For example, your roadmap could include something like implementing a chatbot in six months and training your customer service agents in personalized communication in nine months.
It’s important to prioritize changes based on the impact they have (will have) on the customer journey and the resources required to implement those changes. For instance, if your business has rather limited resources, you should prioritize changes that will have the most significant impact on the customer experience and deliver the most return on the resources you invest.
Build a Cross-Functional Team
Building a cross-functional team means involving stakeholders from different departments, such as IT, marketing, and customer service, to ensure a well-rounded approach to making changes and improvements in your omnichannel implementation.
Let’s say, for instance, you want to implement a chatbot. If you do, involve the IT department to ensure it’s properly integrated with your technology stack. Then, you should also check with marketing to ensure it’s consistent with your brand messaging and customer service to ensure it’s providing a positive experience.
A successful transition relies on everyone knowing about changes. It’s important to communicate changes to all stakeholders, including customers and agents, to ensure they understand what’s happening and why. For example, you could inform your customers about a new chatbot through a newsletter, and ensure your agents have the right training.
Testing and Rollout
Testing and deployment are the last steps in making modifications. It is critical that you carefully test changes to make sure they are operating as expected and not having a negative effect on the customer experience. To illustrate, if you’re launching a new chatbot, test it thoroughly on a limited group of customers before releasing it to everyone.
Steps to Improve Omnichannel Services
There are several steps your business can take to improve your omnichannel services. Therefore, in this section, we will cover some of the most important ones.
Use of Data Analytics to Personalize the Customer Journey
Analyze customer behavior and likes through data analytics to give a personalized experience. Aggregate data from different channels, such as social media, email, and chatbots, to understand customer behavior and preferences.
Use this data to provide personalized recommendations and tailored communication. Employing data analytics, an online store, for example, can investigate its customers’ buying and browsing activity to deliver personalized product advice.
Take advantage of advanced analytics tools, like Salesforce Customer 360, to gain insight into customer behaviors and preferences and help agents to customize their interactions accordingly.
Training and Empowering Agents to Deliver Personalized Experiences
Educate and equip your customer service agents to enable them to give customers a personalized journey. Offer ongoing training and development to make sure your agents have the necessary skills to provide a positive experience.
A simple example would be to train your agents to use the customer’s name and tailor phrasing and scripts based on the customer’s previous interactions with your business.
Additionally, invest in training programs and resources, such as customer service workshops or eLearning courses. This type of training can help agents acquire the skills they need to provide personalized, empathetic support. Also, remember that when attempting to personalize the customer journey, changes and improvements will succeed or fail based on how agents implement them.
Seamless Integration of Channels
Make sure that you link all your channels in order for customers to have the same experience, no matter the platform. For instance, if a customer initiates contact with you on social media and then moves it to email, ensure your system preserves the history of the conversation as it moves over.
Real-Time Monitoring and Feedback Mechanism
Install a real-time monitoring and feedback mechanism to identify and address issues quickly. For instance, you could use chatbot analytics to keep track of customer satisfaction in real-time and take care of any problems that arise.
Reviewing and Analyzing Changes
Once changes have been made, it’s a good idea to look over and examine their effects on your business. Therefore, in this section, we will discuss some ways you can do that.
Positive Impact On Customer Satisfaction?
Review customer feedback to determine whether the changes have had a positive impact on customer satisfaction. For each of your channels, review customer satisfaction ratings to see if they have increased.
After implementing changes to your channels or services, assess their impact on customer satisfaction, agent sentiment, and your overall business goals. To do this, use metrics and KPIs such as Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) surveys to gauge the success of your improvements.
Have Changes Helped Agent Sentiment?
Review agent feedback to determine whether the changes have improved agent sentiment. For instance, if you implemented a new customer service platform or tool, review agent feedback to see if they find the new system easier to use.
Have Changes Met Your Goals and Expectations?
Review goals and expectations you had before making improvements to determine whether the changes have met them. For example, if you wanted to reduce support costs by implementing a chatbot, review the cost savings to see if the new system is actually saving your business money.
Omnichannel Improvements Are Ongoing Endeavors
It is very important to understand that improving your omnichannel approach is an ongoing process that requires continuous evaluation and refinement. Therefore, don’t be afraid to make changes and try new things to improve your customers’ experiences.
Benefits After Making Changes and Improvements
Thoughtful changes and improvements to your omnichannel approach can provide several benefits to your business.
Increased Customer Satisfaction
Improving your omnichannel approach will lead to increased customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers are more likely to become loyal customers and recommend your business to others.
Increased Brand Awareness and Loyalty
Providing your customers with personalized experiences can help you increase brand awareness and loyalty. If your agents can provide more personalized experiences, customers are more likely to remember and recommend your business to others.
Improved Sales and Revenue
Improving the customer experience will almost always lead to increased sales and revenue. This is because customers who receive personalized experiences are more likely to make repeat purchases and spend more money. When refining processes to personalize the customer journey, changes and improvements should focus on the customer. If you do that, increased sales and revenues should follow.
Reduced Churn and Increased Customer Retention
Providing a seamless and personalized experience can help you reduce churn and improve customer retention. It’s a well-known fact that satisfied customers are more likely to remain loyal to your business and make repeat purchases.
Personalize the Customer Journey – Changes and Improvements: A Competitive Advantage
If your business provides a better omnichannel experience, you gain a competitive advantage over competitors that don’t. As a result, customers are much more likely to choose your business – because you provide a personalized experience. Of course, this leads to increased market share and revenue.
To summarize, implementing changes and improvements in your omnichannel approach is essential to delivering a seamless and personalized customer journey. By reviewing your current omnichannel approach, evaluating progress, refining processes, and implementing changes, your agents can provide a consistent experience across all channels.
Helping your agents to provide personalized experiences can lead to increased customer satisfaction, brand awareness, loyalty, a competitive edge, and improved sales and revenue. However, it’s important to remember that continuous evaluation and refinement of your omnichannel approach are necessary to meet changing customer expectations and stay ahead of the competition.
As technology continues to evolve, your business needs to remain agile and flexible to adapt to new customer behaviors and preferences. By keeping this post handy, your business can stay informed and up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices in omnichannel implementation.
You’ve reached the end of our post, “Personalize the Customer Journey – Changes and Improvements.”
In the next, and final, post in our Empowering Agents to Personalize the Customer Journey series, we will look at determining return on investment (ROI) with your omnichannel implementation. If you’re looking for information on how personalizing the customer journey with omnichannel can improve your bottom line, check in with us a few days after this post.