According to recent research, over $75 billion is lost by businesses each year following poor customer service. But how can you avoid this by making your customer your friend? That’s what we’re going to tackle in this article.

First, let’s take a look at why you need to build meaningful relationships with your customers.

Ensuring your business has meaningful conversations with customers will build brand loyalty and trust. Customers expect shorter waiting times and the ability to find answers at their fingertips. By building real conversations into your customer service systems it will help you retain and grow your customer base.

Many businesses are good at communicating with customers, however, very few have mastered the art of conversation. The term ‘customer engagement’ is in some ways just business-speak for having a conversation with your customers. Just like chatting with a friend, speaking with any business should be intuitive, responsive and meaningful.

A new era of customer experience

The rising customer expectations are driving many brands towards providing their customers with the best conversational experience possible. Customers are demanding a move away from old, traditional ticketing systems that lead to longer wait times and impersonal experiences. Instead, they’re looking for meaningful, real-time conversations with brands that understand their wants and needs.

We’re on the verge of a new era of customer experience. The impact of technological developments such as AI, cloud computing and digital mobility are converging to create something along the lines of an intelligent experience economy. As such, organizations of all sizes and demographics will be required to start conversing with customers instead of simply communicating at them. Customers will no longer be thought of as just another “ticket.” Contact centers and customer service departments across the globe will need to put their customers firmly at the center of their operations, engaging in meaningful dialogue.

A new era of technology

Now let’s take a look at the impact of these new innovations and see how companies across the globe are restructuring and rethinking the way they communicate with their customers.

A new era of customer experience is emerging, powered by technologies such as artificial intelligence, voice assistants and social messaging. The intelligent experience economy will revolutionize how customers and businesses interact. Customer engagement is already becoming more conversational, rather than simply transactional.

How will befriending customers increase profitability?

Embedding artificial intelligence in customer experience is an incredible opportunity for organizations and can:

  1. Enable easier communication with customers
  2. Speed up time to purchase
  3. Reduce a brand's response time
  4. Personalize customer experiences
  5. Dramatically reduce customer service costs

As data becomes a powerful competitive advantage in this new intelligent experience economy, organizations that have embraced AI technology will have the ability to gain uniquely in-depth insights from their customer data.

Add innovative machine learning into the mix and organizations will be able to quickly and continually refine personalized customer experiences.

It won’t just be fingers that control this new era of customer experience, voice will play a major role too. Conversational experiences are the new frontier, offering the possibility of interactions that are radically more valuable, simple and intuitive.

The recent rise of home voice-assistants is an example of a conversational experience. The attractiveness of voice-controlled interactions in which an individual can control household functions like lighting, heating, online shopping or ordering a taxi simply by asking the question out loud, is driving competition between a number of large corporations hoping to corner the home voice-assistant market.

It won’t just be fingers that control this new era of customer experience, voice will play a major role too.

Customers expect to find answers online

More and more customers expect to get answers to their questions from a company’s website. If they have to pick up the telephone in order to get their questions answered, you may have already lost their interest and possibly their business.

Companies need to move at the speed of their customers. Building a solid community among your customers is a great way to let customers answer each others' questions and ensure that your loyalty base grows with your business.  

By following tips like these and much more, your business can be on its way to creating a strong, trusted customer network that’s built to last.

From scattered data to personalization

Expect data to become the center of your conversations. Imagine that the customer orders something from a given webshop, but gets the wrong item and must reach out to customer service. What happens next is usually a lot of questions...

What is your name? Email address? Order number? It never ends.

And to make matters worse, we (as consumers) expect the person on the other end to already have all that information and be able to recognize us with one or two data points.

Data enables brands to not only deliver highly personalized experiences, but also develop deeper and more meaningful relationships with consumers. Companies that have the right systems in place to manage their data moving forward will be able to learn and act on that information and provide their customers with a better overall experience.

What do customers want?

Providing a phone number or email address on your website is no longer enough. Your customers want an experience that is fast and convenient. They want to ask you a question while having a coffee break and get an answer in real time. Or make online purchases through their voice assistant while driving to work.

They want to be recognized and understood using their own words - not company jargon. And they want to do so using what ever device or channel that is convenient to them in that moment.

Companies that use advanced routing technologies within their call centers report inbound calls are answered faster and first call resolution rates increase dramatically. Additionally, average handling times also decrease because customers are connected to the right agent from the start and can avoid being passed from one agent to another until they reach the right one.

Having all your customer service inquiries in one platform and being able to utilize customer data to route conversations more accurately is key to meeting the needs of customers today.

How are companies achieving this higher level of CX?

To achieve that, brands are required to use a tool that allows them to communicate with customers on any given channel and see all relevant customer data without leaving the conversation. Essentially – a “one-screen wonder”. It turns customer service agents into superheroes and enables them to provide personalized customer service, making customers feel valued and respected.

Why we really need to talk to our customers

Here are some fast facts to set the stage:

  • According to a customer survey by American Express, nearly 50% of consumers expect a response on social media within an hour and 18% expecting one immediately.
  • 75% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a company that knows their name, purchase history and recommends products based on their preferences.
  • Research conducted by Gartner found that more than 40% of all data analytics projects will relate to customer experience by 2020.

With the fierce competition that exists in many industries today, consumers can easily find alternatives for any product or service if a brand isn't living up to their expectations. In order to keep customers satisfied and returning brands need to provide them with quick and friendly service in a conversational manner.

Conversational experiences in the future will allow organizations to truly know their customers, anticipate their needs and provide them with the best solution.

The growth of AI chatbots, voice-activated assistants and messaging apps are just three of the trends driving the future of customer experience. Are you ready for the conversation?

Conversational experiences in the future will allow organizations to truly know their customers, anticipate their needs and provide them with the best solution.

Learn more about how customer loving brands are using conversational customer engagement software to build long-lasting relationships with their customers.