Business Transformation

Why IT leaders need to future-proof their customer comms

Why a flexible, automated platform is crucial to good CX

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Customer experience is the new differentiator

Last year, businesses spent a massive $1.5 trillion on ‘communication services.’ And not without good reason. Customer experience (CX) has become a key differentiator for brands in an increasingly competitive market. According to research, 30% of customers will stop interacting with a favoured brand after one bad experience. And in this climate, where customers can quickly compare and switch between services, businesses need to compete harder than ever to retain their customer base, with responsive, frictionless CX.

Strong customer experience requires up-to-date customer communications which won’t get left behind. This means businesses will be looking to IT to provide a flexible, scalable and ultimately future-proof platform for customer comms.

Diversifying communication channels

Alongside print, voice calls and email, exchanges with customers are happening increasingly through new, more rapid platforms – from website chatbots to a growing variety of social networks, old and new. For example, according to data from Facebook, 61% of consumers had recently used a messaging app to interact with a business.

Existing messaging platforms like this are becoming an established and expected channel for customers to interact with their favourite brands – and any businesses without an effective customer communications capability on these channels will rapidly be left behind.

How to future proof your customer comms technology

Discover the tools you need to build an agile, compliant customer communications infrastructure

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Responding to trends, fast

It took the telephone over 100 years to overtake telegrams as the main medium of quick, long-distance communication. Yet the telephone was outstripped by email after only 30 years. SMS became more popular than email in less than 15 years, and this is already being usurped by instant messaging as the channel of choice for customers to interact with each other and their favourite brands.

Yet while older forms of communication like phone and mail may have been superseded, they haven’t been replaced. Many consumers still prefer phone and postal contact to new apps. It’s vital to have a presence across all relevant channels, traditional and new, to satisfy your business’s entire customer-base.

However, this is no easy task for the IT department. As CX and Marketing departments push to reach their customers in the medium of their choice, IT will be tasked with identifying the right technology to help the organisation adopt new channels, fast. Practically, that means having the flexibility to build out new capabilities, not ripping and replacing existing infrastructure which is not only expensive, but too time consuming to allow their organisation to get ahead of new trends.

Tracking customer preferences

Consumers expect to be able to reach brands through whichever combination of platforms they find most convenient. Businesses must keep track of these preferences at scale.

These preferences are also likely to change over time, as each customer will adopt different channels (and change their minds about how they want to be contacted) at their own pace.

This makes it vital for businesses to have flexibility in their customer comms technology. When selecting a platform, IT leaders should keep in mind that ability to track and manage customer preferences is a top priority.

Avoiding multi-channel confusion

Another complication here is the need to maintain consistency across multiple channels, to facilitate a seamless experience across all of these.

If customers receive a letter in the post, for example, they will expect this communication to be informed by interactions they’ve had with the brand over Facebook, and for messages in both channels to have a consistency in terms of branding.

Any unneeded friction, such as having to re-submit information, is an understandable turn-off. A good customer comms platform must be able to keep track of information exchange across all channels, eliminating any information siloes.

What do I do next?

To future-proof customer comms, businesses require platforms which can:

  • Track customer preferences at scale
  • Scale to incorporate a growing number of channels and customers
  • Template and automate the communications so they can easily be repeated, tailored to individual channels
  • Integrate with new technology platforms
  • Work off a single, consistent source of data to maintain consistent conversations without information siloes

There’s no telling what channels will dominate the customer communications of tomorrow. But the brands with the best chance of success will be those whose comms infrastructure can incorporate new technologies without losing sight of their customers along the way.

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