We all know how important our customer experience is — and how hard it is to win new business and keep it. We all exist to efficiently solve problems for our customers and be easy to do business with. That has become even more complicated as customers want to engage with us across their contact method of choice: voice, text, chat, social, email and web.
For decades, our business phone lines have been our lifelines. That is still true today. Nearly half of calls go unanswered, and more than 80% of callers will not leave a voicemail or call back if they are disconnected. You must be available. Each unanswered call is a lost sales opportunity and negatively impacts the customer experience.
At the same time, customer contact preferences are rapidly evolving. An estimated 85% of customer interactions will start with some form of self service in 2022 using the variety of different contact methods, up from 48% today. The landscape of the customer experience has changed, and we need to be ready.
At our firm, we are rapidly implementing tools and technologies to help us do that and are helping our clients do the same.
Why Do Businesses Lose Customers?
Poor Customer-Service Experience: Nearly 90% will leave after a poor customer service experience. Most won’t even tell you, but they will tell their peers.4
Lack of Customer-Service Continuity: Customers expect a personalized experience and for you to know the history of their interactions with you. They don’t want the frustration of having to repeat their names, account numbers and motives each time they call in or are transferred to another team member or from another contact channel (e.g., from chat to live answer).
Lack of Follow Up: Nearly 70% of customers leave if they feel you are indifferent. Failing or being slow to respond is costly.5 These poor interactions come about for many reasons such as siloed business tools that don’t work together, outdated technology, and failure to embrace automation and AI.
The Need to Embrace Automation and AI
To face the new state of customer experience, business leaders are taking an intelligent approach and leveraging automation and AI across the different contact channels customers demand.
It requires examining the unique problems you are trying to solve for your industry and evaluate how, for example, an intelligent IVR, virtual assistant or chatbot can help, whether that be to enhance traditional self-service options, ensure 24/7 availability, or improve efficiency by automating routine interactions so team members have more time for complex interactions. The operational and financial benefits can be easily quantified.
When it comes to customer experience, Aberdeen’s June 2020 research shows that adopters of AI-enabled customer engagement technologies demonstrate clear improvement in customer retention, CSAT, and customer-effort score, allowing you to retain your customers and win new business.
To meet the changing landscape of the customer experience, we all need to be available, eliminate silos, facilitate collaboration and provide intelligent self-service options across the channels our customers demand. This can all seem overwhelming and costly. We understand. The good news is that these technologies are available today, offering operational improvements and cost-efficient tools for the small- and medium-sized business to excel in the new state of the customer experience.
When combined with the risk of lost revenue, it is a problem we can no longer afford to ignore.
At Allegiant, our team of experts has tackled these issues and are empowering both our firm and our customers to meet these new demands. You don’t have to go it alone. We are here to help you support your team, improve your customer experience and ensure your long-term business success.
Bryan Dancer is the president of Allegiant Technology, an integrated IT, communications, cloud and cabling company. Bryan and his team of support staff help business owners simplify, plan and operate technology in integrated and economical fashion, tailored to their unique requirements.