Can you meet consumer expectations of customer communication in 2020?
Customer communication is vital to a company’s ultimate success. Most organizations are aware that doing it well creates an enduringly positive experience for consumers, fostering loyalty and trust, while at the same time reducing the cost to serve. It is a 2-way win.
But, they also know that customer communication has to evolve and adapt to the wants and needs of consumers. What is delivering amazing results today, may well prove ineffective tomorrow. And if companies fail to understand this and fall behind, they risk losing customers to their competitors.
Let’s take a look at what consumers will expect from customer communications in 2020 and how organizations can meet those expectations:
Measuring up to micro-moments
The days when a company could communicate with its customers at will and in its own time are long gone. Today’s customer expects companies to be on-hand for their personal micro-moments: those seconds when they look to their devices to find, buy, locate or action something.
Customer communication should be no different. Companies must do everything possible to ensure that customer communications meet the “be there, be useful, be quick” mantra.
Making the most of micro-moments is about more than just delivering instant communications though. You also need to ensure that you deliver relevant content to your customers as this provides an opportunity to influence behavior.
Success means communicating with customers along every point in the buying journey and fostering instant connections. Equally critical is that you measure every interaction with your customers and track and assign a value for each touch-point an individual customer has with your brand.
Embracing new technologies – enhanced digital communications
When it comes to figuring out which new communication channels to pursue, you should follow your customers’ lead.
It’s for that reason that technologies like chatbots, voice integration, and dynamic (hyper-personalized) content, amongst others, are no longer points of differentiation but essential for any organization that’s serious about customer communication.
As exciting as new technologies and concepts are, however, you cannot simply implement them and expect dramatic improvements in your customer communication efforts. You must also ensure that the integrations you implement, give customers the kind of seamless, cross-channel experience they’ve come to expect.
Here, Artificial Intelligence (AI) will play an increasingly pivotal role. AI-based systems are useful for predicting user behavior and providing content based on that prediction to prompt the user’s next action. That’s crucial in the customer communication space.
Small wonder then, that organizations are already integrating AI into email, billing, and mobile payments. Additionally, AI is driving the use of chatbots, both on websites and instant messaging services, as automated virtual assistants.
Security is a growing concern for consumers, and with good reason. The size and impact of data breaches continues to grow larger, with the average global cost of a breach now US$3.92-million, up 1.5% from 2018 and 12% from 2014. There are no signs that will change in 2020.
It should hardly be surprising that consumers are more afraid than ever of the potential consequences breaches have with regards to their personal security.
After years of awareness campaigns, most people know that spoof customer communications can play a role in these breaches. A side effect of this is that a growing portion of customers are now wary of legitimate communications sent out by an organization.
It’s imperative, therefore, that you not only ensure that your communications are safe, but also educate customers on what your company will and won’t include in any piece of communication.
And, when breaches do happen, put customer communication at the heart of the response. Failing to do so will only exacerbate the negative effects data breaches inevitably have on customer confidence.
With nervous customers being able to switch loyalties more easily than ever before, prioritize getting information out as quickly as possible.
Relevant and valuable communications – through granular personalization
One major effect of the technological advancements made over the past few years is that companies can personalize customer communications at an increasingly granular level – bringing together multiple data points to create a comprehensive image of an individual customer (sometimes referred to as the “shape” of the customer).
Where knowing a customer’s history may have been enough not too long ago, more is expected now. Today, you also have to factor in where your customers are when they receive a piece of communication and when they’re most likely to interact with it.
The more granular an understanding you have of each customer, the more meaningful and valuable your communication will be, and the more likely that it will influence behavior.
While it’s vital that organizations embrace new technologies and new shifts in customer communication, it’s equally important that they take a considered approach in doing so.
When you integrate new technologies, ramp up your focus on security, or make your communications more personalized in 2020, you need to do so in a way that adds to a sense of authentic, human-centered communication.
Ultimately, you can only gain by focusing on what your customers want and need from your communications in 2020.