The new rules of customer engagement

In a world of on-demand and personalised customer service, it’s no secret that today’s consumers have rising expectations. Customers want the brands they interact with to understand their preferences and to meet their specific needs, often in a seamless and immediate way. Small businesses that nail this early on are well on the way to building loyalty – which is incredibly valuable when acquiring a new customer costs five to 25 times more than retaining an existing one. This is particularly important during the start-up phase when every dollar counts!

Our latest New rules of customer engagement report has featured insights from over 3000 consumers across six countries, including 500 in Australia, on how customer engagement is changing. Here are the key findings:

Consumers never forget

Our report found that over half of consumers reported that they had stopped doing business with a brand after a single bad service experience in the last 12 months. It is never too early to start thinking about your CX strategy. In fact, neglecting it can directly hurt your bottom line. Investing early will pay off in the long run, as 31 per cent of customers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience. When considering whether CX is worth investing in, be sure to look ahead to the long term benefits and consider the potential cost of lost customers.

Omni-channel is the new norm

It is essential to offer your customers options when it comes to contacting you, with 70 per cent of consumers preferring brands that provide service across multiple channels. These can include email, chat, social media platforms, SMS and contact forms. When you’re starting out, determine the most fitting channels for your customers by looking at how they already communicate in their personal lives. For example, if your customer demographic is predominantly tech-fluent, they will be perfectly happy reaching your team through chatbots on your website and social media platforms. For less tech savvy and older demographics, make sure they have the option to pick up the phone and call you.

Embracing bots

Customers are warming up to chatbots, with live chat emerging as the third most preferred channel of engagement for consumers globally, after voice and email. But chatbots are only as strong as the information fed to them. Upon implementation, take the time to make sure your bot can comprehensively answer all frequently asked questions. Involve you customer service team in the process – their interactions with customers will be a fountain of knowledge in training. When your chatbot is live, set aside time every month to review how your users are engaging with it. This way, you can track any gaps in your bot’s knowledge and train it better serve your customers over time.

Regardless of the size of your business, customer experience matters. A positive CX adds value, builds loyalty and can help you get ahead of competitors. On the contrary, poor CX can hurt your brand and send customers running. Whether you have ten customers or ten thousand customers, investing in CX from day one is a sure-fire way to succeed.

Sreelesh Pillai, General Manager, Freshworks Australia

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