Customers are demanding, as they should be. The world is focused more and more on being able to get help or information at the moment the need arises. Gone are the days of waiting to get a reply. Customer Service leaders face a difficult task to deliver real-time response at an exceptional level of service while reducing operational costs and streamlining systems and process.
To address some of these challenges, our Crossfuze Customer Service Management experts gathered together to provide some insight and advice for you to consider as you work to master the balancing act between delivering exceptional CX and reducing operational costs. They also focus in on how to use ServiceNow to help with that balancing act so that you can deliver CSM wins with speed, agility, and confidence.
Let’s begin this discussion withPart 1: Why a 360-degree view of your customers is no longer good enough to drive customer satisfaction
For many years, the gold standard of customer relationship management has been a 360-degree view of the customer. By aggregating all interactions, sales transactions, and demographic data for a customer, businesses have been able to build robust profiles illuminating what makes their customers tick and what will resonate with them. These profiles have helped businesses to predict and anticipate customer preferences and behaviors, and ultimately to offer high-quality, tailored Customer Service that leads to more customer satisfaction.
But 360-degree customer views are inherently limited: They don’t capture the interactions and engagements that customers have outside of the ones with the business itself. Consequently, a 360-degree view offers an incomplete picture of what truly motivates, inspires, and resonates with customers. Let’s dive deeper into why this picture is incomplete—and thus why a 360-degree customer view does not necessarily maximize your chances of increasing customer satisfaction:
Customers are communicating with one another independently of you: As the Internet and social media have come of age, customers have unprecedented ability to share opinions, publicly rate businesses, and swap Customer Service experiences. A 360-degree customer view cannot capture this interconnected world where customers are communicating with one another independently of their communications with you. Their views toward you are being influenced and shaped by forces completely outside your jurisdiction, and yet a 360-degree customer view may not be capturing these views at all.
You can no longer tightly script the sales cycle: As the Internet has made information of all kinds instantly available, it also has reduced the ability to control the script of the sales cycle. Your customers can and typically do build a perception of your product and brand before they ever make contact with one of your sales reps. This means that by the time you do make contact, your words and your script have lost the power to shape a customer’s first impression of your products. Consequently, a 360-degree strategy built on capturing the customer’s “first impressions” simply won’t cut it anymore—it’s an inherently flawed strategy.
Customers educate themselves before they enter the sales cycle: Part of capturing a 360-degree customer view is to anticipate and predict what customers will need before they even realize they need it. But increasingly, customers are doing their homework and discovering solutions and approaches without any input from you; they’re even using (without your knowledge) online self-help resources that you and your competitors have developed for them. By the time you make contact with them, they are at Step C, while you—based on your 360-degree customer view—automatically place them at Step A. This customer disconnect is frustrating to customers and counterproductive to closing sales.
Customers trust the personal experiences of their peers more than they trust you: Market research has consistently shown that customers trust the personal testimonials of people they know more than they trust a salesperson. That doesn’t mean, however, the role of the sales team isn’t important; rather, it becomes critical that you understand your place. Ultimately, you need to understand how to effectively engage customers whose views of your product and brand have already been shaped by customer testimonials. When you acknowledge and adapt to this reality, you are able to maximize your chances of maintaining satisfied customers.
The speed at which information of all kinds can be shared and accessed has fundamentally reshaped the sales cycle. Indeed, this vast, interconnected customer world exists outside the 360-degree customer view from a technology standpoint, and companies must be cognizant of it. In this world, customers are communicating with one another without your knowledge or input, building perceptions of your brand and products before entering the sales cycle, educating themselves on your product offerings and sales solutions before contacting you, and absorbing and giving deference to the testimonials of other customers.
The most effective way to serve customers who live in a world outside your 360-degree customer view is to work smarter—under a new Customer Service Management paradigm. In the next blog post in Crossfuze’s Customer Experience blog series, we’ll make the case that next-generation Customer Service Management (CSM) should become tightly integrated with your marketing strategy.