We as customers have become accustomed to instant gratification, thanks to uber-connectivity.
Have you ever ordered something from Amazon and been frustrated if your items can’t be guaranteed to arrive the next day? Or perhaps you abandoned an action on your mobile device because it wasn’t quick or easy enough? This is the beast that society deals with today; the ultimate connected customer that has become accustomed to instant gratification thanks to uber-connectivity and the businesses that maximize this.
Today we aren’t just connected to the world in one way, but rather in multiple ways at all times (via numerous data connections and several different devices). Gartner predicts that by 2020 the install base of connected devices will total 50 billion units (including wearables, phones, tablets and PCs). Behind each of these connected devices is a person, which means that connected customers generate trillions of transactions and will continue to do so exponentially in the future.
Customer connectivity drives demand for a new kind of service experience; one that is faster but more interactive, but that also caters to self-service. In fact, according to Forbes, 50% of consumers say they’re likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs, and 74% feel the same if the company doesn’t provide an easy checkout process. How do service organizations deliver, not just to these demands, but beyond them, in an attempt to differentiate their service offering and thus gain customer loyalty?
Three ways your company can deliver beyond customer demand
The first step to delivering to the connected customer is understanding them and the world today, and tomorrow. While it might seem that devices have greatly reduced the need for human interaction, the connected customer is rather calling for a personalized, tailored customer experience and real human interaction.
According to Salesforce research, customers are willing to share their personal data in exchange for a more personal experience with your brand. Having a better understanding of your customers’ level of connectivity, demographic and demands will help you to lay the framework for delivering a better, next generation customer experience.
Today’s technology not only allows you to collect relevant prospect and customer data but also processes and applies it to help drive your overall service strategy. It is important that your business systems are set up to collect and transfer this data seamlessly across the service supply chain.
Once you understand your connected customer, your organization must figure out the best approach to delighting them. The best way to do this is to have your focus and operations all be driven by the customer experience. Your customers of today and tomorrow no longer expect an off-the-shelf product experience but rather the whole packaged deal. They expect that you won’t deliver just a product or just a service, you will deliver an outcome. Your strategy must focus on this fundamental shift in buying behavior and expectation.
Ask yourself these questions:
- At first touchpoint: Do you make it easy for your prospect/customer to engage with your brand? Access any information they need to know? Get any questions answered? Chatbots and other artificial intelligence (AI) tools allow an organization to feed the right information to a prospect or customer and guide them through a personalized buyer journey.
- At service delivery: Have you uberized your service offering? Does your customer know exactly what they are getting and when? Do you communicate changes in real time? Are you maximizing the opportunity to cater to preferences?
- At manufacturing/development: Have you closed the feedback loop and allowed your customers to drive your developments and improvements?
In the same way that technology has allowed the consumer to be fickler with their service experience, technology can actually enable a service organization to ensure that they aren’t. The Internet of Things (IoT) changes the service model from a reactive to a predictive approach, which is in line with the new expectations of connected customers.
By fixing a problem before the customer is even aware of it, an organization is delivering that personalized and outcome-based service that has now become an expectation. IFS research shows that IoT is rated as the single most disruptive factor among field service organizations (FSOs). Unsurprisingly, 55% of those surveyed saw IoT as a key requirement for investment. Leveraging the right technology to deliver the integrated customer experience will allow you to deliver to the connected customer of today and prepare the foundation for future expectations and shifts.
The secret successful service organizations know
The most effective businesses understand now more than ever that the success of their business rides solely on the customer. Anticipating the connected customers’ needs, developing a customer-centric strategy and leveraging technology to cater to their expectation and mobility will allow you to cultivate a truly unrivaled customer experience that will differentiate you and help you generate the brand loyalty you need for continued success. For more information on creating a future-proof customer experience, download the Field Service: Aligning the service experience to meet the next generation customer expectation eBook.
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