6 Considerations to Inform Your Multichannel Customer Experience Strategy

In rapid succession, buzzwords like “customer experience,” “CX” and “customer journey” have moved from conceptual theories to boardroom imperatives. It’s now table stakes for major enterprises to have an ability to engage, convert, and nurture consumer relationships in a highly personal, secure way, and on a proliferating range of channels and conversational entry points, including Apple Messages for Business, WhatsApp Business, Facebook Messenger, and more.  

It sounds like a no-brainer in theory but also a potentially daunting and massive task for enterprises to execute at scale — and all the more challenging when it comes to high-stakes consumer situations. When the subject matter is banking or healthcare — money or health — for example, it’s critical to communicate with consumers via secure, trusted, and personalized methods.

As more brands look to engage with customers in a localized, personalized way, there are six key things they should keep top of mind when building out a CX strategy. 

Meet Consumers Where They Are

Business leaders are making Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS) a top priority in order to provide seamless customer experiences. This is making it possible for businesses to manage customer journeys in one place across multiple channels that are appropriate for different types of client engagement. One channel might be appropriate for personalized customer care, while another might be a better fit for sending order notifications.

Channel preference will also vary depending on demographics. Millennials, for example, may prefer to interact with businesses using a live chat function or digital channels like WhatsApp, but that’s not to say that other communication channels should not be offered. It is all about creating an approach customized to each customer’s needs and also meeting your customers where they are.

Use Intelligent Automation

Be ready to automate with always-on communications channels as well as live agent support a click away. Simply automating messages is not enough. Smart artificial intelligence (AI) enables a more contextual user experience which, in turn, enables businesses to reduce the number of frequent low-value queries reaching the contact center and allows them to focus on more complex customer queries.  

In fact, a recent survey found 48% of businesses believe AI can improve customer journeys. Automation allows for personalized follow-ups after customer interactions. Think healthcare appointments, fraud alerts from banking transactions, and updates on the status of shipment orders. 

Help Consumers Find You

Give consumers clear options for reaching you on next-generation channels. While messaging has been primarily a personalized and 1:1 proposition, channels like WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Apple Messages for Business, and Google Business Messages are increasingly preferred modes for consumers to initiate and conduct business. If a consumer wants to reach you on one of these platforms, are you as an enterprise equipped to listen and answer?  

The future of messaging is changing in front of our eyes. Leaders should be taking a look at current messaging trends to get an idea of where consumers are and where they may be headed. For example, WhatsApp is increasingly being used as a business channel around the world. Enterprises are using WhatsApp’s automation, personalization, and ability to support regional languages. Business leaders should ensure they have the ability to communicate with consumers on these emerging channels. 

Be Human 

Are you offering opt-in programs so that you’re able to initiate a conversation with customers without spamming them, in addition to responding to create a two-way conversation? Are you factoring in an empathic approach to person-to-person communication channels like voice and video? Basic respect is critical to building relationships and trust with customers. 

It builds trust, transparency and offers consumers more control: consumers are increasingly seeking to have more power over their personal information online and want to hold the cards. With that said, consumers are also demanding to be seen as more than a visitor to your website. Think through a range of scenarios from start to finish, and thoroughly map out what the various customer interactions with your brand will be. Will the first consumer touchpoint with your brand be seen as authentic? 

Try, Test, Repeat 

Test in front of a small percentage of your customer base, avail yourself of all the best practices that vendors can offer, learn in the wild, and build from there. This step is critical to ensure that you have the right technology in place to manage different types of customer interactions.  

Enterprises must be willing to experiment and innovate in these areas — not next year or next quarter but today.

Revisit your capabilities often 

The marketplace is moving at such speed that it’s critical to look at what’s new and what’s coming in messaging. Do this quarterly, not annually. Know what channels your customers are communicating on and make sure you have the capabilities and plan in place to manage multiple customer journeys. Gone are the days of a one-size-fits-all solution because consumers can see through generic CX. 

Multi-channel customer experience is not going away. Now more than ever, it is recognized as a top-down business imperative. Customers are receiving personalized communications from trusted brands across the board. And because communication is on their own terms across multiple channels, enterprises must adapt in order to build trust and scale.  

Ramy Riad is VP of Future Messaging at imimobile, part of Webex.

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