Three Tips for Surpassing Customer Expectations

The connected consumer demands a connected experience. What is the best way for companies to provide this? Following these three tips is an excellent way to begin.

Predict their needs. Consumers do not call service reps randomly. They call for expected reasons based on where they are on their customer journey with a product or service. For example, they call when they have started a new mobile wireless service and they get their first bill (i.e., "bill shock"). They call when they are moving to a new location and need to change their address and service. By using predictive analytics to predict why customers are contacting the company and anticipate their next request, businesses can address needs quickly and easily. Predictive analytics helps create a personalized and insightful interaction with the consumer.

Embrace the omnichannel. Consumers are constantly connected. Always on the go, they want to be able to interact with businesses in the channel and device that is most convenient and efficient at any given time. According to Google, 90 percent of consumers use multiple devices sequentially to accomplish a single goal. Likewise, 74 percent of consumers use at least three channels when interacting with an enterprise for customer-service-related issues, according to Ovum. An omnichannel experience is the consistent and contextual interaction across channels (Web, mobile, chat, social, phone) and devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop). Companies that don't embrace the omnichannel approach will be left behind as consumers continue to expand the number of channels and connected devices that they use.

Enable social media to be a tool for brand advocates. Consumers have become social animals. Those with high social propensity actively use social media to explore, share, and promote. They become brand advocates for companies. These consumers will browse via social networks to find products or services that match their interests; once they have found what they are looking for, they will share their findings with friends and followers. Once consumers feel good about their purchasing decision or experience, they will likely promote this decision to influence others to make similar decisions. Brand advocates are highly influential and have the ability to generate revenue and exposure to a brand. For example, when a consumer purchases a new dress at a remarkable price, she will promote the purchase via social channels to demonstrate that she is a savvy shopper and entice others to purchase too.

The future of customer experience is now

Customers demand experiences that are predictive, omnichannel, and social. Conversations should be intelligent, connected, and results-oriented. The objective is to leave customers feeling so great about their experiences that they end up wanting to share them with everyone they know. Companies continue to collect data; now it's time to put that data to work for the benefit of the customer. Influencing and empowering customers to rave about service experiences is what companies need to be aspiring toward as we inevitably move more into the 'new world" of the connected customer.

Kathy Juve is chief marketing officer at [24]7, where she oversees all marketing initiatives and strategy to spread global awareness of the [24]7 mission and brand.

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