Organisations that engage customers through informing, stimulating, influencing, attracting and servicing them effectively, will achieve top line growth by encouraging customer satisfaction, long term loyalty and advocacy.
In their newest “Best Global Brand” report, Interbrand names brands such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook as the “top risers” of 2013 for acquiring legions of advocates and for revolutionising the way we work, play, communicate, interact, surprise and delight. These companies are constantly assessing their products, eliminating offerings that are no longer relevant or profitable, and introducing new ones. This responsive approach suggests that they clearly pay attention to what we want and don’t want—an obvious reason why the overall appreciation of such brands is so positive.
However, over the last decade, many businesses have disengaged with their customers by moving to lower-cost, self-service channels so that today over 80% of customer service interactions no longer involve talking to a real person. Gartner forecast that 70% of businesses shifting customer support to online communities would drive down customer satisfaction. So how to deliver a customer engagement strategy that meets customer expectations but is delivered efficiently?
There are four areas to consider when delivering exceptional customer engagements.
Before even starting engaging with customers, businesses need to:
Identify and define each customer segment profile including an understanding of their wants and needs
I know - not rocket science. Organisations can now combine traditional profiling and knowledge sources with the mass of big data available including information sourced from social media such as Facebook, Linked-in or Twitter.
Design propositions matched to customer expectations and supported by engagement processes
Propositions that are aligned with customer expectations will help the organisation acquire and retain their target customers. For example, in car insurance, insurers can use data intelligence to target profitable customer segments and build an experience to retain them.
Some leading organisations are now working on the concept of intent-driven customer processing, which employs advanced analytics and technologies to deliver customer journeys that match expectations and business profitability requirements. Different process propositions need to be developed, for example new business internet search, payment and claims management, with visibility across the whole business including front office and back office systems.
Then as the engagement process is underway, businesses need to:
Focus on those key moment of differentiation which can make or break the experience
Focusing engagement resources on differentiated customer touch-points and, in particular, key "moments of truth" enables an organization to deliver the intended experience and further strengthen the brand. Systems and customer processes must be optimized to deliver against each segment’s experience. Employees that directly interact with customers will want a single view of each customer to ensure the delivery of consistent and personalised experiences. Investments in digital commerce, knowledge management and multi-channel self-service technology will ease quick response time and also enables employees and customers alike to become self-sufficient increasing their satisfaction.
Then after completion of these customer engagements, businesses need to:
Measure customers’ reactions and behaviours and learn from those
The design and delivery of relevant customer engagements will require on-going refinement as we learn what matters most for each customer group as we continuously and regularly engage with them. Net promoter methodologies that measure customers’ emotional engagement are popular with many organisations. Using data sourced directly from customer interactions e.g. telephone conversations, will require data gurus that know how to drive insights from data such as text, web, speech, social analytics or analysis to understand what drives an emotional attachment for the customer.
Whatever the source, the key is to act on the customer feedback. Gartner recently revealed that whilst 95% of organisations measure customer experience, only 35% act on it.
These are simple steps, but important ones to engage, retain and acquire customers.
SSP is working with a number of large household and motor insurance players to deliver their customer experience strategy and their digital strategy. SSP deliver solutions that enable organisations to automate their businesses – improving customer interactions as well as realising productivity and efficiency benefits.
About the author
SSP is a global provider of technology systems and solutions across the entire insurance industry, using our expertise to enable our customers to transform their business and increase their profitability. SSP provides core technology solutions, distribution and trading capability, advanced analytics and solution delivery. We work with 8 of the top 10 UK insurers, 4 of the top 10 global insurers and over 40% of UK Brokers. Our unique position in the market, including the largest market share of UK e-trading, enables us to provide leading data insight and unrivalled distribution. Our knowledge, talent and technology capabilities deliver innovative results that make us the partner of choice for our customers.
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