To gain traction in the market and build competitive edge, you need to get an insight into your customers’ digital footprints, the kinds of channels they like to interact over and the particular likes and dislikes they have.
The same is true of today’s digital enterprises, organisations increasingly need to build their own digital DNA in addition to capturing that of the customer. That means they need to start applying digital technology to the front-end customer experience, and make sure back-end processes are fully automated; they need to adapt to the ways in which the digital customer behaves and provide solutions that cater for and engage with this behaviour including social communities, knowledge bases and omni-channel strategies.
The good news is that businesses are increasingly getting the message. In recent research by analyst, Gartner, two thirds of CEOs surveyed said their enterprises were involved in industry-level digital initiatives.
But how can you do this, how do you become digital by design? Today, we believe there are three key technologies or technological developments that are enabling this understanding of both types of digital DNA – the emergence of the connected enterprise, the continued development of unified communications and the arrival on the scene of Skype for Business and omni-channel strategies for the modern family.
Here are our top tips.
- Understand and build intelligence of your customers’ DNA
Unify and track all customer communications and deliver an omni-channel strategy
At the point of engagement, you need to know your customers, what they are trying to do, often across multiple communications channels, and who within your organisation is best placed to help them achieve it. That’s where the ability to track digital DNA and accurately interpret it is so important.
You need to have captured and recorded previous interactions with each customer and use these to quickly analyse behaviour patterns and likely preferences and route individual interactions to the point of contact best suited to address or resolve their query – no matter what the interaction channel. It’s the kind of process that the likes of Amazon and Google do so well.
To drive competitive edge now and in the future, you increasingly need to need to deliver omni-channel service to customers to meet their growing need for a vast breadth of service offerings from traditional voice right through to newly-assimilated social media and web chat tools.
In doing so, you may need to switch the focus from reactive to proactive, deploying big data analytics techniques to leverage the DNA you have gathered about customers. The aim might be to take advantage of up-sell and cross-sell options, for example, or by simply stepping in to offer additional proactive engagement to complement a self-service approach the customer is undertaking.
The emergence of the Internet of Things also helps in this regard. The data mine to which connected devices enable access, allows you to be better prepared to put remedies in place at the point of engagement and to proactively apply them to resolve the problem quickly and efficiently.
- Collaborate and extend across the rest your business for digital success
Understanding the DNA of the customer is just one part of the process however. You also need to make sure you have the right robust and flexible underlying infrastructure in place to act on this understanding and deliver customer service optimised to that individual customer’s specific needs and preferences.
You’ll need an integrated intelligent systems architecture, capable of routing calls and other modes of interactions either to experts who understand your customers’ problems and can address them or to systems they can use to self-serve or otherwise obtain the answers they need.
This is the essential purpose of what we call the connected enterprise. To answer customer queries in this increasingly sophisticated environment, you will need to draw on the skills of staff in the back, middle and front offices. By combining an intelligent flexible customer interaction platform with the latest unified communications (UC) technologies, you can create a connected business, where everyone is part of a virtualised customer support team focused on resolving customer engagements in the most efficient, cost-effective manner.
Remember key UC technologies – like NEC 3C or Cisco Jabber - help build the connected enterprise and facilitate high-quality customer service.
The connected enterprise is about collaboration. The ability to collaborate by bringing existing knowledge and new and legacy technologies is key. You need to make sure your employees can quickly connect with the people, resources they need to resolve or improve customer experiences. The latest customer contact solutions bring in tools to enable agents to log help with supervisors, for example, and to allow action notes to be sent to staff within the system, enabling you to make use of the right subject matter experts within your business to address and resolve problems quickly and efficiently.
- Everyone across the business is a representative of your “Businesses DNA”
Customer DNA is important but now your business DNA is public, we have all seen the horrors of employees publishing something about the business on social media sites, which is detrimental. This means they need to start applying digital technology to the front-end customer experience across the whole businesses, and make sure back-end processes are fully automated and have a set of digital etiquettes for the business; so that they adapt to the ways in which the digital customer behaves and provide solutions that cater for and engage with this behaviour including social communities, knowledge bases and omni-channel strategies.
- Tools such as Skype for Business are embracing the digital age
You also need to make best use of customer interaction tools like Skype for Business to further enable businesses to engage more closely with customers; capture their DNA and build customer loyalty and business advantage through effective communication.
Using Skype for Business enables you to significantly reduce the cost of interaction for customers, especially when compared with calls from mobile devices. The ability to interact free of charge with Skype can significantly lessen the frustration users experience when kept waiting. For companies accepting Skype interaction, this can increase the chance of the engagement progressing smoothly.
Every digital enterprise needs a Skype for Business strategy. To really make it work though, you need to ensure it is accessible across the entire enterprise, and that it can effectively presence enable with instant messaging (IM), voice and voice capabilities.
- Be digital but don’t forget to apply some emotional intelligence
Don’t forget that a customer’s DNA is about more than just an evaluation of their data footprint, critical though that is, it also needs to encompass an understanding of the emotional aspect of the interaction. It’s about emotional as well as rational intelligence.
There is a widely held belief that customer interaction technology available on the market today is only capable of engaging with the rational and conscious side of any interaction. It is a mistaken view. Take, for example, the real-time speech analytics technology in use within many contact centres today. These highly sophisticated software systems employ methodologies similar to those used in neuro-linguistic programming to infer what individuals engaging in a business interaction are feeling – whether the customer, in particular, is happy, or agitated, whether they want an answer quickly, whether the language used is becoming clipped and curt.
You need to appreciate that the emotional aspect of any interaction can be just as important as rational. Don’t ignore it. It can be critically important in delivering business advantage.
Running a successful business today, much like building a successful modern family, is about good communication and collaboration and gaining an insight into people’ likes and dislikes. Understanding your customers’ digital DNA and being able to act positively on that understanding will be the key factor in delivering success for your business both today and long into the future. Follow the top tips advice above and you will be well placed to achieve it.