In a 2017 State of Global Customer Service Report by Microsoft, 98% of respondents said customer service was important in their brand choices and loyalty. Statistics like that one are probably why 39% of CEOs surveyed in a Walker report rated customer experience as the most effective method for beating their competitors.
It is indisputable that communications are an essential part of any customer experience strategy. Keeping in touch with your customer base has never been more possible, or more complicated. Now you can reach out via email, phone calls, SMS texts, physical mail, or faxes. The only problem is deciding which way to do it. Picking the wrong method (or, worse, sending multiple messages at once) threatens to annoy customers and keep them from coming back.
The problem has three possible solutions, but only one really fits the need.
Choice 1: Offer only limited communication options
Artificially simplifying the problem is one way to make it more manageable for your staff for example, by only reaching out via phone, or only via print and mail, etc. After all, this is the way companies have been doing it for many years…why change now?
The problem is that customer expectations have changed. More and more customers expect businesses they buy from to reach them where they are via the methods they prefer. Insisting on calling customers who prefer to be texted can tarnish their perception of your brand very quickly. A failure to offer agile communications options can make your organization look behind the times.
Furthermore, certain forms of communication are better suited to some messages than others. For example, if a bill that was mailed goes unpaid, it likely makes sense to escalate to a more immediate, obvious communications method, like a phone call.
Choice 2: Manual communications management
Alternatively, your organization can record user preferences when they become new clients, then require staff to check that preference in their customer file before reaching out to them.
However, this sort of manual workflow dramatically increases the risk of user error (thus annoying your customers) and is also inefficient. Plus, when a contact attempt fails (incorrect phone number, email address, etc.) the list needs to be manually updated with staff then deciding whether to try a different form of outreach.
A HubSpot Research report estimates that frontline employees spend 10% of their time “reconciling disconnected communications systems.” Wouldn’t you rather they were doing something productive?
Choice 3: A single, integrated solution
This situation can be so much simpler thanks to the advent of omni-channel messaging solutions.
With an enterprise notifications product, the system can automatically pull preferred contact methods for each customer, then send them messaging suited to that mode of communication. Rather than interconnecting a variety of different providers so that you have one vendor for phone, another for texts, yet another for email, one for fax, etc., a true omni-channel solution will tie everything together into one package – one bill to pay, one source of support, and one tool to train on.
With the right integrations, omni-channel messaging can be even further enhanced. If the first message to a customer bounces back (disconnected phone number, bad email address, etc.) automatic failovers can try successive methods until one works.
The result? Fewer staff resources necessary to cultivate better-connected, happier customers.
An IDG report surveyed companies on the benefits they felt they’d received by switching to a single vendor omnichannel communications solution, here are their responses, ranked by frequency:
Integrate, streamline, and empower customer communications with OpenText
OpenText™ Notifications is a cloud-based, comprehensive messaging platform that manages phone, text, email, and fax communications in a single solution. It integrates with a range of CRMs and other solutions to become even more efficient and powerful, including OpenText™ Exstream™ for advanced responsive messaging that adapts to bounced messages.
OpenText™ Cloud handles over 6 billion messages each year via its high availability infrastructure and is relied upon by many of the world’s leading organizations in their fields. It can deliver major dividends for your organization in terms of reduced costs, increased agility and responsiveness, and customer satisfaction.
Learn more from IDG about how organizations can simplify communications to improve their customer’s experience and increase loyalty.