Digital customer care trends – part eight: Chat, Tap, Talk, delivering the right journey for every customer.

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How we treat other people, in both our professional and personal lives, will depend on circumstances and context. For example, if you were helping a friend with a job application, you might exchange emails to answer their questions or even have a short phone call. But if that friend was separating from their partner? You’d be much more likely to meet in person, your conversation would be more intense and they’d need your support over a longer period of time.

The same rules should apply when you deal with your customers. What’s the nature of their query? What’s their emotional state when contacting you? How have they contacted you? Answers to these types of questions will help you work out the right channels and processes to help solve their problems.

Consumers want consistency from companies, but not uniformity. In every market, eight out of ten consumers say large organisations should always offer different channels to meet their needs. One path or  the same path, won’t suit everyone. Sixty-one per cent of consumers will change how they get in touch with an organisation (phone, email, social media) depending on the circumstance they find themselves in.

Our research tells us there are three broad situations customers tend to find themselves in. And it’s even possible for one person to behave in all three ways, even in a single journey. Understanding this is central to creating the right experience for each customer.

Visionary customers are in pursuit of a lifestyle goal, maybe a big purchase like a house or holiday. They’re motivated, positive, and willing to invest time in researching their options, enjoying the process. They‘ll use any channels to help them achieve their goal.

Utilitarian customers just want to get routine stuff done. Unexciting tasks like paying bills, buying a train ticket or ordering groceries. Not every experience needs the ‘wow’ factor. In terms of the customer’s time and energy, these are low value tasks and emotionally neutral (as long as they go to plan). So utilitarian customers appreciate any channels that help them get the job done.

Customers in crisis need an urgent solution to a problem. They’re often driven by frustration, anger, worry or other negative emotions, which makes them unwilling to tolerate any channel that doesn’t take them towards their goal. They want the reassurance that often comes from traditional channels like face-to-face and the contact centre.

Keeping these customer categories in mind, ask yourself how smooth are your customer journeys? Which channels do your customers prefer and how far do you go to putt them truly at the centre of them? How integrated are your channels and does the technology mix satisfy customer expectations?

We’ve been running an extensive global research programme since 2010. We want to know what digital channels and devices customers are using to communicate with companies and if they’re satisfied with their experiences. Our latest output from this research programme is ‘Chat, Tap, Talk. Eight key trends in Digital Customer Care’. Download your complimentary copy here.

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Joseph Walsh

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