Our world is digital and there’s no getting around it.
We trip over it everywhere—people are on their laptops, phones and tablets searching the web, surfing social networks and downloading apps, all while walking down the street. This digital generation is also making strong judgments about the quality of service they’re receiving from brands on these channels. So, any organisation whose bottom line is directly impacted by customer experience must go digital, too.
Not surprisingly, one of the biggest drivers of the digital movement is the millennial generation. According to Dimension Data’s 2016 Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, phone is rapidly declining in popularity among young customers who are trying to communicate with a business. In fact, only 11% of those 25 and younger prefer to reach for the phone first. Instead, they use social media (38.9%), mobile apps (27.2%) and email (12.1%) as a first line of communication. Compare this to their 55 and older counterparts who prefer using the phone 87% of the time, and the generational difference is obvious.
So what does it say about our industry when nearly 40% of contact centres report that their digital systems are failing current needs because they are unable to accommodate all of these digital communication channels? What can businesses do to deliver a great customer experience across channels—especially digital ones?
Given the report’s findings, some great first steps include deploying a social media strategy and investigating opportunities with mobile apps. Those are the clear favorites with millennials, and are likely to stay favorites, even as millennials age. This is not to say that the phone is going away. It will continue to remain an important channel for escalations and to resolve digital problems. But brands must employ a comprehensive channel strategy that meets customers where they wish to be.
Most importantly, brands need to develop a connected omnichannel approach to customer service. This means businesses must audit current channels and ensure a seamless experience from one channel to the next. It also includes analysing data across those channels and sharing it amongst departments so organisations see the full picture of the customer.
A connected customer experience allows customers to communicate with a business in the way they want. It also allows a business to collect and use customer data to deliver the best possible experience. It’s the win-win situation today’s digital customer and businesses expect.