One of the most important initiatives underway in your company today is defining the service model to build customer loyalty with the ‘Next Customer’. Your company may have a different name for this initiative but a group of customer experience leaders, likely with the assistance of experts from outside the company, are profiling your next significant cohort of customers and identifying how to effectively serve those consumers. In fact, the image of the Next Customer - the key characteristics of the core customer segments that will drive the future growth of the company - is continually being defined and redefined in forward-looking organizations that are serious about growth.
Growth-minded banks maniacally focus on the needs of customers at the earliest moment of financial need. For example, observe the variety of specially designed products for early earners, for college students, and even for teenagers and pre-teens. Success with these offers and products is vitally important to the future growth of banks. A satisfied young customer is much more likely to be a customer for life.
For CX professionals, planning for the Next Customer has occupied significant planning cycles over the past 5 years, with internally driven strategy groups often working with outside consultants to dial in the focus on the important attributes of young consumers. The themes across companies had some strong similarities, and one of the most dominant initiatives has been improving the experience for consumers engaging through digital channels including website, mobile and social channels.
The difference in our (nearly) post-pandemic world, is that your Next Customer has arrived, and it looks a lot like your previous customers. The acceleration of digital channel adoption across all demographics has created urgency to accelerate initiatives to lift the digital-first customer experience. Koopid recently published an infographic highlighting many of the data points that demonstrate the urgency to invest and improve the CX capabilities across digital channels. The data shows three clear and distinct trends that demand immediate attention.
1. More Digital, More Profitable
First, Cap Gemini studied firms that expand their use of and the capabilities of their digital channels and found these companies were 26% more profitable than their less-digital peers. We know that many of the iconic, simple, powerful, and seamless consumer experiences we benefit from are digitally enabled, e.g. online retail, mobile ride-hailing, etc., where the support experience is tightly woven into the digital product. The more you can digitize your product experience (shopping, buying, configuring, delivery, adoption, etc.), where you tightly link the customer service experience.
2. Social CX is Not the Job for Marketing
The second Next Customer trend accelerated by the pandemic, is the increased use of social channels to interact with brands. In many countries, consumers are much more likely to use WhatsApp (or another social messaging service) to interact with their bank than they are to place a traditional call. The improved consumer experience due to the convenience and the asynchronous service model is winning the day with consumers. Handling customer service requests from social channels is transitioning from marketing to the contact center in most companies because the very same concerns and needs that previously were handled on the voice channel are increasingly presenting themselves in social channels.
3. Automation is Key to Delighting Customers
Consumers have traditionally associated calling the call center as the surest means to the end they have in mind. But we all know that this is the least scalable part of our customer service delivery model. Your customers are now associating self-service, particularly in your digital channels, as the most immediate form of resolution. In fact, the maturity of capabilities in these channels, particularly through self-service, leads to the increasing drop in efficacy of IVRs. Customers that have attempted service in another channel, will not typically engage your IVR and rather look to opt-out to live service as rapidly as possible. Across a variety of studies, researchers have found between 85 & 90 percent of consumers expect immediate support when they engage a brand, but this expectation cannot reasonably be met without significant additional agents, which simply isn’t feasible for most companies. Automation is key to meeting and exceeding consumer expectations. Without it, you are set up for tremendous customer disappointment, let alone mass defection to competitors that offer these capabilities.
The Time is Now
The tremendous planning brands have done to understand how to serve new consumers will pay dividends as these plans are accelerated to adapt to the dramatic shift to digital channels. Companies should be encouraged that progress made in providing compelling digital-first customer experiences will pay tremendous dividends in profitability, in reducing customer frustration, and in improving the experience of agents freed from having to serve frustrated customers that have been forced to leave digital channels and call the call center. Your Next Customer has arrived, but fortunately, you have a strong plan to serve them. Let’s get started.