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BizReport : Loyalty Marketing : May 25, 2017

Expert: The channels more customers want for communication

For businesses to create loyal customers in today's convenience-driven battleground, they need a more efficient way to direct customers to suggested solutions, tools and actions throughout the customer journey. A big part of that: how customers want to communicate with brands.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Are there contact channels that consumers prefer for branded communication?

Brie Tascione, CMO, Relay Network: In an effort to meet evolving customer expectations and reduce costs, businesses have introduced a multitude of self-service tools on a multitude of channels -- native apps, social, portals, messaging apps, and chatbots were all designed to make things easier for customers, but have just added complexity. With so many choices, customers are left confused about where to go, when. All the noise and confusion is pushing consumers to a tipping point: they are abandoning apps in droves, Facebook Messenger bots show a 70 percent failure rate, and 57 percent of inbound calls come from customers who went to the company's website first for help.

Brands aren't meeting their customer's needs just by adding more channels. They need to ensure that the right customer is directed to the right channel to solve their issue at the right time.

Kristina: What challenges do brands face in increasing customer retention?

Brie: One of the biggest retention challenges brands face today is meeting extremely high consumer expectations for service. The Amazons and Zappos of the world have built wildly successful businesses on making it incredibly easy for customers to do business with them, but these are technologically advanced, largely digital companies with the flexibility and resources to adapt to rapidly changing trends. Established enterprises often have legacy systems and compliance restrictions that present roadblocks when trying to innovate the customer experience.

Kristina: How can they improve?

Brie: Brands need to take the guesswork out of self-service. Stop sending customers on a goose chase to get the help or take the actions they need, they will only end up bouncing between channels, frustrated, and returning to the call center. It's true that customers want to do more on their own, but don't just leave them to figure it out -- guide them through the process, be proactive about prompts and reminders, and make the process as easy as possible.

Tags: advertising, brand communication trends, customer loyalty trends, loyalty marketing, Relay Network

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