Personalising customer care in the digital age and cross-channel approaches is the new challenge for retailers and service providers. But this multiplication of channels requires reorganising organisations in order to offer a consistent experience, regardless of the customer situation.

The tools for interacting with clients and building a regular relationship and offering differentiating services are available in abundance. More and more companies are embracing the increasingly diverse digital interaction tools and adapting them to the product and customer type, and to their in-house capabilities.

e-commerce-facebook-messengerSocial media: introducing new levels of intimacy

Social media sites are one of the new digital channels for contact centres: in a white paper on digital customer experience, IDC* points out the increasing importance of digital channels: “In addition to being a strategic component in virtually all customer engagement and marketing strategies, data from social applications will feed the product and service development process. IDC expects enterprise social networks to become increasingly available as standard offerings from cloud services providers.” And digital media will be the tool to “introduce new levels of intimacy” hyper-connected customers expect.

And this hasn’t escaped the digital giants’ attention: Facebook, for example, recently added a customer service feature to its Messenger app (pictured opposite). Customers can chat to businesses about order tracking and after-sales services, all within the same thread.

Optimising the content of e-commerce sitesamazon_wish_list

Personalising the shopping experience is also one of the keys to satisfying-consumers: using data about customers’ purchasing history, as well as demographic and geographical data, retailers can adapt the content to suite each customer and make sure the right customers get the right offers. The functionalities of the interfaces should also be personalised and include services such as posting customer comments, advanced searches, viewing your shopping basket or setting up a  wish list directly from Twitter, as it’s now possible to do with Amazon (see photo opposite).

game-changing-beacons-retailInnovation in services

Companies are beginning to implement new digital services for customers. Banks are gradually introducing web chat and videoconferencing between clients and financial advisers or video assistance via kiosks.

In the retail sector, indoor location technology using beacons at points of sales is a new way of facilitating the shopper experience, giving customers real-time information and sending targeted, personalised special offers. EasyJet, for example, has been experimenting with beacon technology to help guide passengers through some of its European airports (Luton, Gatwick and Paris Charles de Gaulle).

Rethinking the organisation to ensure a holistic approach to customer care

Despite the range of data available to marketing and sales departments, the full potential for customer experience is not always realised. In order to achieve this, companies need to rethink their organisations, by coordinating HR, IT, Communications and any other departments involved in delivering the service. As Forrester points out*, “eCommerce and marketing organizations must collaborate more closely on both organization and technology strategies.” Specialists such as Doug Cox, Chief Strategy Officer at Elixir Technologies, agree. As Cox says on 1to1media:* “Unfortunately, in a quest for efficiency, the applications that drive these channels are typically not integrated to actually work together, compromising the desired customer experience and resulting loyalty. […] Over time, these data silos result in duplication of content across systems, a practice that makes it difficult—if not impossible—to deliver a consistent and holistic customer experience.” According to IDC, (see emedia*), the transition to the 3rd platform (mobile devices and apps, cloud services, mobile broadband networks, Big Data analytics, and social technologies) will help organisations deliver a more effective digital customer experience.

* References articles