Want to engage with your customers? Communicate with them like a real person
by Julien Rio, Senior Director Marketing at RingCentral
The past few months have magnified our need for connectivity. Despite lockdown easing in the UK, customers are keeping the high-street at arm’s length with an increasing number of consumers choosing to stay home and shop online. Granted, business leaders have caught wind of this trend and introduced a tapestry of updated communications tools to better connect employees with customers.
Technology and innovation are moving in the right direction, but at present, aren’t quite striking the sweet spot between convenience and human interaction. Yet, when streams of new technologies are being launched daily, and consumer habits evolving at such a fast pace, how is it possible for customer experience executives to strike the right balance?
What Consumers Want
Let’s begin with what consumers actually want. A recent Deloitte study found that over half of consumers say that the overall enjoyment of their experience is important in their decision to buy a product or service. Lots of factors play into this: usability, visuals and style of a platform all feeding into the point structure. The thing that makes a service truly “enjoyable” to a customer, however, is ease of use. Homes in 2020 are decked out with Amazon Alexas and Google Homes, and at the click of a button, Apple users are supported by well-loved companion, Siri. Whether conscious to the change or not, we expect to receive accurate answers to our questions in the space of a few seconds. We’re impatient, and we need services to work for us, not vice versa.
Social media giants are starting to catch on. Last month, Twitter introduced a new feature for iPhone users which enables you to tweet a voice recording directly through the app. The application is still in the process of being rolled out across Apple iOS, but is backed by the philosophy that contact in 2020 should require little to no brainpower. Its introduction marks a new era in social media, and if successful, will likely spur on similar innovation from other social platforms.
Contrary to popular belief, though, introducing a new voice messaging feature to a customer service roster will not—on its own—promote customer loyalty. Yes, voice communication is important, but it’s a holistic approach that will make customer experience feel personalised and current. Interactions are not solely based around phone calls and text messages anymore; instead, communication is embedded into everyday routines. A platform like RingCentral’s Engage Digital allows customers to connect with a brand on WhatsApp, and then switch to their laptop to continue the conversation, without any noticeable break in interaction.
RingCentral’s technology supports Apple Business Chat, a platform which aims to offer Apple-using customers a secure and convenient way to direct message businesses. Once signed up, businesses are capable of connecting with customers on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch, making it one of the most flexible, but secure, options within the iOS app network.
It’s not just the talk and type functions we need to think about, though. It’s capability, too. Customers of today want to be able to search, chat, fix issues, and now, make payments at the click of a button. Following months of trials, WhatsApp finally pulled the trigger on digital payments within the infrastructure of its social networking app. The Facebook-owned messaging service announced that users in Brazil would be the first to be able to send and receive money by way of its messaging app, using Facebook Pay, the payments service Facebook launched last year. There have, of course, been some teething problems around data security, and it’s inevitable that communications providers will have to overcome obstacles to ensure the highest level of confidentiality is maintained. Payments within messaging apps are, for the most part, in their early stages, but in order to stay ahead of consumer expectations, customer experience executives need to be willing to tackle new territories.
So, how do we stay current within the customer experience space? The answer is simple: treat your customer like a real person, and introduce the technology that will offer a seamless and effortless experience. Each new application should serve the purpose of making your customer’s day more straightforward. Just as they would in person, consumers want to be able to connect digitally using voice, messaging and email, and at an increasing level, make payments or bookings. The next phase of customer service will be rooted in technology’s ability to make human-like actions; it’s up to businesses to make the appropriate investments today to stay ahead of the curve.
Julien has more than 10 years’ international experience in Marketing and Customer Care positions across multiple industries including toys, medical, hospitality, F&B, logistics, electronics, etc. As Head of Marketing of RingCentral Engage Digital Julien strives for improving customer care worldwide and closing the gap between what companies have to offer and what customers expect