Tag: digital customer assistant

21 Jul 2016
12 Things You Must Know About Marketing to Millennial Generation Consumers

12 Things You Must Know About Marketing to Millennial Generation Consumers

The very word strikes fear in the heart of marketing managers and analysts alike. Millennials consumers, ages 21-34, one third of whom hold college degrees, making them the most educated generation in the history of this country and 85 percent of whom own smartphones which they use them at least 45 times a day are poised to wield $1.3 trillion in buying power by 2018. Obviously reaching this group, born hooked on social media, with iPhones in their hands, is critical for the long term survival of most brands.

Yet most marketers fail to reach millennials consumers generation. Why?

Not only are they failing to reach them, they are completely off mark about what motivates and what speaks to this tech-savvy, socially-minded group of consumers. Many a digital marketing manager assumes that by slapping emojis on packaging and displaying a Twitter handle, they’ll come across as understanding what makes Gen Y tick. But they have got it all wrong.

Here is the other thing about this device obsessed group – they can smell empty messages mile away, a natural result of growing up in an over-exposed digital society. To really appeal to millennials, you have to deliver an authentic message, crafted with their interests, rather than your pocket, in mind. Here are some tips, culled from the experts about how to create a message that resonates with this ever-important demographic group.

So how can you win the millennial generation consumer?

  • Millennial consumers love their tech – As we mentioned above, millennials are true digital natives. Many of them don’t remember what life was like before iPhones, let alone the Internet. As such, the fact that they are constantly connected, though it might seem overindulgent to other demographic groups, is totally warranted. And simply put, if you want to reach millennials, you MUST rock your digital marketing to millennials game. Their very lives are a digital experience. This group shops for clothing, gadgets and even groceries online. They communicate via text based apps like whatsapp and Facebook messenger. Know this above all when you think about creating your game plan to reach them.
  • Millennials live to share and inform. Having grown up in a Facebook world, sharing information is simply second nature to millennials. In fact they do it all day, mostly without even thinking about it. They snap pictures to Instagram and Snapchat all day and they share their thoughts constantly via Facebook and Twitter.  This urge to share can have huge ramifications for a brand. Delight them, they’ll tell their friends on all their networks ASAP. Make them angry, and well, their friend will know about it and so will all their friend’s friends… You get the picture. Remember this power of sharing with each interaction.
  • Some love to become brand evangelists – Among this group of sharing-inclined consumers, an elite few are uber-sharers. These are the people with the potential to become brand evangelists. Not only do they sing praises from digital mountain tops for the brands they love, they get others charged as well. This authentic word of mouth marketing is worth it’s weight in gold. There isn’t any good way to sort out who among your customers has the potential to become the one who others will turn to regarding your brand – so treat them all as if they could be that “one” – soon enough that digital mountaintop will start getting pretty crowded.
  • Their experience isn’t linear. As a matter of fact, our society and its values are not the same as they were 20 years ago. As such, today’s millennial isn’t necessarily thinking about settling down or making huge purchases like homes any time soon. Some look to spend their free time giving to causes and others want to spend their free time traveling and experiencing life hands on. The point is that while millennials generation might be all grown up, it’s not the same linear delve into adulthood that other demographic groups once apron a time experienced. Understand their reality when you try to reach them or you’ll be out of touch.
  • They don’t have the same social groups – Speaking of their delve into adulthood, they tend to see themselves through different societal lenses then marketers might expect. Generation millennials dedicated to their own “causes” regardless of how lofty or mundane a cause it might be. They expect that the brands they give their hard-earned money to will also be socially-conscious as they want to be.
  • They love to experience things first hand Millennials are masters of testing the waters. While they love to hear about great experiences their friends have, what they really crave is jumping right into the thick of the action. Giving them an experience they can sink their teeth into speaks to this nuance of their collective personality.
  • They need to control their experiences – Just as this generation love to experience things first hand, they really want to be the ones calling the shots while having their experience. They want to control how and where they find information and how it’s delivered to them. Giving them the self-service tools to control their experiences while they are on your site is exactly what the doctor ordered.
  • Millennial will be paying off loans for a long time – Millennials have the dubious distinction of being one of the worst off demographic groups when it comes to gaining their financial independence. Recent studies show that the average college grad is $40,000 in the red, a full 10,000 bucks worse off than their elders were when they graduated university 10 years ago. Inevitably, this impacts their buying habits. Or at least it should. Though it might seem like Millennials don’t really give much thought to their buying habits, they don’t have the financial freedom to snap up every cool gadget that comes out. Make sure your offering is actually worth it to their limited budgets.
  • They see through marketing, they don’t trust traditional advertising – Chalk it up to the fact that Millennials have been fed a strict diet of social media and blogs their entire lives – it’s really no wonder that traditional marketing tactics are pretty much useless when it comes to influencing Millennials. And very often, these interruptive tactics turn them off. They skip commercials with their TIVOs and block online ads on websites. In fact, studies show that a dwindling 1 percent of Millennials are influenced by TV and print ads. Don’t waste your millennial marketing bucks here.
  • Millennials do trust their friends – While traditional means don’t grab them worth a dime. Millennials trust what they hear from their friends. Word of mouth recommendations from friends and positive reviews from trusted blogs means worlds more to them than banner ads, tv commercials and magazine spreads ever could. What real life messages are your customers passing on about your brand?
  • They love gathering useful content that speaks to them. Another facet of this sharing obsessed culture is that they also love to pass on valuable content to their friends. They love passing on engaging relevant and original content in the form of blogs, articles, videos, games, you name it – as long as it’s something captivating and useful it can be shared. Creating shareable content is a great way to gain exposure in a way that resonates with this group in a real way.
  • Millennials Generation spend more – More time and more money online, that is. On average, Millennials spend about $2000 more on online spending and on IRL spending than other demographic groups do. And just as you would imagine, they use their devices to check prices online as they shop and make purchasing decisions. Sure, hipster girl might love your pale blue vintage dress with the little pink flowers but she can and will look for it on other sites to make sure she is getting the very best deal. Make sure to bake value into each and every product to keep them focused on your brand.

When marketing to millennials, above all keep it real and show this generation who you really are. Get to know them personally and let them know about you and what your brand stands for.

 

And they will come back for more.

14 Jul 2016
Omni-Channel retailing Experience

Why it is necessary to shift from Multi-Channel to Omni-Channel retailing Experience?

What is Multi-channel compared to Omni channel retailing?

Customers reach out to organizations and businesses in a variety of ways today, including text, web, mobile, social media, email, and phone. Businesses that provide customer service on all of these channels in an integrated way, rather than in silos, deliver the consistent experience consumers crave. Multi-channel retail experiences simply imply the use of multiple channels when delivering customer experience. Omni-channel experiences, especially in retail, offer seamless consistency across channels.

Omni-channel experiences are critical, as today’s customers are using mobile devices for internet access more frequently – more frequently, in fact, than they use desktop PCs. These consumers may initiate contact with an organization on one channel and later engage with the same brand through another, often utilizing multiple devices at the same time. Technology is also pushing forth new mediums extending the customer experience beyond simply devices, but also to platforms. For example, messaging applications are now quickly becoming a new channel for customer engagement and considered to be a channel separate from others.

 

Technology and Consumer Expectations Drive the Need for Omni-Channel Retail Solutions

Entrepreneur and Forbes contributor Drew Hendricks explains that customer service has evolved as technology has evolved. The days of people reaching for the yellow pages to contact businesses are over, as customers moved to the Internet at home and then to smartphones and tablets to reach out to businesses.

A recent study shows that 63% of U.S. adults use mobile devices at least several times per month to seek customer support, and 90% have had poor experiences seeking customer support on mobile.

These customers are defining their customer experience by how well companies handle their interactions on their website, through mobile technologies, and across the myriad channels through which they engage with brands. Getting this right, with consistent delivery and relevant content that meets customer needs and demands at the right time and on their preferred channels, is crucial for success. 

Delivering an Omni-Channel Experience and the Benefits of Customer Satisfaction

Top-notch customer experiences affect the bottom line in a number of ways:

  • 45% of consumers in the U.S. abandon online transactions if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly
  • 89% of consumers stop doing business with companies that deliver poor customer service
  • Consumers are two times more likely to share bad customer service experiences than positive experiences
  • Customers are four times more likely to purchase from competitors when an issue is related to service, versus price or product-related issues
  • 33% of consumers will recommend brands that provide quick, yet ineffective responses
  • 17% of consumers recommend brands that provide slow but effective solutions
  • 12 positive experiences are needed to make up for one negative experience
  • 70% of buying experiences depend on how customers feel they are being treated
  • 83% of consumers require at least some level of support while making an online purchase

That’s why thriving organizations have already shifted their focus to a customer-centric approach with mobile responsiveness being a top priority. So far, the data shows that companies using tools and strategies to improve mobile customer experience are winning. As Hendricks points out, “84% of CIOs at customer-centric companies now focus on the mobile customer experience.” In fact, businesses that have adopted a “mobile-friendly user experience, including responsive websites and location-based search engine optimization,” have gained a competitive edge.

Research also shows that consumers will spend more money with a company that provides a positive experience. It isn’t any wonder, then, that Gartner found that 89% of businesses plan to compete solely on the basis of customer experience.

Customer expectations also affect consumers’ levels of satisfaction, and leading companies have gone above and beyond FAQ pages to provide round-the-clock help with services that monitor social media and the Internet for mentions by customers and social media managers who maintain a consistent presence on social media. By responding to customers quickly and appropriately on social media, organizations often save their reputations and demonstrate a willingness to correct issues to ensure satisfaction.

Omni-channel customer service experience also helps to reduce customer churn, which Accenture found is attributed to poor quality customer service. Similarly, Bain & Co reports that a 10% increase in customer retention levels results in a 30% increase in a company’s value.

 

Making Multi-Channel Retailing Consistent

Companies must take care not to simply offer a multi-channel retailing experiences, though. To deliver a truly omni-channel retail experience, organizations must assume that consumers will begin an interaction in one channel and then move to another when seeking a resolution. But the focus shouldn’t be on the channels, rather on the customer.

Customers are too often segmented by channel – assuming that the company has “Twitter customers,” “Facebook customers,” and “mobile customers,” for example, when in reality companies have a single set of consumers who just happen to engage with the brand on a multitude of channels. Customers’ needs and demands remain consistent across the touchpoints from which they interact with a company.

Consumers must perceive their transitions from one channel to the next as being fluid. Best-in-class retailers are 30% more likely to optimize for omni-channel simplicity to achieve consistency and meet the needs of consumers across channels.

One of the most efficient ways to improve the customer experience is to tap into customer analytics to pinpoint consumer-preferred channels and gain insights into the effectiveness of the company’s content and knowledge base where addressing these concerns in real-time. Analytics also reveal which channels most successfully meet customer expectations, so organizations can tailor their approach for laser-targeted, consistent delivery. Leveraging technologies that reach consumers across channels and using available data to monitor and optimize the experience gives modern organizations a competitive edge.

28 Jun 2016
4 Examples of Successful Businesses Following a Customer-Centric Model

4 Examples of Successful Businesses Following a Customer-Centric Model

Guess what top companies worldwide all have in common?

Whether they’re service, manufacturing, or merchandising businesses, the most important shared element between them – a customer-centric model.

As companies transition from product-oriented to customer oriented, this process entails complete organizational planning and a long-term commitment to consistency.  The payoffs, which equal profits, often include one or all of the following: an improvement of operations, expanding of the customer base, and a securing and increasing of the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV).

By developing and executing a complete and effective customer-centric model, businesses are put in a greater position to align all strategic and operational priorities as well as enabling lasting and continuous structural growth.

Successful Companies that Live By a Customer-Centric Model

Many established organizations have come to realize that in order to maximize the customer life-span and CLV, it is not suffice to simply place customers at the top of the priority list.  The priority list itself has to revolve around meeting the needs of their customers.

There are a variety of innovate approaches, methods, and software platforms used for development and execution of customer-centric models across various industries. The following are four examples of organizations that exemplify this customer-first approach and prove the effectiveness of delivering exceptional customer experiences.

  1. Intuit drives customer delight with core principles

    Intuit has long maintained their reputation as a company focused on customer needs. From its earliest days, employees were encouraged to observe customers and look for ways to solve real-life problems for them. Testing and observation would be done to see how customers reacted to products and what problems they ran into. They would even do these product tests beyond the work environment and see how well the product functioned in the home. The company also instituted annual surveys to gather customer insights on an organization-wide level.

    At one point, Intuit launched “Design for Delight,” a major initiative meant to instill a culture of customer centricity using core principles as its basis. As outlined in Harvard Business Review, these principles were as follows:

    “Deep Customer Empathy – Immerse yourself with customers to know them better than they know themselves. To understand what really matters to customers, you should watch them, talk with them, and put yourself in their shoes.

    Go Broad to Go Narrow – Create options before making choices. There are lots of possible answers, so to get one great idea, you need to create lots. The first idea is rarely the best.

    Rapid Experiments with Customers – Get customer feedback early and often to understand the pros and cons of options. Watching customers react to prototypes through trial and error is better than relying on our own opinions.”

    With these principles in place, Intuit has become a leader in customer experience and innovation. These core principles have defined a culture that is constantly looking for ways to improve the customer experience, taking on initiatives, and consistently putting the customer first in every regard.

  2. Amazon defines the customer-centric model

    The fact that Amazon is mentioned here shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. They are a model of customer-centricity and maintain practices that keep them leaders in this arena:

    • Did you know that the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, will often leave a seat open at his conference tables to remind all those present that the most important person in the conversation is “the Customer.”
    • Amazon installs practices to maintain excellence in customer experience by rewarding those who “raise the bar” for the organization.
    • From Kindle to FireTV to Echo, Amazon develops products that are meant to address consumer wants and needs. Their   rather than their development team’s opinion.
    • They cultivate a “culture of metrics” where they routinely engage in head-to-head tests of customers’ reactions to different features or site designs.

    Amazon is consistently mentioned in conversations surrounding the most customer-centric companies in the world. This approach has moved beyond just a philosophy, it has become their culture and it is working tremendously well for them.

  3. REI takes a stand and gains a following

    REI has become synonymous with outdoor recreation gear and services. The company is built on a consumers’ cooperative model where the majority of customers have membership that provides discounts and other benefits. The company fell into the annals of customer centricity when they began their #OptOutside campaign in 2015 by announcing that they would be closed for Black Friday. Instead, they erected a mini-site dedicated to providing information on hiking trails that would encourage families to go outside and enjoy the holiday weekend together. While most members of the Seattle based retail chain have been strong advocates of the brand, this move specifically (publicity campaign or not) resonated greatly with customers around the country.

  4. Hilton uses innovation to maintain customer satisfaction

    For almost a century, Hilton Hotels Worldwide have defined the hospitality industry, excelling at maintaining one of the most recognized hotel brands in the world. Hilton Worldwide employs a wide range of Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions to gather and evaluate customer data from all sources, including: guest feedback, social media, and online review sites. These methods provide insights for achieving their target of continuously catering to the customer, which increases long-term customer loyalty.

 

Making a Customer Centric Model of Your Own

Sounds like an over-whelming task – revamping customer relations every step of the journey.  Let there be no mistake, the challenges can be great, but the goal is attainable. Most of the challenges include investing time, money, resources, and manpower. Implementing a customer-centric model requires fundamental changes to every angle and aspect of the business, not just the way it interacts with customers.  Nor is it a one-time project; it involves building trust, relationships, and dedication to customers and services and for the long-term.

11 Feb 2015
Help Desk Best Practices

Help Desk Best Practices

Implementing Help Desk is a basic part of the support strategy that most companies employ to delight their customers and keep them satisfied. Although many times a self-service process is preferred according to research giants such as Forrester, the reality is that sometimes your customers require a customer service management system that includes a human touch when looking for answers and resolution. Many modern customer service solutions are quite intuitive, but it’s up to organizations to truly make the most of this customer support technology to ensure that Help Desk is part of the solution and not part of the problem where queries get lost and forgotten. Here are four tips to help you help your help desk.

1. Document Everything with Help Desk Ticketing

Every single request and incident should be recorded in your customer service system so that you have a full picture of your organization’s processes, how it impacts the end user and the ideal management of your ITIL framework. Regardless of the length, subject matter or urgency of the ticket, you must discipline your service team to track and record every touch point with your customers via Help Desk. Companies must research, diagnose and prioritize effectively through detailed documentation within their system.

How can  organizations  truly evaluate processes and management of Help Desk without detailed documentation of how users are finding resolution? Also, if hand off is necessary to agents with a specific skill set, they must have a clear picture of the customer’s “story” so that you don’t put your users through the painful practice of telling 5 different people their same story over and over again. Save your customers from bad service.

2. Communicate with Your Customers

From the instant that your customers submit a ticket via your Help Desk, you should be updating them on every process and stage of their query resolution.  Send an email to inform them that their request has been received, update them when the status of the ticket changes, let them know when resolution is in progress and when it was been resolved. Your customer service ticket management style should err on the side of being too transparent. Comfort your customers and let them know that they are important and so are their issues.

By organizations keeping the communication channels open, they also run the chance of turning an “issue” into an opportunity – an opportunity to strengthen customer loyalty, upsell to their user base and more.That’s why it’s imperative that your customer service management system is meticulously setting up processes that will ensure that your users have a friction-less experience with your company.

3. Aim for First Contact Resolution – Before Help Desk

Customer service best practices tells us that sometimes it’s completely unfeasible for companies to resolve customers’ issues upon first contact with the user. But there are so many queries that through an ITIL aligned framework can be resolved before the issue even makes it to your Help Desk and becomes a victim of the “process”.

To truly make the most of the management of their Help Desk, organizations should also integrate a digital customer assistant to absorb the low impact, repetitive queries from their user base that can be quickly resolved with self-service. Help Desk should be a part of the personalized escalation paths you afford your customers in order to find the resolution they need, sometimes demanding the human touch.

For the requests that need to be escalated to your Help Desk, you must use all of your resources to focus on the right process to solve customers’ issues as quickly as possible. Companies who successfully optimize their Help Desk, align team members, management, training materials, documentation, etc with this goal in mind. Everyone in  your support team needs to be of the mindset that they are “owners” of your customers problems until resolution is achieved or the query is carefully and thoroughly handed off to another, skill-specific team member.

4. Use Help Desk Analytics and Insights to be Proactive

Your help desk analytics and any other customer support system, must be synced. See if it’s possible to make small changes on your website. Also some companies investigate their current  protocol in order to deflect a higher volume of queries to self-service system. Once you’re able to decrease unnecessary Help Desk ticketing volume, then you can take a much closer look at how your Help Desk management processes may be on point, or perhaps your ITIL is missing the mark with your customers.

Spot trends and recurring issues and work hard with your management teams to minimize business impact. That’s why, going back to the first practice we shared, it’s imperative that your teams document everything clearly so that you can get some clearer picture of the Voice of the Customer. With more advanced ITIL technology such as a digital customer assistant, you can illuminate more clearly the Voice of the Customer by seeing a visual map of your customers’ questions in their own words for better optimization and management.