Industry-leading companies like Amazon and Zappos have raised the bar when it comes to delivering good customer service, and this is impacting organisations in both the B2B and B2C space.
Consumers today crave personalised experiences that are made easy for them, and they want to connect with the brands they buy from. As a result, companies are having to step up their game and implement the slew of new technology available to deliver the kind of quick service that customers have come to expect.
A study by Capgemini states that…
But there are still relatively few brands that are actually implementing relevant digital initiatives, leaving a gap for their competitors to swoop in and save the day.
Here are some innovative ways companies are leveraging technology to improve their customer experience.
1. AI-Powered Chatbots
Lots of companies use chatbots today, whether it’s a pop-up on their website or a dedicated chat service for customer support. We’re seeing more and more brands adopting Facebook Messenger bots to communicate with their customers, share product recommendations and solve pre-purchase queries.
Findings show that 61% of consumers believe that using chatbots as part of the customer service experience is the way of the future – particularly millennials. In fact, 70% of millennials report having had positive experiences with chatbots, with many preferring their convenience and immediate gratification over more traditional support methods like email and phone.
Case study: Covea Insurance
Covea, a global insurance company, is a great example of a company that’s leveraging chatbots with great results. The idea to implement a chatbot on their main customer-facing website came from one of their employees through Idea Drop’s idea management platform, and allowed Covea to unlock £2.5m in cost savings by reducing the amount of time their staff spend answering frequently asked questions. A chatbot has also improved customer experience by enabling Covea’s customers to find answers to their questions faster.
2. Virtual Assistants and SMS Reminders
Pretty much everyone has a mobile phone these days. By incorporating them into the customer experience, you’re tapping into the trends of consumers. Brands are using SMS reminders to stay connected to their audience and to ensure the customer has an enjoyable experience from start to finish.
Similarly to chatbots, messaging-based virtual assistants allow brands to follow up with things like appointment reminders and even provide personalised shopping experiences for their customers.
Creating a unique experience for every individual is crucial in building a human connection and turning one-time buyers into loyal customers who come back time and time again.
3. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality has the potential to completely redefine how we see the customer experience. The advanced technology can be used in multiple different ways throughout the buying process to give customers detailed insights into products and provide a sensory experience.
It is mostly used as a way to enhance the in-store shopping experience, providing shoppers with a way to “try on” outfits or see products in action without having to purchase them first.
4. Augmented Reality
Virtual reality’s sister technology augmented reality is also working hard to provide a smoother customer experience for shoppers. It’s been a part of the shopping landscape since as early as 2014, when Timberland began testing AR experiences in their stores.
Today, it’s used both online and in-store to create a seamless and personalised experience for customers.
Take Loreal as an example. Their website has a “try it on” page, where potential buyers can see what hair dyes and lipsticks look like on them using AR.
This results in far fewer returns and ensures customers are happy with their purchase. It’s something that’s particularly useful for online shopping, since consumers aren’t able to hold or touch the product before they buy.
5. Voice Capabilities
Voice technology has hit the limelight in recent years thanks to in-home devices like Alexa and Amazon’s Echo.
One study showed that 28% of enterprise brands had already adopted voice technology to improve their customer service in some capacity in 2018, with a further 57% deploying it since then. Perhaps the most interesting stat though is that 88% of brands believe voice technology will give them a competitive advantage when it comes to improving their customer experience.
At the moment, there are two main use cases for voice technology in the customer experience landscape. Firstly, it’s being used to create engaging and entertaining experiences – take Johnnie Walker’s campaign that provides information about whiskey to consumers who tell Alexa to “open Johnnie Walker”.
Secondly, voice technology is being rolled out to use data and audio feedback to make tasks easier. For example, the My Barista app by Starbucks allows customers to speak their orders into their phones, which speeds up the process and creates a more fluid customer experience.
Creating a Good Customer Experience is Crucial
Creating an enjoyable customer experience is absolutely vital for brands today. We’re living in a customer-centric world and, by putting your loyal buyers first, you’re going to generate more sales, keep people coming back for more, and quickly gain a competitive edge.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
From legacy Fortune 100 institutions to inventive start-ups, Ryan brings extensive experience with a wide range of B2B clients. He skillfully architects and manages the delivery of integrated marketing programmes, and believes strongly in strategy, not just tactics, that effectively aligns sales and marketing teams within organisations