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Omnichannel customer experience: a practical use-case

Business

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27 August 2019

Clients look for experiences that are more valuable than what they pay for the products and services they consume. So brands that wish to stand out have two options: compete on price or offer more value. While being aggressive on pricing is effective in the short term and is anchored to cost structure, the focus on value is a more long-term solution rooted on customer experience.

Competing in the value market rather than on price has its advantages. 67% of clients state they would pay more for a great experience, and 57% claim to have switched brands for a better experience.

However, this is no easy challenge because it implies digging deep into customer emotions. Delivering on what you promise isn’t enough. You have to offer the product or service convincingly, providing useful information at the right moment, ensuring a memorable experience. It should be noted that these opportunities do not emerge only during the lifecycle of the product or service. They can occur much before or after. So brands should be proactive when it comes to identifying the opportunities for forging an emotional bond with their clients.

Companies’ work should be ongoing. 54% of clients have higher expectations than last year and 67% state that their standards for good experiences are higher than ever.

The world of post-digitization offers interactions both ways, from client to brand and from brand to client, through various channels and during hours which last year we had no idea would be available. We must also bear in mind that new disruptive players have appeared on the scene and are growing, not to mention innovative technologies (AI, IoT, blockchain, etc.) that allow us to be more assertive, available and trustworthy in our interactions with clients.

How can we be consistent in our interactions with clients? How can new technological tools be leveraged? How can streamlined experiences be used to forge loyalty?

Let’s consider the insurance sector, for example, specifically the travel industry. Let’s imagine that George wants to travel to Amsterdam and has purchased an insurance policy with his airplane ticket that covers medical expenses abroad. When his policy is filed, he receives a WhatsApp message (one of the channels he picked as his preferred contact method) with a weather forecast and a support phone number. While on his trip, he sprains his ankle doing exercise and is treated at a hospital.

While still in the Netherlands, George files a claim by calling the number which the insurance company gave him. A virtual assistant answers the phone and asks him some questions about the accident. The assistant requests George to send the hospital invoice and the medical report to complete the claim. So George sends a picture of each requested document via WhatsApp. After confirming the account number, he receives an alert confirming that his reimbursement has been issued.

This example illustrates a streamlined experienced for George. The insurance company is interactive in its interaction with the client, seeking to add value. When the client issues the claim, the company is available thanks to various technological features. All interactions therefore take place through the user’s preferred channels, taking advantage of each channel’s strong points. Communication throughout the experience is streamlined and consistent in spite of the various communication channels used. George will most likely have positive memories of his experience with the insurance company.

This paradigm can be applied in various use cases for clients, mediators, lenders and even employees. This approach is obviously not limited to the insurance industry, but to any industry seeking to stand out with a customer-focused service model. How can this become a reality? What matters most is finding solutions that add more value than traditional channels by implementing self-service elements that reduce waiting times and extend support times. However, above all, these solutions should add new digital channels (virtual assistants), existing digital channels (webs and mobile applications) and traditional channels, to ensure a coherent experience throughout the delivery of the service.

Lastly, it is important to highlight that despite this paradigm being based on customer experience, we must keep in mind that brands face an additional challenge in not increasing costs of customer service when implementing these models. Also, brands will aim to reduce costs by means of automating interactions. To this end, the technological solution will be key in this omnichannel model.

Without a doubt, during the upcoming months we will experience the transformation that different service and product channels are undergoing. Brands will strive to use technology to make an impact on customer experience and, ultimately, on customer loyalty.

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