As described in our previous blog post, contact centers are set to experience shifts in customer engagement strategy in 2016. Here are the remaining five trends to follow in the new year.
With big data analytics, companies are able to analyze a mix of complex data sets from various sources to gain critical insights into customer behavior. This data may then be used to drive sales and provide better customer service. Big data may reveal how much a customer has spent, how often, and on which products or services, making it essential to devising marketing strategies as well as recommendations based on customer preferences. It can further be used to personalize the customer experience. For example, financial management and personal banking websites may track a consumer’s spending habits and offer cash rewards or other incentives when customers spend money, while health-management sites or devices can provide feedback and encouragement for people who are monitoring their diets or tracking their vital signs. Winterberry Group proclaimed earlier this year that U.S. marketers would spend $11.5 billion on data and related solutions in 2015 alone, with a strong emphasis on display ads and email marketing.
Personalized customer service.
Customers want to feel like more than consumers—they want to be valued as individuals. For this reason, customer service is evolving into a more personalized experience, from agents addressing customers by name and using a friendly, approachable tone, to companies making targeted marketing offers that cater to individual customer preferences. In addition, adopting marketing campaigns that value customer opinions (such as voting for favorite products) is another way in which brands are establishing humanized reputations and connecting with potential and current customers. For example, Starbucks held a campaign this year asking customers to vote for a favorite Frappuccino flavor and then offering it at a discounted price for a limited time. Such strategies send the message that customer opinions matter, and that brands are striving to design products and services that are meaningful to their customers.
The popularity of cloud contact center solutions continues to grow, as it provides numerous benefits including increased security, greater flexibility, reduced costs, and a more competitive edge in the global marketplace. Market Monitor projected earlier this year that cloud market revenue would increase at a 36% compound annual growth rate, with the cloud computing market expected to reach nearly $20 billion by the end of 2016.
Workforce optimization strategies.
It has become increasingly clear to companies that happy, well-trained employees deliver better results, leading to long-term loyalty on behalf of employees and customers alike. Companies may take numerous approaches toward achieving workforce optimization, whether it be using technologies that streamline customer service processes, analyze and manage conversations across social media or monitor and improve key performance indicators (KPIs); providing improved training for the agents who use these technologies; and optimizing workspaces themselves for greater employee comfort, motivation, and productivity.
The millennial generation is a force to be reckoned with: millennials dominate social media platforms, using such channels for customer service, brand research, and to share their opinions on brands and customer experiences; and they have serious buying power. Research conducted by Youbrand found that, as of 2015, this generation has an estimated combined global spending power of $2.45 trillion. According to Forbes, 33% of millennials consult blogs before making a purchase–preferring to check the opinions of peers on social media rather than relying on standard advertising—while 62% reported that they wish to engage with brands on social media. Furthermore, Nielsen reports that 85% of the millennial generation owns smartphones. The key takeaways for brands? Mobile customer service is more critical than ever thanks to this generation, social media channels need to be optimized for both optimum engagement and timely service, and millennial tastes and preferences should be considered and, further, welcomed in the development of products and services.
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