Businesses today know that they need to create an omnichannel customer experience to meet the needs of consumers, who are looking to engage with companies anytime and through any method (i.e., channel), they choose. Many businesses have begun to deploy a strategy to meet these omnichannel customer service demands, and in doing so, believe that they are delivering an excellent service experience.
But businesses’ perceptions of how they are performing do not always align perfectly with those of their key stakeholders – their customers. In fact, according to NICE inContact’s CX Transformation Benchmark Study – Business Wave, consumers rated customer service 17% lower, on average across more than 10 channels, than businesses rated their own success in meeting customer needs. This disconnect represents a major issue for businesses that are under growing pressure to provide a seamless omnichannel customer experience.
According to our study’s findings, here are two key areas where businesses and consumers are not speaking the same language:
As innovative technologies such as advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are fundamentally improving customer service processes, consumers want businesses to provide a unique, personalized interaction at every touch point. In fact, of the consumers surveyed, 21 percent rated personalization their top priority. Given advancements and tools available to businesses, every interaction, every purchase, every previously opened ticket should be easily available to inform agents and create a customized dialogue.
Interestingly, businesses do not share customer enthusiasm for personalization – only 13 percent of organizations see it as a high priority for customer service strategies. Instead, businesses are leaning towards offering easy access to information regarding any given issue (24 percent).
Embracing Emerging Tools
Even though both consumers and businesses continue to give agent-assisted voice phone calls their highest success ratings, on average, the research uncovered a disconnect between consumers and businesses in how to best approach new channels, like online chat. The study showed that while 39 percent of consumers placed online chat as one of their most preferred channels of engagement, only 16 percent of businesses echoed that support. That’s a 23 percent gap.
The longer businesses wait to embrace and optimize chat, the greater chance they will lose customers to competitors that deliver a great chat experience.
While there are multiple gaps between what consumers want and how businesses are living up to those expectations, there are proven paths to improve. As customer expectations shift based on new, innovative technologies, businesses will need agile customer experience (CX) platforms that enable a truly seamless omnichannel experience. Implementing technology to fully understand, prepare for, and meet the expectations of today’s consumers will help businesses close the gap between perception and reality, and stay agile enough to continuously prepare for the future.
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