Today’s consumer is almost an enigma, wanting quick and easy access to everything on their terms, including the convenience of technology and the reliable support of dynamic customer service across multiple platforms, channels, and mediums. To address those demands, modern businesses need to integrate the best customer service technology for a truly connected digital customer experience.
Of course, when we talk about the customer experience, some also think customer journey and mistakenly use these interchangeably. These terms can be confusing and difficult to follow, but it’s actually a simple distinction. First, yes, they are two different things. Second, yes, they both require your attention. What’s important to realize is that the journey is much more insightful for business planning and growth because it offers a more detailed look at every move the customer makes.
Before you can implement a better solution and transform your digital customer service, you have to understand the evolution of the modern customer and their brand interaction journey. We don’t call it a “buying journey” because not all interactions result in a transaction – and that’s fine. In fact, it’s more important than ever to optimize for non-transactional journeys, showing customers that you offer more than a product or service.
With CXone, the omnichannel support platform developed by NICE, brands can stay ahead of the evolution and be ready to deliver the support that customers demand, no matter where, how, or in what capacity they need that assistance.
Customer journey vs. customer experience
When attempting to transform your brand to meet the needs of today’s evolving customer, there is a lot that you need to cover. The biggest debate, and one that still hasn’t been entirely settled, is whether you should be focused on the overall customer experience or take a more detailed approach by looking at the customer journey. What’s the difference and does it really matter?
First, it absolutely matters. The customer experience (CX) is a generalized impression with vague information that can make it difficult to make notable changes and transformations in your operation or offerings. It is typically interpreted based on customer satisfaction scores, customer effort measures, and potentially net promotor scores – or maybe just one of these. Those who use CX insights typically make changes here and there, resulting in minimal improvements and a domino effect of things that need attention.
Before you know it, your brand is in full reactive mode, only able to solve problems as they arise, without the resources or capacity to get ahead of the game and deliver a better experience from the start. With , brands can get powerful customer insights and follow all touchpoints throughout the customer journey, identifying where and how to best deliver support. The omnichannel approach serves the biggest demand of the modern customer: leave me alone, but when I need you, be there immediately. What I have long referenced as the instant gratification society. What I have long referenced as the instant gratification society.
In the past, that was difficult to do because contact centers and support systems were fragmented – the email team only handled email support, and there were another 2-3 people that handled chats – maybe even in marketing, while the call center was responsible for fielding incoming phone calls. Customers were left to explain themselves every step of the way and take an arduous journey through the support system, often when just needing a simple answer.
Today’s customers won’t tolerate that. Thanks to omnichannel platforms with integrated routing and AI, they don’t have to, either. You can offer a dynamic, robust digital customer service experience that is just as seamless as the rest of the customer journey.
The changing customer journey
Even today, the customer journey continues to evolve. It’s never really been a linear process, as much as some people wish it could be. However, it was much easier to track in the physical business world because customers only had so many points of access. When the Internet first came about, you might have had a website and your physical business location – only two ways in which customers could interact.
Today, your brand is everywhere, or at least it should be if you’re doing good marketing. Think about how many pages you have online. How much content have you out there as part of your marketing strategy? How many social media pages do you have? What else is out there besides your website?
By now, you’re likely in the double digits, if not soaring into the hundreds with marketing content and other resources that you’ve put out into the online world. That means there are dozens, or even hundreds, of ways for your customers to find you. That also means there are even more ways for them to move around in the journey than ever before.
This is an important perspective shift that can help you better understand the customer journey. Most people speak of the customer moving forward in the journey which is why everyone gets hung up on a linear process. Today’s customer has a field of resources at their fingertips. The journey should focus on how they move around – and your support needs to be there along the way.
With NICE CXone, you’ll be able to get a top-down view of the entire customer journey and how people move around when navigating your brand in the digital space. That will allow you to create a connected digital customer service experience that can anticipate the needs of your customer, which will increase retention and brand trust.
Benefits of a connected customer experience
There is a lot to be said for having a connected customer experience. To illustrate, we’re going to use one of the most powerful examples of e-commerce success today: Amazon. Love them or hate them, they’re leading the way for a reason. They use valuable customer data insights from a connected experience, viewing their customers more like partners, and marketing the entire journey in an omnichannel strategy based on behaviors and data insights.
This results in a myriad of benefits, from better customer retention to increased sales, but at the baseline of the customer experience are three keys to any business trying to stay ahead of their market:
- Increased customer loyalty: When your customers know you are supporting them from every touchpoint in the journey, they will continue to be loyal to your brand. Look at how many people are basically default-wired to just hop on their phones and order what they need from Amazon, with or without prompting from ads and brand interactions.
- Easier-to-predict customers: A connected customer experience allows your brand to see all aspects of customer behavior and activity. The data insights that you capture through your customer service platform will allow you to automatically predict customer behavior and adapt your technologies for the future so you can anticipate needs. Predicting customer behavior and responding in kind has its own host of benefits for your brand.
- Increased brand confidence: When you embrace the multi-channel experience and have a connected process, the customer profile will be easily accessible to all parties involved in the support process. This helps reduce the risk of snags and errors that can undermine the customer’s confidence and trust in your brand.
The role of customer service technology
In the customer experience, customer service technology is essentially the “secret sauce” that allows brands to not only deliver the support that people need but to anticipate those needs and ensure that support is in place every step of the way so that people don’t have to ask, but they can if they feel so inclined.
The quality and capability of the technology that your brand uses for digital engagement will have a big impact on both the experience of your agents and your customers, and the overall performance of your contact center. If you want the best technology solutions to help you harness the power of the digital customer experience, be on the lookout for:
- Robust platforms that can cater to all customer demands
- Flexible solutions that can easily adapt to future brand and customer needs
With NICE CXone, you get all the resources that you need in one platform. You will be able to address the issues discussed above and reap the benefits: increased customer loyalty and brand confidence. You’ll also have a better ability to predict not only the needs of your customers but their behaviors and actions to provide a better customer support solution and brand experience overall.
Categories of customer service technology
“Customer service technology” is an umbrella term that refers to any technology that is used to improve the customer experience or the customer service process. Thus, there are going to be several categories where you can integrate this technology to help improve your digital customer service.
In the past, many brands were limited in their ability to deliver a robust customer service experience in the digital realm because of the limitations of in-house hardware and staff requirements. Today’s brands can embrace cloud solutions, which offer everything that your company needs in a single platform, integrated into your company’s system, with all the software hosting and hardware servers held offsite. When you’re looking for flexible, scalable solutions, this is the way to go.
Your contact center is full of rich, useful data. Unfortunately, most customer service strategies don’t have the right tools in place to harness data in a way that turns it into usable information. Todays analytics tools can do this for you! These intelligent and flexible tools for reporting, customer surveys, and even interaction analytics are critical. They provide valuable insights, across all channels, to help you anticipate customer needs and carry out your digital transformation to provide the customer service solution that today’s customer demands.
One of the best features of digital customer service technology is routing software. Because customers can access your customer support system from several touchpoints and places of inquiry, a routing solution that includes an interactive voice response system (IVR) or an intelligent bot can help guide the customer to the right department and the exact right agent, distributing all customer contacts efficiently to ensure that people get the support that they need. This can be integrated with the rest of your platform to help triage customers through virtual chatbots, live chat, email, and phone support in a way that gets them the information they need quickly and easily.
Although you might not realize it, having an optimized workforce can absolutely affect the service experience that your customers see when they interact with your brand. Contact centers typically have dozens, if not hundreds, of agents who all need to be trained, managed, scheduled, and motivated to do their best work. Otherwise, you’ll have a snag in the machine that is your customer support solution.
With workforce management software, you can have access to automated AI-driven forecasting and automated contact volumes to allow for easier agent scheduling. This ensures that the right resources are in the right places at the right time, and that customer interactions are never missed. There are also quality management systems and performance management tools that help improve agents’ abilities and make them aware of able to enhance their own performance.
Advantages of upgrading customer service technology
Although you’ve probably already gleaned many benefits from the information that we’ve covered so far, you must truly understand all the benefits that you can get from digital transformation by integrating a new contact solution like NICE CXone. Here’s what you should keep in mind:
- When you upgrade your digital customer support, you are enhancing the customer journey and making sure that your customers have what they need as they move around in their journey. You’re no longer forcing them to track down information on their own; you’re there, waiting to answer the “call” whenever it comes.
- You will have much better customer data insights, and they will be more accurate than ever before. When you can track the customer in their journey as they experience it, you can uncover plenty of insights and powerful data that can drive business decisions and help you uncover potential that you may not have been aware of.
- You can cater to a much wider range of audiences when you reach out across more channels. An omnichannel contact center solution could open you up to more channels than you even considered on your own. For example, social media is becoming a customer service destination. Many people now choose a brand based solely on the factor that they respond to their feedback and queries on social media.
- When you cater to your customer, you are immediately improving their impression of your brand. This leads to improved customer satisfaction and brings us full-circle, back to the entire reason for embracing digital technology in your customer service solutions.
As you can see, it’s not just about reaping the benefits, although they are plentiful. It’s about actually meeting the demands of the customer by integrating a solution that they are, literally, asking for. When you do that, your business gets the ultimate advantage, which we’ve already mentioned: the chance to stay ahead of the customer and provide them with the best possible journey and buying experience by anticipating their needs.
The features of a modern digital contact center
The basis of digital customer service is contact center software and choosing the right one can make all the difference. There are several products on the market today, but they are not all equal. Some are limited in scope, only providing certain support solutions that then require you to integrate with other tools and platforms on your own.
With NICE CXone, you’ll get a comprehensive solution that covers all areas of the customer experience, delivering a connected contact center solution that is ready for whatever the customer journey brings, both now and in the future. Some of the best features of digital customer service solutions like this include:
Access to all digital channels: When your customers are trying to reach you, they no longer have to figure out how or hunt down the right “contact” page, app, handle or information. With an integrated omnichannel contact center, they can simply reach out across essentially any channel. This removes those pesky barriers associated with customer contact, allowing them to increase their confidence in and loyalty to your brand.
Empowered agents: With a digital contact center that offers the omnichannel experience, you are allowing agents to take control of their role and deliver exactly what the customer needs. All interactions will be routed to one intelligent central inbox, allowing agents to manage work based on priority or arrival with system directed SLA adherence. Plus, this all comes within a single unified agent application and keeps a comprehensive view of the customer profile throughout the entire organization.
Holistic management: A digital contact center that is focused on the customer journey should provide you with the ability to manage everything holistically for connected, streamlined operations. You will enjoy unified tools like AI-driven analytics and workforce optimization across all voice and digital interactions for total management of your contact center operations. And AI self-service, AI routing based on sentiment or even behavior models, and blended agents all come together offer a true omnichannel experience.
Out-of-the-box ready: Implementation is as easy as contacting the team at NICE and discussing your needs. We can help implement a solution that you can roll out and have ready in a matter of weeks. We’ll take care of building the ideal platform for your customer service department, no matter what your needs might be. You don’t have to think about it, you just have to implement it to start your new journey alongside the customer as they move around in their interaction with your brand.
When you choose to integrate and transform your digital customer service experience, you aren’t just helping your customers. You’re helping your brand stay ahead of the market and ensure that customers get everything that they need – sometimes even before they know they need it. The objective is to anticipate needs and deliver an experience that customers value. With the right contact center solutions, it’s easy to achieve.
Transform digital customer service with NICE CXone
Now is the time for digital customer service transformation. It really comes down to the simple fact that you cannot expect to survive as a brand in the modern digital landscape without a dynamic digital customer service solution. Plus, when you choose to do it with NICE, you’ll be able to trust that everything is taken care of for you. All the tools and resources you need will be included in your platform.
The time for reacting is over; the time for action is now. Give your customer support team the digital boost they deserve. These are the people who work the hardest for your brand. They should have the best tools and processes at their disposal to ensure success – for themselves, but also for your customers and the business.
NICE CXone is used by thousands of brands of all sizes all around the world. With innovative customer service technology, the platform ensures an exceptional customer experience. The NICE CXone platform is a unified, cloud-based solution that offers a suite of applications for connected, holistic digital customer service and contact center operation. With this platform brands can enjoy:
- Personalized digital interactions with the ability to deliver native experiences across 30+ channels
- A single interface that puts agents in control and retains the customer journey in a single profile
- Self-service tools and blended agents for holistic management
- Digital insights that capture and analyze the customer experience to help drive action
If your brand is looking for a better customer service solution, digital transformation with the NICE CXone platform is the answer. We offer a robust collection of communication and support resources, data insights, and management tools to ensure total customer support throughout the buying journey, for the best connected customer experience.