How Connected Communications Enhance the Customer Experience
Seamless communications is essentially the lifeblood of a company's reputation.
We've all experienced this common frustration: You need to make a simple change to a personal account, such as updating an address or phone number, but are unable to find a way to do it online. After exhausting all efforts by searching a bank or company's entire website, you reluctantly dial the toll-free number -- only to become more annoyed as the hold music begins to play, and you realize you'll need to wait 20 minutes to speak with someone.
Although technology has developed rapidly and become of great importance to consumers' everyday lives, companies are still behind the curve in many instances, offering limited touchpoints for contact and support.
Digital Transformation of Communications
If a customer needs to send a signed document to his or her bank, oftentimes the only option today is driving to the branch, often in traffic, and waiting in line. Many banks simply don't have the means of allowing customers to securely send files via their websites or during chat sessions with agents. Similar examples exist in healthcare. For example, consider diabetes patients who have to schedule in-person follow-up appointments rather than being able to check in digitally, or patients who need to discuss potentially embarrassing matters with their doctors over the phone (possibly while at work) instead of being able to communicate privately using a Web chat. Even with new Web portals and other offerings in the mix, many industries remain behind on their communications offerings -- often leaving customers feeling inconvenienced and frustrated.
These scenarios illustrate the importance (and need) for a digital transformation within communications. This is necessary because being able to communicate seamlessly is a fundamental part of any customer's experience and satisfaction -- essentially making it the lifeblood of a company's reputation.
An Answer to Customer Satisfaction
Healthcare and finance are prime examples of industries in need of digital transformation in communications. These areas also often show the greatest return on communications investment, as consumers possess a strong need for flexibility and a variety of ways in which to contact them.
Connected communications, specifically, allows customers (and employees) to quickly and easily connect across a variety of media types, including email, SMS, Web and video chat, VoIP and file transfers. A major benefit of this type of technology is that it enables customers (or patients) to choose the medium of communication that works best for them in the moment -- based on individual preferences, familiarity, and accessibility.
The flexibility and choice illustrated in the healthcare and banking examples above also reveal how this type of technology can enhance the overall customer experience.
How to Implement a Communications Transformation
Here are a few ways to get started on a transformation within business communication technology.
- Conduct research to find the best solution for use in your industry. When implementing an all-in-one communications platform, looking at the ways in which customers will want to connect with your particular organization based on industry-standard practices and current gaps in communication structure is critically important. The point of external communications is to enhance the user experience, so first identify your customers' needs and then find the best, secure communications solution to fit their preferred methods of interaction.
- Provide employee training for better engagement. When implementing any new technology, training is essential to ensure that employees are using the tool to its full potential, which is especially key when a solution involves various integrated platforms. For example, if a hospital deploys a solution with video and Web chat services, you might consider training employees on proper video etiquette (for example, body language) and certain responses for standard chat inquiries. This will help ensure consistency. Similarly, if a communications solution includes workforce management tools, you'll likely want to train administration on the best ways to fully utilize the platform in managing day-to-day external interactions and the various factors involved, such as average wait and call times.
- Fully integrate the communications platform into the organization. This is perhaps the most important piece to true transformation of communications capabilities, as opposed to simply applying new communications technology as an afterthought in the customer relations process. If you haven't built the new communications model into the organization's roles and responsibilities -- and promoted it to employees and customers alike -- then its adoption and implementation won't make as great of an impact.
Clearly, many industries have a deep need for digital transformation in communications. In many cases, communications solutions are outdated and no longer useful in this digital era. As industries progress further in their digital transformations, a communications rethink is critical -- not only to keep customers satisfied, but also -- and most importantly -- to further strengthen the overall experience.