Communications technology for changing customer needs

Customers have changed. They now have heightened expectations for the service they receive and the way companies communicate.

We're examining new tech solutions that can help to meet changing customer demands. But first, let's take a look at some of the main challenges currently facing UK businesses.

 

Challenge #1: Customer service expectations

Expectations around customer service have increased dramatically in recent years.

With those expectations comes a need for companies to pivot their customer service approach.

Leaders in this area report new pressures to "meet customers' expectations for digital service channels and keep pace with competitors' service offerings."1

Interestingly, despite 73% of support leaders reporting an increase in customer expectations, fewer than half believe they are meeting them.2

Clearly then, one key challenge for businesses will be finding solutions that can enhance the customer experience whilst reducing pressure on overworked support teams.

 

Challenge #2: Repetitive tasks

UK business resources have been stretched thin by the impacts of both the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit.

With a reduced staff and budget to contend with, businesses must work twice as hard to deliver the expected results.

To meet expectations, businesses will need to get smart about areas in which they can save time and money. For instance, a recent study found that "60% of customer service calls are requests for assistance with common, uncomplicated tasks."3

Identifying time drains in businesses' processes and investing in the correct solutions will help them to navigate these challenging times.

 

Challenge #3: Competition

Many industries are feeling the impact of new and disruptive innovations. Some sectors anticipated to be transformed by technological developments include legal services, education and government services.4

With innovation comes competition. Organisations must now go to new lengths if they are to rival their competition.

 

Communications technology solutions

While these challenges are certainly a lot to contend with, they are not insurmountable.

Tech solutions can help to tackle these issues head-on. Using these solutions, businesses can remain attractive to customers by both delivering a better service and communicating with them more effectively.

 

Communications technology solution #1 | Predictive analytics

Measurement has always been an important element of marketing. But in the past, it has been hard to directly link set communications activities to return on investment, unfairly earning marketing a somewhat 'wishy-washy' reputation.

Now we have new ways of accessing performance data, allowing us to much more accurately determine the efficacy of communication activities and their subsequent value.

But that's not all. Using data, we can get even clearer on customers' needs.

Access to real-time data has changed, due to GDPR restrictions and an increase in cross-device usage.

As measurement marketer Chris Mercer recently noted: “We’ve gone from an era where we had access to pretty much the full picture to the point where we’re not getting a lot of access to [user data].”5

That's why tools like Google Analytics are evolving to allow us a greater understanding of organisations' customers and their journeys. The transition to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), a predictive analytics model, is reflective of the industry's trend towards predictive analytics in general.

Predictive analytics or predictive intelligence is "the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data.”6

Essentially, predictive analytics monitor customer behaviour to build a profile of customer preferences, which can be used to predict what customers will want next.7

Using predictive analytics, not only can marketers measure the outcome of their communication activities, but they can make more informed decisions about future approaches.

 

Communications technology solution # 2 | Automation technology

Increasingly, automation technology is making it easier for companies to communicate with their customers and vice versa.

Automated solutions are improving communication efficiency and enhancing organisations' abilities to quickly respond to customer needs.

By mapping out the customer lifecycle and automating a set of triggered communications, companies can be sure that customers receive timely and relevant messages when they want them.8

To do this effectively, businesses need to get clear on how customers interact with them, the common actions that they take and the type of messaging that they want to receive at given times.

Automated emails are a great example of a time-saving activity, both for the business and the customer. For instance, for an e-commerce business, an email could be automated when a customer signs up to receive a discount code, to be reminded about the code's expiry, or when products are left in the shopping cart without purchase.

One huge benefit of an automated approach is that it allows efficient communication to take place on a mass scale, whilst also feeling personal to the customer, helping to improve sales.

Another area in which this approach is working well is with chatbots. Their impact is impressive.

According to Intercom: "Companies who use chatbots are 60% more likely to report a definite improvement in resolution times and 30% more likely to report a definite improvement in customer satisfaction.”9

Automation technology can help businesses to cut down on resource spend whilst enhancing their relationships with customers.

 

Communications technology solution #3 | CRM tools

Customer relationship management (CRM) tools can help a business to "deepen its relationships with customers, service users, colleagues, partners and suppliers.”10

CRMs come with many benefits, including:

  • Increased productivity
  • Enhanced collaboration across teams
  • Better reporting and target measurement
  • Improved sales metrics
  • Higher rates of customer retention and satisfaction

At Moment, our agency believes so strongly in the value of a good CRM that we have partnered with HubSpot as a Certified Gold Solutions Partner, to help businesses better deliver on their inbound marketing strategies.

The HubSpot CRM helps our clients to get to know their customers, manage their communications and keep work on track, all from one central location.

 

Communications technology solution #4 | Self-service AI

AI solutions can empower customers to make decisions for themselves, reducing the need to contact a representative, and making their overall experience smoother.

The benefits of self-service-oriented AI include:

  • Faster decision times
  • Anticipation of customer needs
  • 24/7 availability
  • Lower resource requirement for companies

Again, chatbots are a prime example of how AI can be used to meet heightened customer expectations around service.

As chatbot provider CommBox notes: "[...] AI needs to augment conversations. The AI solution will nurture leads with a human-like bot that pops up at the right time to ask the right questions.

“For much of the time, the bot will be able to resolve the query but in situations where it cannot, customers are seamlessly passed to the agent best suited to help them."11

Another area in which AI is helping to improve self-service options is through try-it-on features. AI and augmented reality setups are allowing customers to trial everything from makeup to clothing and furniture from the comfort of their own home.

Finally, for B2Bs, AI can even help to determine the best pricing strategies to appeal to prospective clients.

Digital adoption platform Userlane explains: "Market analysts, finance professionals, and decision-makers have already started embracing AI to automate their pricing models.

“Even SaaS businesses that use subscription pricing models are resorting to the intelligence of AI to automate their pricing models."12

With a little imagination, AI can be used to enhance practically every aspect of marketing and customer communication.

 

Final thoughts

There are now many forms of technology that can improve customer communications.

However, if there's one takeaway from the surge in tech solutions, it's this: innovative technology is valuable for businesses, but choosing the right kind for your specific customers and circumstances is crucial.

Embracing solutions that work for you will see you navigating changing customer demands with ease.

 

Next steps

Need help to reach your customers? Get in touch with the team at Moment. Together, we'll find the right solution for you.

 


 

Sources

  1. Gartner
  2. Intercom
  3. Techsee
  4. Forbes
  5. The Social Media Marketing Podcast
  6. SAS
  7. Instapage
  8. Striata
  9. Intercom
  10.  Salesforce
  11.  CommBox
  12.  Userlane