It’s a familiar scenario: A customer calls a well-known Internet and phone service provider, enters their customer ID or billing number and their date of birth, and presses pound to indicate they are calling about an issue with their service. When a human representative finally answers the phone, the customer explains the situation and receives a resolution to the issue.

However, when the same issue resurfaces a few months later and the customer has to call back, the second customer service representative has absolutely no idea what occurred on the previous call.

Unfortunately, this kind of frustrating customer service is too often the case and it doesn’t just happen over the phone. Miscommunication and unclear messaging happens in emails, direct mail and even on social channels. Cross-channel communication to customers is broken and many organizations don’t know how to fix it. Often, one department’s representative speaks with a customer and says one thing and a rep from another department says something else through a different channel. Too many organizations have a siloed approach to customer communications, and it often causes awkward customer conversations. When customers interact with different silos and receive different messages from each, it creates negative customer experiences.

What Can Be Done to Improve Customer Experiences with an Organization?

The silos may remain, but any company employee who communicates with customers should have access to all customer information in order to provide unified communications via any channel. Without this history, a business seems disjointed, disorganized and unaware of the customers’ needs and wants. Without this history, effective communication with customers is a nearly impossible task.

Consumers willingly provide companies with more data than ever before. By providing this information, consumers expect companies to properly execute communications; they want communications targeted and personalized only for them. Every consumer interaction is an opportunity to establish new customer relationships or strengthen current ones. Providing a 360 degree view of an individual customer’s interactions with the company is essential to ensuring that employees offer only relevant products and services. By connecting the entire customer journey, organizations can fully understand the needs of each customer to provide better service.

Going back to our customer of the Internet and phone service provider, if the CSR was able to view the full customer history when the customer called back the second time, they could have had a more efficient conversation. The provider would have been able to offer a solution right away for the recurring issue and cut down the call time significantly. The customer would have felt that his or her needs were heard and would be more willing to work with the provider. A customer-centric approach like this makes it possible for customers to have a personal and positive experience with every interaction, regardless of the department or channel.

It’s All about the Real-time Conversation

It is not easy to get to this level of understanding. In fact, it could all be in vain if employees are overwhelmed by information during a 30-second customer interaction. While the plethora of data now available makes it easier to provide high quality service, it remains difficult for a CSR to crunch the information and make a quick decision as to which marketing messages, if any, the customer will be most receptive to. Analytics and real-time decision software  can determine a customer’s propensity to respond to an up sell or cross-sell offer and delivers talking points to guide the conversation.

A Customer-centric Approach Leads to Optimization

Gathering data is important. Understanding data is crucial. But being able to intelligently use customer data to optimize a customer’s experience with a company is mission critical. In order to execute a truly customer-centric approach, an organization must provide all departments with a real-time, overarching view of each consumer so that employees can predict customer needs and make the right offer at the right time.  By providing and presenting real-time, targeted communications, customers enjoy a unified experience with a business, regardless of the channel or the time.

Employees are also empowered to seize real-time opportunities by converting inbound customer interactions to up sell opportunities that ultimately grow revenue. Employees can then see themselves making more of a difference to the organization’s bottom line, while having more fruitful and pleasant conversations with customers. Optimizing a customer’s experience through every channel to the best of an organization’s ability will result in employee retention, company efficiency and true lifetime customer relationships.

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