How to improve customer relations smartly

Smart working concepts not only improve collaboration inside companies or departments. Communication with external persons can be enhanced, too. Customer service, in particular, can make a great leap forward by using smart collaboration techniques.

Some figures just speak for themselves: For instance, 81 percent of enterprises say that collaboration has enhanced their ability to engage with customers and improve customer service[1], while 77 percent of customers believe valuing their time is the best way for companies to provide them with a good experience[2].

Smart collaboration profoundly changes the way companies work. It is a shift from technology to human interaction, but with smart and connected tools as its foundation. The success of collaboration is no longer measured by the successful implementation of certain technical tools, but by the positive user experiences and strategic business outcomes it has generated. This approach is based on the increasing use of specialized software instead of special hardware.

A smart working strategy can benefit the whole company. It fosters a new corporate culture and makes remote working possible. These changes mainly affect internal processes, but there are also great external applications for smart working techniques in sales and customer service departments.

Welcome to the Age of the Customer
The last couple of years have marked a fundamental change in the way companies need to address their customers. The so-called “Age of the Customer” creates an economic world where customers have gained control of their interactions with businesses thanks to technology. Companies that want to understand and serve as many customers as possible, as well as possible in a global and digital economy need to make use of new technologies and adapt to new business models with a specific focus on the customer experience.

In this new and digital era, people are flooded with information constantly. As (potentially) paying customers, they expect to be served content that is personally relevant to their life and to what they are doing. They also want to access this information anytime, anywhere, and with the device of their choice. To attract, win, and retain these demanding consumers is one of companies’ major goals today, and it takes a concentrated effort: The organizational structure, company culture, and business technology must all be aligned to provide customers exactly what they want. This is why digital and customer service strategies must be developed to go hand in hand.

As the study “Digital Transformation in the Age of the Customer” by Forrester Consulting shows, companies see improving the customer experience and growing their revenue as their top strategic priorities.

The total customer experience
To create a holistic customer experience, with consumer needs being responded to quickly, personally, and around the clock, companies need to be aware of certain key factors:

  • Mobile first: Customers want to use their mobile devices to interact with companies.
  • Age of Information: Consumers have access to many different sources of information and tend to inform themselves thoroughly.
  • Cross-channel experience: Customers expect it not to matter which channel they use to contact a company. They anticipate a seamless experience with the same level of knowledge at every contact point.
  • Self-service on the rise: In a culture of smartphones, WhatsApp, and emails, talking is no longer required for good customer relations. Smoothly running live chats is something an increasing amount of customers actually prefers.

How can companies meet these expectations? After all, an interactive and collaborative customer relationship leads to the faster resolution of customer complaints, greater customer loyalty, better customer information, and more efficient customer service departments

On every channel
Seamless, omnichannel customer service concentrates on two main issues: personalized interaction on the specific channel that a customer prefers, and the transfer of customer information across channels to provide agents with immediate access to all of a customer’s previous interactions, be it via phone, Web, social media, e-mail, or store visits. Modern software applications for customer relationship management (CRM) are cloud-based and bring together all customer information on a single, integrated platform. The underlying cloud technology helps to access this information from anywhere, making it available to every employee. Collaboration tools like chat functions and videoconferencing can additionally be used to connect with your customers on a truly personal level.

So, that’s all on smart working for now. Did you miss any aspects or would like to add other points of view? Then please leave us a comment, we look forward to reading it!

[1] 2016 Connected Enterprise Report, Dimension Data
[2] Improve Customer Experience With Better Self-Service, Forrester Consulting

Janusz Figurski
  • Author: Janusz Figurski
  • Title: Deutsche Telekom, Business Marketing Europe, Communication and Collaboration
Share Article on:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll