As we look towards 2017, improving the customer experience continues to be a key business trend. And enhancing the customer experience goes beyond simply providing better customer service. All facets of a business’ operations: from corporate strategy, staff training, and knowledge management to general business processes, have an impact on the overall customer experience. So for those companies looking to enhance their customer experience in 2017, here we identify the key trends to look out for. And we also look at how company intranets can help you achieve your goals.
1. Utilize Live Chat To Support Customers’ Queries
One trend that is likely to see an increase in 2017 is companies using live chat to support the customer experience.
Once you’ve managed to get a prospect through the sales funnel and onto your website, you don’t want to lose that customer because they have a query that they cannot immediately see how to resolve. This is particularly so when potential customers are using a mobile platform which typically does not have the same functionality as the main website.
Live chat is an easy way for customers to interact with the company without having to leave the website. In fact, live chat is particularly popular with younger consumers who will often use it in preference to the phone. Indeed in a recent survey 63 percent of customers said that they were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat than one that doesn’t.
One of the reasons why it is popular is because not only is it a great time saver for consumers, they also receive an instant response to their query. Customers are not left hanging on the phone listening to some irritating music or being passed around the company, nor are they left waiting for a response to their email. No, with live chat most queries are resolved in just 42 seconds.
This is where the company intranet comes in. Providing customer-facing agents with the information and the resources that they need to resolve customer queries is critical to the overall customer experience. And the intranet is the place to locate all such data so that it is at the fingertips of these critical staff members. Not only will employees have access to product information, manuals and sales brochures, the information can also be presented in a multi-layered approach with increasing levels of complexity and depth to mirror the progression of a customer query.
What’s more, customer-facing agents will also have access through the chat dashboard to important contextual information. Such information may include the customer’s viewing history and previous chat sessions. While the intranet may have links to CRM systems for previous purchases and any other pertinent customer relationship management information embedded. Having this context will give the live chat agent greater insight into the customer’s issue and will enable them to tailor an appropriate response.
All of this, of course, needs to happen in an instant and so the advanced search functionality and intuitive menu navigation in company intranets means that the operator can respond knowledgeably and quickly.
2. Consider Self-Service Options
Most consumers are used to utilizing self-service options when it comes to locating information and resources online. Most company websites have some form of frequently asked questions or additional resources and consumers are familiar with these; indeed they have come to expect them. What’s more, there’s a lot to be said for the self-service option as it frees up customer-facing agents from dealing with relatively mundane queries and allows them instead to focus on the more complex cases.
This strategy has, however, sometimes backfired on companies that have provided incomplete, unclear or out-of-date self-service resources. Consumers understandably can become frustrated and may well look to another supplier or a competitor for resolution.
Once again the intranet can offer a solution here. Self-service resources are all about knowledge management. Given that the intranet is already the main vehicle for corporate knowledge management, why not consider allowing limited access to customers through an extranet or client portal? Rather than having an internal and an external library of knowledge, wouldn’t it be better to combine the two in one resource? That way you only have to maintain and update one library thereby creating a single source of truth. What’s more, you will be utilizing an existing resource and will be transforming it into a very effective tool for improving the customer experience.
It’s a simple enough task to enable external access to a limited part of your company intranet. And the rewards are considerable in terms of enabling self-service, reducing duplication of effort and saving time as well as enhancing the overall customer experience.
3. Monitoring Social Media Conversations
Increasingly social media is enabling consumers to have direct conversations with companies and brands. Social media is also a place where people share their experiences – both good and bad – with friends and family. Therefore, when it comes to finding out about customers’ experiences with your business, social media offers a wealth of data and information. Often this information is shared everywhere, except the one place where it really should be – within the company itself! Usually there is no systematic way to collect and collate this important customer information, let alone making customer-facing staff aware of the key messages. As more and more business is taking place on the social media platform, this needs to be addressed by organizations sooner rather than later.
Some company intranets offer functionality that allows you to embed all of your social media feeds on a single page. This can be handy if you are running multiple brand social media sites and need your staff to be able to quickly view all feeds in a single area.
Company intranet software offers the opportunity to consolidate these multiple sources of feedback into one centrally held area. Existing office systems such as Google Sheets, Google Docs or Google Forms can be embedded within intranet pages for this purpose. The social media feedback could be for example logged in a Google sheet and then can be used to onboard new staff as well as informing the training and development of existing employees all within the single platform of the intranet.
Given the quality and sheer amount of valuable customer experience information there is on social media, companies would be mad not to take full advantage of this resource. And organizations also need to act on the key messages if they are to improve the customer experience overall. The company intranet, being the central platform used by all staff members, is the ideal vehicle for monitoring and disseminating social media feedback.
Using Company Intranets To Be At The Forefront In 2017
There’s no doubt that customer experiences will continue to be a big issue in 2017. Make sure that your company is in the best position to respond to the emerging trends by implementing an office intranet today. For a discussion about the possibilities, get in touch with the knowledgeable team at MyHub. Take advantage of the free 14-day trial and see for yourself the possibilities.