Now, more than ever, businesses must take immediate action to meet customer expectations. In a post-COVID-19 era digital channel usage has spiked and the rules of engagement have changed. According to MarketsandMarkets, organisations must continue accommodating new attitudes and behaviours or get left behind during a recession.
It is no surprise then that in an op-ed in the World Economic Forum, University of Technology, Sydney, associate professor in marketing, Ofer Mintz, cited ‘creating emotional connections with customers’ and ‘extending your digital footprint’ as critical principles for winning in the current climate. These findings were published in Mintz’s book, The Post-Pandemic Business Playbook, where he analysed hundreds of best business practices from six continents, interviewed dozens of customers and managers in 20 different countries and examined thousands of academic empirical studies. His research revealed the tremendous growth opportunities available to firms to acquire new customers and reset relations with existing ones now that long-standing trends have changed.
Forrester research shows that when a company makes customers feel appreciated, 76 percent indicate they’ll keep their business with the brand. Eighty percent say they will spend more with the brand, and 87 percent will recommend the brand to friends and family members. Furthermore, improving CX by one point can drive more than one billion dollars in revenue.
Contact centre focus
Contact centres, which are often one of the most neglected components of a company’s CX strategy, have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Disruption of daily life due to COVID stretched contact centres and customer service operations to the limits with a reduced workforce. This looks set to continue with the latest National Skills Commission’s annual skills priority list showing that the share of professional jobs suffering from a lack of workers has more than doubled to 39 percent in Australia.
According to the 2022 Australian Contact Centre Industry Best Practice Report, the average attrition rate over the past 12-months in Australian contact centres is 26 percent. Fifty-two percent averaged between 10 and 30 percent. Best practice attrition for contact centres is less than 10 percent,which only 20 percent achieved. In addition, the overall retention after the first 12-months of a contact centre professional’s hire has dropped from 73 percent to 69 percent over the past year.
Economic uncertainty in a looming recession
Now just out of a pandemic, organisations are facing an economic downturn – with interest rates rising in Australia and across the globe. When purse strings are tight, consumers and businesses want a return on investment on every dollar spent and the highest level of customer service. Harvard Business Review has highlighted the importance of focusing on existing customers in an economic downturn, and the best way to prepare for a recession is to pull away from the competition by maintaining customer loyalty.
In this volatile financial climate businesses should focus on their customer communication strategy to get maximum output from the CX engine. This is vital to ensure they’re meeting customers on the channels that work for them. To educate multiple markets and demographics about electromobility and sustainability, BMW used CX technology. It ran communications throughout 16 markets and across 29 social media accounts. This, coupled with detailed analytics, allowed BMW to craft the right message to the right audiences and share consistent communications across different regions on multiple digital touchpoints.
Making sure that every component of CX – from social media engagement right through to the contact centre is as digitised and optimised as possible, is critical to keep customer engagement up, customer service agents happy, and attrition costs down.
The power of meeting customers where and when they want to reach out
Giving agents the ability to respond to customers on relevant channels within a single platform is critical. That way, they’re not constantly switching between screens and potentially missing messages – and efficiency isn’t compromised either. Khoros Care, for example, enables organisations to stop their agents from having to switch back and forth between umpteen different channels and answer all their inquiries within the same platform.
Being laser focused on your customers and how you engage with them can have a direct impact on your bottom line. In times of economic uncertainty, investing in customers has long been cited as an effective way of steering through turbulent waters.
In summary, there’s no better time for companies to recalibrate and take steps to ensure their CX isn’t just up to scratch, but immaculate. In doing so, they can get ahead of their competition, reduce costs and drive revenue.
Travis Mason is the vice president and general manager APAC at Khoros.