According to a recent whitepaper from British Telecom, titled ‘Can ICT transform the way you meet customers’ expectations?’, 83% of respondents to a 2013 survey conducted by Davies Hickman said they buy more from companies that make it easier for them to do business. Technology and tailored software plays a major role in providing a seamless transactional experience, as well as personalising content to build customer relationships.
Customers experience a company’s service over time and across a range of touch-points: online, in person, via e-mail, through physical mail, and so on. And as anyone working in customer relations knows all too well, those who buy from you have a tendency to judge your business by its worst performance, even if they have previously been satisfied with your service.
For example, a great online buying experience can be undermined by and irrelevant response, or, as is often the case, no response at all.
People are influenced by people. A bad experience will spread like wildfire, particularly through social channels such as Facebook and Twitter, and one person’s grievance may overshadow the ten positive responses you’ve got sitting elsewhere on your wall or feed.
Improving the customer’s experience, and effectively making it easier for them to buy what they need, is the link between operational quality and customer loyalty. Providing a consistent customer experience across all touch points is as much an organisational issue as it is a design or implementation issue.
Delegated staff need to take responsibility for ensuring that customers are able to reach you as and when they need to without any limitations; thanks to the explosion of mobile in the last ten years, they expect to be able to use almost any device available to them to do so.
As we see it, there are two areas of development that are vital investments for any business that wants to improve their customer experience:
1. Responsive web design
The market is going mobile, and companies need to adapt. First and foremost, companies need to accommodate technology limitations on mobile devices (eg the size and shape of the screen). It’s no secret that mobile commerce lags behind general online commerce in feature functionality, and that mobile applications often lack the quality search and checkout capabilities offered by mobile browsers.
By investing in a responsive web design, you’ll make sure that customers are able to view your site in any browser from any device. It also means you won’t have to create another mobile-friendly version of your site, which is ideal if you’re looking to cut costs. It’s also a better approach if you want to optimise the site for the search engines.
2. Mobile app development
Apps can provide businesses with an instant way to inform and connect with their customer base. Developing a mobile app offers a huge range of benefits to businesses over traditional websites: above all, they’re fast, they function offline, and you can use them to market directly to the user via push notifications.
Demand for customer service will increase, and the cost of providing it will decrease, thanks to new mobile technologies. Quality customer service, however, is in the eye of the beholder. Each business needs to determine how to use customer service technology in a way that increases customer satisfaction while still reducing costs.
Karen Harding is the Marketing Manager at cross-platform mobile business app specialists Objective. She keeps her finger on the pulse of the latest trends in customer relations to ensure her team can apply their expertise to projects that are going to yield an exceptional return on investment for clients.