One of the customer’s big love languages is Accessibility. Typically, we think of accessibility as the customer’s ability to make contact with a business in a way that matters to him or her. What good is a telephone number for a business if it doesn’t patch you through to a successful landing point that provides answers to requests, questions and queries in real time?
But, accessibility within the context of customer experience bears even greater value when it is viewed as a two-way channel, from both a customer to business and a business to customer perspective. For the right reasons, customers want to be accessible to businesses. They become happy campers when their service providers utilize communication channels to send information that is useful. Think of how appreciative customers feel when a business shares via SMS, updates on specials and promotions, billing updates, product information, sales alerts and even emergency details e.g. early closure of businesses.
Several decades ago, the primary contact channel was one switchboard and one telephone operator. Today, digitalization has enabled this system to evolve into contact centres and diversified, omni-channels that enable constant, on-demand, two way communication. These contact channels help to shift the power of choice to the customer, whilst optimizing real-time responsiveness and convenience. Customers have the choice of interacting with live agents, automated attendants, email channels, chatbots, live chats, SMS etc. It’s all about their preferred choice of contact channel.
Notwithstanding the fact that systems have been modernized, telephones still go unanswered, email messages still go unacknowledged and live chat channels are not always functional. There is still need for large scale improvement on the human response side of accessibility. Whilst I have not conducted a poll, persistent comments from face to face as well as secondary sources, lead me to believe that in our country, the level of sufficiency in getting through to businesses via all of the contact channels is painfully slow and, in some cases, painfully low.
Overcoming accessibility gaps is not complicated, so let’s look at four ways in which businesses can leverage two-way accessibility, to make the customer experience truly delightful.
Make It Easy For Customers To Contact Your Business
Does your business know what its customers’ call experience feels like? The most basic priority is to ensure that ALL incoming calls are answered. Yes, I did say ALL telephone calls. Every business should have a telephone call management system that “works.” This means that the business is ensuring that either a live person answers or an automatic attendant guides the customer through a simple journey to the correct landing point. Customers should never be transferred to dead air or a ringing telephone. If every time a customer calls in to a business it feels like wrestling with a lion, pretty soon the better alternative would be to defect to where the experience would be one that is more gentle and more efficient.
It May Be Time To Graduate From A Single Operator System To A Contact Centre
Many businesses have gone this way already. The more a business is faced with rising levels of business volumes, complexity of operations and customer expectations for speed, convenience and ease of doing business, the greater the argument for migration to a contact centre. A call centre is simply a bank of Operators who answer and redirect calls, whilst a contact centre is a point of resolution, where incoming callers’ needs are resolved by trained CSRs who populate the centre. So, if your business outgrown its switchboard operations, maybe it’s time to consider an updated option that allows your customers to continue to love your commitment to a delightful experience.
Use Chatbot Technology To Support Customer Communication
Have you noticed the incoming messages on your mobile and landline phones that tell you about the due dates for payment of bills? That’s most likely chatbots being used by a business to support its customer service. Remember earlier when I shared that accessibility is a two-way street? This is one example of how your business can utilize digital tools to communicate with customers in real-time. Chatbots can provide a messaging service to customers to remind about bill payment deadlines, upcoming sales, product launches and so on. The technology is there to be tapped.
Businesses Are Sitting On A Treasure Trove Of Customer Information
Recently, I bought a pair of shoes from a retail outlet and the salesperson requested my contact information, which, I suspect, is going to be used to build me into their customer messaging system, to market goods and services. So many business forgo this opportunity to tap into customer accessibility and communication systems that can lead to offerings and experiences that are “individualized” to fit with customers’ likes and preferences.
There’s a reason why Accessibility is a customer love language. It promotes two-way communication between a business and its customers. By now we should know that if a business wants to grow customer love, nothing beats sharing messages on a wide open communication highway.