Real Time Communications Featured Article

A 360-Degree Customer View Helps Keep Customers from Attraction to Retention

July 16, 2015

Once upon a time, customer support was essentially a series of transactions. A customer would call, an agent would handle the issue (either successfully or unsuccessfully) and the customer would either hang up or be obliged to call back if the problem wasn’t resolved. This “trouble ticket approach” was the norm for decades. Customers calling back about a similar problem at a later date were treated as if they’d never contacted the company before. Using multiple channels was out of the question – even if they were available, they weren’t integrated with one another.

Fast-forward to day, and companies trying to stand out from the competition are taking a 360-degree customer approach: that is, company representatives who communicate with a customer in any media channel can see the customer’s entire history at a glance. This allows the customer to start a query in one communications channel – in Web chat, for instance – and continue it in another if it’s determined that a phone call would yield better results. Customers no longer have patience for being treated like a trouble ticket number.

The customer lifecycle, however, needs to begin before a customer is even a customer. Thanks to social media, companies can build awareness among the friends and acquaintances of customers, and draw them in with an eye-catching, multimedia, two-way campaign. At the other end of the spectrum, after the customer’s “honeymoon” with the company is over, today’s omnichannel solutions allow companies to retain customers by rewarding them and appreciating them. All of this is enabled by robust business communications solutions. Organizations that wish to employ this “attraction-to-retention” lifecycle must be certain they have the infrastructure to handle it.

Many companies today, in an effort to serve their customers in a 360-deegree view best, choose a lot of features that seem new and exciting, but are seldom used by the organization. Creating an in-depth report on how your customers interact with you (and how they wish to interact with you) can help you choose the right features and avoid spending money on services you don’t need, while still providing you with an omnichannel view of the customer relationship. It’s about more than telephone: it’s also Web, mobile Web, mobile app, real-time communications (possibly even with video) and social media. Perhaps you won’t be selling via all of these channels, or even offering direct customer support, but it’s critical to remember that bringing in new customers and building the loyalty of existing customers will require vehicles such as social media for real engagement and to remain at customers’ top of mind.

In the end, your choice for a business communications platform will depend on your needs, and the technical sophistication of your employees and your customers. Far too many companies end up paying for much more than they truly need, or wind up with solutions that don’t offer the features their customers demand. By determining how your customers interact with you today and hope to interact with you tomorrow, you can make the best choices for your organization’s omnichannel approach.  

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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