5 Ways Brands Can Leverage Business Platforms to Deliver Superior Customer Experience
By Rajesh Sinha, Founder and Chairman, Fulcrum Digital Inc
Imagine a shopping mall. It has everything a customer needs in one convenient, well-managed location – stores covering a wide range of products & services, restaurants, movie theatres, restrooms, parking spaces, and a lot more. A customer wouldn’t need to run up and down the street, or even drive across town, to get everything they want. And if they require assistance, they can easily walk up to a help desk or speak to a mall manager to get their issue resolved immediately.
When your company operates on a business platform, it digitally replicates this ‘shopping mall’ paradigm – bringing together all the functions and features needed to elevate customer convenience and experience, along with the internal support systems needed to ensure that everything works seamlessly.
A ‘business platform’ is simply the technology (in the form of a facility, equipment, application, software, etc. you need to run business processes for your organization. This includes both ‘horizontal’ or employee-facing and ‘vertical’ or customer-facing processes. In an era of rapid digital transformation, customers have become accustomed to swift, frictionless experiences. They expect products and services on-demand and businesses to make their lives easier every step of the way. This means that business platforms are increasingly not just a ‘good to have’ but rather a ‘must-have’ for brands that want to thrive in this new digital-first world.
Let us now examine a few ways business platforms can be leveraged by brands to engage their customers.
Improved communication between the brand and customers
Customers increasingly expect to be able to interact with businesses across multiple digital touchpoints – including social media channels, the company website, third-party review sites, messaging platforms, and more. They also expect this communication to occur in real-time, and at any time of their choosing.
An effective customer engagement platform facilitates this omnichannel communication by syncing all your brand’s communication channels and enabling continuity in your interactions with a particular customer across channels. For instance, a customer could start interacting with your business through a chat on a social media channel, and if necessary, the conversation could be seamlessly moved to another channel, such as a voice call – enabling consistent and frictionless communication between the brand and customer across touchpoints.
Gathering customer data to enable personalization
Offering customers the same, standardized experience is no longer an option for brands. Personalization is a key tool for businesses to ensure that their customers truly feel valued. And for businesses to be able to create these tailored experiences, they need to have detailed knowledge of the customer – their purchase history, past interactions with the brand, and other relevant information.
This is where a customer data platform adds value. It creates a unified customer profile (or ‘single customer view’), bringing together all the data points gathered on an individual customer during their association with the brand. This unified profile enables you to tailor your offerings for the customer based on their past behavior. Your business can also personalize marketing campaigns based on the customer’s preferences and the touchpoints they’ve previously used to engage with the brand.
Offering real-time customer support
24×7 customer service is increasingly becoming a basic customer expectation. A comprehensive customer service platform will enable your business to accept customer queries across multiple channels, and effectively resolve grievances in real-time.
Artificial intelligence will play a key role in this process, with AI-powered chatbots instantly resolving the routine, repetitive customer queries that typically account for close to 90% of the customer issues handled by service agents. Human customer service representatives will still be needed to address complex customer issues that the AI might not be able to handle. In such cases, the customer service platform can seamlessly transfer customer interactions from the AI to the human agent for their attention.
Increased operational efficiency
Across all business functions, platforms help significantly enhance operational efficiency. For instance, if your business is using a customer data platform, it eliminates the data silos that normally arise within organizations. With a platform, all the relevant data on customers, from across departments, is brought together on a single pane of glass, significantly speeding up the planning and implementation of customer engagement initiatives.
Customer service platforms facilitate timely communication with customers at the touchpoints of their choice and swiftly resolve their issues. Moreover, with AI automation, the vast majority of queries can be resolved without the need for human intervention. This not only saves time, and effort on the part of customers, elevating their overall experience but leads to tremendous time, effort and cost savings for the business.
Building forums for increased customer engagement
Offering your customers an online forum can be a powerful customer engagement strategy. Enabling your customers to interact with each other and become part of a community significantly enhances their experience and helps foster long-term brand loyalty. It also provides your business with greater visibility over how customers feel about the product/service – generating insights that might not have been captured by standard customer service/feedback mechanisms. By leveraging the right business platform, your brand can effectively develop a forum that makes all of this possible.
As we move towards an era of even greater customer-centricity, brands can leave no stone unturned in ensuring that their customers receive the best possible experience. This makes it incumbent on them to unlock the full potential of business platforms to more effectively and efficiently understand and engage with customers.