During the past few decades, advances in technology have not only made things easier, but also led to a fundamental shift in the way people interact with brands. Today, so-called “digital-first” consumers expect to have the same seamless customer service experience in-person as they would online — without missing a beat.
With limitless options at their fingertips — and the strong desire to be in control — 70 percent of today’s consumers expect to have a self-service option to more easily raise and resolve issues with a particular company. But that doesn’t mean they want to strictly turn to a company’s website or social media pages to find their answers. Indeed, many still desire speaking with a live agent.
But knowing consumers desire a more automated experience and being able to deliver on it are two entirely different things. Experts say today’s businesses are struggling to harness the power of omnichannel integration — B2C communication via email, online chat, social media and more — to create a true digital-first customer journey.
Looking for ways to meet the needs of today’s digital-first consumers? Here are several ways your business can better cater to them.
Diversify Your Communication Channels
Not all customers want to hop on the phone to resolve a customer service issue. Instead, they simply want more options — and texting is quickly becoming the preferred choice. According to the Center for Generational Kinetics, 41 percent of millennials said they would be “truly satisfied” if they could simply text the companies with whom they conduct business.
To better deliver on this digital-first experience, companies have rolled out more omnichannel options to their customers in order for them to more easily raise support-related inquiries. For example, investing in a cloud contact center can limit the number of times customers have to call your support line to resolve an issue or complaint. Ultimately, this can also enhance the overall customer service experience.
Use Smartphones to Enhance Buying Decisions
However, digital-first consumers aren’t just turning to their smartphones for the purposes of texting your customer support line. In fact, they’re also actively using these devices to search for online company reviews and pricing information to help in their decision-making.
According to Google, 70 percent of smartphone owners who made an in-store purchase initially turned to their smartphone to conduct product-related research. And when consumers conduct these types of searches, it tends to lead to action, as 92 percent of these same smartphone owners made a related purchase.
To increase business and enhance their brand identity, businesses can take advantage of this growing trend by offering mobile-ready content, sending out texts about upcoming promotions, and keeping other relevant information at shoppers’ digital fingertips.
Be Seen and Heard Where Your Customers Are
As you’re likely well aware, today’s buyer’s journey starts when a customer first engages with your brand. With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure your company has a strong online presence, including having an easy-to-navigate website and being on appropriate social media platforms.
But that doesn’t mean your online presence should be oversaturated for no legitimate business purpose. Instead, find out which social media channels your customers enjoy most when engaging with your company and then deliver appropriate content, including blog articles, videos, infographics and more, to create a strong, reputable brand identity.
For example, a business professional looking to uncover new ways to make a big sales splash is more likely to visit and engage with your brand on LinkedIn than on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
Use Live Chat to Score More Online Sales
No matter how much money you put into your marketing efforts, getting more people to visit your website doesn’t guarantee they will make a purchase. Moreover, consumers are looking to not only read product reviews and testimonials on your website, but also have the ability to have any last-minute questions answered before making a purchase.
And the numbers speak for themselves. According to Forrester Research, 44 percent of online consumers say having a live agent available to answer their questions in the middle of a purchase is one of the most important features a website can offer.
Catering to today’s digital-first consumers doesn’t have to be complicated; rather, your company simply needs to understand which omnichannel experience will best serve and cater to them. Focus on resolving the issues that a majority of your customers tend to raise — on the appropriate platforms, of course — while delivering top-notch products and services that will help your company see more repeat business.