The Monetary Value of Customer Experience is Soaring
In the internet era, everyone who has an opinion about your business can share it online for the world to see. Studies show that people are doing a huge amount of research online, and the more important the decision, the more they’ll look into your organization’s reputation before purchasing a product or scheduling an appointment.
Google felt this trend was so important that they coined a new phrase for it: “The Zero Moment of Truth” (ZMOT) and built resources devoted to exploring pre-purchasing consumer info gathering behavior. According to information included in the ZMOT literature, over 70% of customers were doing extensive research prior to purchases in 2011…and that trend has only continued to grow in the intervening time.
Online Reviews: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Studies also show that the people who leave reviews are overwhelmingly customers who were either very happy or very unhappy with their experience. An absence of “middle ground” to average things out makes each review high-stakes .
And the ugly? Even if the actual content of a negative review doesn’t make much sense, aggregate ratings mean that it can still hurt you, even when a reasonable reader would discount the reviewer’s opinion.
Don’t dismiss the advantages of reviews if your organization is B2B rather than B2C. If anything, reviews can matter even more in the B2B landscape. The stakes of each transaction are typically higher and the average number of reviews are lower, giving each voice more influence over your organization’s future.
How Unified Communications Can Help
A powerful Unified Communications solution can deliver a wide range of benefits to your organization, but can be particularly helpful when it comes to customer communications in these areas:
Faster, Better Responses
Making customers feel they are receiving prompt and attentive service boosts their impression of your organization.
More Effective Damage Control
Making it as easy as possible to resolve customer issues quickly, hopefully calming them before they leave a negative review.
Powerful UC Features for B2C Organizations
- Speech-Enabled Automated Attendants
- IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
Automated Attendants (phone trees) can cause callers frustration by offering unclear choices, long lists of numbers to sit through before hearing the option they want, and in general feeling like the system is there to save the organization time and resources at their expense.
Of course, automated attendants serve a valuable purpose by freeing staff from phone calls they don’t need to take, but organizations must be aware that they do so at a cost. While smart menu & prompt design can help alleviate irritation, there is a solution that can make an even bigger difference: speech-enabled auto-attendants.
Speaking will always be more intuitive than remembering and pressing numbers you’ve arbitrarily associated with specific tasks. Let callers tell you what they want, then give it to them. They’ll appreciate how much easier your organization is to call than competitors’.
IVR (Interactive Voice Response) software takes the power of the Automated Attendant one step further. While Automated Attendants route calls, collect messages, and serve up one-size-fits-all information, IVR systems can give callers custom responses that speak directly to their needs. Imagine your customers being able to pay their bills, check the status of orders, or find out the available inventory at a specific location, all without having to talk to an employee.
An IVR system harnesses text-to-speech technology and either a touchtone or voice interface to allow callers to get information from, and submit information to, databases over the phone. Not only does this mean that they’re not taking up your staff’s time, but it also means they can do it whenever is convenient for them, even in the middle of the night.
Powerful UC Features for B2B Organizations
- Intelligent Call Routing
- Unified Messaging
When your organization deals in B2B, answering calls is non-negotiable – the stakes are simply too high. B2B customers know that they each represent large portions of your revenue. They expect a fast response to their inquiries and careful attention to their needs. A missed call could turn into a missed sale, a failed contract, or otherwise lead to lost business or a complaint from a major account.
Intelligent Call Routing boosts call completion by automatically adapting to the user’s physical location, daily schedule, and their IM presence status. Based on their settings, the call will route to their preferred device: desk phone, mobile phone, or even a soft phone like Skype for Business. If the user is in a meeting, a message will let the caller know:
“Robert Johnson is currently in a meeting and will be back at 11 a.m.”
Some UC solutions leverage a mobile client to take the capabilities of intelligent call routing even further, by allowing calls routed through it to be acknowledged and responded to the call silently from a meeting, using one of several message options (like “I’ll call you back in 10 minutes”) by simply selecting a menu option that pops up in a silent alert.
Whether engaging in negotiations, support, sales, or other activities, modern conversations can range across a variety of mediums. Unified Messaging can empower staff by gathering incoming communication threads into a single repository. Voicemails (including automated transcription), emails, and faxes are all delivered into the users’ email inboxes, putting them at your staff’s fingertips wherever they are.
A Solution for Any Organization
Prompt, effective communications are the backbone of customer service, and that extends well beyond businesses in sales. Healthcare has patients, government has the people of the community, etc. No organization is an island. Contact us to learn how we can help you with a customized solution that meets your specific needs.