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Hybrid Customer Journeys: The Future of CX?
October 14, 2021
The customer journey has undergone major changes over the past two years, especially after the pandemic. Most customer journeys have been digitalized, and hybrid customer journeys have emerged in a lot of industries.
But what is a hybrid customer journey? To put it simply, it is a customer journey that seamlessly blends physical and digital points of contact.
Here are some examples:
- Booking an appointment online for a physical meeting
- The acceleration of click and collect services
- The global spread of video, such as for medical appointments
It is also worth mentioning the rise of automated stores, such as Amazon physical stores, and the new technologies that have been implemented to facilitate shopping and reduce the need for human interaction.
In this context, companies and brands have had to adapt to a new digital world and offer the best customer experience possible. Companies that had already started to digitalize their customer journey before the crisis and had a CX program were better prepared, and fared better during the pandemic.
Customer journeys have also become more and more infused with AI technology, such as chatbots. This enables consumers to find information quickly and easily, and leaves employees with more time to focus on higher added value tasks.
Improving Hybrid Customer Journeys
What does it mean to improve customer experience in a hybrid customer journey? Sure, processes can always be made faster, with less steps. But is this actually enough?
Most customer journeys are now hybrid, with more or less digitalized processes. 74% of consumers expect a hybrid customer journey. However, if your customer journey is completely digital, watch out for online fatigue.
After two years of working, shopping and seeing friends and family online, customers are tired of doing everything from behind a screen. If you wish to optimize the customer experience, take online fatigue into account and try to reintroduce human interactions at key points of contact.
Remember, during the first few months of the pandemic and these new digital customer journeys, it was difficult for customers to reach the right person at the right time when they needed help or information.
It is therefore important to add a human touch back into these new customer journeys and focus on customer care in new relationships. It has become clear that the customer experience won’t return to its pre-pandemic state. Thus, to improve hybrid customer journeys, it is important to find the perfect balance between technological / digital interactions, and human ones.
We’ve mentioned online fatigue, and the need for more human interaction. But how can you add more human interactions to your customer journey? Here are some examples:
- Easier access to a sales assistant
- Better support for technical issues
- More empathy
- Customization of all messages and communications
- Direct consumer calls
Moreover, to put the human back into the customer journey, think about how you can remove barriers for customers to get in touch.
- Should you set up a hotline or a chatbot?
- How fast should the bot redirect to a human advisor?
- How can you make it easier for customers to send a message?
- Is your replying process fast enough to ensure that customers don’t give up on their purchase?
Brands need to invest in technologies that support human interactions and that help their staff better serve customers. For example, in call centers, technology should enable advisors to immediately know everything about the customer that is calling. That technology offers a seamless customer experience, improves their overall journey, and makes life easier for employees. The time gained by not asking for basic information also means a better ROI for the company!
However, technology is not everything. Don’t forget the importance of training your staff, so that they can efficiently use the tools you’ve implemented. It is also important to train them on the new processes and hybrid customer journeys that have emerged.
The Need for a CX Platform
The need for seamless omnichannel customer journeys has never been so strong. How can you identify the pain points in your customer journey, make things easier for your customers, create a “wow” effect and reintroduce human interactions into your journey?
Measuring your customer journeys with a CX platform enables you to prioritize action plans and monitor them continuously. How does it work? Thinking of your customer experience in terms of customer journeys allows you to carefully map out the customer experience and focus on each part of the journey.
But why measure customer satisfaction at different points of contact?
Measuring customer satisfaction at different points of contact will provide you with different insights, so the points of contact to monitor depend on your objectives. For example, you might get completely different feedback depending on whether you send a survey right after an online order or right after delivery.
The ordering process may have been flawless, but if the package arrived several days late, the customer won’t be happy, regardless of the quality of the product or the online process.
Offering your customers a truly hybrid, omnichannel and seamless experience means paying close attention to every aspect of your customer journey.
A CX platform like SKEEPERS allows you to measure each point of contact, be it physical or online, and identify factors of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. In just a few clicks, you can get a 360° view of your customer journey and know exactly where to focus your actions.
This makes it easier to design action plans for each point of contact and monitor them to make sure they are efficient. If you identify any issues, you can react immediately and make adjustments, until you’ve truly improved the customer experience at that particular point of contact.
To help you pinpoint where human interaction is needed on your customer journey, CX platforms enable you to analyze all kinds of customer feedback (data, comments, etc.) and summarize it in operational reports.
What is the level of satisfaction at a particular point of contact? What is the customer effort score? What are my customers saying, be it positive or negative?
By analyzing the results, you can determine if human interaction at that particular point will be helpful or not.
For example, if you notice that a lot of customers abandon their cart at a specific point of the customer journey, and that the number 1 dissatisfaction factor is the lack of information, it may be a good idea to provide easy access to a sales assistant, by phone or chat.
Have hybrid customer journeys become the new norm? In a sense, yes.
Most companies had no choice but to digitalize some of their processes during the pandemic. The progress that has been made cannot be undone, as customers have become used to these new habits. We have entered a new era, where brands have to rely on advances made during the pandemic, but also take into account the new paradigm of online fatigue. Hybrid customer journeys should be designed to maximize customer satisfaction, while continuing to digitalize the process.
Need help designing and optimizing your hybrid customer journeys? Feel free to get in touch!