September 15, 2015

How Will You Engage Your Consumers in the Interactive Age?

Customer service, as a whole, can be a frustrating experience for consumers, including long waits, unresolved issues and lack of qualified contact center staff. A recent study from the CMO Council titled “Brand Attraction From Enriched Interaction” indicates that customers are now demanding a greater array of mobile, Web and social channels to help them navigate the customer experience.

As business enters a new digital age, key trends, such as self-service and multichannel utilities, are transforming the market, which has, in turn, created a demand for heightened customer service. To meet this demand, businesses are tapping into digital technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) to slowly revolutionize how they interact with consumers.

Despite resistance by certain companies to fully embrace a multichannel approach to customer service—only 32 percent of marketers are optimistic about engaging their consumers in this way, according to the study—the reality is that mobile, Web and social are here to stay. Regardless of how quickly they’re adopted, the digital enterprise and the rise of the IoT will change the way companies interact with consumers.

The IoT and advances in application programming interfaces (APIs), which are tools for building software applications, will certainly work together to improve customer engagement. The customer service experience will be heightened by a multichannel experience that will allow consumers to opt for the most convenient contact option.

Amazon, Netflix, Facebook and Twitter are leading the pack, processing billions of API transactions in an effort to optimize consumer engagement with their brands. Also, the advent of IoT signifies the progression toward a more connected ecosystem. According to CMO, by 2020, the number of connected devices is expected to exceed 50 billion, with an estimated $19 trillion in profit and significant cost savings.

What’s more, CMO revealed that Google projects that, by 2019, companies will deliver 1.9 billion connected home devices for $490 billion in revenue, while Gartner predicts that one in every five vehicles will have wireless connection by the year 2020. This shift will create greater efficiency and cost savings while enabling companies to benefit from streamlined operations and accountability. The greatest benefit of this new digital technology is that it allows brands to more effectively reach and engage with customers.

As a result, marketers will shy away from excessive content creation for content’s sake, and will embrace customer engagement by personalizing experiences based on the specific needs and interests of consumers, highlighting purchase and loyalty.

New digital content publishing, conversation and distribution channels are the future and can be created in a variety of formats to maximize consumption, sharing, influence and actions. With greater understanding of customer behaviors, marketers get a pulse on what shoppers want and, in turn, use the channels best-suited for active consumer engagement.

In the words of T-Mobile’s Director of Loyalty Marketing Gayle Bock, “We are working to determine how to connect the mobile experience with the retail experience because the integration of these two areas is going to be increasingly important over the next year. A customer may have a great digital experience, but if they [sic] need to call or walk into our store, it has to be the same experience. We have to go where the customers are and understand their channels of preference.”

All in all, new technology is changing the way consumers are able to engage in customer service. The integration of new technologies ensures more options than ever when it comes to 24/7 service and increases productivity by streamlining processes.

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