The arrival of the digital age has increased customer expectations of speed and simplicity. It must also be easy to contact the supplier if something does not work. And the person answering questions must have knowledge in order to truly satisfy the customer.
Anyone who succeeds in meeting expectations will have an advantage. This is because customers who experience simplicity are 40 per cent less likely to stop being customers of an organisation.
“Expectations are a hygiene factor for modern companies. Customers want to have control and they don’t want to waste their time. One of the major challenges for companies nowadays is to make it easy for customers to help themselves,” says Nicola Millard, Customer Experience Futurologist at the telecommunications company British Telecom (BT).
Demands from customers will not be easing in future – if anything, they will demand even faster service. To be able to deal with this, companies need stronger opportunities for interaction than they have at present. One way is to start using Augmented Reality (AR).
“I’m not yet sold on Virtual Reality as a tool for customer relationships, it’s most suitable as a tool for collaboration. Augmented Reality, by contrast, is effective in making life easier for the customer. The reason is that you don’t need expensive extra equipment for AR, all you need is a mobile phone. At the same time, there are opportunities for greater integration through this technology.”
The camera in a mobile phone, for example, can be used by the customer to show a fault to the supplier, so that it can be assessed and resolved remotely. At British Telecom they have started testing another area of application: junior engineers out in the field are being helped by senior engineers in the office via AR.
Another way of increasing interaction with customers is to start using films in a new way. According to Nicola Millard, video chats, for example, are an excellent channel for expert advice, as they build up trust. Video can therefore be used to offer advice on loans, for example.
Another application is personalised videos, which have become increasingly popular in the UK. By developing a video template into which you can then automatically insert personal customer data, you attract a high level of attention from customers. This can involve anything from a friendly birthday greeting to contract information or an educational description of the customer’s pension forecast.
“Personalised videos enable customers to interact better than if you send letters or email. People really do look at these films – and not just once, but twice. Some people have even looked at them 50 times. You can’t achieve that result with a generic video clip.”