By Daniel Foppen, Senior Principal Product Manager Oracle Service Cloud
The concept of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is being replaced by the Customer Experience (CX). CRM denotes the idea that businesses should actively manage the relationship with the customer–as in a business should define and design the ways, touch-points, and modes customers interact with them. But in this day and age, Consumers would rather decide that for themselves. They want to decide where, when, and why they interact with a business. Therein lies the paradigm shift from managing the customer relationship to the customer-centric perspective of modern CX.
The customer is making our jobs more complicated. Over the last few years, we have seen consumers use an ever-expanding range of channels and devices for an increasingly wide range of tasks. What’s more, one day they prefer using a mobile phone for a task and the next day continue where they left off on a desktop computer. It’s increasingly difficult to predict what combination of channels and devices customers will use to engage with a brand.
When it comes to online shopping, customers rarely shop in a single-session, linear progression anymore (searching > filtering > product details > checkout). The majority spend a lot of time on mobile, checking their phones over 150 times per day. These sessions are micromoments: tiny, critical points within the consumer journey where you can win or lose a customer. Shoppers string together these bursts of activity to create their unique purchasing decisions.
This mixture of unpredictable, non-linear buying journeys culminates in Organic Channels - the simultaneous combination of commerce and service channels to create a unique customer experience. Organic channels can take an infinite number of forms;
- Shoppers look on their mobiles in-store.
- They might browse the website while waiting for a call center agent to resolve an issue.
- While buying a product within WeChat, they may chat with an agent, read a Reddit thread on a product while googling for the warranty policy or research something independently while messaging a friend on the same topic.
This on-the-fly blend of experiences influences the shopper’s decision-making journey. They evaluate who will best deliver on their needs–not only with the product they want, but how they will be supported and the ways that they can seek support.
Shoppers want to do business with companies that are reliable, flexible, and helpful. But, it’s become easier to lose customers than to keep them.
- Eight in 10 consumers are willing to switch companies due to poor service.
- 90% of shoppers starting a mobile product search don’t know what brand they will buy.
- Serving up irrelevant content increases your customer’s bounce rate by 200% on mobile devices (over desktop sites.)
You can help your customers gain confidence in your brand by embedding relevant service in every touch point of their shopping journey. Offering service and answers in the research and buying phase drives sales and reduces abandonment. (Eighty-seven percent of consumers are more likely to buy an item recommended by an associate.)
Now, more than ever, you have the opportunity to provide service-infused commerce journeys to your customers. As consumers create innumerable combinations of unpredictable organic channels and shopping journeys, organizations should consider fusing their commerce and service platforms and strategies to offer a seamless Customer Experience freely defined by consumers. Organizations that do this right will be handsomely rewarded.