Will Retailers Focused on a Great Customer Experience Capitalize Best on the Holiday Season?

By Courtney Schreier, Marketing Manager, Americas

With Black Friday behind us and just a few short weeks until the holidays start in earnest, retailers are clamoring for consumer attention. This should surprise no one; it happens every year and is so predictable one could almost call it a fact of life. I started to look into this phenomenon more closely to find out what factors determine the winners in this retail realm of holiday merriment.

I found some answers in a video series in which the CEO of HSNi, Mindy Grossman, was interviewed for Bloomberg TV. According to Grossman, those who focus on the customer experience this year will be declared the winners.

Grossman recommends betting big on mobile this year. This is not terribly shocking. However, retailers need to ensure that their site is mobile friendly. Even retailers using responsive design need to check and make sure that it has been implemented properly to ensure a seamless omnichannel experience. A great way to do this is to design a mobile template first and then move on to create designs for other devices.

Keeping in mind that there are certain questions that are at the forefront of customers’ minds this time of year, retailers should ensure that the answers to these questions are super easy to find. A virtual agent can greatly benefit a website here. If there is an issue, make it very fast and easy to escalate a problem to a live person. However, many holiday shoppers aren’t just shopping for themselves, they are shopping for family and friends – they are looking for information on things like size charts, shipping and return policies, and coupon code redemption. A virtual agent can easily navigate a consumer to the proper pages for this type of information, saving valuable live resources for more complex concerns.

Finally, ensure that content isn’t falling through the cracks by reviewing content that has received low ratings from customers. Retailers may see sales drastically improving just through a simple action such as fixing certain answers (e.g. fixing the functionality of a store locator). V-Portal™, Creative Virtual’s knowledge management and business intelligence reporting platform can report on customer satisfaction rates in real-time.

Remember, the holidays can be stressful – ensure customers are able to have a great omnichannel experience from any device.

Does Your Smart Customer Journey Entail the 3 Cs of Customer Satisfaction?

By Courtney Schreier, Marketing Manager, Americas

“It may not seem sexy, but consistency is the secret ingredient to making customers happy,” an Insights and Publications article by McKinsey & Company opens.

The article goes on to describe the 3 Cs that make up the consistency element of customer satisfaction: customer journey consistency, emotional consistency and consistency of communication.

1.      Customer Journey Consistency

Omnichannel consistency is important. In the digital age customers are likely to interact with your company from several different devices and interactions should be consistent across channels. If your company has a brick and mortar store, customers might stop by for a visit. And what they expect to have is a consistent customer service. People are comfortable with what they know – so don’t keep them guessing. Interactions across all channels should be similar. Remember, customers should perceive their effort score as being very low when choosing to interact with your brand. This is a key metric in improving customer satisfaction.

2.      Emotional Consistency

According to McKinsey & Company, “for bank customers, ‘a brand I feel close to’ and ‘a brand that I can trust’” were the top drivers for bank differentiation on customer experience. It also appears that having a positive customer experience is one of the top drivers for increasing customer loyalty. Customers are stressed out by unpredictable situations. Companies need to keep things positive and consistent so customers feel like they have a real connection with the brand. Just one bad experience or interaction with your company can dismantle the feelings of trust and loyalty that has taken years of hard work to create. A great way to forge an emotional bond with the customer is to add a personalized element to their interactions with you, be it online, in-person or from their mobile device. This way customers are made to feel like they are not just a number to you – they matter, and that’s important.

3.    Communication Consistency

Customers want all communications from your company to be similar in nature. Mixed messages is something that is a definite deterrent. The method of delivery is almost as critical as what you deliver and promise your customers. With so many various touchpoints for customer engagement, this is becoming increasingly critical. It’s easy for your brand’s voice and company vision to get lost with all the chatter across channels. Don’t let it. Customers don’t have patience for variability. Nor should they. It’s your company’s job to ensure that all communications coming from you are delivered in a manner that creates a consistent representation of your company’s mission and engenders customer’s loyalty and trust.

Creative Virtual specializes in improving customer satisfaction and decreasing the perceived customer effort score. We keep things easy and consistent with the deployment of our omnichannel intelligent virtual agents. Our virtual agents are a tool that companies can use that will go a great way towards creating this consistency across all channels. If you haven’t checked out our solutions yet, contact us for a demonstration today.

Creative Virtual Launches Partnership with sogedes at Call Center World 2014

Call Center World 2014

By Björn Gülsdorff, Head of Business Development

From February 18th—20th Call Center World 2014, Europe’s leading event for customer service and customer dialogue will reside in the Estrel Convention Center in Berlin, Germany. Creative Virtual will be present there together with our German Partner sogedes.

But we will not just be there together—we are using this event to kick off our activities and partnership in the German market, after we had a ‘soft-launch’ of our collaboration during the Strategietage in Bensberg in November 2013. Our partner sogedes is a solution provider in Multi-Channel Contact Center Software, Customer Self-Service and Experience Management, and Quality and Performance Management.

We are very excited about our new partnership with sogedes and look forward to working with them to bring cutting-edge, innovative customer experience solutions to organisations in Germany. It is a pleasure for us at Creative Virtual to collaborate with the experienced and knowledgeable team at sogedes.

CCW 2014 provides perfect networking opportunities, reflects relevant trends and offers innovative knowledge—an ideal event for launching our partnership. Last year it attracted more than 250 exhibitors from 15 different countries worldwide.

You can find us with our partner sogedes in Hall 4, Booth E6/F7 or schedule a meeting with us before you even arrive by clicking here. I’ll be at the event on February 19th and 20th and would love to meet with you then. Hope to see you there!

NetFinance Webinar Provided Great Insight into Changing Demographics of Banking Customers

By Richard Simons, CEO, Creative Virtual USA

On December 10th, I participated in the NetFinance webinar “Understanding The New Consumer Journey To Design Your Touch Points & Create A Consistent Experience Across All Channels.” This was a new and exciting opportunity to work with Javelin Research & Strategy and discuss some of the new research coming out on mobile banking and the changing trends in customer demographics. Bradley Leimer, VP Online/Mobile Strategy, Mechanics Bank also participated in this fascinating panel, giving his expert insights into what he has seen firsthand in the industry.

Mark Schwanhausser, Director of Omnichannel Financial Services at Javelin went into depth discussing the profiles of various consumers and how they interact with banks. For example, I was surprised to learn how sizable the group of consumers is who are still nervous about banking on mobile devices. It used to be consumers had to wait for their monthly bank statements to arrive in the mail to check on their accounts and monitor any potential cases of fraud. Those days are gone though, with mobile banking allowing transactions to be performed and processed on a smartphone, allowing the consumer to always have the ability to monitor account status. Javelin’s research is encouraging consumers to redefine their personal security in the mobile banking environment by focusing on prevention of fraud, not just detection and resolution. This is an important shift that puts a great emphasis on the anytime banking and monitoring of mobile.Mobile banking and finance concept

Schwanhausser also discussed the importance of catering to the Moneyhawk™ demographic. Moneyhawks are defined by their use of three critical banking services, which include using online banking, bank bill paying and mobile banking in the past 30 days at their primary financial institutions.  Approximately 19% of consumers fall into this segment, which we discussed in the webinar as being a critical group that will shape banking in America in the coming years. Moneyhawks are profitable consumers that prefer cost-effective digital channels. Intelligent virtual agents are a perfect match for meeting the demands of this group because of their ability to communicate consistent messaging across channels and decrease the amount of channel switching, allowing users to stay in their preferred self-service environment. As 2013 draws to a close, I am excited to see how mobile banking in 2014 evolves.

I wanted to give a big Thank You to both Mark and Brad for participating in this webinar. In case you missed it, click here to access the full NetFinance webinar.