Customer experience has forever been a way for organizations to distinguish themselves. But, COVID-19 has transformed the rules of the game.
The customers are now increasingly self-isolating, prefer digital and contactless engagement mediums, are more mindful about spending, and are expected to be making different lifestyle choices for some time. Curating customer experiences for this new normal may call for essentially different approaches. But the opportunities to develop value are several.
In an age of social distancing, the way organizations interact with customers is evolving. Physical touchpoints are being minimized in favor of no-touch self-service models that are increasingly safer, cost-effective, and efficient. Customer service, today, at every touchpoint, is almost wholly contactless.
In the interim, Asian Paints, India’s largest paint company, takes the self-service route by allowing its dealers to place orders through a self-service web portal.
Does this change to self-service models imply that human-powered customer service will fade? No. Customers still prefer talking to a human-like call center agent while addressing some issues. However, even in call centers, the first layer of communication today is self-service chatbots and portals. These tools empower customers to search for answers and solve routine issues on their own.
With the proliferation of COVID-19, massive transitions in customer expectations have reframed the way organizations engage with devices. Present-day customer is more mobile, digital, and connected than ever before. They want relevant information and functionality wherever they are, on-demand. They also require organizations to help themselves with methods like the ability to view an account, pay a bill, or schedule an appointment in a few clicks.
Self-service mediums like customer portals are a significant part of fostering such an experience in post-COVID 19 worlds. However, not all portals are developed equal. Most conventional portals fail to deliver the modern user experience that today’s customers want.
59% of customers and 71% of business buyers say self-service availability impacts their loyalty
Modern Portals Put the Customer First
These same connections also enable agents to provide a more tailored customer experience.
Present-day customer portals are defined by much more than their self-service capacities. Nothing like conventional customer portals built for transactions than fostering relationships – today’s customer portals are connected, personalized, and readily available from any device. They make it hassle-free for customers to search for information, manage accounts, and connects with agents whenever required.
68% of service professionals say one bad experience inflicts more damage to a
customer relationship than five years ago.
The Advantages of Digital Experience
The advantages of a customer portal range across all areas of a business – from customer experience to internal process to technical factors. The portals boost customers at every stage of their customer journey. For instance, when a customer thinks ordering a product, the portal will cater a consistent point of access to look for what they want, buy-in a few clicks, track deliveries, and now even allows viewing restocking dates, warranties, and order history – across multiple devices.
For the business, customer portals deliver more than just customer satisfaction. They also have a built-in capability to amalgamate various systems and data sources to cater to a connected and personalized customer experience. The key to this is a CRM system that enables a single view of the customer.
An entirely integrated portal caters to customer profile information, interests, history, and actions that allow more personalized service. It is demanding for IT departments to maintain and upgrade a legacy portal’s back-end systems. Weighed against their predecessors, modern customer portals are smoother to maintain, upgrade, and integrate with fundamental data sources, business systems, and processes. They also provide a higher level of security via updated capabilities like application monitoring.
Development Priorities For Modern Customer Portals:
It is central to recognize solutions that serve the requirements of both the customer and the business. The ideal solution must cater to a seamless service experience for customers and grown efficiencies across business units.
- Unify Data and Processes from Any System
Customers anticipate feeling like they are dealing with a single business, not a series of disconnected parts. Amalgamating business’s service and business processes through knowledge articles, live-agent chats, and third-party systems develop unified customer experience. For the business, a seamless capture of portal activities caters to a holistic view of the customer for agents. For the customer, this ends up in a better experience.
- Provide Personalized Engagement
80% of service teams agree that a shared, single view of the customer empowers departments to cater to a more consistent experience across every channel. Connected CRM data boosts businesses to intuitively deliver tailored suggestions, including services, products, and notifications.
- Enable Connected Self-Service
81% of customers try to take care of issues themselves before reaching out to a live agent. With the right tactics in place, self-service portals can become the crux of the service process by smartly surfacing the most relevant responses to customer queries without involving agents. In practice,
this method has led to a 31% growth in case deflection and a 22% rise in customer satisfaction.
A new method of customer success needs investment in an innovative customer portal that is integrated, personalized, and caters seamless self-service. The transactional, conventional portals of the past no longer meet the expectations of present-day connected customers. With a combination of innovative solutions and smart design tools, customer portals are not the only turnkey to develop, but also meets the needs of customers, businesses, and IT departments alike.