The power of people: Get to Know Your Customers Day 2024

The power of people: Get to Know Your Customers Day 2024

In the age of constant technological advancements, it can begin to feel like both the business landscape and how organisations interact with their customers is becoming entirely shaped by technology. From the introduction of web-based customer service offerings to AI tools predicting buying patterns, 21st century tech has come to define much of what we consider everyday business practices.

However, as businesses strive to utilise the latest tools, we cannot forget the importance of cultivating genuine relationships with customers. This Get to Know Your Customer Day, Intelligent CXO spoke to multiple industry experts for their insight and to shine a light on the need for authentic connection and understanding alongside technology, in order to foster lasting customer loyalty.

Listen AND act

In the world of customer service, there is always someone urging organisations to listen to their customers better. And, while this is an absolutely vital part of customer service, it’s equally important that once businesses have received feedback from customers that they see that input through and act on it. “Truly understanding your customers is an essential part of business but can sometimes be forgotten as leaders get swept away with the pace of change and the next big idea,” stated Hugh Scantlebury, CEO and Founder of Aqilla. “But what’s the point of innovation if it isn’t what your customers want and need? Getting to know your customers’ preferences and desires is crucial to maintaining satisfaction and loyalty – and can also steer the business in the direction it needs to evolve. But, exceptional customer service goes beyond simply listening to customer needs; it’s about genuine engagement and creating a community who feel their voices are heard and respected.

“That’s why, at Aqilla, we actively and regularly listen to customer feedback and use those thoughts and opinions to frame our updates and releases throughout the year. After all, our customers are the ones using our software on a daily basis. Through their observations and feedback, we can gain valuable insights into their nuanced needs and hurdles that they are facing. This helps shape product development and, if necessary, allows us to address any immediate day-to-day issues. This ‘Get To Know Your Customers Day’, I encourage all business leaders to evaluate how well they understand their customers’ needs and preferences — and how often they respond proactively and positively to them.”

Consistency is key

It’s not enough to listen and implement good customer service initiatives just once. The key to maintaining good brand reputation and customer loyalty is consistency. Richard Sampson, CRO at Tax Systems, highlighted: “If we want to support customers, we need to build relationships with them – and this is not a one-time tick-box exercise. It is an ongoing activity that requires consistent monitoring of current situations and constant communication to determine varying needs and recognising when these need to change. When the emphasis is on providing the most effective customer service and experience, the choice between digital and human support should reside with the customer. Today, however, as automated systems and AI-led interaction channels become more prevalent, the availability of human interaction, especially in times of need, has become more of a rarity. Yet, it is frequently the human touch that defines a customer’s perception of a company’s value. Employing a range of communication methods ensures that all issues can be handled, no matter the enquiry or the customer’s communication preference. And by implementing both formal and informal ways to provide support, listening to problems and acting on feedback, that all-important trust is built.”

The world of AI

Leading on from this, it would be impossible to discuss the first Get To Know Your Customers Day of 2024 without delving into the world of AI. Since bursting on the scene and mainstream headlines in 2023, AI is set to revolutionise much of how we work, including customer service.

Dave Hoekstra, Product Evangelist at Calabrio, stated that, “on the surface level, the boom of AI in customer service may make it seem like we have fewer opportunities to interact with our customers. It is true that the use of chatbots and self-service methods reduces the number of customers that directly speak to contact centre agents, but this doesn’t mean that businesses should lose the opportunity to get to know and understand these valued stakeholders. In fact, according to Calabrio’s 2023 State of the Contact Centre report, 20% of contact centre managers said that its ability to predict and analyse customer actions and behaviours was the top benefit of AI.

“Using sophisticated AI and Machine Learning tools, a comprehensive workforce performance suite can make it easier to truly get to know your customer. Through a combination of speech, text and desktop analytics, it compiles raw data from all interactions – whether chatbots, calls, emails, texts or tweets – to capture a comprehensive story about each customer and transforms it into actionable customer intelligence. Using these insights, organisations can create personalised experiences that directly address each customers’ individual needs and preferences. When everything works as designed, the customer shouldn’t even notice which channel they are using, but the goal should always be to help contact centres delight their customers, regardless of which channel they choose. Making the customer feel heard and supported strengthens customer loyalty whilst also enabling the business to make data-driven decisions into how to evolve operations to keep pace with changing customer needs.”

“Despite popular belief, these changes don’t need to come at the cost of a frustrating, limited and impersonal interaction with a ‘robot’,” said Claire Rowland, Head of Client Experience at Node4. “AI is a powerful tool that can enhance customer service in a human-centric way by providing 24/7 support while streamlining customer service and gathering data on customer preferences and needs. Combined with analytical AI technology, this data can be used to create and deliver a hyper-personalised experience to individual customers. Through the offering of tailored recommendations, solutions and incentives, businesses prove to customers that their needs are known and understood, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty.

“AI doesn’t need to be a threat to the customer service industry or put distance between businesses and customers. Embraced and utilised in the correct way, it can help us get to know our customers even better.”

Go with the flow

AI isn’t the only thing significantly changing the market. As younger generations age up and become the new primary targets for markets such as banking, it’s essential that businesses also change with the times. What appealed to Generation X will not work for Generation Z.

One example of a market successfully evolving to meet the changing needs of the next generation is the gamification in banking apps. Pavlo Khropatyy, VP, Global Head of Delivery, Financial Services & Insurance at Intellias, explained: “By using gamification in banking apps, a bank can target customers according to their specific needs. Games appeal to people’s desire for fun, entertainment, simplicity, social interactions, rewards and competition. And it’s an especially good way considering the proliferation of Smart devices, the mass popularity of gaming and the hobbies of tech-savvy millennials and Gen Zs. These digital native generations expect everything to be available via smartphones and are naturally attracted to the Gamification approach.

“This is why Gamification apps in banking is becoming a serious matter to consider and is becoming the latest and smartest technique banks are adopting to deliver the best customer experience, be connected with their customers and stay ahead of their competitors.”

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