They say in sports self-belief and strength of character are what separate the good from the best. You could argue that this applies to the world of business as well. Businesses worldwide approach the market claiming and believing that they know best, convinced that their own capabilities will eventually lead to success. This is the Inside-Out approach: systems, tools, processes, and products are designed with the company and its needs in mind and decisions are made based on what’s best for the company and not the customer.

But as opposed to sports, business is not about personal achievements. It’s about satisfying the customer, who, now more than ever, is in control. That’s why many organizations are turning things around and start looking at their organization with the eyes of a customer. They make decisions based on customer’s needs and include him as a part of decision making as this also involves customer interactions when it comes to communications. This Outside-In approach leads to good CX, which in turn leads to business growth and revenue.

To establish this firm link between company and customer, customer engagement must be spot on. Achieving this requires the right customer communication tool. In this week’s blog we’ll look at the six crucial steps you must follow in pursuit of the communication tool that will enable you to strengthen your bond with the customer and boost operational efficiency in the process.

 

1. Establish ownership of all communications across all teams

Because many companies are still working in silos (HR, sales, marketing), their different departments will approach consumers in their own way. As a result, no one takes charge in managing customer communications and customer insights derived from different business processes are not shared among teams.

Opt for a communication tool that enables all departments to contribute to customer communications. This allows you to look at the customer from different viewpoints, which helps to get a holistic perspective on customer needs and expectations.

2. Create consistency across all touchpoints

Pre-purchase marketing communications are often very attractive but once the prospect becomes a customer, the customer experience worsens. As a company, you have to make sure your communications are consistent over the entire customer journey and across all touchpoints.

The right communication tool allows you to single out areas of improvement in your communications, eliminate redundant templates and create consistency across all touchpoints. This will result in a predictable and satisfactory customer experience for service as well as marketing communications.

3. Gather and implement customer feedback

Every part of your business affects the customer experience, so map customer journeys and involve the customer to find out how to make your content easier to read, how to improve your layouts and learn about personalization needs, customer preferences and segmentation.

On the one hand it’s important your customer communication tool lets you easily gather customer feedback, either directly through surveys or indirectly by facilitating preference management and allowing the customer to fluently change customer preferences. On the other hand your communication tool must enable you to change and adapt customer communications efficiently according to this received feedback and preferences.

4. Build a larger ecosystem to meet customer preferences

Analyzing gathered customer data gives you the information needed to be relevant in your communications, whether it’s the choice of channel, the frequency of contact, the level of information required, and more. To achieve this your customer communication tool must be integratable within a larger ecosystem of different technologies (AI, IoT, orchestrator, analytics, DAM, PIM, ERP, …) that gather and funnel customer data and information.

5. Exceed the customer’s expectations at every interaction

The customer is pleased when you reach out with the right message at the right time via the right channel. But how about reaching out when the customer needs it even before he realizes himself? Most customers prefer to use a combination of channels. Choose a customer communication tool that supports all channels, so you can decide on the channel that best suits the message and is the most convenient for the individual customer.

And opt for a communication tool that lets you create interactive communications so you can provide individualized content, create freedom for the receiver to check what he feels like and stimulate him to take action.

6. Empower your business users

Because many of today’s companies’ communication platforms are too technology-driven, business users have to rely on IT to make the necessary changes to templates. This severely impedes operational efficiency and heavily increases deployment time to market of customer communications

However, business users are by default most directly involved with the customer. They hear feedback first-hand and will be a great source for new ideas about how to reduce customer effort in business communications. Go for a communication tool that empowers your business users to make changes to communications themselves, without IT involvement. Changes will be done much faster and processes and systems that are troublesome for the customer will be improved, leading to fewer complaints, more repeat business, increased satisfaction and more customer loyalty.