Today’s customers expect digital communications to be convenient and efficient, but they’re also experiencing digital fatigue. And that means organizations face a multi-part challenge: how to address consumer preferences while limiting attrition, avoiding greater complexity and maintaining low costs. How can you design consumer experiences that are impactful rather than ignorable? It’s not simple, but it is possible – and those that figure it out will gain competitive advantage.
The digital communication paradox
Methods for effectively connecting with customers online are now a business necessity. According to a Symend survey from July 2021, 42% of respondents reported using their service provider’s digital tools substantially more than they did before the pandemic. New digital converts are part of this trend: according to a 2020 McKinsey survey, 75% of those who used digital channels for the first time claimed they’d continue to use them after COVID-19.
The hitch is that while consumers want to employ digital communication tools, they are also exhausted by the constant barrage of emails and texts. Service providers must negotiate the future of digital engagement since they deal with opposing desires: customers have high expectations but they’re also receiving a deluge of messages.
According to the Symend survey, four out of 10 customers will quit a supplier if they don’t give the resources they expect. At the same time, a Deloitte survey found 32% of respondents felt that since the pandemic began, they’ve been overwhelmed by the number of devices and subscriptions they need to manage. This makes them more likely to ignore digital communication. Symend found that 35% of consumers are more likely than ever to ignore emails and texts.
This creates a digital interaction paradox that companies must address.
Making a real connection
Most efforts to address this issue are focused on automation and targeting technologies, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Customers are more astute than many businesses believe. They require individualized interaction, particularly those who are suffering from digital fatigue. It’s crucial, yet most firms — a staggering 67% of respondents – admit they don’t have the right tools to implement customization at scale.
Companies need a mechanism to dynamically personalize engagement at scale, so it stays relevant as customers’ requirements and desires evolve. Every customer engagement should be viewed as an opportunity to learn more about the customer, gain a better understanding of them and develop your connection with them.
What compassion looks like today
Companies need to extend compassion toward their customers, many of whom are currently experiencing difficulties. Many businesses have worked hard to show their customers that they understand the hardships brought on by the pandemic. For instance, consumers received an average of 12 compassionate messages from each of their providers between March and April 2020. This is a tricky balance because too much of this type of communication might come across as empty.
This is what’s required to overcome the digital paradox, but few companies are doing it correctly. Building more predictive models, automated tools or artificial intelligence does not guarantee that you are more compassionate. It simply indicates you understand how to use technology, and customers can tell the difference.
Being a compassionate brand is crucial, but overall, the customer service sector hasn’t made the necessary investments. Saying the word “empathetic” in your marketing materials does not prove that you have the scientific aptitude or the technology to be more compassionate and individualized on a large scale. This robocaller mentality persists in the industry.
Are your processes up to the challenge?
It’s time to take an honest look at your company’s customer service processes if you want to make substantial changes. Examine your actions objectively:
Are you developing or implementing solutions that make it simple to measure and analyze client interactions?
Do your processes have the flexibility to respond in real time to what you’re learning?
Do you work with individuals and software vendors/partners who are laser-focused on the customer experience as you grow and evolve your business? You’ll lag behind if you don’t.
With each new interaction, are you gaining a deeper grasp of who your consumer is, what they want and how they like to communicate?
Are you able to use behavioral science at a large scale to personalize your customer interactions?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, you may need to prepare for a complete redesign of your customer service function. You can’t just slap automation on top of your current system and expect it to solve the issue. Instead, you’ll need to change your thinking as well as your technology.
Make yourself heard
The pandemic hastened a trend that was already underway: the digitization of customer communications. Simultaneously, the issue of digital fatigue has arisen, in which people become overwhelmed by digital interactions, and it becomes increasingly difficult to get their attention.
Companies face a big hurdle as a result of this digital paradox. When it comes to digitizing consumer communications, you can’t just lift and shift; you need to do it carefully and strategically, taking into account each customer’s preferences and habits. It necessitates a tool that can scale while also personalizing interactions. That’s what it’ll take for businesses to overcome digital fatigue and create opportunities to learn more about their customers and make each communication worthwhile. The companies that do so will be the ones that get heard.
Written by Hanif Joshaghani.
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