Customer Communications and Experiences

Best Practices for Improving the Customer Experience

According to Forrester Research analyst Harley Manning, “Customer experience is fundamental to the success of every business. For most companies, in fact, customer experience is the single greatest predictor of whether customers will return or defect to a competitor.”

 

Customers today seek communications via multiple channels, such as Web, SMS, mobile apps and email. Without an understanding of what customers desire when it comes to customer communications, organizations will struggle with customer retention, as each customer interaction impacts the overall experience.

 

Explore some of the best practices I recommend for improving the customer experience through multichannel communications.

 

1.    Adapt your multichannel presence

 

Know your customers. If your customers are using social media online, then your company should be actively using social media. If your customers are texting, then your company should be texting. Would you consider not answering a ringing phone in your contact center? Of course not; nor should you consider it acceptable to not respond to a tweet directed to your company.

 

With the growing popularity of electronic communications, it’s important to understand your customers’ preferences and integrate Web, SMS, app and email into their customer communications.  

 

To gain insight into the minds of customers, send out a survey and ask what form of communications they prefer to use. You should also capture and track their delivery preferences for different types of communications. For instance, a consumer may prefer to receive monthly statements in the mail, but notifications via email and account alerts in SMS texts. The opportunities for growth are endless when it comes to customer engagement.  

 

2.    Make communications more understandable 

Customer communications like utility bills, explanation of benefits (EOB) statements and bank statements can sometimes be extremely tedious and difficult to understand. The more inundated a customer is with excess information in bills and statements, the worse they may feel about the overall customer experience.

 

Today, there are many tactics to simplify confusing bills or statements and provide customer information in a clear, concise and personal way. For example, Humana already uses customer communication management software to design and deliver easy to understand, personalized EOBs and healthcare statements and summaries. The company is looking to transform those SmartSummary EOBs into personally relevant SmartVideos that describe:

 

  • The type of service performed, including important dates, insurance descriptions and treatment information
  • The total patient fees incurred based on the hospital bill
  • The total amount for which the patient is responsible after insurance coverage kicks in

 

Using innovative, electronic channels to create personalized statements that clearly explain charges or other detailed information will help provide greater customer satisfaction.

 

According to the Harris Interactive Customer Experience Impact Report, 86 percent of consumers will pay more for a better customer experience. The more effectively a company communicates with its customers, the more likely the company is to retain and grow its customer base through positive interactions at every customer touch point. Whether it is a billing dispute, an insurance claim settlement or tips on reducing energy costs in the summer, a strong, multichannel strategy empowers companies to provide positive experiences to customers via desired and engaging communication outlets.

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