In today’s hyper-competitive, brand-proliferated market, most in-house customer experience (CX) teams are understaffed, underfunded, and overworked. While some brands are choosing to partner with external CX providers to support these fatigued internal teams, others may want a more independent and expert approach to lead customer services that boost sales.
In addition, to anticipate customer expectations, today’s brands need a macro perspective on sector and market trends that many small internal CX teams can’t provide quickly on their own. To adapt, brands are building hybrid teams of internal and external CX professionals that can deliver responsiveness fueled by shared market intelligence. Hybrid teams are more versatile, too, with services that expand beyond the usual scope of customer service and include artificial intelligence data solutions, process exploration and optimization, and continuous feedback loops.
Modern hybrid CX teams are becoming more collaborative and sophisticated in responding to market challenges and developing solutions that meet customer needs. Here’s how they’re doing it:
Meeting Personalization Expectations
Customers want real-time interactions and personalization from brands that cater to specific customer needs. One survey found that 71% of consumers said they would shop more with brands that offer personalized experiences and 80% were willing to share data for special offers while 70% would do it for loyalty points. Similarly, 52% of consumers expect all offers to be personalized. More personalization can look like discount codes for customers who abandon carts, thank-you emails to first-time purchasers, or targeted birthday discounts.
But successful personalization requires more data and a complete history of customer interactions readily available. When the data doesn’t sufficiently represent enough of your base to provide useful insights, that can be a problem. Fully integrated customer response mechanisms across all customer interaction channels, including websites, emails, texts, and social media deliver effective personalization. On top of that, feedback loops on the front lines can analyze customer service calls and implement customer recommendations on the fly.
Managing Omnichannel Experiences
More brands are implementing omnichannel solutions, which can sometimes lead to disjointed or annoyingly repetitive customer experiences. A customer that reaches out to your CX team via Twitter might go to the website chatbot for further help, and then email. At each point, the customer repeats necessary context and information because of data silos.
That discontinuity can be an incredibly frustrating and inconvenient experience. A 2019 Gladly report on consumer expectations found that 54% of customers would rather spend 24 hours in wet socks than repeat themselves. If you’re trying to establish your brand’s credibility with consumers, you have to reduce these iterations and present a unified front.
Unfortunately, data silos are a natural byproduct of organizational structures and diverse departmental processes. Dismantling data silos can disrupt entire organizational setups, which also requires broad, multi-level cooperation that large organizations can’t easily achieve.
Bigger brands are sidestepping some of these complexities by depositing customer data from each interaction into a single, centralized database. They are also deploying cloud contact centers and capturing all consumer inquiries (regardless of channel). Tearing down data silos will give CX teams a bird’s-eye view of each customer, which encourages continuity in customer interactions across all touchpoints and provides a more reliable starting point for customer journey mapping.
Measuring Success and Failure
Your CX efforts may be all for naught if you’re unable to measure your strategy’s performance. For example, call centers teams utilize standard metrics like percentage of calls blocked, average wait/queue time, and average abandonment rates to gauge team performances, but hybrid teams have the resources and manpower to kick it up a notch. The right technology can help teams use rich qualitative data from surveys and customer interactions to perform text analysis and customer sentiment analysis, which determine customer intentions and moods, to inform team performance and strategies moving forward.
Hybrid teams that share market intelligence are also implementing protocols to measure, compare, and improve their performances as both teams and as individuals. Some teams restructure to accommodate changing customer demands with low lead-to-agent ratios that don’t spread team leads thin and offer agents more meaningful one-on-one coaching sessions with team leads.
The bigger brands are expecting transparent reporting and monitoring, and schedule weekly check-in calls with their brand support partners. Being able to prove what you’re doing works could be the difference between your executive board investing more funds into the department or writing initiatives off completely by scaling back and offering only the most basic CX services. Weekly check-ins also allow teams and brands to ensure their objectives stay aligned in rapidly changing CX environments.
Five years ago, only 27% of businesses had single CX partnerships. Today, 51% use a single CX provider while 44% work with only two or three — a far cry from yesterday’s best-of-breed technology procurement model that engaged multiple, niche CX vendors. Anchored on trust, and collaboration, today’s hybrid partnerships offer a wider, more complex suite of tech-enabled solutions that deliver consistently on in-house customer experience ambitions.