Once upon a time, consumers were respectful of your time. As an enterprise, you could grant them access to your people on your terms. Consumers would wait their turn and be glad to accept help from a sales associate or customer service representative when you were ready to provide it.
Those were the days, huh? It seems almost like a fairy tale now, because digital consumers have turned that world completely upside down. They expect more, pay attention to you less, and behave so differently it’s hard to know when or where to engage them.
Engage Digital Consumers How They Wish to Engage
Most enterprises are trying to reach digital consumers through traditional channels that create very traditional experiences that don’t mesh well with these new behaviors and expectations. This doesn’t work well because digital consumers live a fundamentally different lifestyle. You have to engage them how they wish to engage.
If you’re like most enterprises, you’d grant wishes faster than Aladdin and the Fairy Godmother in a Generosity Duel if you knew it would turn digital consumers into customers for life. But for that to succeed you have to know which wishes to grant.
Well, you’re in luck. When you create an experience that matches the digital lifestyle, something magical happens. Grant these three wishes to digital consumers, and you’ll win their hearts and loyalty.
The Digital Consumer’s First Wish
Empower me to do it myself. When a digital consumer wants information or needs to conduct a transaction, they prefer to do it themselves. Empower them with as much self-service as possible, because that’s where they expect to start. Smartphones have trained them to behave this way, and having information just a few taps away seems perfectly natural to them.
This change in behavior isn’t without precedent. If you’re old enough, you might remember when voicemail was new and you hoped your phone calls would be answered by a live person who could take a message. There was a time when we didn’t trust voice mail. Then it flipped. We started hoping for voicemail because we didn’t trust a live person to get the message right.
So don’t assume consumers of any generation prefer to talk to a human being right away. If they’re telling you that, maybe it’s because the self-service you provide hasn’t yet earned their trust.
Magic Wand: Digital consumers prefer to start with self-service. Grant this wish by making self-service as effortless and robust as possible.
The Digital Consumer’s Second Wish
If I can’t self-serve, give me seamless access to a person. It’s impractical to provide self-service that can handle every possible use case. Nobody expects that, including digital consumers. But when they can’t achieve what they want through self-service, they absolutely expect seamless access to a person who can assist them. They don’t want to stop what they’re doing, hunt for your “help” screen, then call your toll free number to reach an agent who has no clue why they’re calling.
Have you tried to get help from a mobile app lately? 95% of the time it's a fractured experience.
Digital consumers really hate to repeat themselves. They’re used to digital technologies that track their activities, so they expect you to know what they’ve been doing. But traditional channels are still largely Bring Your Own Context (BYOC), especially when the interaction hops from one channel to another. Digital consumers won’t view a transition as seamless unless context automatically comes along for the ride.
One of the best ways to help consumers trust your self-service is to provide a seamless transition to assisted service. Basically you want to create a single go-to place the customer can go for service, and you both win if that place is a self-service app. The customer knows they have a safety net if they can’t self-serve, so they’re more likely to try self-service first even if they’re not sure they can achieve their goal without assistance.
Magic Wand: Grant this wish by providing a seamless transition from self-service to assisted service without leaving the self-service app. Share context with the agent so customers don’t have to repeat themselves, and provide easy access to conversation and transaction history that both the customer and the agent can view together.
The Digital Consumer’s Third Wish
Fit naturally into the micro-moments of my life. This is the most important wish of all, because this is what creates the stickiness that fosters true engagement. It’s also the most difficult wish to grant, because traditional channels are a rather unnatural fit for the digital consumer’s lifestyle.
Our lives have changed and we all feel it. Our lives are full of interruptions that we embrace rather than ignore. We’re habitually multi-tasking. We live our lives in a series of micro-moments, each attempting to nudge a task forward rather than being fully devoted to completing it. Let’s face it, we all live like digital consumers.
Most traditional systems of engagement create an experience designed to start and complete a task in one sitting. Consider a phone call to customer service, and the focus on first call resolution. Consider a web chat, which is really just a phone call experience with text instead of voice.
Not convinced? Start a web chat. Go have dinner. Come back after dessert and see what happens. Do the same while shopping on an ecommerce site, only take a nice long break before you put something in your shopping cart. Like the rest of our lives the buying process isn't a continuous journey, it's a series of starts and stops, backtracking and nudging forward moment by moment.
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All of these experiences fit the micro-moment driven digital lifestyle like a square peg in a round hole. They’re not tolerant of interruptions or multi-tasking, and they compete for the consumer’s full attention throughout the interaction. That may have worked in the past, but today it just frustrates digital consumers who often tolerate it because they have no other choice. What would happen if someone offers them a better choice?
Above all, digital consumers want you to be respectful of their time. They don’t want to give you their full attention, because the cognitive load of paying attention is expensive and valuable to them. They don’t want to be trapped on a telephone call or chained to a chat session. They are continually on the go and switch devices whenever it’s convenient for them. They don’t want to shift around their lives to fit your engagement channels, they want you to engage them in a way that fits naturally into the way they manage their lives.
Magic Wand: Grant this wish by creating an engagement experience with conversations that persist across devices and over time. Persistent conversations fit nicely into micro-moments when consumers can start a conversation, stop for any reason, then resume at their convenience even if it’s hours or days later. Persistent conversations should flow from a laptop to a smartphone to a tablet as digital consumers seize moments throughout the day to nudge tasks a bit closer to their goal.
This is a new kind of engagement experience, and it’s very respectful of the digital consumer’s time. It puts the consumer in control of when they engage with you, and it’s cognitively inexpensive because they have to pay attention only in the moments they choose. That’s why an experience that fits the digital lifestyle is so sticky. Once you provide that kind of experience, it becomes very expensive and difficult for digital consumers to tolerate the disruption of traditional channels.
The Magic of My:Time
We offer a solution that gives you the power to grant all three wishes to your digital consumers today. My:Time™ creates a new kind of engagement experience we designed from the ground up to fit naturally with the way digital consumers live their lives. Click below to learn more about My:Time.