Jan. 3, 2017
By Tom Goodmanson
Successful brands are always evaluating plans to build customer loyalty, analyzing what is and is not resonating with customers, then driving those insights back into their business. This time of year, many brands are making New Year's resolutions, starting with evaluating and solidifying 2017 customer strategies to reach revenue and profitability goals.
From creating improved customer experiences to a renewed focus on employees, 2017 will be a year where companies deploy new employee engagement strategies that result in increased customer satisfaction. Here are four predictions on how brands will step up their game in the new year.
Companies will deploy employee engagement practices geared toward millennials
Most companies place customer engagement as critical to their success, and they are realizing the key to happy customers is happy employees. While customer engagement keeps its place as a top priority, in 2017, companies will broaden their focus to include employee engagement, particularly for millennials. Millennials now change jobs an average of four times before they turn 32, and the cost to replace entry-level employees is roughly 30-50 percent of their annual salaries. However, the cost of replacement isn’t the whole story: companies that increase employee engagement by 5 percent see a 3 percent increase in revenue. Given these factors, brands will place additional focus on retaining and engaging their workforce, and customers will benefit from better service.
Analytics will become part of employee retention strategies
Analytics are the lifeblood for customer retention strategies because they can reveal customer behaviors, as well as wants and needs. In the coming year, the application and importance of analytics will continue to increase. Companies will use analytics to gather information about employees, not just customers. For example, brands can employ speech, text and desktop analytics to monitor customer service activities, and those insights will allow them to better train and coach employees. Additionally, analytics allow managers to give immediate feedback so employees are either validated or can course correct much more quickly. When employees are given the right tools, they'll be more successful which will increase their engagement level. This will help them better serve customers, and organizations with engaged employees outperform those with low employee engagement by 202 percent.
Mobile customer service will close the gap between consumer expectations and reality
Many customers rely on mobile devices for everything, and they expect brands to be prepared to accommodate their mobile-first preferences. While brands' mobile capabilities are improving, they still aren't meeting customer expectations. In 2017, with mobile-first demand increasing, more companies will implement customer support and analytics strategies designed around mobile messaging, text and speech. Insights gleaned from analytics will allow them to better communicate with and serve customers who are using mobile devices, which will finally close the gap between customer service capabilities and the mobile customer’s expectations.
Omnichannel will continue to expand
Customers expect to communicate with brands via multiple channels, and 2017 shows no signs of slowing down. Today, there are as many as nine channels that customers use to connect with a brand, with more options to come. Whether it's chat, social media, email, SMS or phone, companies must expand their omnichannel capabilities and correlate data from all channels to better capture and analyze how a customer is interacting with the business in order to improve their customer service.
These are just a few of the ways companies will create better engagement strategies to build customer and employee loyalty. In the coming year, look for successful brands to make good on their New Year's resolutions by evaluating and taking action where it counts most.
Tom Goodmanson is CEO at Calabrio