Customer experience ‘must be multichannel’

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The atomisation of the customer experience has placed an increased amount of pressure on marketers, who now need to concentrate on a variety of platforms through which to engage with buyers.

In both the B2B and B2C sectors, people expect firms to have a unified presence online, in bricks-and-mortar sites and over the phone.

And according to the Eptica Customer Experience Multichannel study, more needs to be done to meet consumer needs.

"In an increasingly digital world, the majority of customers are choosing channels such as the web, email, Twitter and chat to communicate, engage and interact with brands," said the report.

Fundamentally, this means firms are dealing with many more interactions through a variety of touchpoints, making the process considerably more complex.

CRM software has developed over the last decade to address some of these issues, although having talented and flexible marketers with the digital savvy to cope with a number of platforms remains crucial.

But worryingly, 32 per cent of companies were unable to answer more than half of the questions they were asked online in 2013, while customers couldn't find a solution for roughly a third of their queries over the web.

Only 41 per cent of businesses were able to reply to emails accurately, with eight out of ten sectors now providing an email response more slowly than in last year's report.

Social media saw major growth over the course of 2013, but results in terms of customer satisfaction remained relatively patchy.

"When it comes to customer service, the power has moved from company to consumer. Driven by increased competition, social media and always-on channels such as mobile, customer expectations are continually rising," added the report.

Failing to meet these heightened demands can lead to a major drop in brand reputation and even see companies lose revenue as consumers prefer to utilise their more engaged rivals.

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