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Expert Opinion: Digital meets physical: Re-invigorating online engagement

Commerce has gone digital. The online shopping experience is easily accessible for customers at any time, from anywhere, via any device. But the virtual experience too often is missing the human link. Customer service needs to keep pace with the online migration of commerce.

No business would let 4,000 customers a week pass through its doors with no customer service agents available to help guide them with their purchasing decision. Yet an insurance company recently reported that it records over 4,000 online customer transactions a week with only 20 percent of these fulfilling a purchase. The remaining 80 percent of customer transactions represent a business problem — and a hidden opportunity.

The ASEAN market is a case study in consumer spending power and the growth opportunity for businesses to get the online customer experience right is greater than ever. Consider:

By end of 2014, B2C online sales will hit $525 billion in Asia – half of the world’s online sales.  
By 2016 the number of Internet users in the big six SEA countries will hit 205 million.  
By 2018, Asia-Pacific is projected to surpass North America and become the number one region worldwide in terms of B2C E-commerce sales.  

Yet, Forrester’s 2013 study, CX online, revealed that more than half of customers will abandon online purchases if they can’t find a quick answer. Consumers desire more proactive communications from organizations, and organizations need to respond.

Live multi-channel interaction along with detailed profiles and buying behaviors of customers is what can convert the remaining 80 percent of ‘wanderers’ during the browsing stage of the buying cycle.

There are two key approaches that should be embedded into a business’s digital engagement strategy to ensure the virtual customer experience is optimized:
• Proactive Multi-channel Engagement Tools
• Data Management Enrichment Strategy

The first step to achieving a successful engagement strategy is to ensure businesses have real-time proactive touch points integrated within the digital customer experience. The key to fulfilling customer expectations today center around providing personalized communications delivered at the right time via the preferred channel. Outbound, SMS, email and web chat are all examples of proactive communication channels that should be integrated into the customer experience.

Having an end-to-end strategic customer engagement approach that uses intelligent routing across all touch points will enable business teams to offer a more efficient, real-time and personalised experience, empowering both employees and customers whilst ultimately driving loyalty and customer satisfaction and increasing sales revenue. This technique will improve the ratio of digital interactions to transactions.

Of course multiple touch points will generate mass amounts of data. Having an intelligent data solution in place to manage and shape, delivers valuable insight to the characteristic and profile of customers. Having this insight enables businesses to deliver a personalised engagement opportunity.

Bringing together the data gathered from the interactions and abandoned sales carts will provide businesses with innovative, cutting edge customer profiling. The profiling will deliver and invigorate proactive re-engagement and re-targeting opportunities that in turn will improve sales revenue and deliver improved personalized customer service.

Effectively leveraging data generated by customers online behaviours can lead to an additional increase in sales of up to 20 percent from cross-channel, downstream targeted sales initiatives. Too many organizations miss this opportunity as their business structures and customer engagement platforms operate as silos making leveraging vital customer data into sales extremely difficult.

The majority of businesses today are engaging their customers with a multi-channel approach but are not actually intelligently gathering the data to gain competitive advantage. This is where online engagement is moving and the strategic thinking of a business must think outside the box to reap true benefit and stay ahead of the game.


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