The Rise of the Hybrid Customer Experience

Long viewed as an essential factor for business success Customer Experience (CX) has evolved in recent years, requiring a hybrid approach to better meet the needs of today's modern consumers within the B2C and B2B landscape.

The author of this page: Roisin McLaughlin
Roisin McLaughlin, Marketing Director Aug 17, 2022

The Covid-19 pandemic created a perfect storm of consumer, technology and market changes, shifting customer expectations and driving the rapid acceleration of digital customer interactions. And while this digitalisation has been felt strongest within the B2C industry, Gartner predicts its impact will continue to grow within the B2B space, with 80% of all B2B sales interactions expected to occur on digital channels by 2025.

The human interactions that historically dominated the retail space, came to a screeching halt as consumers were driven online due to physical distancing. And despite the loss of human interaction, customers embraced the convenience of on-demand e-commerce and customer service.

Yet this shift does not mean the end to bricks and mortar stores or in-person communications. Customers' expectations have once again evolved, seeking the convenience of digital combined with the human connections of more traditional retail and customer service settings. For organisations seeking to drive continued revenue growth, a new model is required. One that seamlessly blends humanity and technology, to deliver a highly personalised hybrid customer experience.

Consider for example the allure of AI-powered chatbots. While chatbots may seem like an ideal quick fix for handing customer service queries, studies show that 85% of global consumers still prefer to interact with a human agent over a chatbot or virtual agent. Focusing on a virtual-only support strategy will therefore alienate a significant portion of your customers or prospective customers. A hybrid approach, on the other hand, can bring the benefits of both technology and human-based interactions together, for example, chatbots could help guide customers through the initial stage of their customer support journey, providing answers to simple queries and directing them where appropriate to existing online content. For more complex queries or where additional support is required the chatbot can then reroute the query to the most suitable support agent, reducing the burden on your support team and ensuring a seamless customer experience.

Similarly, within the B2B space, automated emails and generic messaging with limited personalisation are no longer enough. Organisations must instead demonstrate a deeper understanding of the prospect or customers' interests and concerns. Aligning solutions offered to the customers' use case and business requirements. By working closely with sales teams, marketing can help build out bespoke content for each specific buyer group, to provide tailored content that resonates more deeply with individual decision makers.

However, achieving this level of personalisation requires robust customer data to identify customer intent and behaviours across omnichannel. Modern business technologies such as Dynamics 365 can help bridge the data gap, connecting up data from across the entire customer journey to provide one consistent source of information. Plus with integration to smart technologies such as Power BI converting business data into insight has never been easier.

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