Stop Distracting Your Customers and Start Helping Them

Twilio caught up with Ryan Nichols, VP of Omnichannel, Zendesk during their “Future of Customer Experience” roadshow to hear his perspective on the top trends that are shaping customer experience today.

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Stop Distracting Your Customers and Start Helping Them

We are living in the era of distraction. Americans check their phones on average once every 12 minutes – or 80 times a day – according to a 2017 study. The truth is, these amazing computers that we have in our pockets have become an engine for distraction—and your company is one of those distractions. Your customers are constantly interrupted by notifications and other messages from organizations just like yours.

So, what can you do? You obviously want to engage with your customers, but instead of being a distraction, try to add value to their lives. To do that, try to view your company through their eyes. Your customers are busy. And while the email, notification, or text you just sent them may be the most important thing you have to tell your customers right now, from their perspective, it’s just another distraction. And that distraction is disrupting their day.

When you disrupt your customers, it takes them time to refocus and get back to what they were doing (up to 23 minutes to be exact). And that's not the sort of relationship you want to have with them.

Instead, Zendesk and Twilio are working together to help you be the company your customers want you to be. Follow these three steps and you’ll be well on your way.

Step 1. Do what you say you’re going to do.

This one is simple, but not necessarily easy: When you make promises, fulfill them. Our industry is filled with broken promises. Do these sound familiar? “Your call is very important to us.” “You are our number one priority.” “We really appreciate your business.” The problem with promises a business makes is that more often than not their actions tell a different story. They keep customers waiting, they miss opportunities to be helpful, and they distract their customers with notifications that don’t add value to their lives.

However, a fulfilled promise is never a distraction. To deliver on your promises and add value to your customers’ lives, remember these three tenets: responsiveness, empowerment, and transparency. When Lyft shows customers they value their opinion, Postmates communicates useful updates, and Zendesk gives a heads up that saves customers from unnecessary hassles, these companies are being responsive, empowering, and transparent. Instead of making false promises, they’re delivering on what they’ve promised.

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Step 2. Get ahead of your customers.

The next step is all about being proactive instead of reactive. We've all had experiences with organizations that are 100% reactive. They respond to your queries instead of getting ahead of them. For example, flight delays are a hassle for everyone, but the customer experience is very different when customers have advance notice of the delay. When notified ahead of time, customers can use the extra waiting time productively instead of showing up at the airport unnecessarily early, only to be frustrated while they wait around for hours.

These examples of proactive messages avert what would otherwise cause a negative customer experience. Instead of being disruptive, communications that are proactive help customers avoid disruptions in their days.

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Step 3. Don’t lose the thread (have a single, seamless, omnichannel conversation).

Studies show the single thing that frustrates your customers the most is being shuffled between multiple customer support agents and having to start over every time. When you don't have access to the full context of your relationship with each customer, you end up asking them to repeat themselves.

Companies tend to lose the thread of conversations that take place across multiple communication channels. When a customer has communicated with one agent via email, another over web chat, and has spoken to a third agent on the phone, and none of the agents have details of the previous conversations, this can become a huge problem.

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Because customers are having conversations with their friends and family that flow seamlessly across channels, they expect their conversations with the companies they do business with to flow that way as well. If they don’t, the effects can be devastating. Twilio’s recent Customer Communications Report found that after a poor communication experience, 38% of customers will switch to a competitor or cancel orders or services, 66% will tell a friend about their poor experience, and 41% will stop doing business with the company altogether.

The term “omnichannel” has been widely misused. What omnichannel is really about is having one conversation that ebbs and flows across channels, just like conversations we all have with our friends and family. These are the types of flexible and memorable communications that Twilio and Zendesk are helping companies deliver.


Twilio and Zendesk: Your Customer Experience Technology Team

Stay ahead of the latest customer experience trends instead of struggling to catch up. Together, Twilio and Zendesk will arm you with the technology you need to create true omnichannel communication with your customers, to be proactive in your communications, and to fulfill your promises.

For more information, check out the Zendesk Future of Customer Experience or speak to a Twilio expert about how your company can stop being a distraction and start adding value to your customers’ lives.