HGS Trend 4: Brand New Capabilities Are Required to Address Consumers

Earlier this year, HGS presented our trends forecast, comprising customer experience (CX) disrupter predictions, supported by practical strategies clients can use to succeed in the changing marketplace. This HGS ebook covers 11 trends, from those in self-service, mobile service, messaging, and social media, to artificial intelligence, robotic process automation and analytics. This year we frame change with the perspectives of an elite group of industry thought leaders. Here, we describe how HGS supports CX Trend No.4, from Jamie Kennedy, Senior Manager, Social Engagement & Customer Experience, McDonald’s, on the need to develop brand capabilities.

Here’s the recap of Trend 4 of the ebook:

In with the new: Brand-new capabilities are required to address consumers.

Jamie Kennedy, Senior Manager, Social Engagement & Customer Experience, McDonald’s

As consumer demands increase and evolve in nature, technology continues to keep pace and grow beyond the necessities of the demands of the modern consumer. Technology advancements continue to support smarter insights. The use of that data at major brands has evolved to become shared and applied across a multitude of internal teams. Brands now leverage new technologies such as AI, chatbots, dark chats, and point-of-contact data to create stronger insights that build more accurate consumer journey stories that showcase the strength and value of the relationship between the brand and customer. For example, McDonald’s uses social enterprise tools with AI capabilities to filter and sort social media mentions and provide timely and informed customer service. That social data is shared across teams to further understand the volume and trends of customer feedback at any time, as well as to prepare critical response teams, should a brand crisis emerge.

By Amanda Sternquist, Manager of Social Media Operations, HGS

In the bygone customer service era of traditional channels, all companies needed to do was have a hotline number/email ID/ postal address ready and train employees to handle customer queries. The issues they didn’t have answers to were noted and consumers were contacted later with resolutions. Companies didn’t have much insight into consumer likes and preferences and companies were in charge.

Compare this to today’s reality, with the dramatic marketplace shift, the technology available and, most importantly, consumers taking control.

As consumer expectations evolve into more complex needs, companies are racing to stay in step and technology has long since become their indispensable partner. Technology continues to grow in tandem with companies’ need for deeper, smarter insights into consumer minds. This information is climbing higher in value for brands.

In this increasingly data-centric market, companies seek to embrace new, emerging technologies such as AI and point-of-contact data. This generates stronger insights that help create more precise consumer journeys showcasing the strength and value of the brand-consumer relationship. For example, business process outsourcers (BPOs) can leverage social media expertise and insights to bring cost-saving and revenue generation advantages.

So what are the hurdles preventing companies from establishing digital and social media strategy?  BPO experts come across multiple hurdles. A lot of times it’s those company silos that own social media, Iike marketing, customer care, or public relations. Other times, it can be budget and organizational priorities. I find, that, especially in the customer service world, it’s typically required that every single phone call is answered within a certain time frame, with staff set up accordingly. But often when it comes to social, it’s usually, “We can afford five resources.” And then there are many customer posts that go unanswered. I always urge company leadership to look at the number of mentions received annually and how many they respond to.  Next, I encourage them to take a look at the competition – how many mentions they get and how they are responding. If the competition is performing better, it provides an excellent data point that can be used to build a case for social media investment. Gaining buy-in from the CEO and leadership team is easy when the data shows a missed sales opportunity or customer loss. These are the things that happen without the resources in place.

Good social response teams offer more than just critical customer care. For example, HGS’s teams are trained to engage a brand’s consumers and also to promote sales, share company initiatives, and cultivate real moments of joy. Additionally, by having real-time monitoring of relevant social conversation, social media teams can prepare a brand for critical moments as soon as they take shape. After all, social media isn’t just about responding to consumers. The valuable insights that are obtained by having a well-established social process will help your company make more informed business decisions than ever before.