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The Code to CX

The Code to CX

/ Current Issue, Strategy, Customer Experience, Technology
The Code to CX

How QR codes redefine customer engagement and support.

First designed in 1994 for the Japanese automotive industry, QR codes have since permeated many industries worldwide, including hospitality, retail, and education, due to their versatility, creative potential and informational value.

Yet despite their decades-long existence, the most significant transformation in QR code usage has occurred in recent years.

The fact that scanning a QR code no longer requires a dedicated app, combined with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 (which compelled businesses to leverage QR codes to facilitate contactless interactions). Thus creating the perfect storm for rapid growth and adoption of the technology.

Businesses...embrace QR codes to uncover creative customer engagement touchpoints and deliver pertinent information...

Last year, the number of QR codes created increased by a staggering 238.06% from 2021. Mid-2023 has already witnessed a 43.20% growth compared to the same period last year, as more businesses and individuals recognize the codes’ potential in reaching a tech-savvy audience.

QR codes gained prominence through use cases like digital menu cards and contactless payments. However, those applications haven’t necessarily remained the most popular (Business Insider). The technology has since enabled numerous innovative uses because it doesn’t merely replace existing processes and operations but ushers in entirely new approaches.

Businesses across many industries embrace QR codes to uncover creative customer engagement touchpoints and deliver pertinent information that enhance the CX by bridging the gap between online and offline worlds.

  • Finance. Loan applicants can scan a QR Code to fill out forms, submit documents, and manage their application: all in one gateway.
  • Food service. Customers scan a QR code to order food online, thereby reducing wait time, improving operational efficiency, and lowering printing costs for businesses.
  • Healthcare. QR codes enhance drug management and safety. When included on medication packaging or labels, QR codes provide healthcare professionals and patients with detailed information like dosage instructions, potential side effects, and drug interactions.
  • Marketing. Marketers place QR codes in strategic locations and on products and ads for consumers to scan, giving them access to the right information at the right time and moving them through the marketing funnel.
  • Real estate. Realtors use QR codes to provide information about properties to clients. Facilitating easier access to listings boosts the listings’ appeal and eliminates unnecessary complexity.

Factors such as ease of use and creation contribute to more industries recognizing this technology’s value and finding ways to leverage it more effectively.

And as customer expectations continue to evolve, QR codes offer a strategic means for contact centers to help their businesses remain competitive and customer-centric.

How Contact Centers Benefit

From streamlining customer interactions to reducing operational costs, QR codes offer multiple benefits in the pursuit of enhanced efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Easy support outreach

QR codes allow customers to make quick phone calls to customer support services with single scans, which connects the customers via direct calls.

QR codes can also automatically pre-populate contact forms with personal contact information, enabling customers to quickly and easily contact customer support via email or text. This feature saves customers time and frustration and reduces the number of abandoned customer support inquiries, along with possible errors resulting from manual entry.

United Airlines has implemented QR codes in airports to connect customers to help instantly. Once customers arrive at the gate, they can scan a QR code to connect with a live agent through text or video chat for questions about upgrades, seat assignments, boarding times, and rebooking.

From streamlining customer interactions to reducing operational costs, QR codes offer multiple benefits...

Contact centers can also use QR codes to cut down on-hold times: a major pain point for customers. Most customers expect an immediate response and wait time (10 minutes or less) regarding support questions and inquiries (HelpScout). QR codes can help alleviate this problem by allowing customers to queue for service without having to listen to on-hold music.

Customers scan a QR code to join a virtual waiting room. Once their turns come, they receive notifications on their phones indicating immediate connections to customer support representatives. This approach improves CX and gives customers more freedom to do other things while waiting for support.

Expanded resources for customers

QR codes on packaging provide customers with immediate access to information about a product or service with a quick smartphone scan.

Offering expanded resources, like FAQ pages, step-by-step instructions or demo videos, they give customers a head start on self-service before they default to calling customer support, which lessens the influx of callers feeling confused with a product.

As a result of QR codes, customers don’t have to spend time searching through a paper product manual or going on a wild goose chase online searching for specifications or answers to questions the paper manual doesn’t answer.

QR codes can instantly connect customers to a mobile service guide: which is especially helpful for customers who may have lost or thrown out a physical manual after purchasing a product.

...dynamic QR codes empower call centers with flexibility and improved user experiences.

Think about how often you might consult a user manual for a product you either use infrequently or requires infrequent updates.

Take, for example, a lawn mower. You might sharpen the blades once a year and replace them every few years but it’s unlikely you’ll remember, from year to year, the exact steps involved in either task. If you’ve misplaced the manual, you may need to go online to find the right model, make, and number.

How much easier, then, would it be if a QR code printed directly on the lawnmower connected you to the correct online manual?

To make information and manuals accessible to people of all different languages, companies should deploy multilingual QR codes. This technology redirects customers to a website based on their device’s language setting, enabling communication in their preferred language and access to localized content.

Even if a product is shipped worldwide, the QR code on the package stays the same, keeping the messaging consistent: but the content is translated into the customer’s preferred language.

Forever updatable

Dynamic QR codes offer substantial benefits to call centers. Unlike static QR codes, which are unchangeable and untrackable, dynamic QR codes empower call centers with flexibility and improved user experiences.

Dynamic QR codes give companies the flexibility to edit content as often as needed. Employees don’t need to reprint product leaflets and redeploy the code to update instruction materials or change a URL to avoid frustrating 404 errors.

Printed instructions can continuously evolve as customers provide feedback about their clarity and effectiveness or shortcomings: especially if companies keep track and adjust accordingly. A QR code on the printed copy of a manual or even the product can link to the latest online or PDF versions. Businesses then save time and resources.

Process optimization

Implementing omnichannel support through QR codes significantly improves customer satisfaction. Companies with robust omnichannel customer engagement retain nearly 90% of their customers compared to 33% for companies with poor omnichannel customer engagement (Digital Commerce 360).

QR codes facilitate this engagement by providing quick access to various communication channels and support resources pre- and post-purchase. Customers are more likely to stay loyal to a company that offers a convenient and consistent support experience across multiple channels throughout their customer journey.

Companies can also use QR codes to collect and use data on customer behavior and preferences to improve the contact center — and overall customer — experience. For example, since dynamic QR codes are trackable, companies can identify popular support topics and develop new self-service options.

Best Practices for Using QR Codes

QR code usage has no limitations. Companies and their call centers can experiment with other ways to leverage the technology that suits their (and their customers’) needs while considering these best practices.

  • Create eye-catching QR codes with high-contrast colors that attract attention and make your code easier to scan. Leave some white space around the code so it pops from its surroundings. Avoid using dark-colored backgrounds that hinder readability.
  • Resize your codes carefully to avoid warping the pattern. Distorted QR codes are difficult or even impossible to scan. Maintain consistent proportions to ensure your code’s efficacy.
  • Double-check your QR-coded materials before publishing or printing to avoid costly mistakes. Very small or blurry codes aren’t scannable. And wouldn’t you rather find that out before printing 3,000 copies of a product insert?
  • Monitor the success of your QR codes by tracking their performance. Collect and analyze data to determine how often the code was scanned, which code is scanned the most, what time of day sees the most scans, and much more. Use these insights to make data-backed decisions about developing and adjusting your QR code strategy.
QR code usage has no limitations. Companies and their call centers can experiment with other ways to leverage the technology...

QR codes provide customers with a level of convenience they’ve grown to expect. And because of a surge in QR code usage since the start of the pandemic, nearly 60% of consumers believe QR codes will stay a permanent part of their mobile experience (Statista).

When effectively implemented into call center operations, QR codes offer another strategy to increase conversions, build lasting customer relationships and drive a company’s success.

Sharat Potharaju

Sharat Potharaju

Sharat Potharaju is the co-founder and CEO of Uniqode, responsible for crafting the overall strategy and execution. Sharat is dedicated to achieving Uniqode's vision to enable digital connection with every physical object and place on the planet.

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