Today’s digital customers expect businesses to exceed customer service expectations in the same way as leading companies like Amazon and Nordstrom. They want a quicker and efficient resolution to their issues. They get frustrated if they must repeat themselves or if companies don’t know their contact history across all channels. In this article we will look at the customer service disconnect and how to unify customers.
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Delivering an excellent customer experience is no longer a choice but a customer mandate. The quality of the customer service has a tremendous impact on a business’s bottom line – in other words, it can make or break a business. Accenture found that 61% of customers switched companies, citing frustrating customer service as the top reason.
The customer experience disconnect
Despite new proof of CX’s importance in customer acquisition and retention, many companies lag in their effort to evolve their customer services strategies. In a PWC publication, 54% of U.S. consumers said customer experience at most companies needs improvement. Also, the CFI group states that customer satisfaction is at an all-time low – 3% points lower than in 2018.
How can companies reduce the customer experience gap?
Let’s look at the new capabilities and strategies that are critical to meeting customer service expectations and delivering customer satisfaction.
Expand digital engagement and self-service
Today, customers value efficiency and convenience most in their customer service experience. For simple issue resolution, customers prefer to use faster digital channels or try out self-service options. Many of these customers visit the company website to look for their answers. Adding live chat, FAQ section, or chatbots on the website helps meet the responsive customer service requirements.
In the 2019 LiveVox Customer Care Report, though over 60% of contact center leaders agreed that webchat is the fastest-growing channel, they also revealed that they heavily rely on phone and email channels today to resolve customer issues. Another HubSpot report states that 76% of companies weren’t offering a live chat option on their website.
Adding digital-centric channels is a win-win for companies not just to meet customer demands but also reduce operational costs by enabling agents to move from a 1-to-1 to a 3-1 interaction ratio in an asynchronous manner.
Unify all customer conversations and ticketing data in one place
As companies expand customer engagement channels, they interact with customers and receive customer support through various methods of communication. It is critical to centralize all the conversations along the customer journey. Additionally, it is important to keep track of customer support cases by converting them into tickets.
This requires a robust, fully-integrated modern CRM that can unify all customer conversations and multichannel ticketing data into universal customer profiles. Agents have all relevant and contextual data to help customers and resolve their issues faster.
But surprisingly, only 28% of companies reported using tickets or customer relationship management (CRM) software in their customer service department.
Improve CX with customer feedback and interaction analytics
Gathering customer feedback and knowing what makes the customer happy or frustrated is key to improving the customer service experience. To effectively gather immediate and actionable customer feedback, contact centers need a customer satisfaction (CSAT) survey solution that is fully integrated into existing engagement channels.
Also, to make feedback data useful, managers should have complete visibility into the comprehensive customer journey and interaction analytics. This allows them to make faster and smarter decisions to drive their customer service teams’ performance. However, leveraging these capabilities to optimize the customer journey remains a challenge as contact centers are often unable to centralize the customer data.
Empower agents to deliver excellent customer support
A critical piece of providing customer-centric experiences is empowering agents with customer journey information. But agents often lack the necessary customer information to drive personalized and speedy call resolutions. One of the key capabilities that empower agents to resolve issues faster is advanced screen pops that combine customer profile information and interaction history data from all relevant touchpoints. In addition, providing accurate and consistent feedback on their performance as well as training agents on best practices enable them to deliver positive experiences.
Deliver true omnichannel experiences
As contact centers accelerate multichannel adoption, it is important to provide their customers with a seamless customer journey. Customers want to know that they are interacting with your company and not a variety of channel silos. The last thing they want is to repeat themselves when they are transitioning between channels or connecting to an agent.
A true omnichannel platform solves this challenge by closing the cross-channel gap and integrating new channels into existing workflow strategies.
The benefits of exceeding customer expectations
Boost customer loyalty
Retaining customers isn’t rocket science. When you deliver a product that meets their needs and an experience that goes above and beyond their expectations, there’s little that will cause them to jump ship. We mentioned earlier that efficiency, convenience, and friendly service are among the most important aspects to a customer in their brand experience, so investing in these things is a no-brainer for keeping customers around. Loyal customers build lifetime value, which is one of the most important drivers of overall profitability.
Reduce marketing costs
It’s a basic marketing principle that selling to an existing customer is many times cheaper than winning a new one. Thus, it pays to retain as many customers as possible, and exceeding their customer service expectations is one important component of doing so.
Of course, acquiring new customers is a worthwhile marketing investment, too. Personalized service and quick response times will appeal to new prospects who are interacting with your brand for the first time, making it more likely that they’ll convert into customers faster and lower your overall acquisition costs.
Better utilization of resources
The five strategies to exceed customer expectations we outlined above can make a dramatic impact on your resource and personnel utilization. The more call center inquiries you can deflect to self-service tools like your knowledge base, the more agents can focus on doing the jobs they do best. Faster service times and lower agent burnout are additional benefits.
In a survey of 1,000 consumers, 52% said they’d be willing to pay more for the same product if they knew it would come with excellent service. How much more are we talking about? Between 10 to 30% more, depending on the industry. The bottom line? Exceeding customer service expectations is good for your bottom line.
Customer Service Expectation FAQs
Customer service expectations are the assumptions customers make about how they will be treated and what they’ll get from a company or service they transact with. These assumptions include perceptions about how they should be regarded based on their status or the level of business being conducted, how they’ve been treated by similar companies previously, and even assumptions made before an interaction based on a company’s brand or reputation.
There are many examples of customer service expectations. The growing preference for personalization, the demand for digital and online interactions, the desire to give feedback in the form of social media and web reviews, and the predilection toward self-service are all examples of customer service expectations.