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eye of customerA customer’s experience lives long beyond the purchase. Customers experience several touch-points with your company after the sale – from checking information on the website, viewing ads, reading articles, comparing brand experiences with peers, friends or influencers to contacting customer service.

So, how well are we managing this 360-degree experience? Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis cited a survey in which 88 percent of all businesses believe they deliver great customer service, yet only 8 percent of their customers agree. Solis believes brands try really hard to offer exemplary customer service, but it’s a difficult thing to do with antiquated contact center technology and processes. In addition, the Group’s “2014 State of Digital Transformation” survey found that overhauling customer service to meet the expectations of digital customers was the lowest ranked of eight priorities on companies’ digital transformation initiatives.

Putting yourself in your customer’s shoes requires focusing on more than individual transactions. Modern contact centers must leverage the full spectrum of channels customers are using to connect. As I’ve discussed before, successful brands help customers help themselves, serve customers where they are and personalize customer care. Forrester’s recent “Top Trends for Customer Service” study found, for example, that web self-service surpassed contact center voice calls for the first time ever in 2014. The firm predicts that customers will continue to demand effortless interactions over web and mobile self-service channels, as well as embrace new channels, such as video chat with screen sharing and annotation. The best customer service will come from integrating all these channels so that contact center support staff have the complete history of a customer’s interactions through all channels and can provide expert, efficient and personalized assistance.

What do customers want?

  1. Use my history of touch-points with all your channels to infer my current situation and priorities. What do you already know that you don’t need me to explain?
  2. Focus on the outcome. Customers want their problem solved quickly, efficiently and consistently
  3. Offer several communications channels. Are you offering the voice, text, chat, online, mobile and other channels that I need anywhere I might go in the world?
  4. Point me to the right destination. Can you proactively message me to share when there is a roadblock on a certain channel and reroute me effectively?
  5. Be able to recognize and prioritize critical service requests. Is there a way you can quickly prioritize requests and expedite service if I’m in a critical situation?
  6. Provide status updates. Do you have a mechanism to share breaking news that leads me to the best channel for resolution?
  7. Personalize your customer service without getting too personal. Are you striking a balance between understanding my history with your brand without making me feel like Big Brother is watching?

If you’re considering these seven things in your customer service strategy, you’re well on your way to creating the outstanding customer service that fosters lasting relationships.

Download our Salesforce CTI guide and find out how implementing the technology can help you transform your customer experience.

As featured on the Salesforce Blog.

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About Tim Pickard

Tim joined NewVoiceMedia in July 2011 with over 20 years' experience as a leader in the IT industry. He served as VP and board member of RSA Security's international business for seven years where he ran marketing in EMEA, Asia Pacific and Japan. He spent two years as Chief Marketing Officer for SaaS/Cloud-based email management provider Mimecast.

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