Everyone knows that poor customer experiences negatively impact customer loyalty, brand image and an organisation's bottom line. With this in mind, businesses strive to not just meet, but exceed customer expectations. According to Forrester Research, Inc., more than half of customer service decision-makers want to deliver customer experiences that are the best in their industry. But is a customer experience that simply meets expectations good enough?
While there’s certainly value in going above and beyond to serve customers, often they’re seeking quick fixes to their problems. And as customers increasingly engage with brands across multiple channels, they’re starting to place more value on consistent, dependable experiences. This trend is only increasing with millennials valuing convenience and speed more than previous generations. According to a Boston Consulting Group survey they prefer speed, ease, efficiency and convenience above friendly service. Likewise, they’re more likely to turn to self-help solutions before engaging with a service rep. A recent OpinionLab survey exemplifies these preferences, finding that millennials are more likely to turn to their devices and social networks for guidance rather than customer service reps.
Given these consumer preferences, striving to exceed expectations and deliver the most extravagant customer experience possible may in fact be a drain on resources and contradict what your customers are looking for.
So how can organisations deliver an effortless customer service experience that meets expectations?
1. Help customers help themselves
In the age of the smartphone and continuous online access, customers are not only extremely familiar with, but have an expectation of, being able to carry out certain transactions themselves. Why would you want to wait to speak to an agent just to find out your bank balance, where the nearest store is located or when a bill is due?
Self-service portals that are efficient and easy to navigate enable customers to carry out specific transactions themselves. Not only do your customers get what they want quickly and easily, but it also frees up customer service agents so they can devote more time to handling more complex inquires.
2. Serve customers where they are
Some customers are more likely to pick up the phone, submit online inquires or engage on social media. Whatever their preferences may be, businesses must be able to deliver and ensure that it’s seamless and consistent across all channels. If a customer starts a conversation on one channel and then moves it to the next, they shouldn’t have to restart the conversation. For example, if someone fills out an online form about a recent order and then picks up the phone to follow up, the frontline agent must be able to pick up where the online form left off. To offer seamless service that spans all channels, businesses need to invest in the right tools.
Equipping your team with tools that integrate seamlessly with mobile CRM solutions, like the Salesforce1 Mobile app, means that your agents can work beyond the confines of an office while ensuring that agents have access to important CRM data.
3. Get Personal
The more agents know about a customer, the quicker they’ll be able to solve the issue at hand and deliver value. Using CRM data provides customer insights, so agents can offer a consistent, personalised customer experience, put hot prospects to the head of the queue, route support calls to the right agents and give VIP customers priority treatment. By engaging customers in meaningful ways, businesses can better retain them.
Amazing customers through exceptional service may be the goal of many service centres; but what customers actually value most is a consistent, low effort solution to their problem, delivered quickly and without the need to switch channels.
Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net
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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.Read more from Tim Pickard