Delivering outstanding customer service is a North Star that many companies work toward. But serving customers has drastically changed over the years. Once upon a time, customer service meant having a face-to-face conversation or fielding a phone call. Today, digital is the new handshake. Organizations must implement omnichannel customer service strategies that are hyper-personalized to the customer and frictionless, every time.
The pandemic accelerated customer expectations even further, forcing organizations to think up new and innovative ways to serve their customers. Some organizations were ready to pivot, while others fell short of heightened customer expectations.
The Experience Economy
Our economy is always evolving. From agriculture to goods to service, our economy’s focus follows the priorities of consumers. In the experience economy, the customer makes the rules. They choose exactly when, and exactly how to engage with your brand.
Buying preferences have changed from in-person experiences to digital and self-service channels and this trend was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and succession of lockdowns.
Not only are we seeing new trends in buying behavior throughout the new experience economy, but technology has also placed instant gratification at our fingertips, adding yet another layer of complexity to what is expected of you as a brand.
Research shows that consumers care most about not having their time wasted and promptly getting their issues resolved. In fact 80% of U.S. consumers identify speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service as the most important elements of a positive customer experience. Multichannel and omnichannel experiences have become the gold standard, so if you are not delivering personalization, efficiency, and reliability every time, you run the risk of falling behind. Your customers expect always on service and in the new experience economy, anything less than your A-game is unacceptable.
Delivering Always On Customer Service
Always on customer service provides holistic, 24/7 support to your customers on their own terms and through their preferred channels. Exceptional, always on customer service puts your customer in the driver’s seat. By offering multiple different support channels to assist customers on their own terms, you empower them to resolve their own issues.
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The Role of Customer Service
The shift to virtual consumerism requires brands to reimagine the way they deliver customer service and user experiences. To keep up with our on-demand, hyper-connected world, your team needs the right tools and insights that help them deliver a personalized customer experience across multiple channels.
Your bottom line depends on the quality of customer service and customer experiences your brand consistently delivers.
Strategies to Help You Deliver Customer Service that Enhances Experiences and Drives Loyalty
Here are a few strategies that will help you be successful in today’s experience economy.
1. Master New and Emerging Technology
Technology can help you understand who your customers are, why they are contacting you, which products they already own, whether they have an order in process, whether they are making a second call about a problem, and the list goes on. With the right set of data and analytics tools, you will be able to understand your customers and serve them better.
Many organizations are making the move to Cloud to enable their agents to easily access records and use past data to predict future outcomes. With the right data and insights your team can proactively develop discounts or offers that are specific to each customers’ interests, wants or needs.
Implementing omnichannel tools in your call centers and self-service support channels are another way to enable end-to-end effortless customer service engagements at any time of day, on any device. For example, Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 and Customer Service Insights allow you to track agent conversations with customers in real-time, measuring customer sentiment around each interaction. You can set alerts to go to agents or managers if the customer’s sentiment becomes negative, helping agents rescue what might otherwise spiral into a bad customer experience. This feature works with more than 40 languages, providing the flexibility you need in a diverse global business world.
Finally, you can use artificial intelligence to dynamically guide agents to the right actions by surfacing relevant information exactly at the point of need. Harnessing the power of bots can help automate resolution and free up your agents to work on high-value interactions, which brings us to the next pillar of exceptional customer experience.
2. Commit to Relationship Building
You must be able to support customers where, how and, when they need it to instill trust and loyalty. According to Microsoft, 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand. Today, customers want to engage with their favorite brands, and get their problems solved on social media amid their personal scrolling. It is important to listen to what they are saying and address both positive and negative sentiments. When a customer has a negative experience, it impacts how they feel about your brand. Delivering exceptional experiences is key to molding customers into loyal brand advocates. You must also pay attention to employee sentiment because happy employees will ultimately deliver better customer experiences. Employee experience and customer experience are inextricably linked – you cannot have one without the other.
3. Be Proactive
Address unhappy customers and catch emerging problems before they become larger issues. Microsoft also reported that 58% of U.S. consumers will switch companies because of poor customer service which is why it is so important to resolve issues that arise as quickly as possible, otherwise it could end up damaging your brand’s reputation.
According to Zendesk, 95% of customers will tell at least one other person about a negative customer service experience. Not only do you run the risk of losing an existing customer because of a negative experience, but that customer could influence many other potential buyers with just one disgruntled Yelp review. Information spreads fast nowadays, but with the right data and analytics you can enable your team more effectively troubleshoot and solve problems before they even happen.
By following these steps, your organization can achieve better agent productivity, translating into lower operational costs, fewer escalations and faster onboarding and resolution times.
Although it may seem like a lot to accomplish on your own, it is possible and Avtex is here to help. Avtex has over 40 years of experience implementing customer service solutions that modernize and grow businesses like yours. We work with you to understand your organization, operating systems, and your customer journey so that we can execute your CX transformation together.