For consumers, the world of customer service is quite simple: they want to get information and help from businesses as quickly as possible and through the channel of their choice – whether that is a voice call, a social channel, or an online FAQ.
And, in today’s hectic, 140-character world, they have little patience for those organisations that are not able to fulfil these expectations.
For example, in the UK alone, nearly three-quarters of consumers expect a complaint on Twitter to be answered in less than an hour. This presents a major challenge for businesses who must now find a way of delivering the consistent experience that customers expect at every touch point – online, in-store, and over the phone.
It’s clear that this is a challenge that the majority of businesses are struggling to solve. According to the 2015 Forrester Research Customer Experience Index, improving the customer experience is a strategic priority for 73 per cent of businesses, yet only one percent of companies are actually delivering an excellent customer experience.
Since this week is National Customer Service Week, it seems like a good time to examine the trends and technologies that are helping that one percent of organisations deliver a great experience for their customers.
1) Adopting a proactive approach to customer service
With competition fiercer than ever, the need to improve and increase customer engagement has never been so important.
By the time a customer phones a company with an issue, in many cases, it’s already too late to retain their business. However, it is now possible to use advanced analytics to identify issues before the customer does. This allows businesses to take a more proactive approach and deal with a potential problem before it even arises.
For instance, prior to sending customers utility bills, energy providers can use data analytics to predict which ones are most likely to experience “bill shock”, and how they may react. By segmenting customers and proactively targeting the ones that are most likely to react negatively with a “helpfulness” call, they can create the opportunity to explain how their bill has been calculated and proactively suggest alternative tariffs that will better suit each customer’s needs and save them money.
In addition, they could offer energy saving advice and direct customers to self-service portals where they can monitor future usage. This not only has the potential to retain customers and increase brand loyalty, it also prevents the need for customers to call in, thereby saving cost to service inbound calls to your contact centre.
In today’s fast-paced climate, companies should look to move spend from reactive to proactive customer service to ensure customers are receiving the best possible service – an unexpected call or email will be greatly appreciated by the customer if it is personalised and offers a genuine sense of value.
2) Understanding the customer’s journey and channel preferences
Mobile is one of the major trends impacting the customer experience and customer expectations of the experience. In Forrester’s 2015 CX Index, the research firm specifically highlighted the need for companies to embrace channels such as mobile to be able to meet the immediate needs of customers.
Fortunately, analytics now makes it possible to identify when it is appropriate – even preferable – to move a customer conversation on to another channel in order to better resolve their problem.
A better understanding of each channel’s role in the customer journey is essential to this. For instance, 47 percent of customers will first turn to the internet and then only pick up the phone as a last resort. Companies need to understand this dynamic and adjust their processes and training as part of a unified cross-channel strategy.
Continue reading more customer service tips on page two…
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