Brands often aim to deliver excellent customer service, but statistics show that customer experience is taking priority—or should. Forrester Research reports that 90% of customer experience decision makers feel that a good experience is critical to their company’s success, while 63% believe its importance has risen. CEB further reports that 94% of customers who have a minimal-effort service experience will purchase from that company again. And in the context of contact centers? According to Deloitte, 62% of companies view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator. A recent McKinsey customer experience survey of 27,000 US consumers across 44 industries found that companies that focus on providing a superior and low effort experience across their customer journeys – such as customer onboarding, account changes and problem resolution – realized positive business results, including a 10-15% increase in revenue growth and a 20% increase in customer satisfaction.
While many companies have instituted grand campaigns announcing their emphasis on providing superior customer service, it often does not end in the desired result. An extensive study by the Customer Experience Board of over 97,000 customers found that meeting and even exceeding customer expectations is not enough as it doesn’t directly impact customers’ loyalty. Innovative organizations have realized that the determining factor is customer effort. The less effort it takes for consumers to accomplish their goal when they contact you, the more loyal they become. So how can brands deliver a truly seamless customer experience?
Eliminate Hold time. It’s not surprising that 75% of consumers prefer the option of a call-back to waiting on hold. Most customers will tolerate being placed on hold but will lose patience quickly, resulting in an angry caller or worse, an abandoned call. Queue callback routing removes hold time by giving to your customers the option to receive an agent callback when their position arrives to the front of the queue. Vocalcom virtual hold can also let customers choose to receive a call when an agent is free, eliminating hold time, reducing abandonment, smoothing out call spikes, and giving customers back what they value most – their time.
Deliver consistent omnichannel customer journey . Everything from an agent’s tone and customer service script to making information accessible across all channels when using an omnichannel approach is important. Indeed, Deloitte reports that 92% of companies that view customer experience as a differentiator offer multiple channels. In addition, departments need to communicate efficiently so as to avoid repeating information to customers, while there should be a seamless transition from one department to the next when customers are transferred during an interaction with an agent.
- Provide a consistent & personal experience as consumers switch from one channel to another, for example, shopping online then calling the contact center with questions.
- Eliminate siloed customer information that requires customers to reenter key information multiple times such as name, account number and reason for contact.
- Remove repetitive steps by carrying forward customer information as they move from one channel to another.
Humanize your brand. Agents should take the time to address customers by name and introduce themselves at the start of every customer service interaction. Furthermore, every interaction should be considered a conversation–show empathy for a customer’s issue, appreciation for their time and business, and be apologetic for anything which may hinder the customer, such as delays in the queue or a late delivery. This is especially important if agents are interacting on social media or via SMS, as the lack of human voice or visual contact one would otherwise have on the phone or through video chat makes it especially critical to establish a human presence.
Deliver Faster, More Personal Customer Service. Companies need to always respond to service inquiries as quickly as possible. On social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, agents should be sure to respond to private messages, wall posts, and tweets just as quickly as they come in. In all other written forms of communication such as email and chat, software should be used that guarantees a quick connection with customers, such as using a live chat option and directing emails to the appropriate departments.
Create a low effort environment. Consumers expect your company to make it easy for them to do business with you. Simply put, customers need to find the information they need as quickly and easily as possible. A company’s website, mobile app, and social media sites therefore need to be as well-designed as possible with such features as pages for frequently asked questions, tutorials, and easy-to-find contact information. Aesthetics count as much as efficiency—brand colors should be used consistently across all sites with excellent quality graphics, and web and mobile optimization are an absolute must.
Be proactive. Customers don’t just want answers; they want timely, thorough responses—even if it means agents should be a step ahead of them. Agents should always make the effort to provide not just a timely response but direct the customer to the appropriate person if an issue becomes complex. They should also inform customers if there is some delay in resolving a problem before customers reach out themselves.
Go the extra mile. Companies should exceed customer expectations whenever possible. Taking such steps as making follow-up calls after closing a sale or customer service case, providing detailed tracking information and updates for deliveries, offering discounts or other rewards for customer loyalty, and just taking the time to thank customers for their business are vital ways to show appreciation and enhance the customer experience.
Engage your employees. A critical aspect of the customer experience is making sure employees are well-trained and therefore confident when communicating with customers. The better informed they are about company products and services, as well as technologies such as CRM, the more they will provide excellent service. It’s also important to reach out for their opinions such as suggestions for better call scripts, customer feedback surveys, and even marketing campaigns on social media. As they are on the front lines of customer service, they have a good feel for what customers want.
Learn more about Vocalcom cloud contact center software solutions , and how Vocalcom cloud technology empower customer service to deliver an effortless and highly personalized customer service experience, regardless of the channel.
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