Some people may think that customer service and customer experience are essentially the same. In truth, customer service focuses on delivering support to a customer, whereas customer experience considers the perspective of the customer—what it actually feels like to be on the receiving end of support. Customer experience is increasingly becoming a priority for businesses, with Forrester Research reporting 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. The Customers 2020 Report further states that by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, while the Business Impact of Customer Experience highlights that the revenue impact from a 10 percentage point improvement in a company’s customer experience score can result in more than $1 billion USD.
The data suggests that when a customer’s experience exceeds expectations, a company can expect greater brand loyalty and referrals. What’s more, as sales, marketing, and customer service departments together represent the full spectrum of customer experience for a company, businesses must strive hard to provide a seamless experience across all fronts.
Providing the optimal customer experience depends on numerous factors with endless possibilities. However, a few general tips should not be overlooked:
Be timely and professional. Customers don’t just want answers; they want timely, thorough responses. Whether a customer makes contact by phone or via any other channel, agents should always make the effort to provide a timely response, direct the customer to the appropriate person if necessary, and inform customers if there is some delay in resolving a problem.
Go the extra mile. This can mean many things, but the idea is to truly 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 all excellent ways to show them you care.
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. Taking additional steps to provide video tutorials on the company website and even language that customers can easily follow and relate to are all steps toward making your brand approachable.
Make information easy to find and a pleasure to view online. 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 consistent. Perhaps the biggest challenge of all—be consistent across all channels and departments. Everything from an agent’s tone and customer service script to making information accessible across all channels falls under this tip. 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 exchange with an agent.
The overall image a customer takes away from a company is based on his or her experience, and greater efficiency in the contact center can provide this and foster brand loyalty. Using a contact center software solution with advanced features such as IVR, visual IVR, and chat features optimized to save time for agents and customers alike can further help to deliver an optimal customer experience. Customer service is more than giving and getting answers—customers want the human touch through an optimized, customized experience. Learn more about excellent contact center software solutions for delivering the best customer experience at http://www.vocalcom.com.
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