Do you provide a great customer service experience? Keep in mind, just one bad customer service experience can send shoppers turning on their heels and walking out the door to your competitors.
And research shows that businesses lose a whopping $75 million due to poor customer service, while 68% will pay more for products and services from a company with a strong record of good customer service.
Shifting customer expectations are a big part of this pattern. As customers have become more powerful over the past two decades, with many more shopping choices in an era of e-commerce, social media, and mobile apps, it’s easier for them to jump ship.
It’s also far simpler to share their experiences, from good and bad to middling. Complaining about a bad customer service experience is as quick and straightforward as tweeting the company’s account or posting a photo on Facebook.
In the age of CX, service makes or breaks loyalty
The changing retail landscape means companies must provide the best support possible throughout the purchase process and beyond to satisfy buyers who can turn good service into measurable marketing success. Brands can win over loyal evangelists with the right customer service experience, and they’ll tell their positive story to friends and family or by posting an online review.
The bottom line is that, these days, customer service organizations play a critical role in shaping the overall customer experience. But customer service is shape-shifting quickly and dramatically. A revolution in customer service is underway, fueled by new technologies, the ubiquity of digital channels, and driven by customers faster, more convenient, and more reliable service.
For example, Gartner predicts that by 2022 phone conversations with customer service reps will make up merely 12% of service interactions – down from 41% in 2017. The fastest growing channels in 2019 will be chat and messaging services.
However, the quality of a customer service experience isn’t just about new, shiny technologies that offer the latest bells and whistles. It’s about putting customer service at the heart of your brand and providing the support that customers want and need at the pivotal moments that make up the emotional memories they carry about their interaction and define their relationship with the brand.
A great customer service experience: Infographic
A checklist: Do you offer the customer service experience that customers demand?
1. Is your customer service fast and convenient?
Convenience and speed are now the dominating factors of any customer service experience. Shoppers are busier than ever and don’t want to waste precious minutes of their day: 66% of adults say that the most important thing a company can do is value their time.
So, to put it bluntly: You snooze, you lose. Make sure your response times are up to snuff and that fast customer connection is a priority. Don’t make it an inconvenient chore to connect with your customer service team, but rather an easy-access opportunity to engage through text, email, chat or phone.
2. Do your teams collaborate to solve problems creatively?
A collaborative organization that’s agile and flexible enough to creatively tackle challenges can take your customer service experience to the next level. Today’s customer won’t accept long hold times and support staff who don’t have a clue about what other departments are doing.
By sharing knowledge and relevant data across functions, customers get a faster, more personalized response to any question or complaint. And you can avoid dissatisfied customers by empowering teams to handle a wider variety of customer concerns without input from the top-down.
3. Do you have the digital technologies you need for modern customer service?
As customer expectations rise, even the most dedicated team of support staff can’t be everywhere at once. Today’s digital technologies, particularly through the use of automation, is essential to go beyond human agents and scale customer service.
Chatbots, for example, now give call centers the ability to run 24/7, not just when your staff is at work. There are also hybrid systems where an intelligent virtual assistant can start a conversation and answer basic questions, and then transition seamlessly to real agents.
4. Do you gather data to help gain insights about providing better service?
Surveys, interviews and questionnaires help brands gather data that allows them to get to know customers better, with feedback that can be turned into actionable insights you can use to boost your customer service experience.
You can identify your customer’s biggest pain points, so you can figure out what you need to improve. You can understand how buyers go through the entire purchase journey, so you can determine where may be friction along the way.
Ready to provide a five-star customer service experience?
The value of a great customer service experience is undeniable, and research shows it is growing. And overall, it looks like businesses are starting to respond to customer demands: The American Express 2017 Customer Service Barometer found 40 percent of consumers say businesses have increased their focus and attention on service, which is a significant increase from 29 percent in 2014.
But providing a great customer service experience is not a short-term, one-off effort. It requires a brand’s ongoing, long-term commitment in order to prove to customers that it deserves their long-term loyalty.
Make sure you do a regular check on your customer service efforts to make sure they meet the needs and demands of today’s buyers.