26 June 2016: According to Gartner, 90 percent of businesses will be competing mostly on customer experience rather than on product quality this year. This is a substantial jump from previous years – 36 percent in 2014 and 58 percent in 2015 . With customer experience now the key differentiator, businesses are under pressure to ensure that every customer contact is positive.
In fact, a recent survey conducted by management consulting firm, Fifth Quadrant, on behalf of LogMeIn, has revealed that customer experience may have a direct impact on the business’ bottom line. It was found that 72 percent of customers across South East Asia will stop patronizing a brand following a bad experience, and 69 percent will advise their family and friends to avoid that brand.
The stakes are high for businesses – fail to please, and businesses can fail on sustaining customer loyalty and advocacy. The power is now in the hands of consumers. Especially online, where consumers are spoilt for choice with products and services, and they can easily browse and compare among various brands. So, what can businesses do to ensure they navigate this customer experience journey successfully?
Below are three ways businesses can avoid the pitfalls of customer service to deliver a customer experience that builds confidence, trust and share of wallet.
1. Create personalized and relevant engagement
Pitfall to avoid: Having your customer interact with machines.
One top driver of customer satisfaction is the ability to connect consumers to representatives who can resolve their queries or problems. Rather than connect customers to an automated phone service, businesses need to deliver a personalized and relevant engagement at every touchpoint – where, when and how consumers may engage. This can dramatically increase customer satisfaction as it demonstrates to customers that they are valued.
Moreover, customers expect to connect with businesses across multiple channels these days. That is, besides the traditional telephone hotline and email address, customers want to be able to contact businesses via web-based chat, web links, SMS, and social media. Businesses need to ensure that these channels are setup with the right technology and processes, and resourced effectively to meet the prompt demands of the consumer.
2. Think ‘low effort experience’
Pitfall to avoid: Making your customers do more than they need to.
Businesses need to win favor by making it easier and faster for customers to get their queries resolved. Consumers are frequently annoyed by customer representatives asking them to repeat account information or their issues every time they interact with a business, sometimes over different channels. This can be resolved by combining consumer data and interaction history into a single source of truth. Customer engagement points need to be integrated and accessing information from one data source to offer that seamless experience to consumers. This means consumers do not need to repeat themselves when interacting with a business across channels, resulting in a reduced level of effort and a positive customer experience.
Providing 24×7 access to online self-service options may be another option that can give consumers the convenience of performing their tasks when and where they want. Website visitors should be able to find answers to frequently asked questions quickly on their own before being directed to a customer agent for more advanced, personalized support.
3. Improve workflow with the right tools
Pitfall to avoid: Failing to empower your agents in their interactions with customers.
The best service desks arm their customer agents with tools that allow them to improve their workflow and boost customer experience, thereby enhancing customer satisfaction.
For example, businesses can increase productivity by eliminating the need for agents to repeatedly type answers to common questions. Once a customer agent selects a pre-prepared message on their email or web chat tool, they can edit it to add a personal touch. Having the right support solution allows the service desk to automate fixes to routine issues, eliminating the need to reinvent the wheel each time a repeat problem crops up.
Ultimately, business leaders need to understand that they must continually adapt operational processes to offer quality customer experiences because consumer expectations change over time. Also, technologies evolve, and there will be new channels of communication.
The point is to deliver customer experiences that offer accessibility, responsiveness, and consistency. To achieve this, businesses need to have an enterprise-wide customer experience strategy that delivers high levels of consumer engagement.
Customer experience can no longer be viewed as support function, but a vital element of business performance. Successful businesses see the entire customer engagement journey through, as this is the only way to ensure customer loyalty and advocacy – rewards that will serve businesses into the future.
Attributed to Daniel Cran, APAC Director, LogMeIn