7 Trends Defining the Age of the Customer
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Customers are increasingly engaging with companies via a wider variety of touch-points at their moment of need and at their time of convenience. They expect fast resolutions for their questions and issues.
Hence, contact centers are challenged with providing an even greater customer service experience, to even more inquiries, with more social visibility in an industry that sees a relatively high staff turnover. By delving into the trends which define the age of the customer, we are able to adapt to the expansiveness and endlessly transformative nature that is the customer service sector.
1. Shift to Digital Experiences
To say that we are no longer operating in a paper based world, is a great understatement. Today, all actionable guidance can be boiled down into two simple words, “digital experience.” The most comprehensive guidance is offering customers personalized customer support throughout each and every stage of their search query and is specially tailored to each user’s needs.
Banks, mobile companies and other industries with remarkable digital experience platforms, make this possible by implementing comprehensive systems which are accessible at the exact time of need during their customers’ experiences. The one thing that these businesses all have in common? They are each synced to intuitive systems which can respond to customer feedback, provided by previous customers’ most proven practices and documented feedback.
Services such as Nanorep import content from your current website’s FAQs, customer knowledge bases and any external knowledge sources to detect the right information in order to segment accurately to each individual issue and question. Customer guidance providers will allow for improved productivity and decrease the amount of time your customer service team spends tending to the everyday issues of your clientele.
2. The Mobile First Movement
Is your content optimized for mobile?
This is the primary question marketers and app designers should ask themselves when considering customer guidance. Practicing a “Mobile First” approach should not only act as a parameter to your content strategy and UX, but also as a metric for judging your company’s accessibility in the customer service sector.
The next generation won’t have a clue what it’s like to wait a full 5 minutes for customer service assistance, and why should they? With all of the CRM strategies and optimization software, there’s no excuse for not having tremendously fast customer response and reaction that can be reached across multiple channels. In fact, this should be automatically built in to your digital strategy. To be sure that your mobile customer service is in strong working order, check your site with Google’s Mobile-friendly test.
While there is undoubtedly a place for web in the customer service sector, handheld devices are irrefutably at the forefront of customer guidance strategy and implementation. The digital landscape has changed, and customer service is the most critical function in this revolution.
3. A Seamless Chat Reality
According to an ATG Global Consumer Trend study, 90% of customers find live chat helpful and 62% of internet consumers said they would purchase more products online if live customer support were available (Andersen Consulting). Whether or not the customer is engaging with the live chat representative turns out to be less important than the impact of simply offering the chat availability as an option (though this isn’t an excuse to sit a seventeen year old in front of the computer). In other words, simply having the ‘live chat’ button allots a certain amount of confidence in the customer that a single phone number cannot.
Chat allows for customers to be shown through the rough patches using visual guidance that is fully documented for quality assurance. Chat also gives the customer the freedom to browse online and multitask while plugged in, buying the representative more time to craft their answers. A win-win for both customer and representative.
4. Big Data and Interactive Analytics
Big data is one of the key factors nudging customer guidance in a predominantly digital direction and changing the way people within organizations work and communicate with their customers.
Due to the information gathered through big data and interactive analytics, IT leaders and customer service representatives are now joining forces to come up with smarter ways of engaging and retaining customers with better UX and offering around the clock support on both mobile and web.
With more accurate data and a team that is working cohesively to come up with a strong and intelligent customer service platform, decision making and cost reductions are made possible with Big Data analytics. Equally as exciting, the process to determining the causes of failures, and defects is simplified, therefore reducing the cost of continuously testing and analyzing customer statistics on a smaller scale. And of course, with big data comes actionable sources of information, implementable dos and don’ts for boosting your customer service platform.
5. An Inside-Out Holistic Approach to Customer Experience
The holistic approach to customer service begins with a change in mindset and ends with major shifts in CX and fully personalized customer engagements. This approach calls for companies to view their customers’ experiences as a journey rather than a quick errand or a one time mission.
The importance of the customer journey, is that it considers and adapts to the complexities of each customer. It forces customer service representatives and business leaders to think of their customers as more than just case studies, but constantly evolving human beings with the want to connect and engage. A shift in this mindset allows for companies to create meaningful and longstanding experiences with their customers.
6. Customers Prefer Self-Service
Humans are increasingly spending more and more hours online, both working and playing, causing an ultimate shift in customer behavior with a preference toward making queries through online resources.
Customers now find online assistance to be more fruitful, accessible and relevant than ever. Still, no customer is built the same and each company will meet their share of users who find that online service providers’ are not sufficient anecdotes to their problems, so these customers seek guidance either over the phone or through email. In other words, having a highly functional CRM no longer means hiring an entire call center for a support team, however having phone representatives on hand is critical to customer service success.
Because your competition is likely also using the web to grow and gain more accessibility to your customers, you need to be available via whichever channel they deem fit and be able to provide whichever service they are expecting.
7. Making Agents Work Smarter
The best customer service models take every type of customer into consideration and build their CRM to encapsulate the vast array of wants that come with customer service. While some customers enjoy the ease of speaking their queries to a phone representative, others spend a fair amount of time online and prefer to take care of their service needs through email and chat while simultaneously browsing and searching online. A highly functional customer service team is equipped for whichever method is their customer’s contact of choice.
While customer inquiries and problems are spanned out across the entire spectrum of touch-points, social media platforms, phone, email and chat, agents can easily cover much more ground in fewer hours with intuitive platforms such as Hootsuite, which offers management and analytics data across all social media channels. This constant and intuitive tracking allows for businesses to use social as a touchpoint and a direct line to customer’s issues and unresolved questions, comments and tweets.
The most important key to outstanding customer service in the age of the customer is to hire people not only with a talent for problem-solving, but a true love for it. Going digital, thinking mobile first, and using chat, big data and self service means very little without a strong and committed team of customer service enthuses’. The best agents are those that are genuinely ‘happy to help’ and passionate about handing issues and being in touch with customers. Afterall, customer service is as much empathy and care as it is technology and data.
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