The hallmark of successful operations is the ability to deliver quality customer service — not just the service you have the capability to provide, but the service customers expect and even demand. While most companies believe they have achieved that hallmark, their customers believe otherwise.
According to Forrester Research, Inc., 80 percent of companies say they provide superior customer service, but just 8 percent of customers say those same companies deserve such a rating. Perception is reality. If your customers don't believe you provide superior service, then you don't provide it. In this post, we'll review the common mechanisms companies use to interact with their customers and how to evolve the customer experience from the Stone Age to exceed customer expectations.
The form that enters the black hole
One popular mechanism to facilitate customer requests is to point the customer to a short form that collects general contact information and a brief summary of the inquiry. Once the customer hits submit, it enters the black hole realm. Sometimes there's a thank you page that provides some form of minimal indication the submit button worked. Other times, the customer is left wondering if the submission was successfully received on the other end.
The infamous email distribution
In today's digital age, companies are still using a 'catch-all' distribution list to receive customer inquiries. You submit a question to: email@example.com and the same scenario plays out for the customer. Did they receive my request? Did it actually send? What if no one replies to me? Again, this leaves the customer frustrated and kept in the dark.
The archaic knowledge base of documents
While knowledge bases start out with great intentions, they can quickly become very stale and archaic. In a digitally fueled world, we are all accustomed to applications that serve information verses having to search a knowledge base that is full of dated documents.
Live chat that's not staffed
While we're getting closer to this millennium, live chat is not always the ideal communication method. While it's a better option, it doesn't work if there isn't anyone answering. If the customer is waiting long in the queue or no one is available, that's not the optimal customer experience.
Build winning customer experiences
All of the above mechanisms are common characteristics in the story of the bolt-on Stone Age mentality of customer service delivery. These mechanisms are not holistic, cohesive, nor intuitive. They are segmented dead ends that give false hope to customers. If your organization wants to survive the digital marketplace, you need to build award winning customer experiences and intuitive interactions. Start with the people and focus on creating experiences that are smart, intuitive, valuable, rewarding and unforgettable.
Empowering your customers and service agents
Empowering your customers to get the answers they need in the quickest route possible is paramount to success. Start by defining your customer personas - who is using the service, why do they need the service, how they go about getting the service, how the service will impact them, and who is delivering the service. By understanding their needs, you can then start to map their journey to lay the foundation for an experience that goes beyond expectations. In addition to understanding the interactions and needs of your customers, engineering a culture and digital workplace that can power that experience for your customers is equally important. A culture that is customer-centric is one that provides your service agents with the ability to interact effortlessly, be connected, and proactive. Successfully getting out of the Stone Age involves knowing what is happening before it happens, the ability to interact with your business units to solve problems quickly, and keep your customer informed.
Start your journey
View our customer service management webinar featuring how to automate services, drive continuous improvement, and quickly solve problems. These modern benefits will not only help you improve your operational efficiency, but they will help you deliver superior customer service and foster customer loyalty. We can help you develop a digital blueprint that will change the way your people work and the way they serve your customer.