Showing your customers you care: 5 steps for success
For years, customer experience has taken a back seat, being viewed by many as a costly, but necessary extension of a business. However as market saturation increases and product differentiation becomes less clear, the importance of customer experience has become a core component of increasing brand loyalty and driving business growth. For example, Forrester found that companies delivering a great customer experience saw a 17% compound annual growth rate, whereas poor customer experience delivered just 3% over the same period.
And now, with 80% of customers now viewing their experience with a company to be as important as its products, according to Salesforce, companies of all sizes and industries are taking notice and investing in transforming their customer experience. So with everyone taking the necessary steps to modernize their customer experience, how can you make yours stand out?
Here are five ways support teams and business leaders can implement modern support techniques in order to show their customers they care and keep them coming back:
1. Make it personal
Customers today don’t just look for cutting-edge features, they want to feel like the brands they love not only value their business, but value them as an individual. 21st century, digital-savvy customers, particularly Gen Z and Millennials, are well-known for being tough to impress and fickle when it comes to their brand loyalty. Being able to interact with customers in a way that makes them feel like they’re not only valued, but that you genuinely care about them reaching their potential as a customer is what will help distinguish your brand from the rest. However, personalization is not something that can happen overnight.
In order to lay the foundation for a personalized customer experience, support teams need to have the right tools in place. Ensure your contact center solution can seamlessly integrate into other tools within your technology stack, such as your CRM, WFM, financial controls, data analytics, and more. These integrations are not only great for increasing operational efficiencies, but make it easy to safely and securely surface key customer information and contextual data to support agents in real-time. This process allows agents to feel more empowered to deliver personalized messages, suggestions, and a VIP-like concierge level of customer service that will stand out amongst competitors.
2. Going the extra mile
Imagine a support experience where not only are your issues resolved in a fast and personalized manner, but an experience that extends beyond a single interaction or issue. An experience where support teams provide more than just support, they provide knowledge, insights, and recommendations that can help you maximize your experience with a product or brand. While this may seem like a pipe dream, the reality is, it is experience that organizations can begin providing today.
As both current and new technologies such as cloud computing, natural language processing, AI, deep learning, and more continue to evolve and grow, support organizations can further leverage these tools as a way to help agents deliver better experiences to customers. For example, imagine a customer is reaching out to support and needs help booking a vacation. Support agents can not only help them identify possible flights, but with a better understanding of who the customer is and being able to automatically surface the right contextual information, can recommend hotels, provide suggestions on how to get to the airport or what type of activities to do once they arrive at their destination.
By combining emerging tools and technologies with proactive support teams, customers can receive above-and-beyond experiences that will leave a lasting impression.
3. Being up-front and responsive
Having customers sit in queues or being placed on hold and rerouted to different support teams or agents is not only incredibly frustrating for customers, but it can substantially impact a contact center’s bottom line.
Staffing has always been a core piece of running an efficient contact center. This has only grown in importance as customers have begun to expect 24/7 support. In order to properly staff support teams and reduce wait times, make sure to not only account for peak hours and busy seasons, but channel-specific staffing as well. For example, customers reaching out via SMS, a web chat, or through social media should have the same experience and response time as those who are calling in.
Additionally, it is more important than ever to be up-front, honest, and transparent with customers. Being as accurate as possible with expected wait times and giving customers the options to choose call back times, and explaining why they’re being transferred and who they’re being transferred to all go a long way in creating a trustworthy customer experience.
4. Meet them where they are
Whether a customer is within an app, on the web, or using one or more social media channels, meeting customers where they are creates an experience where brands are going out of their way to connect with the customer, not the other way around.
Part of showing your customers that you care involves making it easy for them to reach you, and the easiest way to do this is to meet them where they are. Customers shouldn’t have to maneuver between channels to find the support they need. Instead, brands should make support easily accessible across all channels, platforms, and devices.
This means customer experience needs to be a core component of not just customer support, but the entire enterprise. At many companies, the product team oversees the company’s app, marketing handles the website and social media platforms, and customer experience is within customer support. However, customers interact with apps, websites, and social media channels altogether. Emphasizing customer experience throughout these teams ensures that each customer touchpoint is delivering a consistent and stellar experience.
5. Let customers be themselves
Think about how you communicate with friends and family? You make calls, send texts, photos, videos, and more. In many cases, numerous multimedia capabilities are used within the same interaction. Yet while the way customers interact with one another has evolved, the way customers interact with brands has remained stagnant.
Create an experience that allows customers to communicate with you in the same way that they communicate with each other. Real-time multimedia sharing and connecting across multiple channels can help create a more natural flow of communication and interaction between brands and customers and helps deliver a one-of-a-kind customer experience that goes above and beyond the competition and makes customers feel unique and special.
“It’s all about the customer.” “Our customers are of the utmost priority.” These are phrases we’ve all likely heard at some point. Unfortunately, most of the time, these phrases and mission statements have fallen short. But now, with customer experience being at the forefront, businesses are taking notice, and developing strategies to deliver great experiences to loyal customers.
Transforming customer experience
With these five steps, companies can begin laying the groundwork for personal, concierge-like, and trustworthy customer experiences that not only turn negative experiences into positive outcomes, but take customers from standard consumers into brand ambassadors.