The way customers communicate with companies has shifted dramatically over the past 10 years. While unimaginable at that time – the digital environment has exploded and now numerous channels demand our attention.
Over 25% of the world’s population is on Facebook and Twitter – they expect companies to be there, too.
Just like self-service order menus at fast food restaurants – customers will also want certain speed and convenience that human beings are not be able to deliver. This doesn’t mean that human support will go away (or become obsolete) but automation will deflect tickets and improve productivity in support departments.
Even as automation creeps, we’ll still prefer to talk to a human being rather a machine to get a solution. No matter what industry you’re part of, offering human service is a way to get customers emotionally involved. And emotions do drive loyalty.
Here are the things to keep in mind as we look into the future of customer service:
1. Effortless answers
When we want to know something, we just google it. This is so ingrained in our psyche, that we tend to treat every website we visit in the same way.
A recent survey demonstrated that 55 of Americans who shop online will abandon their purchase if they can’t find an answer to their questions. Often buyers need reassurance or given a quick answer to clarify something.
When customers are on your website, they’re there for a reason. Being on that particular page, they possess certain knowledge and maybe questions regarding your product. As a result, they don’t want to restart conversations or repeat themselves – they’ve been providing information all along via their actions!
2. More than satisfaction
On the surface, it seems like a large satisfied customer base is what’s needed to retain them, to build a successful brand, and therefore attract new customers. Often brands seem to make every customer happy without understanding how to turn them into loyal customers.
Is there a reason for a satisfied customer to stay loyal to a brand? No, unless that brand offers one thing that certain customers absolutely go crazy for. A feeling, a deep-setting desire that gets fulfilled by interacting with that brand.
A study by HBR revealed that emotionally connected customers are 25-100% more valuable than just highly satisfied ones. Interestingly, not all brands are able to offer this level of emotional connection.
3. Great service is no service
The more accurately your product meets everyone’s needs, the better. That’s because the number of requests you get is an indication of a poor product or poor communication – things that you can always tweak and improve upon.
Words like automation, chatbots and AI are surely popular – yet this technology is still far from being commonplace. Customers already expect to see related content and suggestions in a feedback tab at their fingertips.
You can extend this to your internal workflows too. By offering the right suggested content to support agents, it allows for better collaboration, organization and communication. These little fixes add up to a lot of help over a typical support day.
Customers are not going patiently sit by and accept poor service. They want the right answer to appear wherever they are, so they can get back to their busy lives.
People remember poor service vividly, yet amazing service raises the bar. So when we get great service at one organization, we expect it elsewhere. This keeps all of us scrambling for the next that can win the customer’s heart.
Of course, perfection is impossible and no one’s immune from the occasional rage-filled customer. Turning the situation around is only one part of the answer. Understanding the underlying cause of that frustration will help you understand what the customer will expect of you later down the road.