Long gone are the days where customers are willing to wait forever on the phone to speak with an agent, or anxiously check their email for a response to an inquiry.
Today, this kind of service will only send customers straight to your competitors. Due to the ease and efficiency of technology nowadays, people no longer just hope for good service, they demand it. As a result, this change is making the call center a major player in the customer service industry, directly correlated to customer loyalty and company earnings.
Below, we’ll discuss a few changes you can expect to see with the customer service industry and how you can evolve and grow your contact center to meet the needs of your customers.
Customer service is as important as your product
Don’t underestimate the power of a great customer experience. According to a recent survey from Harris Interactive, 40% of people switched brands because of its reputation for great customer service.
And although the quality of your product matters, don’t expect it to stand on it’s own. As a matter of fact, the same study showed that 85% of people would pay up to 25% more to ensure a superior customer service experience.
With that said, it’s clear that delivering excellent customer service should be a top priority for contact centers. And while companies say they believe customer service is important, only 1% were rated as having ‘excellent’ customer service. Ouch…
Brands who haven’t yet figured out how to deliver the customer service their clients expect need to learn to be proactive and quick on their feet. Despite a having a great sales team and a quality product, rotten customer service can be a total dealbreaker.
82% of people would stop doing business with a company due to poor service. But beyond ceasing business with a brand, customers now have the tools to speak up and be heard and are not afraid to use it. And as we all know, bad news travels fast.
Out of those who have received poor customer service, 95% of customers have taken action as a result of a bad experience, particularly in the shape of warning others.
This means that, bad customer service can not only end a customer relationship, but it can prevent new ones from forming.
Therefore, it’s time to up your customer service and make sure to delight your existing clients before you focus on acquiring new ones. There's nothing more powerful than the voice of a loyal customer to bring in new prospects.
Top-notch service agents
Most companies now incorporate a self-help option or F.A.Q section where customers are able to solve issues and find answers on their own.
Callers will no longer need to contact an agent for basic ‘how to’s’ if they can D.I.Y. This means that although the call center will need fewer agents, staff will need to be better prepared and highly skilled.
The evolving customer service industry will require them to possess much more know-how to successfully assist customers. Analytical problem-solving skills, project management skills, and even technical training are a must-have for the call center agent of the future. Experts in social networks and Apps will also play a key role in a call center's omnichannel strategy.
Communication as a two-way street
Customers obliged to constantly reach out to the agents to solve problem after problem is now a thing of the past. It’s no longer about making the customers come to you, it’s about being where the customers are.
Two-way communication is key to a great customer relationship. Call centers will need to engage more proactively with customers through the many communication channels their clients are in. Proactivity is not limited to but can come in the form of reaching out to customers regarding key events, service alerts, upgrade offers, or even special discounts as a benefit of being loyal customers.
Agents need to be trained to go beyond simply reacting and be able to adapt to customer needs. They should be given the responsibility to take action without manager approval for every move they make.
A great example of this are service engineers who are placed at the front-lines to detect errors and client issues as they assist the caller. This kind of fine-tuned service leaves the customer with a positive experience. It’s a win-win for both sides. Customers feel that the company values their business and as a result, the organization strengthens their customer service experience, minimizing inbound contact and reducing costs.
App and mobile technology
Mobile apps are the second biggest leading channel behind social media. Rapid growth of mobile technology has increased user expectations of mobile engagement, especially when it comes to effectiveness and ease of use.
Nowadays, it is common practice to have customer service embedded right into the App. It can be seen as a FAQ section or a responsive help-center page for easy viewing and navigation.
The future of customer service will allow users to multitask within the same App, saving them time and avoiding the hassle of switching browsers or having to use different Apps.
Incorporating press-to-call phone support that connects them straight to an agent or a live chat within the App will become more popular. Users will also expect the agent to know who they are and have records of past interactions. Customers should also be able to attach photos, check the status of their inquiry, and easily give feedback and rate their experience. Essentially, the aim is to help the customer help themselves.
Live chat seals the deal
Did you know that 52% of people will abandon their online purchases if they cannot find quick answers? The live chat feature can be used to target customers who are in need of help and guide them to finish the transaction. Customer service companies are quickly seeing that live chat is a growing untapped platform that can boost profits.
Customers prefer chat because it allows them to multitask without being tied up on the phone. Today’s customer is used to getting information and service fast and on their terms. 60% of customers say they hate waiting longer than one minute for support. Zendesk reports that the average reply time is 23 seconds and to resolve a problem is 45 seconds, thanks to live chat!
For customers, it’s like having a brand representative sitting right next to them, giving advice and answering questions. Live chat is done in-browser which allows the user to see the product or service while chatting with the representative. This feature is used by a diverse range of companies, such as clothing retailers giving real-time fashion advice or gaming sites aiding in strategy or troubleshooting.
When done well, live chat is a successful medium as it offers a very personalized service.
The future of customer service is already starting to happen. These are changes that are happening now and setting the standard for customer expectations.
How will you adapt to meet your customers' needs? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comment box below.