Organizations are realizing that happy customers are more loyal, buy more, and are more likely to recommend a brand to their friends. Consequently, customer experience has become a top priority. While customer experience relates to all impressions customers get throughout the buyer’s journey, the quality of customer service interactions is a particularly important predictor of customer lifetime value. Customers view service quality and speed as one of the most important factors for building trust and will abandon brands that don’t offer a seamless experience. Organizations with excellent customer service also have three times higher returns, and 91% of customers are more likely to purchase from such a company repeatedly. Contact centers are a vital aspect of customer experience and should be prioritized in the customer journey accordingly.
To deliver an exceptional customer experience, customer service has to be incorporated into the organization-wide communication strategy. Moving beyond solving the customer’s immediate problem extends the contact center’s value. And providing agents with the right tools and relevant context information to deliver experiences that exceed the customer’s expectations helps to drive brand loyalty, reduce churn rate and drive sales.
Digitalization is on everyone’s mind, yet 80% of digitalization projects fail because bringing these systems together – technically and organizationally – is a nontrivial issue. But it is a problem worth solving. Managing decentralized IT infrastructure requires a lot of resources, both personnel and monetary. To accelerate innovation, these resources would be better invested in unique, customer-wowing, market-share-expanding, profit-generating products and services (Forbes). Shifting contact centers to the cloud allows businesses to optimize processes and provide a seamless experience by integrating or connecting different service channels. As the lines between organizational functions are increasingly blurred, there is also an opportunity to incorporate the contact center into the wider communication strategy and to turn it into an experience hub.
Don’t get caught up in the omnichannel pursuit. Customers don’t want all channels – they want the right channel. Despite the ongoing trend of offering ever more service channels, customers have primarily stuck to using the phone. Despite being seemingly ancient technology, this form of communication remains important, as telephony and, increasingly, video chat can solve issues fast and deliver emotions. The telephone isn’t going anywhere, and your customer service would benefit from stabilizing and optimizing your telephony. E-mails, structured webforms, widely available information and FAQs on your website, bots, and other service channels are also beneficial and should be offered. To circumvent the problem of providing a seamless customer experience across all channels whilst acknowledging business limitations, Deloitte came up with ‘right channeling’. The idea is to meet customers where they are in the moment and to direct them to the most appropriate channel that will help them solve their problems. This will help you reduce cost and complexity while showing customers that you value and understand them.
The role of contact centers is increasingly shifting from service-orientated to relationship-driven. Historically, it was used for transactional touchpoints such as finding out about your bank account status or questions about your insurance premium. The challenge of customer service now is to identify where interactions create value for businesses and customers alike. Price’s value-irritant matrix is a great guidepost here.
Many customer interactions result from preventable issues, misunderstandings, or a lack of transparent information. Eliminate these unnecessary interactions by providing relevant information on your website and self-service features that work. Automate processes where customers are repeatedly asking the same questions. On the other hand, simplify processes where the organization requires information from a customer that he perceives as annoying. And most importantly, leverage interactions where both the customer and the organization derive value. Invest in these and support a great and personalized experience at every touchpoint.
Empower agents to contribute value to the business by providing them with customer and context data that allows them to identify potential customer value. This allows agents to find upsell opportunities and helps them to deliver personalized service. Like this, the contact center can not only increase efficiency and reduce costs but actively create new revenue. Customers will pay more for a great experience, and if they feel that they are understood by the company, they will become loyal brand advocates that will actively recommend your company. Customer loyalty is a key driver of long-term profitability, which should incentivize investing in customer service. The average repeat customer spends 67% more on your products. By leveraging interactions to increase customer satisfaction, trust, and loyalty, you can grow your brand value and market share.
It’s time to let go of old habits that no longer serve your business and reimagine customer service. Evaluate your organization’s service channels and define a clear channel strategy for your employees to leverage meaningful conversations. Use technology to eliminate unnecessary interactions and automate reoccurring interactions so you can forge lasting relationships with customers that drive sales and revenue.
Luware offers customer service solutions for Microsoft Teams for telephony, video chat, co-browsing, and more. Powerful integrations and automation provide employees with context information to deliver better service to customers and identify growth potential.