The importance of customer service in any business will never change, but the expectations of your customer will always do. The advent of internet and e-commerce companies has improved the customer’s expectations forever. Irrespective of the nature of your business, customers have begun expecting the same level of service from every company. It does not matter if you are an Amazon or a new bootstrapped startup; your customer wants top-notch and advanced service. The adage ‘know your customer’ is more crucial now than ever because what your customer wants is changing at a breakneck speed. A study suggests that 70% consumers believe that technology has made it easy to switch to brands that meet their expectations. Marketers and businesses need to remain on the top of the customer expectations, not just to grow but merely survive. So let us look at some of the rapidly changing and evolving customer expectations:
Customers do not only want immediate service; they want a service which is available 24*7. Smartphones, internet, and social media have made things accessible round the clock. Customers want to access the service as per their convenience and not during some operating hours fixed by the company. While 24*7 call centres may not always be possible, companies should outsource such tasks and at the same time also develop FAQs, forums, information bank, etc. where customers can find information on their own.
23% customers accept that their expectations of the customer services are higher than a year ago. Consumers are no longer happy with being a number on your company’s balance sheet. They expect companies to treat them as individuals and that too with a human touch. Businesses are expected to understand the individual needs and requirement of the customers. From marketing material to offers, everything has to be customized. 69% customers believe that personalized customer care increases their loyalty towards the brand. Customer service executives are expected to access the customer history to make the service more relevant.
Today customers are okay to share their data with the company if the ensures better service and promise to protect their information. This trend is expected to increase exponentially among the Millennials. 61% Millennials would be happy to share data with any company if that were to result in a better experience. In comparison, only 41% baby boomers are willing to share their data. It becomes crucial for any business to use the data efficiently and deliver on the expectations of the customers.
With IoT, machine learning, and artificial intelligence making their way in every industry, consumers expect such technologies to be utilized to improve the services. Instead of troubleshooting a problem when it arises, customers hope that companies would inform them of the impending problem. Customers expect data to be utilized to predict the issue that may occur with a product. The customer service representatives are also expected to make relevant suggestions before initiating any contact.
Businesses need to accept the fact that customer service needs to be the top-priority now more than ever. More than your product or service, the quality of customer service will impact the customer loyalty. So what can enterprises do to ensure top-notch customer service?
The study by Northridge group reveals that 74% customers experience longer wait times than expected. To reduce this problem, more than 50% companies across the US offer at least five customer service channels, reveals a report by SalesForce. As we have seen earlier, customers want services in real-time and do not prefer waiting for even an hour. 36 percent companies provide real-time insights to the staff to resolve the queries as fast as possible. Businesses need to realize that e-commerce delivers a faster experience with no waiting time and the customer expects the same from every company in every industry.
Social media has revolutionized the way customers engage with a brand. According to a report by Microsoft, 46% customers have a more favourable view of brands that use social media. While only 28% customers use social media to ask questions, 59% believe that social media makes it easier to get issues resolved. Brands will have to leverage multiple social media platforms to reach out to the customers. A fast, intuitive, and efficient interaction on social media will help you attain delighted and loyal customers.
It is a common belief that customers want high-tech & innovative technology and deploying it will make them satisfied. However, not all customers, in fact, not even a majority of the customer may think likewise. Whopping 70% customers have trouble navigating automated help systems indicating that not all your customers find it easy to navigate the technology. All other techniques that your customer uses are simple and well-laid out, so your technology has to be on par with it, if not better. The more your customer struggles while navigating your automated customer service, the lesser they will be satisfied. If your company cannot spend a fortune on developing such a technology, it is better to outsource your customer service tech to companies who specialize in it.
There is no escaping the fact that expectations of your customers will continue to change with every innovation. Enterprises need to ascertain that they distinguish themselves from the competition by offering top-notch customer service and a delightful experience. The emphasis on simplifying customer experience is critical due to the rapid technological innovations, global competition and changing customer expectations.