Having a great core product is no longer enough to win loyal customers. Today, consumers value the experience of your service delivery as much as its cost, features, functionality or capabilities.
Quality customer service delivery has always been a brand differentiator, but advances in digital and communication technologies have transformed it from nice-to-have to necessity. Brands are now competing in a global marketplace by default, rich with customisable products. Customers who aren’t satisfied with the service they receive from one brand will simply switch, choosing from an endless reel of ambitious competitors.
At the same time, brands have never been more accountable for the quality of their service delivery. More than three-quarters of consumers claim they would share a positive brand experience with friends. Satisfied users will share their experiences to their peers, in online reviews and on social media – of course, so too will unsatisfied users. And while channels such as social media, instant messaging, SMS and live chat are great for brands to connect with new customers, existing customers naturally expect to be able to use these same channels to contact brands in turn.
With a new generation of customers growing up to expect seamless customer experiences as standard, and technologies such as personalisation and CRM (customer relationship management) systems becoming ever more sophisticated to meet that growing demand, the need for competitive customer service delivery has never been greater. In fact, according to Microsoft, 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand, while 54% of all consumers say that they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago.
In this blog, we’ll explore how you can ensure your customer service delivery is optimised, so you can start towards building a loyal customer base that’s worthy of your product.
Understand how your customers behave
Faced with so many digital channels that connect brands and customers, it can be overwhelming to decide which to direct your limited resources to in particular. Without a firm understanding of who your customers are and how they behave, you won’t be able to help them when and where they need it most.
By researching how your customers use your product day to day and the functionality or information that’s most relevant to their needs, you can create customer journey maps for your buyer personas to help you manage and enhance your brand’s digital experience at the most well-trodden touchpoints.
Help customers help themselves
It’s great to be available 24/7 via live chat or instant messaging, but providing quality support doesn’t mean having to open a dialogue, and if your customers can go without contacting you at all, they will.
Customers are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and are accustomed to managing settings and preferences themselves online, and now expect self-serve options when interacting with digital brands. Examples can include interactive tutorials, FAQs (frequently asked questions sections), searchable knowledge bases and online discussion forums. Self-serve options can also reduce the burden of support requests on your team, enabling them to focus on better quality customer service when it’s really needed.
Be available everywhere you can
Understanding which comms channels your customer-base prefers will help you focus resources, but it doesn’t mean you should leave any channels neglected. Customers want to (and should) be able to contact you on their terms, via whatever channel or device suits them or is most appropriate at the time.
An omnichannel customer service delivery strategy will see all your communications channels integrated, enabling you to provide a seamless, convenient and unified brand experience in real-time. For example, a customer wants to return a pair of shoes they bought from a retailer online, so they log a return request via live chat within the retailer’s mobile application, and can choose to drop the item for return at their nearest physical store.
Actively seek customer feedback
The concept of being present with the right information when and where your customers need you is universally good advice for improving customer service delivery. But every company and its customers are different; being attentive and reactive to what’s working and what’s not is important.
Brands should regularly seek feedback from their customers to help to understand whether they are meeting customer expectations or not.
Acquiring new customers is expensive, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. According to Invesp, acquiring a new customer is five times as expensive as retaining an existing one, while 44% of companies admit they have a “greater focus” on acquisition.
That means that while seamless and effective customer service delivery is now table stakes, brands that really go the distance for their customers could cement much greater brand loyalty than their competitors.
Intelastel’s customer service delivery template can get you off to a flying start creating a customer service application tailored to your business. Pre-built features include enquiry recording, logging and tracking to keep communications fully accessible and at agents’ fingertips, and a collaborative to-do list in which team members share and allocate tasks.
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