At Interactions, we’ve been talking a lot recently about how the ability to deliver a superior customer care experiences is becoming an increasingly important factor in determining business success. And it’s clear that we aren’t the only ones noticing this shift. Analysts have estimated that, by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. We may be even further down this path than we realize, however, as a recent Gartner study found that already in 2016, 89% of companies plan to compete primarily on the basis of customer experience.
It’s clear that businesses are aware that they need to get the customer experience right in order to maintain a competitive advantage in today’s consumer-driven environment. The question, though, is how many companies are actually making effective strides toward delivering the kind of superior customer care experience that will delight their customers and set them apart from the competition. This kind of experience can only come as the result of a well-designed customer journey.
Unfortunately, most customer care journeys that are in existence today were designed using outdated technology that can no longer keep up with consumer demands for multichannel, conversational, flexible solutions. Interactive Voice Response systems (IVRs) are still the front door and most used path to direct customer interaction for many companies. As such, this represents a tremendous time to shine in terms of delivering customer care, but more often than not the systems in place today fall far short of expectations. Too many companies today are relying on old-fashioned technology that frustrates customers and stifles speech interactions instead of enabling and engaging them.
So how can you ensure that you’re creating a competitive advantage and delivering a quality customer care experience? Here are three tips for making sure you get the experience right the first time, saving your business money and increasing customer satisfaction in the long-run.
1) Design Your Processes Around Your Customer
Business processes should conform to the consumer, not the other way around. In order to deliver the best customer experience possible, you have to build the customer journey with the consumer at the center of everything you do. For every decision, consider the fact that a person is interacting with your customer service solution, and consider what the resulting experience will be like for him or her. This means taking a step back to understand what your customers actually need, instead of just what you think they need. Try interacting with your own customer service solution to resolve a problem. What is the result? If you feel frustrated, stifled, or unable to easily resolve your problem, chances are your customers are feeling the same way. Often, customers find themselves listening to never-ending phone prompts and menu choices, unable to easily reach the correct department and, as a result, seeking ways to circumvent your automated system to reach a live agent. Instead, offer your customers flexible, conversational solutions that eliminate frustration by allowing them to use their own words and easily reach a resolution quickly.
2) Invest in Self-Service Solutions
Your customers are busy, and taking time out of their schedule to contact customer service is
often viewed as an inconvenience. Combine this with the fact that, on average, a person will spend 10 to 20 minutes on hold each week, and it is easy to see how quickly frustration can build during customer service interactions. With multichannel self-service solutions, you can take the hassle out of customer service interactions by enabling your customers to accomplish more in less time. By increasing the use of self-service technology, you can improve customer engagement without having to add staff and resources or increase your costs. And by making the customer experience easy, straightforward and simple, your customers are more likely to contact or recommend you in the future.
3) Meet Your Customers Where They Are
Your customers are multitaskers, constantly engaging with multiple screens at one time. So it’s
no surprise that there is a growing demand to be able to reach businesses on any device at any time. The customer care journey is a complicated one that ranges across several devices. For example, the majority of customers actually begin their care journey on your website, and may explore two to three additional channels before reaching for the phone. Ultimately, this means that you need to be able to provide the same superior level of service across any channel your customers want to use.
In a business environment where companies are increasingly competing on customer service rather than price or product, delivering superior customer care needs to be your organization’s top priority. This means finding ways to go beyond just meeting customer expectations to deliver the kind of multichannel, flexible and engaging service that will delight your customer base. With a well-designed, human-centric customer care journey, you can ensure that your customers are satisfied and increase loyalty without increasing your costs.
Learn more about how Interactions solutions are transforming the way leading companies and their customers communicate.