Investing in your customer care strategy is a critical step for companies that want to remain competitive in today’s customer-obsessed environment. But with a growing variety of technological solutions, the opportunities for investment are endless — and it’s hard to know where to start.
That’s why we’ve put together these 5 questions that your company should answer before investing in customer care solutions.
1. What types of customer interactions are currently coming into your contact center, and how are they being addressed?
You already have data on how your customers interact with your brand, so use it. Take a look at existing customer interactions — positive and negative — to determine how customers typically interact with your brand.
In particular, how are customers reaching you? Is it over the phone, or are your customers more often using email and chat? Before deciding what kind of solution you need to improve your customer care strategy, you first need to understand which channels are the most important to your customers. This information provides the groundwork to start thinking through your customer care strategy.
2. Based on these customer interactions, are the appropriate support channels setup?
Now that you know how your customers are reaching you, the next question is whether those channels your customer prefer are setup to effectively handle those interactions. If customers are predominately reaching your company over the phone, do you have enough trained staff to pick up these calls and respond in a satisfactory way to make these positive interactions? Or if your customers prefer to use social media, can your team efficiently respond on this channel, or are you simply directing your customers to use another channel to resolve their issue?
You should also consider whether your current setup maximizes efficiency — particularly for your agents. Are agents spending time resolving complex issues, or are they spending most of their time with simple requests such as password resets or order tracking? And how does your current setup affect your ability to scale resources with seasonal spikes?
Overall, when deciding which channel to invest in, keep customer convenience top of mind. If the customer had an efficient, productive interaction on a certain channel in the past, chances are that will be their default channel going forward. Be prepared to build up support around that channel.
3. What are the objectives your company is trying to achieve, and how will investing in customer care help meet these objectives?
Take a step back and look at your company’s key business objectives. Then connect the dots on how investing in customer care will support these objectives. Is your company aiming to improve certain steps along the customer journey? Many companies focus on improving important metrics such as the Customer Satisfaction (CST) and Net Promoter (NPS) Scores. And increasingly, companies are starting to pay attention to other metrics such as Customer Effort — namely, the amount of effort your customers have to put in to get an issue resolved. It’s important to understand these objectives, because they’ll play a critical role in how you structure your customer care strategy.
4. How does customer care align with your brand strategy and messaging?
Now that you’ve established the relationship between your business objectives and customer care, it’s important to think through how you can match your customer care to your brand strategy and messaging. A big part of a brand after all is the voice that its customers actually interact with on a day-to-day basis.
Do your agents and channels all sound like they’re speaking with the same voice? Does that voice match your brand vision? You want a level of consistency across all consumer-facing interactions to keep your message focused and customer experience consistent.
5. What type of technology investments are you interested in making?
These explorations may lead to the realization that you need to strengthen your technology to better meet customer needs. This could mean an in-house solution, given you have the technical expertise on staff and the appropriate staff capacity. But often, building a robust customer care solution in-house requires a level of staffing and investment that most companies don’t have. It’s important to consider the benefits and efficiencies that can be gained by outsourcing your customer care technology.
When it comes to selecting a customer care technology solution, today’s market seems to have endless possibilities. In part two of this series on customer care strategy investment, we’ll break down the types of technologies available — and how to determine what works best for your company.