For the past several years I’ve noticed a trend. Customers are smarter than ever before. They know what it’s like to have a good customer service experience. They have learned it from companies like Apple, Amazon and American Express to mention a few CX rock stars – and that’s just a few of the A’s! Even if you don’t compete with them, your customers still expect you to deliver a comparable experience.
That’s right, your customers no longer compare you just to your competitors. They compare you to any company that gives them great service, and if you fall short, they ask themselves, “Why can’t you be as good as them?”
New research from NewVoiceMedia shows there are significant gaps between customer preferences and reality. This means many companies are missing out on opportunities to deliver a better level of service, especially through customer support centers where using new technology could not only help improve the overall customer experience, but also help in holding onto existing customers, which leads to more business and, ideally, word-of-mouth referrals.
So here are some scary truths. NewVoiceMedia surveyed support center professionals and found that nearly a third – 32 percent – indicated that customers had to talk to more than one agent in the course of their call. I’m willing to accept that some customers may need to be “escalated” to a higher-level support rep who has a deeper understanding of the issue. But, what I won’t accept is the second finding, which is that 21 percent of the support centers force the customer to repeat their story because they don’t have a record that the customer had previously talked to someone else. In today’s customer service-focused world, that number should be zero, or close to it. There are plenty of technologies out there that make it easy to track all of the interactions a customer has with a company in one customer record that is easy for a support rep to access, read and understand.
Another finding shows that only 5 percent of the people interviewed consider monitoring social media channels as a primary method for customer feedback. Only 5 percent! Are you kidding me? This is one of the easiest ways to get real feedback and respond to customers, appreciating the positive comments and turning rants into possible PR opportunities when a company “socially” resolves a customer’s complaint.
Depending on your company and industry, the research may or may not be accurate. But, even if the numbers aren’t quite this extreme – maybe they are two or three times better – the concept holds true for any company in any type of industry. If you aren’t fully invested in a customer service and CX initiative, you are at risk of losing your customers to competitors that are.
Dennis Fois, CEO at NewVoiceMedia, says, “Customers expect seamless, consistent and high-touch experiences every time they engage with a brand, and contact centers must be equipped with the technology that will allow agents to provide these types of interactions. It’s time for businesses to get better at keeping up by adopting newer, smarter and more efficient cloud-based customer service technologies.”
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