In today’s connected world, companies have the unique opportunity to interact with consumers across a plethora of channels. They can reach new customer segments, build loyalty and ultimately sell more. But with those opportunities come new risks. Many brands struggle to perform well across channels, and the customer experience suffers as a result.
In customer experience management, quantity does not equal quality. It is not sufficient to have a presence across all channels. Customers expect a seamless interaction and transition from one to the other. At any point in the customer journey, they expect the same hassle-free communication. In essence, they want the illusion of talking to the same person from beginning to end, despite interacting with different team members, if not departments. If any of the links in this chain fails, the whole customer experience is in jeopardy. Customers are quick to compare companies and might switch to the competition after just one negative experience. In other words – every step in your customer journey matters equally.
Not convinced? Here is what customers have to say:
How to compete in such a challenging environment? It starts with assessing the status quo – with an audit of our customer service. Start by looking at your channels and answer the following questions:
- On which channels do you currently offer support, and how much demand is there for each of the channels?
- Do you engage with customers on channels that you do not use for support?
- Are you allowed to use these channels based on customer permissions and data protection laws?
In the next step, you need to assess your customer service performance. Focus on three key areas: people, processes and policies, and systems.
Your team is a key component of your customer experience. Having the right member at the right post can make a world of difference to your customer journey outcomes. Here is what you should look out for when hiring (or training up) members:
- Hire for attitude. You can address skill gaps with training, but if someone does not have a customer service attitude, there is very little that you can do about it.
- Listening is gold. A customer representative has to be a good listener. They must be attentive and ask the right questions to filter out the core of the problem from the customer’s frustration.
- Excellent communicators. Speaking is also gold in customer service. More often than not, customers will call with problems, be angry, or frustrated. A skilled communicator can turn around the situation and make the interactions positive. Your customer will walk away, if not with a solution, at least with a good feeling.
- Guidance and reassurance. A customer representative must come across as competent and confident to reassure the customer that their problem will be solved. They must have leadership qualities.
Process and Policies
Design your processes as virtuous circles, not vicious circles. ‘We do it like this because we’ve always done it like that’ – famous last words of companies left behind in the dust by changing times and consumer demands. A process is never set in stone and must be subject to a regular audit. Only processes and policies that can adapt to the evolving realities can stand the test of time. Here is a list of tried and tested best practices:
With the audit complete, one last step remains between your brand and excellent omnichannel performance – selecting and using the right system. This is a decision based on several factors. A decision we can help you make after getting to know your business. It starts with defining the goals and setting a budget. When deciding between systems, you must factor in all costs; our consultants will guide you in making the calculations. From your goals, you can derive ‘must-have’ and ‘nice-to-have’ features. This list, alongside the budget, will narrow down the selection to a few options. We always recommend opting for scalable solutions that can grow and develop alongside your business. Finally, you define your timeline, ensure security and up-time, and request a customized product demo. From selection to post-implementation support, you can count on our experience.
Whether your business is small or big, customers expect a new level of customer service. You could say large companies have spoiled them. But luckily, with the right tools, any brand can provide outstanding customer experiences and secure loyal, returning customers.
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