How to Eliminate the Friction in Customer Service
The world of commerce is evolving and consumers are the ones driving the change. The customer service industry is currently at the forefront. You might be wondering, why? We are now living in what some call an “attention economy.” Customers now demand that their questions and issues be resolved almost instantly. And that is no exaggeration; they want immediate attention and a seamless resolution.
Research shows that 45% of consumers expect their inquiries to be responded to in less than one minute. They apparently have little or no patience for delays. This is reflected in the fact that 82% of today’s consumers will, after one bad experience with a company, cease doing business with them altogether. Companies having difficulty adjusting to this new reality are feeling the brunt with lower Net Promoter Scores and increased customer churn.
The following are four easy ways brands can improve customer service and increase customer satisfaction:
1. Agents Should Avoid Using Lingo and/or Acronyms.
You’ve may at one time ordered something in a store or a restaurant, and had a member of staff ask, “Do you mean [Insert Name of Product]?” This shifts the onus of knowing the company’s proprietary terminology onto you, the customer, and it’s one of the quickest ways to make you feel alienated.
To create positive customer experiences it has to be done from the customers’ point of view. You cannot expect your customers to know everything that your agents know in terms of terminology. How are they supposed to know that a UPC is a number located under the barcode? Customers speak in plain language so it’s not right to humiliate them for not knowing your internal terminology.
Train your agents to accept the customer’s vernacular and have them speak to customers in terms they can understand to increase customer engagement and loyalty.
2. Use a Universal ID for Customer Authentication.
I doubt that many of us can remember our account number associated with our various utility bills. We are usually assigned a lengthy, proprietary number as a form of identification, something rarely used that few can recall from memory. Any company that assigns these difficult to remember IDs are creating a frustrating and unnecessary barrier between them and their customers, who are simply trying to get a quick question answered.
There’s a simple solution: Authenticate your customers using a universal identifier like their phone number or email address. They are using these simple IDs across their accounts, and they’re easy to remember. Universal IDs help create a unified view of the customer, no matter where they are in the sales cycle, nurture cycle, customer cycle…
3. Omnichannel Resolution is What Customers Want.
Customers want omnichannel support. They do not want to be transferred around to different departments just to get a simple issue resolved. Many brands promise omnichannel support and simply don’t deliver. Customers may reach out to them via live chat or social media and then are told that they must use an alternate channel, like phone or email.
There doesn’t seem to be any point in offering all these channels if they work in silos. Of course, there will be times when an issue cannot be resolved on just one channel. But for the most part, if you offer live chat support, then most issues should be able to be handled and resolved in live chat.
Referring back to the research we mentioned earlier, 86% of customers routinely use at least five different channels to reach support. However, 45% think that it’s only getting more difficult to reach someone who can actually help them. Many who are told they need to use another channel, simply give up without getting a resolution and they’re not happy about it. If this sounds like something your company is guilty of doing you need to make changes. Design a solution that offers not only omnichannel support, but resolution as well.
By doing this, issues will be resolved more quickly with less frustration, which will make customers happier all the way around.
4. Increase Your Self-Service Options.
According to research done by TSIA in 2017, 68% of people who use self-service say that this is preferred channel for accessing customer support. Surprisingly, this percentage is higher than for other types of assisted support. The advantage of self-help is that it lets customers get their answers immediately. This reduces routine support tickets, freeing agents up to give their attention to customers who require more individualized support.
The challenge with offering self-service is in trying to make sure it’s effective. To meet this challenge you should rely on the methodology offered by knowledge centered service (KCS). Essentially, this encourages businesses to create a library of support documentation as they go about resolving issues for customers. Every issue is documented and added to a knowledgebase self-service portal facing customers can access to answer every conceivable problem and/or question.
Improving customer support does not mean you must go through a long drawn out strategic initiative. On the contrary, there are plenty of things you can implement today that would make a huge difference in terms of your customer experience. It all comes down to eliminating as much friction as possible.
We enable the world’s most iconic brands to reduce the friction along their customer buying journey.
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