Customer service expectations have changed dramatically during the past decade. Long gone are the days when outsourcing phone support to the nether reaches of the globe was even marginally acceptable. Today’s customers expect their queries and grievances to be dealt with by warm, competent human beings. Human beings that function with the speed and efficiency of computers. Today’s consumers have a more powerful voice than ever before, through the many social media outlets available to them. Here are three ways your contact center can grow to accommodate the specific demands required to satisfy your average customer.
1) Customers expect one integrated experience through all your channels of communication.
This means that information garnered through your contact center, website, Twitter, etc. will pass along to every company channel they communicate with. They don’t want to repeatedly offer the same personal info, passwords, and questions every step of the way. If you aren’t able to absorb and integrate their personal information, your customers will quickly grow tired of being treated like a stranger. They also expect their information to be stored accurately. Misspelled names and bungled addresses will not be tolerated by your clientele. Ensure that your customer communications are heard and stored efficiently, so that your customer always feels respected and empowered. They do have power, of course. Today, more than ever.
2) Your customer expects to be taken seriously.
This means that you will honor their (unreasonable?) demand for a refund or return. You will often cover shipping. You will offer 24/7 customer service. You will respond quickly to their questions, by phone, email, or chat. Companies like Zappos transformed customer expectations regarding shipping price, shipping speed, and returns. Amazon continues to circumvent the headaches that less successful retailers put in their way. Figure out how to give your customers instantaneous satisfaction. Or another company will do it for you.
3) Your customers expect personalized service.
This is closely related to the previous two points, but it is worth stating clearly on its own. Nothing riles a customer more than scripted, robotic service. Apple applied this principle by putting angry customers through to a living, breathing operator when they swear at the automated customer service. If your automated service is less than intuitive, or if your personal operators don’t have the common touch, your customers won’t be happy. Remember, every time they have to call you, it is an experience they don’t want to be having. Simply by reaching out to you, they are experiencing a break from the seamless user experience they want so desperately to have. Treat them personally and graciously, and the service experience will be a smooth one.
Following these simple principles will make your customer service a model of effectiveness and joy to your customers. Really, these ideas are as much attitude as anything else. They are mindsets that should be at the root of every customer-focused decision you make as a business. Today, customers have the power. They make giants out of the companies that incorporate these mindsets the best. It would seem that this trend will only magnify in the months and years to come.