The onset of a new year often means personal reflections and goal setting, but are you taking the time to do the same for your business? Or do you still have your business resolutions from last year? The new year is the perfect time to take an honest look at the health of your company’s customer engagement and evaluate if you are keeping up with your customers’ expectations.
Prioritizing customer service has never been more important. Consumers today hold all companies to a higher standard than ever before and expect them to match the best experience they have ever had. Moreover, according to a recent study released by Zendesk and conducted by Dimensional Research, customer service directly impacts long-term revenue and the lifetime value of your customers. The findings of this October 2018 study of 1,044 U.S. consumers can help guide you in forming some resolutions and goals to strive for in 2019.
Here are some resolutions to consider for your CX team:
1. I will finally clean up (my help center).
If you, like many of us, hate the idea of conquering a mess and constantly put it off for another day, now is the time to stop procrastinating. Almost all survey respondents (98 percent) have used a self-service solution, like a company’s help center or FAQ page, when dealing with a support issue. Since customers increasingly prefer to help themselves, it’s important to make sure the resources you offer to them are in tip-top shape. This could mean a number of things but some places to start include ensuring your self-service solution identifies content gaps, empowers agents to make your knowledge base more robust, and is smart enough to resolve common customer queries with AI,
2. I will be more social (well, provide more social media savvy support, that is).
Companies are expected to meet customers on their terms and offer a wide range of channels to keep up with customers’ changing preferences. To that effect, non-traditional channels are steadily gaining popularity for customer service. 67 percent of those surveyed have used live chat, social media, or texting for customer service. Among Millennials, 47 percent have used social media to communicate with customer service in the past year. Benchmarks are an excellent way to keep up with these trends and establish some best practices for your business to build a competitive edge.
3. I will ensure customers don’t have to repeat themselves.
More channels, more agents, more problems. Of course, you want to offer customers multiple contact channels and serve them with the right agents, but more choice and more people to deal with often means the customer has to repeat themselves over and over again. That’s because these channels are not connected for conversations to flow seamlessly as customers switch from email to phone to chat and so on. Chances are, they also end up speaking with different people in the organization who don’t have the right context available at the right time. 85 percent of those surveyed will use a different contact method if they don’t receive a response from their initial inquiry and 51 percent wait for less than an hour before trying another channel if they haven’t heard back. Customers expect smooth, connected conversations from the companies they interact with, so make sure you’re not simply adding new channels, but fully integrating them with one another as well and showing your customers you know them.
4. I will provide quicker responses to my customers.
It’s no secret that customers are becoming increasingly impatient (I can speak for myself as a customer), but the rate at which customers expect a response has changed drastically. 65 percent of respondents said they expect customer service to be faster than it was five years ago. In fact, 10 percent will try another method after less than five minutes. Speed also matters when it comes to attracting new customers: 89 percent say a quick response to an initial inquiry is important when deciding which company to buy from. So make sure you aren’t leaving your customers hanging for too long, as their loyalty and trust is increasingly dependent on the service they receive.
Start the new year off right by doing what you say you will do for your customers, investing in understanding them and their preferences, making sure you don’t lose the thread of conversation, and getting ahead of their support issues. Because in this day and age, the service you offer to customers is increasingly becoming even more important than your actual product.