By now, most businesses know that a happy customer is a great customer. Happy customers mean a bridge of trust has been established and with it a sense of loyalty to the product or service you provide. However, what happens when a customer has a bad experience? This becomes a moment of truth where a bad experience that is handled correctly can transform that customer into an even more loyal customer than if they’d never had a bad experience in the first place.
Digital customer service is at the heart of satisfaction today. In fact, 2015 has brought a shift from what customers used to value most (polite, friendly customer service) to First Contact Resolution being the most valued customer service aspect. According to Forrester Research, reliance on self-service channels has increased to 76% in 2014 compared to 67% in 2012 – meaning customers are turning to resources on the Web to help them easily answer questions on their own. When a customer is unable to quickly find the answer to a question, their next move is to seek out assisted support – whether that be via online chatting, via phone or text or over social media channels.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing when consumers need to seek out customer service; rather, you, as the company, have the opportunity to really demonstrate your ability to provide the kind of support that creates brand advocates. Understanding what customers want and need is critical to achieving that.
It may seem obvious; what customers want is an effortless customer experience. This means customers want to have the ability to go to a self-service page, where they typically start anyway, and be able to find the answer to their question on their own. If the answer doesn’t exist online, or wherever they may be looking, they need to be able to seamlessly escalate their question to a service agent.
In order to properly execute their job (answering the customer’s question as quickly as possible), the agent needs to be equipped with knowledge and open communication lines with peers and subject matter experts so that they’re not spending the average 20% of their time hunting down information that they don’t know. If the customer on the other end of the line can sense that the agent is really swarming the question topic to get it answered more quickly, then the customer is going to be left feeling satisfied, and will trust that their decision to invest in your product or service was a good one because it’s how one performs in challenging situations that really establishes confidence and loyalty.
Having reliable and consistent self-service channels as well as agents who can flawlessly get the information needed to answer are the ingredients to a low-effort customer experience. Why does this matter? Well, studies have shown that 91% of customers who have put forth low effort to have a support question answered are more likely to be loyal to your company, versus only 4% of customers who put forth high effort.
If we can transform the perspective of customer support being negative to being an opportunity to simply get the answers you need quickly and easily, then more customers can be transformed into loyal customers for life. The trust they will have established in their interaction with your support resources and/or support agents will establish the confirmation sought out by customers that they invested in the right company: yours!
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