“In the old world, you devoted 30% of your time to building a great service and 70% of your time to shouting about it. In the new world, that inverts.” – Jeff Bezos CEO of Amazon
Customers expect top-notch service, with no patience or loyalty for companies that don’t provide it. They can easily search for a better alternative to your product or service. And they can leave bad reviews in a moment. The result is that businesses lose customers instead of the growth they’d planned.
Customers value the quality of customer service as much as price and quality of products. According to an American Express study, “Americans will spend 9% more with companies that provide excellent service.” Recent trends in customer service show that companies can delight their customers while generating revenues.
In the customer service trends handbook published by Microsoft, “90% of consumers say they expect consistency and continuity from a brand across channels.”
Yet, relatively few contact centers have focused on providing a consistent customer experience.
According to Forrester Research, “only 36% of contact centers have implemented multichannel integration to provide consistent experiences; 70% do not train agents to support multiple channels, and 56% do not offer an agent-facing knowledge management solution”.
These are the five ways of providing premium customer support software to meet your customer expectations in 2017:
1. Your customers want to help themselves
Self-service is fundamental to customers getting the answers they need and streamlining the workloads of live support teams.
Customer expectations are changing; each time you add another channel, you offer another way for a customer to engage with you. Customers expect support to be available 24/7. Not every customer wants to come to you for simple queries, they demand to learn and help themselves, so your self-service is expected to be top notch.
Customers are taking time out of their busy day and are looking for quick and easy help. Forrester’s latest consumer survey about channel usage for customer service, reported that the use of the help/FAQ pages on a company website for customer service increased from 67% in 2012 to 76% in 2014.
Most consumers expect ready access to support or help. Microsoft’s Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report found that more than 90 percent of all consumers expect a brand or organization to offer a self-service support portal or frequently asked questions (FAQ) page.
What goes into good self-service?
Great self-service starts with a searchable support portal that’s easy to navigate and equipped to escalate customers to a better suited channel when they need it.
Kayako aims to create content that answers customers’ questions, and provide easy-to-reach support when needed.
Your first task, when writing self-service content, is to get in your customer’s head to understand how they use your product or service. Ensure your self-service content is relevant to your customers and show them you know what they need.
If you can track what your customers are searching for, test the keyword and search terms they use to see how effective your help center portal is. If your self-service center is responsive in displaying relevant articles rapidly, no one can match you to in delighting your customers.
And remember, not every customer knows what they are looking for. Kayako’s smart search understands real language, anticipates what you are looking for and instantly makes suggestions as you type.
If you are writing a Self Service section for your company’s products or services and don’t know where to start, 5 Rules for Designing the Perfect FAQ Page is for you.
Seven Help Centers we love
The best support centers are intuitive, guided and simple. But they don’t all have to look the same to be effective. Here are seven support centers that we love. They are straightforward, easy-to-use, and powerful.
If you have not implemented self-service tools on your company website, then it’s time to get started. Sign up for a free trial here and get the most out of your Kayako self-service feature.
2. Keep your conversations all in one place by unifying your support
Customers can reach out to you in a variety of ways — email, web, mobile, social media, live chat and phone call. Whatever way the way customer decides to contact you for help is called a channel. How these channels are organized and how well connected they are plays a significant role in the customer’s journey and providing a consistent support experience.
Before deciding whether you need to go for Omni-Channel Support or Multi-Channel Support, knowing the differences between both these channel strategies is essential if your company is involved in online customer service.
Multi-channel support can silo important customer history
In multi-channel strategy, a company uses text, web, social, and live chat to interact with their customers. The intention is to maximize use of all channels and engage customers via multiple touch points. Every channel has its own strategy and they are managed differently. No two channels share any connection so customers may encounter different experiences depending on the channel they are using.
And companies that use multi-channel risk siloing important information about their customers. The agent helping the customer over email has no access to their case history and any help they received via Twitter.
Omni-channel strategy creates a single view of the customer
The omni-channel strategy takes a holistic view of the customer experience, regardless of the channel. All the channels are interconnected so that when a customer switches channels their journey is consistent and not siloed.
And if they don’t work together, it’s not omni-channel.
A unified view is essential to customers today:
“In this world, a unified, single-view of customer intelligence is a must. Yet, the research findings show 56.6% businesses still can’t be contacted by social media, only 12.9% businesses offer a customer history and service record in mobile apps, and 76.3% businesses’ existing CRM systems can’t track customers’ social media interaction.”
If you haven’t implemented an omni-channel support system, do it now, before you frustrate and risk losing customers.
Use Kayako to unify your customer conversations across all channels putting everything you know about them right at your fingertips. Take it for a test spin now.
3. The customer is always on, always connected
Since 2015, 51% of the total online market use their mobiles to access the internet making mobile first customer service essential.
Today’s customers use their mobile devices for everything. From purchasing to customer support, your brand’s mobile strategy should synchronize with your customers’ journeys.
How can your brand adopt a customer service mobile strategy?
Your customers are most likely to contact you on their cell phones. A mobile-first mindset for your customer service and sales support is essential for you to be competitive.
Adopting a mobile-first customer service approach means more than making your website mobile friendly. It also means making all your support channels mobile accessible.
“By 2020 40% of sales organizations will rely primarily on mobile digital technology for their sales force automation initiatives.” Source – Gartner.
4. Provide personal and proactive social customer support
Social media has become the first point of call for airing our grievances.
Social media is the face of your business. But a single dissatisfied customer on your social channel can harm your company’s reputation.
“When companies engage and respond to customer service requests over social media, those customers end up spending 20% to 40% more with the company.” Bain & Company.
Poor social customer service can flip the game the other way. A bad experience will stop 66% of customers from doing business with a company.
It is essential for companies to have a process in place to quickly recognize, channelize, prioritize, respond, and resolve customer service issues given exposure in social media.
You need to put your best foot forward. Customers notice and appreciate when companies actively participate in social media and answer questions. Customers expect quick response times. They need you to answer their questions in no more than 30-45 minutes.
Businesses are creating social media teams to ensure they can promptly answer questions. Some companies have even gone on to make separate Twitter and Facebook accounts specifically for customer support.
If you are looking at setting up a social channel in the future to help your customers and improve the profile of your brand on the top, do it now.
I was excited to find a set of seven amazing examples of customer service using social media and they are:
@HeatherroseSf Thanks for the kind words! We love having such great customers as yourself, just for the record! 😉 *BB
— Zappos (@zappos) January 3, 2017
— Buffer (@buffer) January 3, 2017
— Xbox Support (@XboxSupport) January 3, 2017
@jeffkatzshow That’s awesome! We hope your wife got your phone back to you quickly.
— JetBlue Airways (@JetBlue) January 3, 2017
@monikamagana_ We have plenty of suggestions! Are you looking for something sweet or salty? Do you have a preference of flavor?
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) January 2, 2017
@fotobyfidel That’s not what we like to see. To start, where did you purchase those shoes? Let us know.
— Nike.com (@nikestore) January 2, 2017
— HubSpot Support (@HubSpotSupport) December 29, 2016
Check them out! If you follow their lead, you’ll be rocking social media in no time.
But make sure you avoid the social mistakes by automating customer service or auto-responders that redirect users to other channels.
“By 2020, recognizing social media as a channel that is in use by the entire organization rather than on a department-by-department basis can help brands orchestrate a multichannel, multipurpose CX.” Source – Gartner.
5. Get customers to use keys on their keyboard, not their phones
Customers no longer have the patience to spend 10 minutes pressing buttons to get through an interactive voice response (IVR) only to wait on hold for a half an hour. It’s no secret customers have grown increasingly impatient. It may surprise you that most customers have absolutely zero patience anymore for customer support.
Modern customers prefer live chat over other email, phone calls or scrolling through documentations, because it is fast, convenient and immediate. With live chat, there are no long wait queues, hold times, menu options or call charges.
Econsultancy reported that live chat has a customer satisfaction rate of 73% – the highest of all customer service channels – with Email support at 61% and only 44% for phone support. And this success rate is about to grow in next five years.
Instant chat is increasingly prevalent. The uniqueness about the live chat within the digital care environment is that it requires less commitment of concentration from the customer when initiating a dialog with the support team, making it the most convenient and hassle-free channel for end users.
Live chat benefits brands by reducing expenses, increasing sales, boosting customer loyalty, and by offering a quick resolution and proactive approach.
If you are struggling to get the best out of your live chat channel, make sure to go through
- 14 Steps to Create the Perfect Live Chat Customer Experience
- 6 Simple Steps You Can Follow to Create Memorable Live Chat Experiences
A unified approach is vital for an effortless customer experience in 2017
Great customer service intended to support a long-term relationship based on trust and people-oriented growth will profit your business and assure satisfaction.
Providing quick and easy help no matter what channel your customer chooses, is essential to keeping customers loyal.
Keep your self-service simple, unify your channels for relevant help, be mobile first for every channel, be quick and human on social, and always be available on live chat. 2017 is the year of effortless experiences, don’t let your customers down.