The importance of both customer satisfaction and the customer experience as a whole is demonstrated by recent studies that show that CX will soon overtake price and product as the most important differentiator between brands. Many organisations have already accepted this fact. A whopping 80% of businesses plan to focus their energies on competing primarily through an improved customer experience.
An improved experience means eliminating customer friction issues. While it’s a good idea to start with digital journey mapping to establish what your specific points of friction are, we have some general tips to help get you started.
Customer satisfaction is intrinsically linked to customer expectations. To satisfy an individual, you must meet or exceed their expectations. In the modern age, this means providing quick and easy access to services.
One of the simplest ways of doing so is streamlining customer identity authentication. Rather than relying on long, organisation-specific user IDs that are difficult to remember and easy to lose, it’s necessary to introduce authentication technology that makes use of universal IDs, such as email addresses, phone numbers and personal information.
Not only does this speed up the customer experience (resulting in improved customer satisfaction), it also opens the door for a range of other improvements. For instance, if an IVR system can ID a caller from their phone number, it can ensure human agents have the right customer information (and history) on hand to provide a quick resolution to the enquiry.
When 75% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that is able to identify them and their enquiry and purchase history, this type of authentication process not only improves customer satisfaction but also affects sales.
As well as allowing customers to access your customer service system through a diverse array of channels, an interconnected, omni-channel approach improves your agents’ ability to do their job. By ensuring that information gathered from every channel is available to agents as and when they need it, you facilitate quicker enquiry resolution and benefit from more satisfied customers.
This means developing a customer service approach in which every channel feeds into a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system that works for your agents, as well as customers.
Over the last few years, chatbots have emerged as one of the most exciting customer service technologies around. Not only do they allow customers to self-serve in a new and cost-effective manner, they also improve access to an organisation’s customer service by reaching platforms that would otherwise prove too expensive to operate with human agents.
The clearest example of the way chatbots can improve access is social media. While some businesses operate live chat services on platforms like Facebook, it is often prohibitively expensive. Integrated chatbot services like those offered by Inform allow organisations of all sizes to expand their customer service to social media and empowers customers to self-serve through their preferred channel on a 24/7 basis.
With all the talk of AI and automation technology defining the customer experience over the coming years, it’s easy to overlook the human side to customer service. In other words, it’s important to recognise that human agents still have a vital role to play in providing a satisfactory customer experience.
This means striking the right balance between automation and human agents. Fortunately, when designed and implemented by experts, automation technology is often an excellent tool for improving agent performance, as well as allowing for self-serve capabilities.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology is an excellent example of this. On a basic level, it boasts two distinct benefits;
- Increased self-service – access to information that allows customers to answer their enquiry without having to talk to or wait for an agent.
- More efficient routing – IVR ensures that customers are routed to the right agent at the first time of asking, allowing your employees to provide a better service.
These two benefits ensure that well-designed IVR systems check and balance the drive towards greater automation by emphasising the value of human agents.
However, two principal caveats must be taken into consideration.
- Firstly, this balance can only be achieved through carefully-considered IVR scripts.
- Second, IVR technology must be integrated into an omni-channel system that provides agents with customer history acquired from any and all customer service channels. Consequently, it pays to work alongside IVR experts like Inform, who have experience of delivering on both counts.
With the introduction of new self-serve technologies, such as social media chatbots, organisations have had to expand their customer service to encompass a wider range of channels. While there is understandable excitement surrounding these new technologies, attention must be paid to more traditional channels, too.
For instance, email remains the preferred customer service channel for more than 25% of UK customers. That means 1 in 4 of your customers will have a less than satisfactory experience if you neglect email and focus exclusively on emerging technologies.
The solution is to develop an omni-channel system in which all channels benefit from some automation and work together to ensure that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. An efficient email solution, like that provided by Inform, will allow you to automate the provision of comprehensive information, link to digital forms and drastically improve your first contact resolution rate, ensuring you’re able to provide excellent customer service across all channels.
In 2020, improving customer satisfaction ratings will require the implementation and development of several key customer service tools, including chatbots, intelligent IVR with integrated SMS linking to digital online options and self-serve email. However, these technologies need to be designed and integrated in a way that both offers excellent support to customers and empowers your human agents. Continuity between channels is imperative in providing excellent customer services. Inform Communications can help provide a seamless customer experience across multiple channels – get in touch to find out more.