The customer care outlook for 2019 shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone: multiple communication channels, integrated and seamless customer experience, social media as customer care and around-the-clock agent availability. Customer care simply needs to match the customer lifestyle in order to provide outstanding experiences and to achieve customer loyalty. It sounds simple, right?
Not quite. Adapting to customers’ lifestyles in order to provide great customer service is not easy. It requires a substantial change in the way companies operate, and it has to become a vital part of the business strategy. In the past few years, many companies have started paying closer attention to customer experience. Substantial investments have been made in technology, staff and attractive offers in order to provide great customer service and to keep customers happy and loyal. For 2018, the challenge is even greater as companies move from “investing” in customer service to fully “integrating” it into their business strategies.
Customer Experience Becomes a Differentiator
Companies have realized, sometimes the hard way, that a better customer experience will lead to higher customer satisfaction, which in turn results in improved customer retention, brand loyalty and brand advocacy. A happy customer is a loyal customer! But keeping customers happy comes at a steep price with many companies paying as much to keep customers as they do to acquire new ones.
This is no surprise. Companies need to make significant investments to deliver outstanding customer service. Service delivery requires fully integrated multiple communications channels: customers expect that all their interactions are funneled into a single customer profile that gives the agents full visibility into the customers’ background. Whether you are on the cloud or on premise, this requires additional investments in technology. Not only that, you also need to up your investments in staff across channels as well as longer and more complex training of agents.
Global or multinational organizations face other costly challenges: providing instant and round the clock support to customers anywhere in the world. Let’s face it, you need to provide 24 hours of customer service as customers no longer expect to bring up issues during business hours. Customers expect that all issues are looked into and solved as they happen. To be able to satisfy these expectations, companies need to offer seamless support across live-agent channels and self-serve channels.
The Customer Experience Continues to Go Mobile
It’s no secret that customers now live their lives digitally – with the world at their fingertips. Companies have jumped to respond to how customers interact now with fully responsive websites, easy-to-use apps, more frequent and interactive communication via SMS, and ongoing presence on social media. But where some companies have failed is in the integration of these different channels. For 2018, companies will be looking at providing a seamless experience by achieving full and almost instant channel integration.
As companies continue to provide mobile support, they will take advantage of customer information and behaviors in order to predict and anticipate customer needs. This is where the power of analytics meets the capabilities of mobile technology. Companies should be looking at patterns, location, and proximity to make suggestions that can influence a customer’s behavior.
Social Media as a Customer Service Platform
Customers are loud and clear on social media. If you want to know what your customers think about your company, just take a look at your social media sites. In addition to gauging the sentiment towards your products and services, you can also gauge how much engagement those positive or negative comments can generate. Companies have to be even more proactive and engaging, taking advantage of the opportunities presented to address a customer issue and to impress potential customers.
Closer Collaboration with Outsourcing Partners
Companies make the commitment to a customer experience strategy, they have the right people in place, they have all the ideas, so what is missing? Most likely, the missing link lies in the execution. With the constant evolution of mobile technology, companies need to be nimble and react quickly to adapt to the constantly increasing customer expectations. As the number of channels increases, so does the complexity of your operations, from selecting the right agents to training, to ensuring all your staffing levels are good enough to help cover all the bases.
Working closely with an outsourcing partner can help companies minimize the risk of a failed “customer experience” strategy implementation. Companies will look at redefining their goals and effectively communicating with partners in order to ensure a great customer experience. Partners bring in the experience navigating through constant technology changing, channel integration, and the most important aspect, the customer interaction.
Want to find out more about how to build an outstanding customer experience in 2019? Download our white paper, How to Build Brand Loyalty with a Dynamite Customer Experience, and discover how customer service has changed, top things customer crave and the benefits of going offshore.