Times have changed. Price, brand and quality are no longer the main influences for consumers’ decision making, particularly when selecting services. Customer service has not only been added to the mix; for many, it has become the key driver.
Customer service influence was the topic of the 2017 State Of Global Customer Service Report, which reveals the results of Microsoft’s survey of 5000 consumers in five countries.
Customers expect more from brands when it comes to convenience, resolution times and agent expertise. 96% of consumers say customer service influences brand choice and loyalty.
7 key survey results impacting contact centres
Out of the 31 survey questions, we found the following seven to be of particular importance for Contact Centre operations.
In some cases responses were quite different depending on age group, but in others the response was consistent regardless of age group.
1. When you contact a brand or organisation for customer service, do you expect the representative to know your contact, product and service information/history?
If your Contact Centre Solution isn’t yet integrated with your CRM or ERP systems, it needs to be done immediately, and the info screen-popped into the agent’s desktop. One-way is crucial, two-way even better – so agents can update customer data using text entry and other controls to ensure your customer info stays up to date, in real time.
2. Do you have a more favourable view of brands that offer or contact you with proactive customer service notifications?
Customers want to be kept informed of changes, outages, appointments and promotions. Premier Contact Point makes it easy for Contact Centres to be proactive and to set up automated email and SMS notifications to list segments.
3. Do you have a more favourable view of brands that offer a mobile-responsive customer service support portal?
If your customer demographic is predominantly people under the age of 54, and you’re not yet offering a mobile customer experience, you are not giving your customers what they want.
4. What do you feel is the most important aspect of a good customer service experience?
Advanced call queuing and routing intelligently directs calls to the right agent. IVR and Automatic Call Distribution solutions work together to provide faster, more efficient service. You can also use skills-based routing to direct calls to agents based on customer selection, service levels or agent skills. Trained staff, with screen-popped access to customer history and the knowledge base, can provide effective help, more efficiently.
5. What is the most frustrating aspect of a poor customer service experience?
The main purpose of any IVR is to either assist a customer with a request/task, or to route a call to an agent for help. If your key objective is to direct callers to the right queue, present the options in the order which reflects the most frequent requests. For instance: Sales, Technical Service, Customer Support; or Concierge Desk, Reception, Housekeeping. If you want to encourage self-service options, use the same strategy and arrange your menu options to match purpose volumes: update password, check balance, make a payment, etc.
Although a well-designed IVR menu makes it easy for customers to navigate and locate answers or help, you cannot serve all callers with IVR, so you must let them get to a person or at least request a call-back.
6. When engaging with a brand or organisation for customer service, where does your interaction typically begin?
If most of your customers are under 50, your online customer service needs to be comprehensive, well designed, and actively monitored. For older customers, you need to offer both online and phone support. Integrated omnichannel service is a must, because increasingly your customers want support in the way they want it, regardless of your technology and system limitations.
7. Do you believe social media is an effective channel for customer service?
Over half of the global survey respondents had sought customer service help via social media, and also reported a more favourable view of brands who responded to complaints and questions via social media. Millennials, especially, believe social media is an effective channel for customer service. But for social care to be effective, brands must respond quickly: 66% of those polled expect a response within 24 hours. Social media is becoming increasingly important in the total customer service mix.
What to do about it?
The outcomes from this survey confirm that customers expect more from brands when it comes to convenience, resolution times, and agent expertise.
Meeting customer preferences is dependent on using the right technology, and brands must embrace both in order to keep pace with heightened expectations.
Upgrading strategies, systems, operations and skills needs to be well planned and implemented, and is best done in stages, with expert guidance to minimise disruption and maximise productivity.
Delivering the level of service that customers demand starts with choosing the right technology. When we deploy Premier Contact Point into a contact centre, we help with strategies, integrations, and workflows, designed to achieve your objectives and minimise disruption to your operations. We also provide comprehensive onsite training to help your team improve skills, efficiency, and productivity.