With their high standards of personalization and convenience, digitally native companies have raised consumer expectations for service. Customers now expect companies to know them, their buying habits and their preferences. They want to be advised, enabled and wowed. Companies that meet these demands will thrive. An enhanced experience can pay big dividends, as 86% of customers are willing to pay a premium for great service. Conversely, companies that fail to meet these expectations will lose customers to competitors who can.
Given digital’s new standards of customer experience, here are five mistakes that customers will no longer tolerate. (In part two of this series, we share how to address these problems.)
Customers feel unwanted with impersonal interactions.
Legacy customer service operations lack the digital capabilities, such as analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), to know customers as individuals and engage them across channels in the personalized ways they expect. With an impersonal approach, organizations make customers feel ignored, underwhelmed and, in the worst case, disrespected, which can lead to broken relationships and customer abandonment.
Customers can interact only on the organization’s terms.
Customers want to interact with brands quickly and conveniently through their preferred channels, but traditional customer service operations often can’t support multiple channels of engagement. This is most prevalent with companies that have acquired multiple customer services systems through growth via acquisitions and mergers. It’s difficult and expensive to integrate data from multiple sources and combine it into a single view of a customer that’s accessible from any channel. An inability to provide seamless support across multiple channels jeopardizes repeat business and future growth.
Customers are left hanging.
Further complicating matters, many customer service operations also lack technologies and processes that let customers start a conversation on one channel and finish it on another. While many customers prefer self-service options, service reps need to intervene when those options don’t get the job done. That handoff from self-service to customer service must be automatic and seamless. Otherwise, customers often must take the next step on their own, whether that’s making a phone call or writing an email.
Agents must fend for themselves.
When customers switch among channels, they expect service reps to immediately be on the same page and don’t want to repeat information or retrace steps. Yet many customer service applications lack the ability to document interactions from all channels, such as a browsing history or phone conversation with a service rep. When taking a call or online inquiry, and all a rep sees is a near-blank screen a bad brand experience usually ensues. The rep must ask the customer to repeat information they’ve already entered, or retell their story. This results in dissatisfaction and often the loss of business or the customer.
Failure to capture and share customer insights with the business.
Many customer service centers are disconnected from the rest of the business. They lack the analytic capabilities and feedback loops required to pass critical information to the appropriate business function. Whether failing to analyze that an uptick in complaints signals a problem with a new product requiring immediate attention or being unable to spark innovation based on customer feedback, customer-service-as-a-silo hurts an organization’s ability to compete.
As drivers of customer churn and lost revenue, these five mistakes are red flags signaling underlying issues are at work. An inflexible operating model and inefficiencies might be hindering the ability to rapidly scale the business to deliver next-gen experiences. The high cost of maintaining disparate systems — and the licenses, hardware and infrastructure to support them — might derail modernization efforts. Companies that make it their mission to re-imagine how they engage with customers will earn unrelenting respect, loyalty and repeat business.