As we wrote about, providing unsatisfactory customer service can be detrimental to a company’s brand, reputation, and customer base. More specifically, research shows more than half of consumers would switch to a competitor following a poor customer experience, and 71% report that a negative experience with a company affects their impression of the brand.
So what can companies with call centers do to proactively address the needs of their customers? How can they provide the types of experiences that will attract, satisfy, and retain customers? The solution is simple: listen.
Here’s a look at 5 tips for giving customers exactly what they ask for:
- Provide omichannel support: With newer communications channels such as social, mobile, web chat, and email becoming increasingly important to customers, companies must develop an omnichannel approach to their customer service in order to connect with customers on the channels they prefer to use. Omnichaannel support not only offers customers a seamless transition between channels; it also prevents them from having to repeat information they may have already provided to different call center agents, which can be both irritating to customers and potentially damaging to a company’s reputation.
- Collect (and apply) customer feedback: According to research from NewVoiceMedia, more than half of customers (57%) will provide feedback to companies to let them know they’re performing poorly. Whether it comes in the form of surveys, email, social media messaging, etc., it’s crucial for companies to turn customer feedback into action, demonstrating to customers that they’re not only listening to complaints, but implementing changes to address the concerns customers are expressing.
- Make responses timely: Responding to customer concerns and complaints is only the first step: responding quickly is just as important. eDigital Research shows 80% of social media responses from companies take an average of 12 hours, yet customers expect real-time support across channels. “In today’s world…no one has time to wait,” says Meredith Flynn-Ripley, founder and CEO of HeyWire Business, in a Business Reporter article on using text messaging to resolve customer issues. “Customers are expecting real-time responsiveness to their support issues and want solutions that provide immediate answers.”
- Adapt to shifting consumer preferences: As noted in a recent Smart Customer Service article, it’s critical for companies to “pay close attention to customer trends in order to keep pace with where and how customers want to engage at the moment.” The CFI Group Contact Center Satisfaction Index 2013 (CCSI), for example, showed that customer satisfaction with company contact centers dropped 10% between 2012 and 2013, which indicates that companies need to elevate their customer service standards to meet the increasing demands of today’s customers.
- Keep customer self-service in mind: While the CCSI Index shows an overall decline in customer satisfaction, it also indicates that the desire for self-paced or instantaneous service remains steady for customers. “Nearly half of respondents indicated their preferred method of contact would be a noncall communication, such as email, chat, or via the company’s Web site,” claims Smart Customer Service. To show customers that they hear (and care about) their preferences, companies can, for example, examine the live chat aspect of their websites to ensure customers have a satisfying experience.
It’s no secret that customer expectations are steadily rising in today’s digital era. To demonstrate to customers that they’re truly listening to their feedback and catering to their preferences, companies with call centers must be able to tap into what customers are asking for and find a way to deliver it to them.
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