The poet Maya Angelou once said that although people may forget what you say and do, “people will never forget how you made them feel.” That could be a mission statement for businesses in the 21st century.
Research shows that consumer loyalty is no longer defined entirely by the price, brand or quality of a product, but rather by the service they receive, their level of satisfaction and their overall experience with a business. An often-quoted Gartner study found that 89 percent of companies believe they are now competing mainly on customer experience.
What are some steps that your business can take to improve customer service? We want to share four of the most basic attributes of customer service, and how technology can help you take full advantage of them.
Understand the Customer Experience
One of the best ways to know what customers think of your company and your service is through customer feedback. In additional to conventional feedback mechanisms such as surveys, technology solutions can help you collect and analyze customer feedback. Contact center analytic tools can evaluate customer data from CRM systems, email, voice mail, point-of-sale (POS) systems and other sources to create an end-to-end view of customer interactions across multiple communication channels. Such in-depth analysis provides valuable insight into customer demographics, shopping habits, buying preferences, spending limits, churn rates and more — all of which can be used to create personalized experiences for customers.
Introduce AI and Automation
Modern contact center solutions are increasingly incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to improve the customer experience. Automated virtual agents and intelligent assistants — otherwise known as “bots” — contribute to intuitive self-service functions, predictive routing and 360-degree customer journey analytics. Research from MIT finds that chatbots can answer customer calls within five seconds on a 24x7x365 basis, achieve first-call resolution 90 percent of the time and efficiently transfer more complex issues to live employees — with fewer than half of the customers having any idea they were interacting with a machine.
Always Be There
Cloud-based virtual contact centers make it easier than ever to provide 24x7 customer support. Decentralized staffing with support agents working from various locations instead of one central location make it easier to support international “follow the sun” operations. Because proximity to the office is a nonfactor, organizations have access to a broader talent pool. If that is more than you need, you could also consider creating a customer service portal through which consumers can leave messages, access FAQs, and find product manuals and descriptions for additional information.
Support Your Agents
Contact center agents are the face of the company in dealings with consumers, so it is important to keep agents happy, motivated and productive. In a traditional on-premises contact center, managers can actively coach, train, encourage and motivate individual agents. In a virtual contact center where agents are working from home or another remote location, managers must depend on technology to keep in touch. In addition to frequent phone calls, emails and text messages, managers should make regular and extensive use of video conferencing for face-to-face communication.
Technology solutions are available that can make it much easier for your organization to deliver a good customer experience. For more information about what types of solutions you should implement, reach out to RMM Solutions at 715-848-3292.