Customer service trends are today driven by the need to meet consumer expectations. However, the evolution of technological innovation together with the shift in the demographics of consumers has led to quickly changing expectations. The main challenge in customer service strategy today lies in its ability to adapt to these changes and to grow in complexity, especially as it becomes increasingly crucial to the success of a company.
Customer service is indeed the face of your company and to stagnate in meeting your customer expectations could spell doom. Here are five customer expectations in 2017 your company needs to meet:
TOP 5 Customer Service Expectations in 2017
#1: The Customer Experience
Once upon a time, quality and price were the essence of purchase decisions, but today more and more brands are chosen based on whether the overall customer experience matches their expectations, and the failure to do is leading customers to look for brands that will. Especially as the Millennial generation has become the largest worldwide, it's critical that your customer experience design and customer service capabilities are prepared to meet the needs of these younger customers. In fact, a recent study reveals that 72% of Millennials are actually more likely to spend their hard-earned money on positive experiences rather than on strictly material products. In other words, receiving the business of Millennials requires more than the traditional exchange of value for money. Customer service is the key to proving this experience, and as a result, gaining their loyalty and advocacy.
#2: The Customer Journey
Today, one of the main expectations regarding the customer experience is its level of personalization. According to Accenture, 73% of consumers prefer to do business with retailers that use their personal information to make the shopping experience more relevant. To achieve this, brands need to build insightful profiles of customers based on previous journeys. As a result, agents are equipped with a comprehensive view of their customers, including a complete history of their interactions and transaction history with the company, so not only do those customers don’t have to repeat information every time they make contact, but it enables the personalized experience they expect. This approach can also extend to proactively contacting customers, such as sending relevant promotions, follow-up calls to ensure satisfaction, etc. Indeed, fostering relationships with customers can significantly help companies not only meet but exceed customer expectations, turning them into happy customers.
#3: An Omni-Channel Presence
In this age of Omni-channel interaction, customers expect companies to be able to communicate with them on their preferred channel, be it in response to a self-service inquiry, an e-mail, live chat, social media post or speaking with a live agent on the phone, with the choice often depending on the complexity of the issue at hand. So a customer service, wherever that may be, is essential. At the same time, while communication channels are evolving to meet growing customer expectations, also customers expect consistency in their Omni-channel customer support. So the customer experience and cross-platform branding must be the same on all channels in order to minimize friction and effort for your customers.
#4: Expedited Customer Service
Today, no matter the channel, just having a presence isn’t enough. Consumers expect your customer service to help them quickly and efficiently. When they have questions about your service or product, they must be answered in real time, or the customer will simply seek out another available option. In fact, 77% of people say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. With every additional transfer, phone call or email, customers slowly lose patience with your customer service, which can really hurt your likelihood to build and retain your customer base. So as more channels are rolled out with new and innovative engagement features, be ready to be there waiting because that is where your customers will be.
#5 Value Based Customer Service
Today, many customers are prioritizing more of a synthesis of a company’s values with their own. Indeed, consumer habits are shifting from a wild consumerism to a more conscious, selective consumerism, and this being expressed in their choice of which companies to support with their buying decisions. In fact, according to research from Barkley, an independent advertising agency, more than 50% of Millennials make an effort to buy products from companies that support the causes they care about, The reality of more values-based consumer base should influence the strategic planning of your customer service, as customers may expect these shared values also to be expressed by the service reps who they directly interact with.
The bottom line is that customers expect a fast, meaningful, personalized experience on the communication channels of their choice. If you up to the challenge, the results will speak for themselves.
[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.