Make Customer Experiences Exceptional in Every Channel

Today, omnichannel is everything. Research shows you need to put equal weight on personalized customer experiences across every channel, and data is the key.

Make Customer Experiences Exceptional in Every Channel
Make Customer Experiences Exceptional in Every Channel. Photo by Vinicius “amnx” Amano on Unsplash

A positive experience with a brand is more influential than great advertising. That means every interaction between your customers and customer service agents or self-service tools has a significant influence on how customers view your brand, whether they’re loyal, and whether they’ll recommend your brand to family and friends.

In this article, you’ll discover:

  • tactical tips for making customer support seamless in any channel
  • which operational and experiential metrics you should be measuring, and
  • how to transform customer support from a cost centre into a strategic differentiator

Table of contents

Executive Summary
The Importance of Contact Center Experiences
A Personalized Experience Through Data
Customer Service Metrics to Watch
Conclusion

Executive Summary

Americans spent nearly $602 billion online in 2019, a number that had been predicted to climb to more than $969 billion by 2023, even before the recent coronavirus pandemic accelerated the shift to online shopping. So the challenge confronting brands is ensuring that every customer gets the same positive experience, whether at a store, on a website, or on a call or chat with a customer service agent (or bot).

Some 96% of consumers say customer service plays a role in their choice of and loyalty to a brand. And when engaging with a customer service centre, 72% say they expect an agent to know who they are and what they’ve bought, and to have insight into their previous interactions with the brand.

Getting it right is all about data—about your customers and their interactions with and responses to your brand as well as agent performance. Digging into these essential insights can help drive operational changes that boost customer satisfaction and revenue while also lowering support costs. With the right actionable data, customer support can be transformed from a cost centre into a strategic differentiator.

65% of U.S. consumers who say a positive experience with a brand is more influential than great advertising

The Importance of Contact Center Experiences

Every interaction between customer service agents and consumers can determine how consumers view a brand, whether they’re loyal to the brand, and whether they’ll recommend the brand to family and friends.

Resolving questions and complaints is more challenging for agents who can’t read visual cues and body language, yet these interactions are as important to a brand relationship as engagements in the real world are. Data shows that positive customer experience is mission-critical:

  • 73% of consumers identify customer experiences as an important factor in their purchasing decisions.
  • 68% of customers say the key to great customer service is a pleasant customer service representative.
  • 61% of customers say they have switched brands after a poor service experience.
  • 43% of consumers would pay more for greater convenience, with convenience being a major factor that drives online shopping.

While self-service support options such as chatbots are widely available, some customers simply prefer a human touch for every engagement with a brand; 24% prefer talking to a live agent when completing routine tasks that could easily be handled by self-service tools. And many customers, especially those who are less tech-savvy, want to speak to or chat with a live agent when they have a problem. Each human interaction provides an opportunity to strengthen the customer relationship—and to build loyalty.

Every interaction between customer service agents and consumers can determine how consumers view a brand, whether they’re loyal to the brand, and whether they’ll recommend the brand to family and friends.

73% of customers who say first contact resolution (FCR) is an important factor in customer satisfaction

A Personalized Experience Through Data

Nearly half of U.S. consumers say a personalized experience is an important part of excellent service. And for the best possible customer experience, that means knowing as much as you can about the consumer.

“Data broadens an agent’s field of vision so he or she understands what is driving customer questions or decisions,” observes Sagar Rajgopal, chief operating officer at Ubiquity. Armed with the right data, an agent can offer better assistance, deliver proactive advice, or find an opportunity to upsell or cross-sell.

Every contact centre generates a wealth of data that can be analyzed to improve the customer experience. This data may include previous interactions and support requests, emails and chats, and data from engagements on social media. Knowing these details can help an agent better understand what’s driving a customer’s questions or complaints.

Agents also can collect data by asking a simple question or two. For example, agents should try to find out what issues customers are having with self-service channels. Were they unable to find relevant information? Was the information they found unclear? This type of insight can lead to fixes that may be as simple as revising confusing website copy in order to improve the customer experience and reduce call volume.

But data isn’t useful unless it’s accessible. Performance-management platforms, which provide data to agents and can gather feedback from customers, can help promote consistency and boost agent performance. This, in turn, boosts customer satisfaction.

The most effective performance-management platforms:

  • Can be integrated into customer relationship management (CRM) tools, giving agents a comprehensive view of the customer.
  • Enable team leaders to provide cross-channel agent coaching that aligns with a brand’s goals, whether that’s increasing first contact resolution (FCR), Net Promoter Scores, customer satisfaction or all of the above.
  • Track agent productivity and pinpoint service problems through real-time alerts.
  • Use gamification to promote healthy competition among agents, who are rewarded for hitting or exceeding customized KPI targets.

Advanced analytics solutions can help retailers glean actionable insight about their internal and customer-facing applications. This data, when applied to make operational or process changes, enables retailers to reduce operating costs, increase annual revenue and continually achieve high customer satisfaction scores. With advanced analytics solutions, retailers can transform their customer service operations into a competitive advantage, as they can readily improve their customer satisfaction and financial performance.

A single integrated advanced analytics solution empowers companies to staff their call centres appropriately. Flipkart, an online retailer in India, uses predictive analytics to adjust its staffing levels and mix of agents—and has improved the accuracy of its call demand forecast by 30% to 40% per day. Hence, agents are responding more quickly to customers’ calls and are more likely to resolve an issue in a single conversation. Preliminary results show that 72% of customers are more likely to recommend the company to a friend or family member.

Up to 16%, The premium consumers would pay for a better customer experience

Customer Service Metrics to Watch

Metrics can be used to gain insight into customer experiences, and, in turn, help improve operational processes and achieve better business outcomes.

Broadly, customer service metrics fall into two categories: operational metrics and experience metrics. Here’s what you should measure and what each metric says about the customer experience you’re providing.

OPERATIONAL METRICS measures customer service agents’ performance. They include:

  • Resolution rate: Overall resolution rate measures the total percentage of customer support tickets—service inquiries such as questions and complaints— that are successfully resolved over the course of one or more points of contact. This metric gives you a big picture of your customer service performance. The higher your overall resolution rate, of course, the better. Eighty-two percent of consumers say that quick issue resolution is a significant element of great customer service.
  • First contact resolution (FCR) rate: The FCR rate measures whether a customer’s problem or question was resolved during the first point of contact. Yes, 73% of customers say FCR is a key component of customer satisfaction. But the FCR rate should be used cautiously as a metric of success because agents and customers don’t always grade resolution the same way. While many companies claim to have FCR rates of up to 80%, customers, on average, report FCR rates of only about 40%. What causes this disconnect? Often, it’s when a customer calls about a single product multiple times—for example, to check on delivery, to get clarification on assembly instructions or to get help with the operation. From the perspective of the call centre, each individual issue might have been resolved during the first contact. But the consumer is likely to consider it a series of issues with a single product.
  • First response time: First response time measures how long it takes for an agent to reply to a customer’s initial contact. Benchmarks for first response time vary by industry, but in general, customers look for an instant response when connecting via messaging or live chat, three minutes on the phone, up to one hour via social media channels, and 24 hours or less for email and online forms. This is an important metric to focus on: 77% of customers say the most important thing a company can do in terms of customer experience is value their time.

EXPERIENCE METRICS measures customers’ beliefs, emotions and sentiments about their customer service. They include:

  • Customer effort score: The customer effort score measures how much effort a customer thinks they put into getting a question answered, a problem resolved or a product returned. It’s typically a simple question such as “Did we solve your problem today?” that’s asked in a post-transaction survey and measured on a scale of 1 to 5, from “very low effort” (1) to “very high effort” (5). Delivering a low-effort experience is the ultimate goal of customer service: 96% of customers who had a high-effort experience-reported being disloyal to the brand, while only 9% of those with low-effort experiences reported being disloyal. Investigate high-effort experiences to identify the causes and correct them. Did the customer have technical difficulties with a chat? Was the issue too complex for an agent to resolve? Did the customer have to wait too long for assistance?
  • Customer satisfaction (CSAT) score The CSAT score measures customer sentiment after a service interaction, generally ranging from “extremely satisfied” to “extremely dissatisfied.” Interestingly, low CSAT scores may help predict customer churn, but high CSAT scores are less accurate at predicting customer loyalty. In other words, low satisfaction may lead to attrition, but high satisfaction doesn’t necessarily lead to repeat business. What’s considered a good CSAT score varies by industry, but in general, 80% is regarded as a good indicator of success. While a CSAT score can serve as a general barometer of service success, remember that satisfied customers aren’t necessarily loyal customers.
  • Net Promoter Score (NPS) The NPS measures how likely a customer is to recommend a brand to their friends and family—and it’s among the best predictors of loyalty. The score is based on the answer to a single question: “How likely are you to recommend [the brand] to a friend or colleague?” Consumers answer on a scale of 0 to 10 and are assigned to one of three categories: promoters (9 to 10: loyal and enthusiastic), passives (7 to 8: satisfied but not particularly happy) and detractors (0 to 6: unhappy and could impede growth via negative word-of-mouth). For brands, scores range from -100, which would mean every consumer is a detractor, to a possible 100. Online retailers have scores that average in the low 30s; multichannel retailers average in the 20s. Across all industries, a score above 70 is considered world-class.

Conclusion

Consumers want their needs to be met, and they want to feel that brands understand them. To satisfy customer expectations, brands must provide a personalized experience via each channel, bolstered by relevant customer data. Done right, customer service exceeds the needs of customers, and agents proactively use each interaction as a way to build brand loyalty and improve the customer experience—and, when appropriate, increase sales by guiding customers to relevant products and shopping opportunities. Doing these things turns each interaction into a powerful customer service experience that can lead to more purchases and greater revenue.

Source: Ubiquity

Published by Silvia Emma

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