Blog 27 November 2017

Engaging the digital customer: what is exceptional customer service

by Richard Farrell

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Customer experience, according to Gartner, is “the last source of sustainable differentiation and the new competitive battleground.” As brands increasingly converge in the quality of the product they bring to market, it is service that sets a company apart. Yet, research suggests that UK brands are struggling to deliver on service quality.

Your customers’ expectations are incomparable with previous generations of consumers. They – not you – are in control of the engagement and set the rules. To get cut through, your business must be able to engage on their terms. That means adapting your contact centre operations to live natively where your customers are and being instantly responsive to their needs.

The age of now

Customer service used to be simple. You pasted a helpline number across your customer service materials then customers would call you between 9-5, and wait patiently in a queue to have their query resolved. That’s not how it works anymore.

Customers expect you to be there when and where they need you. When they make contact online, most expect a response within five minutes. Maybe it’s a web chat to resolve a payment issue, or a response on Facebook to a frustration they’re having with your product. In any case, if you’re not there to support them, you’re leaving the door open for a competitor to be that helping hand. It only takes one bad experience for a quarter of customers to switch service provider.

Striving for excellence

How well do you know your customer? For many brands, their answer to that question still rests on too many assumptions. They may have some demographic data to rely upon but lack real behavioural insight. In an age defined by data-oriented companies like Amazon and Google, your knowledge gaps are more visible. Without truly understanding who they are and how they behave, you simply cannot connect with your customer. Not on their terms, at least.

Being exceptional in the digital economy means paying close attention to the small details that show you really care. You respect their need for personalisation, immediacy and convenience, and treat each interaction as an end-to-end experience. It’s being so good that the customer remembers the name of the agent who went above the call of duty to solve their problem. They’ll tell their friends, and maybe even post an online review.

Showing your brand’s human side elevates your contact centre team from mere agents to brand ambassadors. This helps you to build a deeper relationship with customers and sets you apart from competitors. In fact, you’ll be better able to attract their customers by filling in the gaps in their customer service. Customer promiscuity works both ways.

Becoming omnipresent

The process of building exceptional customer service isn’t as difficult as it may appear. With a contact centre solution tailored to your business’s requirements, you can set your agents up for omnichannel success. You can empower them to be active wherever they’re needed and to automate the mundane communications activity that would otherwise fill up their day.

If you’re relying on customers calling you with their problems, you’re going to be disappointed. Customers want brands to make it easy for them, making the first move and actively helping them to get full value from your product or service. This requires a fundamental change to how you structure your call centre operations to put the customer experience first. It’s this commitment to being exceptional that wins in the new competitive battleground.

Are you ready to be exceptional? Learn more about our CX platform, Liberty.


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