The digital transformation of services has changed the way companies connect with their customers. Technology has improved customer service. It has also increased customer service expectations. Demanding customer service expectations make it more challenging for companies to keep up. When you understand ‘What do customers expect from customer service?’, you can better meet and exceed your customer service expectations.
What Do Customers Expect From Customer Service?
1. To Feel Valued
A sale to a customer does not have to be a one-time event. Customers are people with feelings. Excellent customer service creates positive feelings and emotions during customer interactions. Making a customer feel valued creates positive emotions in the customer. These feelings become associated with your company. The one-time customer who has positive interactions with the company may be more likely to become a repeat customer. Though it is an intangible factor, making a customer feel valued through great customer service is an essential part of the customer journey. It is the best way to satisfy digital customer expectations and keep a customer coming back for more of your products or services.
2. To Be Seen And Heard
A customer appreciates a company treating them as more than just a number. When a customer has a problem and reaches out to the company, it is personal to them. Customer service should go the extra mile to let customers know that action is being taken based on their issue. Send automated updates at different stages of your interactions so that the customer feels that their issue is being processed and acknowledged. When there is closure, an update should be sent. Followup is recommended to ensure that the issue is satisfactorily closed. A company should also encourage feedback from customers through various channels.
3. Convenience And Quick Response
Ideally, there would be no issues for a customer to contact you. But, when a customer does make contact to resolve a problem, it is in the company’s best interest to make it as easy as possible. Every additional hurdle that a customer faces in contacting the company is a strike against the service or the product. When you meet customer service expectations by being easy to contact and quick to respond, you add more value to your product or service in the customer’s eyes. The means of reaching out to you must be convenient for your customer.
4. Ease Of Communication
Digital transformation has multiplied the communication channels that a customer can use to contact a company. Each customer may have a different preferred channel. A company needs to make it very easy for customers to contact them through as many channels as possible. Contact must be easy to make, and the flow of the customer support process should be effortless for the customer to understand. There should be a process in place to integrate all communication from a single customer across different channels to satisfy customer service expectations.
Digital Customer Expectations And How To Meet Them
An essential approach to helping a customer feel heard and seen is to personalize all interactions with them. Using the customer’s name when addressing them is just the start. A company should automate the process of determining the customer’s history with the company, the products, and services they have bought, and previous interactions (if any). This will readily set up the context for any interaction with the customer. This level of personalization makes the customer experience more satisfying.
2. Instant Connectivity
Digital transformation has made it possible for a company to be accessible 24/7. Globalization and having customers around the globe have made round-the-clock accessibility essential. Instant gratification is the underlying demand of consumers. They expect customer support such as live chat and a chatbot when they have issues. Enabling customer engagement at all times and through multiple channels is an essential feature of customer support. Ensuring instant responses across channels is essential to meet customer service expectations.
3. Smart Devices
Customers spend a lot of their work and leisure time online through smart devices. Making your customer support accessible through smart devices and apps brings you closer to the customer. Since customers find smart devices easier to use, customer support through smart devices is quicker and more comfortable than a telephone call. Smart devices also make it easier for the customer to go through most of the steps of providing their details before they connect to a customer support executive.
4. Choice Of Seamless Multiple Channels
Companies are increasingly offering customer support through multiple channels such as live chat, chatbots, email, social media, SMS, live answering, and interactive voice response representatives. Digital customer expectations necessitate more channels of customer engagement and an equal level of quick responses through them all. The more flexible your company’s customer support channels are, the easier you are to access. Seamless integration of responses across channels is an essential competitive advantage. The customer should be able to pick up where they left off even if they use a different channel to follow through.
5. Options For Self-Service
You can easily automate specific customer interactions and processes and transform them into self-service options. Self-service is a very fast way to satisfy digital customer expectations. When a customer gets their problem solved or questions answered quickly, they are satisfied and so is the company. You can support self-service through FAQs, how-to videos, interactive response systems, forums, and a knowledge base. Self-service can help the customer resolve common issues without having to contact the company. The company’s knowledge bases should contain articles and material that enables the customer to solve common queries. It is essential to also answer common questions.
Knowledge bases are more useful if they are easily searchable. Customer forums create a supportive community that also gives the company valuable feedback. You can use forums to involve customers in the development process. Self-service reduces customer support costs while also maintaining a quick and efficient means of meeting customers’ expectations.
6. Social Media
Social media’s reach and influence are enormous in the current market. Social media is not merely a channel of interaction but also a valuable marketing and reputation-enhancing opportunity. Engaging with the customer on social media makes customer support more accessible and visible. Since people spend a lot of time on social media, it is one of the best opportunities to contact the customer. It also enhances the brand’s visibility by satisfying customer service expectations.
7. Digital Transformation Of Customer Journey
The digital transformation has changed business models. The channels through which a company delivers its products and services have multiplied. Technology has also transformed the way the customer interacts with the company. The company is more engaged with the customer and every touchpoint throughout the customer journey. Technology gives the customer greater control over their process and makes it more customizable. When customer support systems adapt and interact with the customer based on their preferences, profile, and history, each user experience is unique.
8. User Engagement
Technology can only be effective when there is optimal user engagement with it. All technology for customer interaction should be intuitive and easy to use. It is only when a majority of the customer base engages with the technology-driven customer systems that it can be successful. The company should also encourage customers to use digital channels at every step of their journey while also offering other options.
Customer expectations include transparency in all processes. Sending automated messages to acknowledge a customer contact and then sending updates at appropriate steps lets the customer know that their issue is under process. Greater transparency builds trust and confidence in the customer.
10. Proper Use Of Analytics To Evolve, Anticipate And Improve
The use of technology to interact with customers creates a vast amount of valuable data. It pays to use analytics to study this data and identify real-time trends and patterns. Data analytics gives indirect feedback to the company that can be intelligently used to improve and evolve. Data analytics takes the guesswork out of decision-making and helps the company respond to customer usage and behavior patterns. You can also use data analytics to study if any policy changes positively impact customer support patterns. When there are repetitive patterns, the system can better predict the customer responses and quickly solve them.
When something goes wrong, the best approach is to acknowledge and apologize. An apology goes a long way in making a customer feel better about you not meeting their expectations. An apology that shows empathy is an effective and economical way of dealing with a mistake. The way in which customer support deals with problematic issues will be remembered far longer than many positive interactions.
12. Open To Feedback
A company that listens to its customers is better able to understand what consumers expect. Customer feedback is the best advice that they can use to achieve customer satisfaction and even exceed customer expectations. A company that is open to feedback supports the customer’s feeling of being valued and respected. Feedback can be directly through the customer support channels or through forums and communities that are created by the company.
The Benefits Of Meeting Customer Expectations
1. Competitive Advantage
Exceeding customer expectations gives companies a competitive advantage over their peers. Listening to your customers gives you a practical understanding of customer problems and needs. When a company evolves its products and services to better suit customers, success is more likely.
2. Loyalty/Repeat Customers
It is well-known that it costs more to attract a new customer than it does to keep one. A happy customer is more likely to be a repeat customer. Creating the best customer experience encourages customer loyalty. Customer loyalty programs reward customers for their loyalty to your brand.
3. Great Reviews
It is all too easy to post reviews of a product or service in the digital world. A company that engages with the customer and solves their issues quickly is likely to get better reviews. Customers looking for a new product or service often read reviews before buying. So, making customers happy and getting good reviews is vital.
4. Word Of Mouth
Word of mouth may be old-fashioned but is still a potent tool. The recommendation of a satisfied customer can do more than the best advertising campaign. Bad reviews make a stronger impact than good ones. It is essential to ensure that every customer experiences excellent customer service. A happy customer is one less bad review that could damage your reputation.
5. Brand Building
The more your company is perceived as an organization that values and respects its customers, the greater the respect for the brand. Customer satisfaction and exceeding customer service expectations are just as important as marketing, advertising, and other brand-building activities.
Keeping customers happy and exceeding customer expectations is the way that companies grow their sales. The success of the company with existing products or services is the stepping stone for their future growth and new offerings. When a company has all the right answers to ‘what do customers expect from customer service?’ they are better able to chart a successful growth plan.
Digital customer support enables the company to create a more exciting customer journey. Meeting and exceeding customer service expectations is a sure way to grow sales and support brand building. It is a vital aspect of business models in a digitally transformed society.