Customers are “signals” – charting a new path to customer satisfaction
In the ongoing battle for customer retention, an organization’s customer service representatives are on the front lines, especially when things go wrong.
According to a Bain & Company survey, a customer is four times more likely to switch to a competitor when there is an issue with service versus price or the product itself. Another study found that it takes 12 positive customer experiences to “offset” one negative experience. But if brands can deliver experiences that exceed expectations, Salesforce studies found that 72% of customers will share those good experiences with others.
The challenge for many organizations today is how to turn a potentially negative experience into a positive customer and business experience.
Information as ammunition
Unfortunately, customer service agents are almost never armed with the right information to help turn around a dissatisfied customer. But there is a way forward.
The key? Businesses need to ensure that their customer service representatives have access to the right people to quickly resolve customer issues, and the necessary information about the work being done to resolve critical issues.
A good place to start is to use the customers themselves as “signals” to uncover potential problems. Analytics tools and automation to capture important insights into the customer environment — as well as open lines of communication between customer teams and developers or IT — can help identify any common complaints or emerging issues. likely to signal a potential failure – long before it becomes a bigger problem. causing downtime or other problems.
More than 50% of digital operations issues are often identified first by customers, not by monitoring technology. And it’s no wonder – it’s nearly impossible for teams to keep up with new or evolving service instrumentation, let alone ever-changing infrastructure. But whether it’s 50%, 40%, 30% or less, the fact remains that the customer is a signal – and the more attentive you are to that signal, the more successful you will be.
True colors come out in a crisis
Consider, for example, how this might play out in a crisis. While digital transformation has allowed many companies to innovate in their service offerings, the pressure on digital operations has made service disruptions inevitable. Regardless of your industry or size, a major incident – like a network outage or a weather event that affects many customers at once – will happen at some point.
The question then becomes: how will you react?
According to a Salesforce survey, 90% of customers believe that the way a company acts during a crisis reveals its reliability. However, a disconnect between operations and customer service teams slows resolution and reveals that many companies are not equipped to meet their customers’ expectations in times of crisis. Their service teams are not set up to effectively respond to an incident and provide an excellent customer experience.
The ‘back office’ today has become the front office, and vice versa. There is little distinction today between the front lines of customer service and the back rooms of IT, engineering or other teams.
If customer service teams can be made aware of an incident at an early stage – ideally before the customer is impacted – they can quickly notify all customers of the issue, share details of when and how the incident will be resolved and avoid a flood of customer requests.
Suppose a shopping cart is not working properly. If a customer service team knows immediately, they can proactively reassure customers that “there could be an issue here, we’re working on it and hopefully it’ll be resolved within half an hour.” If you can automate the sharing of this information, even better.
Make the best of a bad situation
Customer service is everyone’s responsibility – and by working as one team on behalf of the customer, everyone can benefit from the results.
All the best intentions and proactive planning in the world won’t stop every negative incident, but smart planning is still the best way to ensure a quick and happy resolution.
Here are some best practices to consider when planning your incident response:
Take the blame away: Determination What caused a failure is more important than who – customers don’t care, they just want the incident resolved. A no-nonsense culture creates a fast and smooth path to incident resolution.
Practice makes (almost) perfect: Simulations help ensure that response teams, from the front lines to the back of the house, can work together with relative ease.
Provide information to your agents: Let them take more responsibility and ownership of the process rather than just transferring a case to a higher level.
Don’t forget the autopsy: Resist the temptation to celebrate success without examining the answer and finding ways to improve for next time – because there will almost certainly be a next time.
At a time when customer expectations have never been higher, customer focus is a necessity for successful operations. Following these best practices will give your team the foundation to deliver seamless experiences and top-notch service.