With the onset of 2010 emerged a new age, one that is thriving and increasing in intensity – the age of the customer. Customers are more empowered than ever and expect an unprecedented level of personalization in their service interactions and experiences with companies1. This is a significant development with far-reaching consequences; companies that are able to provide the level of service demanded will garner their customers’ satisfaction and long-term brand loyalty.
The quantifiable revenue impact provided by exceptional customer service experience is not lost on large North American companies. Ninety-two percent of such brands view customer experience as their top priority2, while investments in customer-facing technologies, such as those to assist with sales and customer issues resolutions, top the list of companies’ annual investments thus far in 2014. The emphasis that companies are placing on delivering high quality customer experiences is understandable; high quality customer experience is a great way for companies to differentiate their products in a crowded market.
2. Difficulty Aligning Service Delivery with Customer Demand
Given the high stakes associated with customer service experiences, companies must focus heavily on ensuring that they deliver service experiences that align with customer expectations. This is not an easy feat. A survey of customers and companies conducted by Forrester Research showed that less than half of big brands delivered satisfying or engaging customer experiences. This is problematic, as customer experience can make or break a brand, especially with the explosion of social media. Social media amplifies the potential – positive or negative – of customers’ reviews of brands; one Tweet about a customer’s experience with a brand can encourage or dissuade multitudes of others.
3. Gaps in Customer Journey
Another challenge hindering truly outstanding customer experiences include the numerous touch-points through which customers engage with companies. This leads them to expect a consistent experience across multiple channels. The non-cohesiveness of customer service representatives’ work centers, and the lack of consistency amongst the system, data, and content used by customer service, sales, and marketing departments only compound the problem. These issues prevent agents from providing seamless customer service across channels. This results in customers explaining their issue again, increasing their frustration and decreasing satisfaction.
So where do companies go from here? How can they improve the customer interaction? Stay tuned for our next blog – 3 Strategies that will boost your customer satisfaction!
1. October 10, 2013, Competitive Strategy in the Age of the Customer, Forrester Research, Inc.
2. March 22, 2013, The State Of Customer Experience, Management, 2013, Forrester Research, Inc.