With the market and customer requirements changing and evolving rapidly it has become clear that in customer service strategy a cookie-cutter approach will no longer work. However businesses now face a situation where along with direct customer communications formats such as web forms and live chats, they also need to consider phone conversations in their customer service strategy.
While there was near homogeneity in customer expectations and limited modes of communication to deal with earlier it is now a very mixed bag when it comes to technology and customer engagement. The different age groups and sections of customers are now showing clear differences in their preferences as indicated in a study. It showed that that Internet/web chat and social media are the preferred mediums of communication for millennials at 24%, while it is only 2% for those born before 1944. For Generation X this is about 29% while it is the first choice for baby boomers.
Confounding this further is the fact that customers may have different communication needs at different times of the day such as live chat or SMS to answer queries on the morning commute, but telephonic contact at lunchtime to resolve a complaint. Additionally consumers could also expect the experience to be integrated and seamless across a mix of channels, making it necessary for organizations to map customers’ journeys across and between all channels and touch points.
Businesses need to acknowledge this complexity and offer choice as part of their omni-channel marketing strategy, as each channel is important in its own way. Part of the difference comes from the different requirements customers have across different age groups. Understanding that and taking those into consideration ensures long-time loyalty and retention. With customers becoming more demanding of a great service experience, businesses need to ensure that they optimize and tweak their strategy to suit different generations of its customers.
For example customers over 55 would greatly value free home delivery, in-store assistance, call centre support and a 30-day, no-questions-asked return policy while the younger generation would appreciate online ordering and payment. Customers have been empowered by web, mobile and social technologies and if they don’t receive a seamless customer service experience they will switch their allegiance just as easily.
Customer expectations continue to evolve as consumers become more comfortable with various self-service technologies. Consumers are learning to adapt to the channels more convenient for them and expect that companies carry forward the same level of information about their preferences, their accounts and past interactions. This is important since many companies currently are not able to deliver seamless customer interactions or consistent experiences across different touchpoints.
It is therefore important for the organization to offer experience customization, use virtual assistants as gatekeepers for critical channels, build agent skills and make technology investments. It is equally important to have the right mindset to find quick wins and aligning your business to this quickly evolving landscape.
Businesses can start redirecting their customer service strategy by moving beyond cross-channel data exchanges so that the interactions are seamless, continuous and non-repetitive. While virtual assistants and chatbots are useful for customer to engage in a self-service interaction most systems require customers to start the conversation. Therefore outreach strategies from other channels, such as email, outbound calls and even mobile notifications can serve as a start point before reaching out to the customers in their preferred channel. However businesses need to streamline interactions across channels and keep track of conversations across communication channels.
Although automated response systems are a great help in handling phone calls, emails, and social media posts personalized direct communication is one of the biggest differentiator and customer appreciate that no end. Companies that connect with customers through personalized services such as reminders, deadlines, and other initiatives manage keep the dialog going to create a loyal customer base.
A Customer relationship management (CRM) software is the most powerful way for businesses to create a personalized customer service strategy. The Wolken Customer Service Desk is a good example of such as solution that resolves customer service requests faster and improves the quality of service. It simplifies the process of receiving and resolving customer service requests and provides actionable insights to deliver qualitative customer support.