Food for Thought

Customer Reviews

The Gift of Negative Customer Feedback

Every company loves positive feedback, but the truth is it’s the negative feedback that really drives the company’s long-term success. How so? Just like any real and important relationship, only when customers complain, do companies truly discover, and hopefully solve, customer problems as they arise.

It’s tried, true (and free) data about what goes wrong and what can be improved, about what customers like and dislike, enabling a brand to grow and evolve. However, customers are not always prone to share with a company the experiences they may have had with their products or services. For every customer who bothers to complain, 26 other customers remain silent! And the ones who do share, usually they will complain about social media sites rather than contact the company directly. Therefore, every complaint is really a precious opportunity. As Bill Gates once said, Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. Let’s look at some of the practical benefits:

Fueling Innovation

What drives innovation in your business? Are you truly listening to the wants and needs of your customers and working to improve your product to meet their expectations? These are questions every brand needs to ask themselves, yet today many companies overlook their most engaged, creative and cost effective source of innovation — their customers! These customers who use their products and services. You might have the best expertise in the industry, but professional knowledge will never be more valuable to business performance and innovation than a single customer who uses a product or service and offers real world feedback, especially negative. At the same time, collecting customer feedback is just the first step to ensuring product innovation. It’s what you do with the feedback that truly matters. In fact, a Gartner study shows that 95% of companies collect feedback. However, only 10% make improvements based on this feedback. The bottom line is listening to your customers and acting on their insights is the only way to guarantee you create a product or service that evolves in line with their expectations, solves their problems and fulfills their needs.

Improving the Customer Experience

A happy customer is a retained customer, and since it costs six to seven times more to obtain a new customer than to retain an existing one, it’s worthwhile to keep your customers happy. That’s why constantly keeping a finger on the pulse of customer feedback is critical to providing the best customer experience at every touch point. And while positive feedback can be a helpful indication of what the company is already doing well, understanding why a customer is angry is even better. Negative feedback in a customer service setting can help a company reveal flaws in the product development and the customer service process. If product marketing is making promises the product is not fulfilling, this too will often emerge in the feedback. At the same time, in many cases, an unhappy customer who experienced a problem with a product or service, but it was quickly addressed and fixed, often shows more loyalty to a brand than a customer who has never been disappointed with that same product or service. In fact, studies show if a brand resolves a complaint in the customer’s favor, they will return to do business again 70% of the time, while up to 95% of first-time customers will give you a second chance if you handle their complaint in a timely manner. In the end, your customers make or break your business, so use the insight from customer feedback to create a consistent customer experience that will keep them coming back for more.

Marketing Research Intelligence

When businesses and organizations make critical decisions that determine business strategy and planning, it would be incorrect to assume that only intensive, elaborate and expensive market research can provide the necessary information that organizational leaders need in order to make those strategic decisions. As customer feedback is the ultimate source of tangible data and insight into how customers really feel about the product or service businesses deliver, this feedback is also critical to guiding strategic business planning and marketing decisions. For example, before investing time and money in new products or services, it makes good business sense to offer them first to your customer base for their feedback. Without first tapping into the perspective of their customers, companies are missing out on a critical source of data that can help determine the sustainability of a brand’s long-term success.

The bottom line is that brands that embrace and utilize their customer feedback across all channels are the ones that will develop a product or service that customers want to buy, and an experience that exceeds their expectations, enabling growth and success, now and in the future.

Credit & Source: Jacada

customer-expectations

Top 5 Customer Service Expectations in 2017

Customer service trends are today driven by the need to meet consumer expectations. However, the evolution of technological innovation together with the shift in the demographics of consumers has led to quickly changing expectations. The main challenge in customer service strategy today lies in its ability to adapt to these changes and to grow in complexity, especially as it becomes increasingly crucial to the success of a company.

Customer service is indeed the face of your company and to stagnate in meeting your customer expectations could spell doom. Here are five customer expectations in 2017 your company needs to meet:

TOP 5 Customer Service Expectations in 2017

top five customer service expectations in 2017

#1: The Customer Experience

Once upon a time, quality and price were the essences of purchase decisions, but today more and more brands are chosen based on whether the overall customer experience matches their expectations, and the failure to do is leading customers to look for brands that will. Especially as the Millennial generation has become the largest worldwide, it’s critical that your customer experience design and customer service capabilities are prepared to meet the needs of these younger customers. In fact, a recent study reveals that 72% of Millennials are actually more likely to spend their hard-earned money on positive experiences rather than on strictly material products. In other words, receiving the business of Millennials requires more than the traditional exchange of value for money. Customer service is the key to proving this experience, and as a result, gaining their loyalty and advocacy.

#2: The Customer Journey

Today, one of the main expectations regarding the customer experience is its level of personalization. According to Accenture, 73% of consumers prefer to do business with retailers that use their personal information to make the shopping experience more relevant. To achieve this, brands need to build insightful profiles of customers based on previous journeys. As a result, agents are equipped with a comprehensive view of their customers, including a complete history of their interactions and transaction history with the company, so not only do those customers don’t have to repeat information every time they make contact, but it enables the personalized experience they expect. This approach can also extend to proactively contacting customers, such as sending relevant promotions, follow-up calls to ensure satisfaction, etc. Indeed, fostering relationships with customers can significantly help companies not only meet but exceed customer expectations, turning them into happy customers.

#3: An Omni-Channel Presence

In this age of Omni-channel interaction, customers expect companies to be able to communicate with them on their preferred channel, be it in response to a self-service inquiry, an e-mail, live chat, social media post or speaking with a live agent on the phone, with the choice often depending on the complexity of the issue at hand. So a customer service Omnipresence, wherever that may be, is essential. At the same time, while communication channels are evolving to meet growing customer expectations, also customers expect consistency in their Omni-channel customer support. So the customer experience and cross-platform branding must be the same on all channels in order to minimize friction and effort for your customers.

#4: Expedited Customer Service

Today, no matter the channel, just having a presence isn’t enough. Consumers expect your customer service to help them quickly and efficiently. When they have questions about your service or product, they must be answered in real time, or the customer will simply seek out another available option. In fact, 77% of people say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. With every additional transfer, phone call or email, customers slowly lose patience with your customer service, which can really hurt your likelihood to build and retain your customer base. So as more channels are rolled out with new and innovative engagement features, be ready to be there waiting because that is where your customers will be.

#5 Value Based Customer Service

Today, many customers are prioritizing more of a synthesis of a company’s values with their own. Indeed, consumer habits are shifting from a wild consumerism to a more conscious, selective consumerism, and this being expressed in their choice of which companies to support with their buying decisions. In fact, according to research from Barkley, an independent advertising agency, more than 50% of Millennials make an effort to buy products from companies that support the causes they care about, The reality of more values-based consumer base should influence the strategic planning of your customer service, as customers may expect these shared values also to be expressed by the service reps who they directly interact with.

The bottom line is that customers expect a fast, meaningful, personalized experience on the communication channels of their choice. If you up to the challenge, the results will speak for themselves.

 

Credit & Source: Jacada

Chatbots

How Chatbots Will Change Call Center Customer Service in 2017

Chatbots? It’s the numero uno buzzword of 2017. Basically, we’re talking about artificial intelligence (AI) that is able to understand human language to enhance the user’s experience. Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, predicts that “the future of technology lies in human language” and that “conversation is the new interface, and bots are the new apps.”
A chatbot can have a meaningful conversation with a customer. The customer poses a simple or complex question and the chatbot is able to give a sophisticated answer. The tech industry has embraced chatbots with vigor – from large corporates to innovative startups. They all see the inherent value of this technology to their organizations especially in the realm of customer service. But are chatbots a passing fad or here to stay?
Out with the Apps, in with the Chat
 
Chatbots are most certainly here to stay and you will see a swarm of them being deployed across a range of platforms. Thanks to the natural language processor we now have a simple means of interacting with technology. We could say that our digital assistants like Amazon’s Alexa are the forerunners of this chatbot explosion. Siri also serves the function of “understanding” what we are asking for it. They can easily recognize our voice commands. Chatbots, on the other hand, respond to the text. This has been a long road of attempting to get computers to understand the human conversation. Everyone has jumped on board trying to crack the seemingly impossible code to our human language. Since 2014 we have seen chatbots start appearing to the public. There was Microsoft’s Xiaoice and Facebook’s M. The big giants like Google are also developing their own chatbots. Twitter has their chatbots interacting with customers automatically with their new welcome messages and quick replies. Large tech companies are even assisting smaller businesses with creating their own chatbots as there is a race to see who will control the platform for all chatbots. This basically means that we are sure to see an acceleration of this automated technology erupting across the web this year.
 
The Employee That Never Sleeps
With pattern recognition and machine learning the chatbot can understand a customer’s typed commands or questions. If you are a business that deals with customers on a daily basis you are well aware that there are certain questions and issues that come up all the time. Your chatbot is never going to sleep so it can handle these basic questions from your customers with ease. They can reply in real time to the customers needs raising your customer service level in the process. Your chatbot will be your best customer support agent in 2017. The movement to elevate customer experiences with “botsourcing” of basic communication is catching on like wildfire.
 
The Rise of the Call Center Chatbots?
So why would a call center, that doesn’t “sell” a product or run a chat messenger, put time and resources into building their own chatbot? The most practical use is to improve customer service. At call centers, when there is a high call volume, we frustrate our customers with long wait times and many abandon the call and head over to our competition. If you had a chatbot that could handle all of the low touch requests you could see a drastic reduction in the customer waiting and a surge in customer satisfaction.
A Gartner research study found that “only one-third of customer service interactions will require human interaction by 2017.”
This would alleviate understaffing issues especially for smaller businesses who might not have as large a budget for call center staffing as the big giants. The use of a Chatbot would substantially lower expenses for your call center. With the Chatbot taking care of the easier questions from customers, the agents would be left to offer expert customer service for clients needing more complex assistance. In this new automated digital world that we live in, customer service is the new differentiator. If you are able to offer superior service with the assistance of a chatbot, you will leap ahead of your competition.
There are many tasks that chatbots can do better and faster than humans and they should be sent to work on them straight away. But high-touch interactions still require human communication where your agent is able to spend time completely hearing what your customers ask. Chatbots tackle general communication tasks leaving more time for your agents to truly deliver exceptional service to their customers. You now have the time to do more for your customers not just rely on your chatbot minions to cover the basics.
 
From Trend to Best Practice Overnight
It might seem like a new trend that’s just starting out its life cycle and might take some time to fully take off – but that’s incorrect. In this rapidly ever-evolving digital age – useful automated technology like the chatbot will determine the future communication between customers and companies. They have entered the workplace, they are your new, efficient employees who work 24/7 and keep your customers smiling. At the moment they function as customer service enhancers but their full capabilities have yet to be realized.
2017 might be the year of the Rooster in the Chinese Calendar but in tech terms – it is the year of the chatbot!

Using Predictive Customer Service to Improve Satisfaction

“The customer’s perception is your reality.” Kate Zabriskie
By 2020 the customer experience will leap frog over product and price as the most fundamental brand differentiator according to a Walkerinfo report. Gartner’s findings on the subject reveal that “50% of product investment projects will be driven towards customer experience innovations.” Our customers want more from us. They have higher expectations thanks to their experience with the digital age and all of its gifts of instant satisfaction.
 
I Want It All and I Want It Now!
Our customers have choice at their fingertips. They can look up any product information online and all of the competitor’s prices for the same item/service. Customer loyalty is not a given – you have to earn it daily. There are so many competitors for every single possible product – so you have to stand out in the market. Superior customer service is your new yardstick for success. You might have the better, cheaper product but if you keep a customer waiting for too long they will simply move on. An astounding statistic has popped up saying a whopping 97% of global customers say that customer service is linked to their decision to use or abandon a company’s product or service. They want you to resolve their issue very quickly.
So, how are you going to go about doing that? One way is to accurately predict customer behavior and solve their problem before they even know they have one. This is not crystal ball stuff – it’s common sense.
Predictive Problem Solving
Your agents must know the product backward and forwards so they can answer every possible permutation linked to their questions. When someone calls in they expect that the agent has complete knowledge of your brand and all products/services. They do not care if the agent is outsourced, they only want them to be brand experts. Customers need answers, good ones. They need clarity, accuracy, a calm tone, and excellent timing.
To know the product inside out, your team is going to need training in advance of your latest product launches, updates or modifications. It goes without saying that your product really has to be made with quality and easy to use. Otherwise, your call center is just a complaints line. If you are going to be bringing out a new product, you know there are going to be customers calling in about its new features and how to navigate the functions. Be prepared to answer these predictable questions well in advance. Don’t leave it to the agent to scramble around for new information. Empower your team with solutions to future problems. You will be making it possible for them to deliver excellent customer service.
 
Making Mindreading Mandatory
It is vital to get feedback from agents every day regarding the most common questions asked and problems faced by the customer’s calling in. Create a question and answer folder for instant access for the agents to have a clear, easy to understand the response to complex customer queries. When you are bringing out a new product line/service you should already foresee what potential questions are going to come up for your customer service agents. You know every aspect of your innovation but have you passed that on well in advance? You know what you have in the pipeline, so provide your agents with the best assets possible so that they can deliver unbelievable customer service. The client will feel like the agent has read their minds.
 
“Being on par in terms of price and quality only gets you into the game. Service wins the game.” – Tony Alessandra
Bestselling Behavior
It’s time to get proactive. Forward thinking companies are going to catch the brass ring. If you can predict what your customer is going to need resolving, you will exceed their expectations when they call in. Don’t get so wrapped up in cost saving techniques and reducing call waiting times. Put issue resolution at the top of the list in 2017.
P.S. A little prediction…” reactive customer service is a disaster; real-time customer service is becoming the norm but the future is faster than real-time customer service. Customer service teams should get ready for a world of automation.” Steven Van Bellegham, best-selling author of When Digital Becomes Human
Source & Credit: Contact Center World