As the customer perspective becomes the driving force behind many business process shifts, we continue to see innovations in the space. Nearly every possible aspect of customer interaction is being broken down and developed into new ways to provide service. If you haven’t already, we recommend you take a look at our introductions to customer service, customer relations, and customer success. In this post, we'll explore customer service experience, which represents an expanded perspective of traditional service activities.
The vast majority of companies today are competing primarily based on customer experience (CX). As a primary source of differentiation, CX continues to dominate many discussions in the customer service space. Customer service experience encompasses all the individual interactions that a customer has with your company, both in-person and online. When thinking about this, all points of contact should be considered, including social media, websites, email, and even self-service platforms. This post will help explain how service and experience are combined to help maintain timely support and provide a positive experience across all of these channels.
Customer Experience and Customer Service
When many people think of customer service, they picture a room filled with agents who are interacting with customers or answering calls. While this may be the traditional format of service activities, the dynamic in the market is changing. Many companies are now starting with customer experience as the primary way to understand their customers, both as segments and as individual consumers, and develop strategies for ensuring a positive experience throughout every interaction.
Your customer experience is the sum of all interactions, referred to as touchpoints, that a customer has with your brand over time. Customer service experience considers all customer-facing service activities and individual interactions. Companies should focus on customer service experience as a company-wide strategic priority because its scope goes far beyond any one person or department.
Why is Customer Service Experience Important?
Whenever a customer interacts with your company, there is an opportunity to satisfy or disappoint. Since consumers today have such high expectations for service quality, managing your customer service experience is as vital as ever. According to Martech Advisor, there are several crucial service factors that are meaningful to customers, including:
- Ease of access to service
- Speed of response to customers
- Efficiency in resolving the issue
- Effectiveness of the resolution
- Friendliness of human or bot agents
- Friendly user interface (whether it's display or phone-based)
- Post-service feedback and follow-up
An effective customer service strategy must address all of these factors, and a failure to deliver on any one of them can lead to dissatisfaction and lost business. An optimized customer service experience will build trust, develop long-term relationships, and help a brand differentiate itself from competitors.
How Can I Develop Better Customer Service Experience?
Your customer service activities center around your help-desk staff, email, social media, and self-service interactions. With so many touchpoints to manage these days, the only way to be effective is to organize your capabilities so that you can get the most value out of individual resources.
While a company can manage customer service with a single-channel platform, it is often not realistic today. Gartner estimates that 90% of companies use social media for customer service in 2020. One of the best ways to manage your communications across platforms is to take advantage of a shared inbox. With a shared inbox, your team can process requests from a central platform and focus more of their time on providing a meaningful experience for customers.
Leveraging a shared inbox allows customer service teams to assign tickets to the right agents, comment on and discuss tickets, and share and review draft responses before sending replies to customers. Ignored support requests and forgotten emails can quickly turn a positive customer service experience into a negative one. A shared inbox ensures that emails and support requests never fall through the cracks, so your support team will never miss those all-important follow-ups.
Self-Service and Automation
The more time that your staff deals with manual entry and other small tasks, the less time they have available to focus on customers. When automation tools are successfully integrated with your help desk platform, you can streamline a number of processes.
Another great way to improve the customer service experience is to offer a customer portal that can be used to manage a variety of self-service functions. These often include a knowledge base, support request status updates, and access to customer-specific information.
Personalizing Every Interaction
While scripts and templates can save a lot of time and ensure that responses cover all the bases, you want to make sure that your staff does not rely on them entirely. It is imperative to train staff and help them understand how to make customers feel appreciated. Even remembering a customer’s name or referencing past communications can demonstrate that you care about the relationship.
Excellent customer service experience isn't just about what you do to meet customers' needs, but how you go about it. Personalized interactions, demonstrating empathy, offering proactive solutions, and providing easy access to easy to use customer service options are all key factors that make your business stand out from the crowd.
Customer service experience will continue to be a priority for companies that are looking to engage with customers in a more meaningful way. It is an essential point of differentiation and offers a tremendous opportunity for businesses that can expand their traditional view of service to look at all the potential touchpoints that a customer can have with their brand.