I just attended the Internet Summit (#isum14) at the Raleigh Convention Center.
I heard plenty of speakers sharing statistics about the growth of the internet, the growth of mobile and how to use the Internet to improve customer experience.
Ironically, internet access at the Raleigh Convention Center became limited as the attendance reached 2,000 people.
The one thing every business can do to improve the customer experience is to provide an always on, high-speed internet connection.
We're all using mobile devices, or laptops, to do business, research, stay in touch and stay informed.
By providing always-on, high-speed internet access, you're making your customers', and employees', lives simpler and easier.
Making customers' lives simpler and easier gives you a better chance of having a "customer for life."
Making your employees' lives simpler and easier gives you more empowered and engaged employees that are more likely to provide your customers an outstanding customer experience.
Conferences will have happier attendees.
Hotels will have happier guests.
Airlines/airports will have passengers that are able to get work done, or stay connected with their loved ones, even if their flight is delayed.
Restaurants and coffee shops will provide a valuable service to guests whether they're there on business or pleasure.
Businesses will ensure their clients, customers or guests are able to say connected while they're in their offices or stores.
How would high-speed internet access differentiate your business from your competition?
How would making your customers' lives simpler and easier change their impression of, and willingness to continuing doing business with, you?
Tags: customers for life, customer experience, customer satisfaction, empower employees, customer retention, satisfied customers, customer centric, employee engagement, employee empowerment, customer service
Talk to your customers.
Ask them how you are doing.
Listen intensely to what they have to say.
Ask follow-up questions to let your customer know you're really concerned with what they have to say.
I am consistently surprised by the lack of contact with customers that top management has at some of the companies with which I've worked.
If you're wondering how to get started, use the three-question Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey:
- On a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 is "definitely," what is the likelihood that you would recommend us to a family, friend or colleague?
- Why did you give us that score?
- If we have not done so, what can we do to earn a 10?
NPS surveys are a great way to begin a dialogue with your customers.
If you're going to ask your customers what you can do to improve the customer experience, be prepared to address their suggestions. And, thank them for their feedback.
Improving customer service may mean focusing your effort on interacting with customers via social media.
When you have an actual dialogue with your customers, ask them what you can do that's best, easiest and most convenient for them.
Anything you can do to save your customers time and make their lives easier will be remembered, appreciated and shared by your customers. You will also increase the likelihood that they'll be repeat customers.
There's no substitute for asking questions and listening intensely to your customers.
It makes them feel invested in the company improving customer loyalty and retention.
It also gives you the opportunity to get insights into the consumer that has never occurred to you or your team. For example, have you ever asked your customers who they consider to be your competition? Do it, you might be surprised by their answers.
Empower your employees to engage your customers as well. The more your customers know you and your employees care about them, the more likely they are to develop an emotional connection with your brand.
Thought provoking article in a recent edition of Customer Relationship Management entitled, "The 4 Key Customer Service Omnichannel Considerations" by Leonard Klie.
How many times have you spoken to your bank, cable company or another product or service provider with whom you have a relationship and had to provide them with a list of information about yourself, your order, your preferences, your previous issues and your most recent, unresolved, issue?
As customers begin having more satisfactory, holistic customer experiences with online retailers (i.e., Zappos), their expectations with regards to what is, and is not, acceptable customer service is increasing.
"Consumers expect a conversation that begins on one channel can be continued on another, with all relevant contextual data preserved across channels."
"You're omnichannel when the customer doesn't notice a difference between channels."
Based on research conducted by Aberdeen, companies that are able to provide omnichannel customer service see significant benefits:
- 8.5% improvement in first call resolution (which happens to be what customers rank as the number one driver of satisfaction after interacting with customer service).
- 7.5% decrease in average cost per customer contact.
- 9.5% increase in year-over-year revenue.
Other interesting findings from the research:
- Only 20% of companies are considered to be "top performers" in omnichannel customer service.
- 85% of those provide regular training to teach agents how to handle multiple channels.
- 77% store customer contact data across multiple channels.
- 77% route inquiries to agents with specific skills related to the customer's need.
- 69% identify topics repeatedly addressed by customers across channels to find where channels need to be improved.
One reason for the low adoption of omnichannel customer service is that most organizations are set up to deliver customer service around specific channels.
The "owners" of these channels have different goals and frequently have different, non-integrated, CRMs which make it impossible to have a 360-degree view of the customer.
In most firms, "organizational alignment really is the biggest hurdle."
Even if a firm has the desire to have a 360-degree view of their customer, the integration required to have different platforms exchaning data with one another is time consuming and costly.
If you are in the process of creating an omnichannel customer experience for your customers, I strongly recommend buying an all-in-one solution which allows you to share resources and information from a single database.
Ensure the solution is mobile friendly since this will ultimately be the first place your customers will want to engage with you, if they're not doing so already.
"If you want to be truly customer-focused, you want your best agents doing the best jobs on the channels where they feel most comfortable. You do not have to have everyone doing everything."
One of the best ways for an organization to become customer-centric is to have a senior level person, perhaps a chief customer experience officer, overseeing all customer interactions, especially those falling between the silos, to identify where and how customer experience can be improved.
Is you firm providing, or planning to provide, omnichannel customer service to improve the customer experience?
Great webinar by Frank Eliason (@FrankEliason) of Citi, Nick Ayres (@nickjayres) and Hansen Lieu (@hansentweets) of SAP on ""Customer Service is the New Marketing: Turning Satisfaction Into Sales."
Interesting points shared by the panel:
- 88% of customers have been influenced by customer reviews.
- Customer service is engaging with customers every day.
- 48% of customers will praise a company about good service on social media.
- 66% of customers will spend more money with companies that provide good customer service.
- 78% of customers have bailed on a transaction because of poor customer service.
- Customer service should be aligned with marketing.
- Every company that wants to be successful should be comitted to providing customer service excellence.
- Engage with customers to win their heart and make an emotional connection with them.
- Drive advocacy among your employees and your customers, to drive revenue.
What are you doing with the information your customers provide to customer service to improve the customer experience?
Guest post: Harvey Hammond
Customer satisfaction is difficult to measure due to several reasons. Counting on customer satisfaction owing to their feedback is not the case because most people prefer keeping quiet when satisfied.
Some people see no need of contacting the service provider while others seek to pass their complaints.
Requirements for customer satisfaction are not only unique but difficult to quantify. Setting standards and improving employee relationships with customers is central strategy of measuring customer satisfaction and ensuring that success is determined.
Ways of measuring customer satisfaction include:
Surveying customers is the only probable way of getting customer feedback unless they contact you.
Most people are busy and have no time to pass redress.
You can provide survey through several ways such as emails and use of phone calls.
To get credible feedback you need to allow customers to answer questions on weighted scale.
You can conduct repeated surveys, over time, to measure changing comments from customers.
Understanding what customers expect from you will provide ground to satisfy their expectations by giving them enjoyable service.
Making an effort to discover what customers expect from you in terms of service and products is the way to satisfying their needs.
Find out where you are failing
On situations where you are not fulfilling customer requirements, it is credible to find out where you are failing.
Incidences where products are less than advertised should not arise.
Find out if employees are making promises that cannot be met.
Take strides and attend seminars that will equip you with better managerial skills.
Know the chain of communication so as to know where communication faults are and foster amendments.
Whether a customer is satisfied or not, you need to collect information to help you assess the situation.
Collect information about what customers purchased, what they liked and they did not like, their actual purchase expectation and their suggestions for improvement.
Assess the competition
Have the initiative to know why customers consider other brands above yours.
Through the survey, invite customers to come and compare and contrast your services and products and make judgment on what you are not offering.
Try to measure the emotional aspect
Customer experiences after buying a given product are attributed to quality.
Feedback from customers in relation to quality, reliability and extent satisfaction should be matched.
Comments customers make are a measure of their satisfaction.
Customers showing dissatisfaction prompts change of strategy.
Customer loyalty is the likelihood of repurchasing products or services.
Customer satisfaction is a major predictor for repurchasing and it is influenced by explicit performance of the product, value and quality.
Loyalty is basically measured when a customer recommends to a friend, family member about given product.
Overall satisfaction, repurchasing and likelihood of recommending to a friend are indicators of customer satisfaction.
A series of attribute satisfaction measurement
This strategy takes into account the affective and cognitive pattern.
Affective behavior is intrigued to liking and disliking owing the benefits the product is attached with.
Customer satisfaction is influenced by perceived quality the product is attached with and it is regulated by expectations of the product or service.
Customer attitude towards a product are as a result of product information through advertisement and any experience with the product whether perceived or real.
Cognition is the judgment on whether the product is useful or not useful.
Judgment is always intended use of application and use of occasions for which the product is purchased.
Intentions to repurchase
Future hypothetical behavior that indicates repurchasing the product is a measure of satisfaction.
Satisfaction can influence other post purchasing trend through use of the word of mouth or social media platform.
Monitoring can be directed at phone, email and chat communications.
Monitoring includes automated phone interactions designed by companies to help give real world glimpse.
Dishing out cards will help gauge customer comments.
Author Bio :
I am Harvey Hammond and a freelance writer. I have worked for customers from all over the world which made me to be expertise in the field of writing. I have been working with all chapters dissertation writing service for the past 7 years as a writer. My past experience as a writer gave me plenty of opportunities to deal with many of the essays, articles and various assignments from the clients to get done which in fact developed my knowledge. Presently, I have completed an article on the title of “How to Measure Customer Satisfaction”.
Thanks to Scott Hays of Kana, Ann Ruckstuhl (#annruck), Kai Petzalt of SAP and Tim Pickard of New Voice Media for sharing their thoughts on delivering smart customer service.
Smart customer engagement leads to better customer service and a better customer experience.
An experience is something you have. Engaged is something you, or your customers, are.
To optimize customer engagement, you need to:
- enrich customer interactions;
- improve processes; and,
- optimize and empower your workforce to provide great experiences that will result in an engaged customer.
Customers expect personalized treatment. Personalization requires context -- "know me, work with me."
Customers are constantly connected via smart phones, tablets and PCs. This has resulted in a fragmented customer journey.
Touchpoints are neither integrated, nor leveraged. Each customer interaction lacks the context of an entire journey. There's tremendous dependency on historical data.
26% of a CSR's time is spent looking for relevant data. This results in an inferior customer experience.
The solution is customer journey management whereby you collect, detect and engage with the customer in real time.
A better CSR experience leads to a better customer experience, which, in turn, leads to greater lifetime value of the customer.
Smart business insights are gained by having actionable insight while engaged with the customer on the phone, via online chat, via email, on social channels. You must integrate all of these channels to provide an outstanding customer experience.
Today's customers have more choices and they are more open to making changes if the level of service is inferior.
Social media is driving awareness of customer service levels and the "wow" customer experiences people are having.
Going forward, we can expect companies to be more proactive and better informed in order to improve the customer experience.
This is especially true for millennials who have grown up with technology and smart phones.
Companies must recognize that for millennials, the customer experience is part of the product/service, as well as the brand.
Key Takeaway: Provide customers with choice and make it simple and easy for them to do business with you digitally.
General Motors knew about their faulty transmissions 11 years before they did anything about them.
Target knew they had data security issues six months before they were hacked.
The largest privately-held software company in the world has significant customer satisfaction issues that result in them refunding their clients millions for years.
A friend who works for a local health insurance company tells me I should be grateful I didn't get a job with her employer.
Another friend of a firm with whom I was consulting told me to be glad I didn't get their director of marketing position -- "just look at what the employees are saying on Glassdoor."
And yet another friend lost his job heading up the VOC (voice of the customer) program for "the world's leading provider of IT training and business training" because they're more interested in sales than customer satisfaction.
Has the success of Amazon, Zappos, Chipotle, Costco and Southwest Airlines, NPS leaders, not taught anyone anything?
Hey Mr. and Ms. C-Level executive, your employees will only treat your customers as well as you treat your employees.
If all you care about, and reward, are sales, don't expect your employees to be concerned with anything other than making sales.
If you don't show concern for your customer satisfaction levels, your NPS or the number of referrals you're getting, don't expect your employees to be.
If you, and your employees, don't care about customer satisfaction, do you really expect your customers to continue doing business with you?
When I talk to senior managers about vision, mission and values, their eyes glaze over. It's clear they either don't understand, or don't value, what I'm talking about.
Well, your employees and your customers do. Perhaps c-level dissonance with vision, mission and values are what's diving the pathetic employee engagement and customer satisfaction levels?
Employees today want to work for a company who has a mission that more than "maximizing shareholder value."
Customers want to support businesses who care about them, their needs, their wants.
Be transparent. Do what's right by customers -- protect their data, if your product has a defect fix it.
Make the customers' life easier, simplify their life, show them you care -- you'll have a customer for life because your competitors aren't doing it.
Amazon will ask if if you're sure you want to buy the same book you bought three months ago before they go ahead and register your purchase of the same book.
Banks, cell phone and internet providers, NPS laggards, all know enough about their customers' usage habits to suggest a plan that provides more value for your money.
Unfortunately, none of these companies, that I'm aware of, will let you know they've got a better offer for you until you call to cancel, or reduce, your service.
Customers do business with people, and companies, they know, like and trust.
What are you doing to earn your customers' trust?
What are you doing to engage and empower your employees to provide an outstanding customer experience?
Or, do you just care about sales?
My mother passed away acouple of weeks ago and I went to the bank with my 81 year-old father to help him make some changes to their accounts.
Since he was switching accounts to which his social security check would be automatically deposited, his banker told him he needed to call social security to change the routing and account number.
We called the social security office, his banker knew the codes to get through the phone tree. We still ended up waiting to talk to someone for 45 minutes before my father's banker needed to go to another appointment.
On the way home, my father talked about the sad state of customer service in the U.S. and how the bar must be at an all-time low with regards to companies and government entities providing customer service.
Having studied this for the better part of my career, I couldn't disagree.
When we got to his house, I fired up my computer and secure, mobile hotspot and got on the social security administration website.
My father doesn't use a computer and the wifi-network in his retirement community isn't secure so he wouldn't want to conduct business on it.
I was able to set up is account with the social security administration and change the account to which his monthly check is sent in under 10 minutes.
My father was ecstatic that he didn't have to spend hours waiting to speak to someone at the social security office but was equally dismayed that this is yet another example of where all the jobs have gone.
I'm on the board of a credit union. While we have an online banking app as sophisticated as any large financial institution, we use Intuit, we still have branches to serve customers who want to come into a branch because they're not online or they're not comfortable dealing with an ATM.
If all your customers and prospects are millennials, you may be able to get away with having only a mobile app and a website.
However, if you still have baby boomers and beyond, think about how they want to be served as well.
Serve customers in the channel where they are most comfortable buying from, and interacting with, you.
While many customers are comfortable dealing with customer service issues online. A lot still want to talk to a real person. This real person gives you the opportunity to make an emotional connection with your customer.
While older customers may not call you out for poor customer service on social media, they'll sure tell their friends and family.
In this day and age, we all need all the "promoters" we can get.
Thanks to Invesp (#invesp) for the following statistics.
Poor customer service almost guarantees that your customer will not be giving you additional business.
Helping customers is critical if you want to deliver the type of experience that positively engages your customers and creates a mutually-beneficial, long-term relationship.
- 83% of online shoppers need support to complete a purchase.
- 89% of consumers have stopped shopping at online stores after experiencing poor customer service.
- It cost seven times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing customer, yet marketing budgets tend to be allocated in just the opposite proportion.
- 31% of online customers expect to be helped immediately; 40% within five minutes; 11% within 30 minutes; 5% within an hour; and, 10% within a day. How quickly do you help your customers?
- Consumers are two times more likely to share their bad customer service experience than they are to talk about positive experiences.
- It takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.
- The top elements of a great customer experience are: quick issue resolution (82%); issue resolution in a single interaction (56%); friendly CSRs (45%); follow-up by the same service rep (37%); ability to save a copy of the interaction (28%); post-enquiry follow-up (27%); custom offers and discounts after resolution (27%); ability to proceed with other things while the issue is resolved (21%); issue resolution without speaking to a rep (17%); a personalized experience (17%); and, access to help via social media sites (4%).
- 55% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience.
- A customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor after experiencing a service-related issue as opposed to a price or product-related issue.
- A 10% increase in customer retention results in a 30% increase in perceived company value.
The top customer support channels customers would like to see are:
- Telephone number = 61%
- Customer support email address = 60%
- Live chat = 57%
- FAQ section = 51%
- Click to call = 34%
- Online customer forums = 17%
- Help videos = 12%
- Video chat = 7%
- None of the above = 16%
Customers are becoming more comfortable helping themselves; however, you must make the information easy to find of they'll need help from a CSR.
How are you improving customer service to improve the customer experience?