Why Providing an Exceptional Customer Experience Should Be Your #1 New Year’s Resolution
It’s that time of year again. The holidays are over and 2018 is officially in full swing. The start of a new year always brings an opportunity for individuals and businesses alike to start anew and figure out how they can make this year the best yet. For most of us that means trying to eat healthy, exercise more, volunteer often – or any number of resolutions we hope to keep. For business these goals look a bit different. It’s this time of year that companies evaluate how they performed the previous year, and more importantly, what they can do better this year.
For many companies, this year’s resolutions revolve around improving customer experience and support…and for good reason. 2017 proved that customer experience is a strong competitive differentiator and in 2018 brands that take steps to optimize their customer experience will surely win out.
So how can you get started? Here are a few steps to improve customer experience and help companies begin 2018 with even more success than before.
Audit Customer Service Systems and Techniques
The first step to any resolution is to evaluate where you are now so you know how far you have to go. For businesses, a good place to start is with a complete audit of your existing customer service tools and techniques. This audit should span across training, software, metrics, and workflows, evaluating each for efficiency and effectiveness. With the average organization facing hundreds (if not thousands) of support inquiries per month, even small gaps and inefficiencies can lead to lengthy resolution times and dissatisfied customers. While this audit can be time consuming, it will reveal any of these gaps or significant issues with your customer service process before they lead to more upset customers.
Audit your customer service systems by documenting everything in your support process. This can include tools, escalation paths, teams, and even training. Once you elevate all processes in place, bring in metrics and informal evaluation to determine what is and is not effective. Agent interviews can be a good source of potential gaps or friction. This information should give you a list of the strongest areas of your customer support process, as well as those that need repair or replacement going into the new year.
Find the Right Customer Service Tools and Workflows
After auditing your process, determine if new systems can help fill those gaps. With functionality like omni-channel engagement and mobile support, you can be wherever your customers are to provide support. Live chat functionality should integrate with email and ticketing to build descriptive profiles of past engagement, diagnostics, and likely problems. Reporting should also be a rich part of your toolset, indicating progress toward goals and potential trouble spots. In each case, agents should be able to combine insights across tools to find opportunities to improve process or reduce issues.
Maybe even look to see if automation can help. While it can take some time to set up, intelligently implementing automation tools provides long-term time and cost savings for the brand while also helping ensure customers have the always-on support they are requiring.
Refresh Agent Training
Agents often learn most about their jobs during onboarding and as they work with customers to resolve problems. While this can create very talented, professional support teams, it can also leave gaps in continual training that make tools and workflows less effective. As you enter 2018, use the energy of the new year to refresh training and ensure all agents are equally knowledgable about your products, processes and systems.
A customer support team is only as strong as it’s weakest link. Since 82% of consumers stop doing business with an organization following a bad customer experience, retraining is crucial to ensuring that every customer gets a top notch experience that then leads to repeat business and significant long-term returns.
If you have decided to implement new customer support tools or systems in the new year, this retraining is also critical for making the new knowledge stick. Reps can get familiar with tools and technologies as well as adapt to changes to their old approach.
For more tips on how to provide an exceptional customer experience in the new year, check out our Playbook to Activating Customer Engagement.