Removing the Friction: 4 Ways to Increase Customer Satisfaction Today
As they say, the only thing that’s constant is change. For the customer service industry, change is imperative. Why? Well, like it or not, we live in an attention economy — one where customers demand seamless and near-instant resolution to issues and questions. And when we say instant, we mean instant. According to our research, 45% of consumers expect a response to queries in under one minute, and they show little patience for laggards. So little that 82% of consumers will stop doing business with a company after just one bad experience. Companies that are having a hard time adapting to this change are feeling the brunt of this new-found reality and experiencing lower NPS and higher customer churn.
Here are four simple ways brands can amp up their customer service for increased satisfaction:
- Train Agents to Drop the Lingo and Acronyms
Have you ever had a Starbucks barista blithely respond to your “medium coffee” request with “Did you mean a Grande?” What they’re doing is shifting the onus of understanding their proprietary terminology onto the customer. At best it’s mildly insulting, at worst it alienates the customer.
A good customer experience is created from the point of view of the customer. Unlike your agents, your customers don’t spend 8+ hours in your office each day and shouldn’t be expected to know that a SLA means ‘guarantee’ or that a UPC is ‘the number below the bar code.’ They live in a world of ‘mediums and larges,’ not ‘Grandes and Ventis,’ and your agents must as well. Treat customers with vernacular empathy, and you’ll move things along and increase their engagement.
- Authenticate with Universal IDs
How many of us, off the top of their head, can remember the account number of their electric utility company? If you find it difficult, that’s because it’s a proprietary, lengthy and rarely-used form of identification that customers often can’t remember. Companies who request these types of IDs create an unnecessary and frustrating roadblock for consumers who are looking for quick answers.
The solution to this is quite simple: Authenticate by way of universal identifiers such email and phone number. These IDs are used elsewhere, are shorter, can be remembered instantly, allowing customers to move on with resolving their issue. If your team has a unified view of the customer, you can simplify the workflow even further by recognizing customers by their universal ID when they contact you.
- Focus on Omni-Channel Resolution
Don’t be fooled by your customers’ desire for fully omni-channel support: they want quick resolutions even more. Many brands fail to deliver on the promise of omni-channel because when customers reach out via social media, live chat, or email, many are still directing those customers to an alternate channel, such as the phone.
What’s the point of having those channels if you aren’t able to resolve issues within them? Sure, there will always be times when escalation is needed, but ultimately, if you offer support via live chat, you should be able to take care of most requests through that channel.
According to our research noted above, 86% of customers use five or more channels for support but 45% feel that it has become harder to reach the right representative. Many who are asked to switch channels drop off without a resolution, often unhappy. What can your team do? Adopt a solution that’s designed not just for omni-channel support but for omni-channel resolution.
A truly omni-channel solution will allow for communication across a variety of mediums, from social media to live chat and email. Agents will be able to securely verify customers’ identities, locate their cross-channel histories, and pick up where they last left off. Agents who can provide resolution in-channel do so faster and make customers happier.
- Amp Up Self-Service Capabilities
According to TSIA, 68% of end-users say that self-service is their preferred channel for support, higher than any other assisted support channel. Self-help allows customers to find instant answers which deflect routine tickets and free up your support agents to give more attention to those customers who need a little extra hand-holding.
The trick to self-service is making it effective. For this, support teams should look to knowledge centered service (KCS) methodology. At its essence, this approach encourages companies to create support documentation as a byproduct of solving customer issues. Every issue that agents encounter should be documented until their customer-facing self-help portal is full of answers to every imaginable question. And, a good self-help system should automatically learn and adapt over time based on whether customers find the answers useful. A self-service solution that continuously optimizes for improvement deflects more tickets and reduces the friction to customers finding their own resolutions.
Optimizing your customer support experience doesn’t have to be a long and painful strategic initiative. There are things you can start doing today that might make all the difference for your customers. Ultimately, it boils down to removing as much friction as possible and treating your customers how you’d want to be treated — with simple, effective and personalized service.
Want to really optimize your support experience? Download our Playbook to Activating Customer Engagement.