We’ve now reached a pivotal point in customer service where it’s essential to take a proactive approach or get left behind, fast. In 2021, speedy customer service must be at the centre of your growth strategy.
Knowing that speed is the most important factor contributing to higher CSAT scores, we created the “Cut the Wait” playbook. It’s a guide on how to improve customer satisfaction by cutting wait time. We note the roadblocks your teams and your customers face and identify practical ways you can provide faster customer service. Download the complete Cut the Wait Playbook for a 5-step guide to faster customer service.
The Impact of Changing Customer Expectations Within Customer Service
The days of one-channel customer service are over. Your customers expect an integrated omnichannel journey connected by fast and efficient processes.
It’s not enough to react quickly; you’ll also need to work proactively and anticipate problems. Today’s customers expect you to be available everywhere (website, social media, email, phone, instant messaging, etc) at the click of a button. Context and speed are the keys to meeting and exceeding customer expectations. According to Forrester, 73% of customers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a customer service team can do.
The Biggest Challenges to Speedy Customer Service
The pandemic has served to exacerbate existing customer service issues. Customer service teams are forced to work in difficult conditions, often with fewer people, but are expected to manage increasing volumes of enquiries.
In fact, very few organisations, even those with good pre-pandemic CSAT scores have been able to avoid a deterioration in their customer service provision. Resolving issues quickly and efficiently, as agent workloads increase with demand, has become a major headache for customer-focused brands.
Additionally, the huge boom in e-commerce and customer service activity has blurred the lines between sales and service. Every single interaction throughout the buyer’s journey is an opportunity to both build relationships with excellent customer service and to sell more. The Cut the Wait playbook highlights, since the pandemic, some clients are seeing more than two-thirds of sales-related queries come through customer service channels.
The Main Focus Areas for a Future-Ready Customer Service Strategy
The Cut the Wait playbook is a useful, practical and implementable guide to help you improve your customer service. It details five key areas of focus with helpful information around improving each one. Here’s a brief summary so make sure you download the full guide to get all the information you need to improve your customer service and delight your customers.
Accessibility across multiple channels
Make your teams as broadly and consistently available as possible, whether in person or via AI. By deploying the right channels based on customer behaviour, you can plan for channel shifts depending on the complexity of the query. This omnichannel routing prevents bottlenecks and cuts wait times regardless of the channel. Integrating channels helps users switch seamlessly between FAQs, email, live chat, chat bot, and telephone without losing any of the context of their query.
Taking an automation-first approach
Artificial intelligence in customer service is an essential tool for providing an immediate response and speedy resolution. An automation-first strategy can reduce the burden on your customer service teams by 80% and free up agents’ time for advanced queries that need a human touch. For example, directing customers to updated information libraries can help them quickly find answers without needing to speak to an agent. Chatbots enhance UX and take the pressure off agents by providing instant real-time customer support around the clock.
Shifting from a reactive to proactive service
As a customer-facing business, if you’re not already anticipating customer issues and addressing them rather than waiting to be contacted, you’ve already fallen behind. Our research shows that 69% of consumers globally have a clear preference for brands that offer a proactive service.
Integrate AI on your website in order to detect customer frustration and configure trigger messages on your live chat window to prompt customers when they seem to need assistance. For example, spending too much time on a particular page or abandoning a shopping cart can trigger a bot to reach out with suggestions and relevant information. Customer service managers should also address the cause of those frustrations where possible so they simply cease to arise.
Empowering your agents
Un-informed agents slow down customer support interactions, so it’s essential to provide them with the right information and a 360-degree view of the customer’s journey. Many brands save time by deploying agent-facing chatbots. The purpose is to help agents who may need assistance with standard procedures, the agent-facing bots help to guide them through these processes and determine the next steps by suggesting the next best actions with step-by-step instructions.
Refreshing your customer service metrics
As customer expectations change, so does the way we evaluate customer service. Today, organisations aiming for best practice take a holistic and company-wide approach to supporting customer service goals.
This customer-centric approach to customer service metrics keeps growing. Several newer metrics are better able to measure the holistic impact on the customer journey. Zero contact resolution (ZCR) measures how well a customer can solve their problem without reaching out to an agent. The customer effort score (CES) measures the effort required to reach a resolution. Minimal contact feels faster for customers as it involves very little effort and waiting around. If you improve these metrics, you can reduce the cost per interaction, which will save your company money in the long run.
Read Our Guide to Speedy Customer Service Delivery
Start thinking differently about speed in customer service. What you perceive as a fast response might differ from the customer’s expectation. Shorter wait times, higher quality interactions and reduced effort, result in more satisfied, loyal customers who will happily recommend your brand to others.
Download the Cut the Wait Playbook for detailed information around the top five practical ways to provide speedy, best practice customer service and retain more customers.
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