Those who provide the best service earn maximum profits — is an evergreen adage for businesses of all shapes and sizes. At the same time, there is sufficient reason to believe that the role of customer service has evolved with time to accommodate consumers’ ever-changing expectations. It’s no secret that support agents played the most crucial part when businesses were forced to pivot to a digital-first strategy.
Accelerated digitization and an increasingly discerning consumer base are not the only challenges looking at businesses in the eye. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic saw most organizations grapple with the workforce shortage, remote working, fluctuating demand, and customers seeking instant gratification. During such tumultuous periods, front-line agents served as lifelines between businesses and consumers.
Stakes are much higher for businesses than before. We’ll explain why in two statistics.
- 58% of customers in the United States say that they are willing to pay more to businesses that provide excellent customer service.
- Almost 80% of customers say they will leave a brand if they receive poor customer service.
What are the takeaways from these two statistics? Price is less relevant for customers when they know that the service or experience they will be accorded is top-notch. Not that consumers disregard price altogether, but they are letting brands know that they want prompt, reliable service, and they don’t mind paying a little extra. The bottom line being those who serve the best earn the maximum profits.
Challenges Agents Face While Delivering Quality Service
Let’s consider a scenario a customer support agent faces daily. Every time a customer calls, an agent has to meet the customer’s needs at the moment while working to build trust between the brand and consumers. This, in turn, ensures customers’ long-term loyalty that ultimately makes them brand ambassadors.
This isn’t all. Support agents are expected to handle multiple systems that involve manual, lengthy processes, comply with various rules and regulations, and meet individual KPIs (key performance indicators) besides organizational targets. Delivering exceptional service can be difficult, especially when multiple important things require your attention simultaneously.
Customers buying behaviors have shifted to digital channels. And they’re not going back. So for many of your customers, the interactions with customer service agents are their customer experience. Customer support teams have the most complex jobs in today’s environment.
As contact center agents continue to provide support in various roles, their priority remains to reduce service friction. This reduces frustration among agents and consumers alike besides lowering the high costs of running the business and providing support.
People to People Interactions Matter The Most
What matters most for customers, if not price and good customer service? Any person-to-person interaction at any stage of the customer journey speaks volumes about the kind of experience the customer is subjected to. Whenever a customer calls the contact center for help or product-related support, they are looking for convenience and fast resolution of their problems. A word of advice for customer support specialists — providing excellent customer service doesn’t imply unnecessary apologies and long-drawn conversations between agents and customers. Service that’s honest, and not limited due to disconnected systems, legacy software, unfriendly policies, etc., is loved by consumers.
Barriers to Providing Great Service and Support
Before we discuss what customers love, let’s talk about the barriers contact centers face to provide excellent service and make the customer’s experience valuable. The post-pandemic era witnessed a digitization boom worldwide. This means that businesses that pivoted towards a digital-first strategy, survived the worst phase of the pandemic—those who didn’t were rendered useless by consumers and sent packing.
Offer Services that Your Customers Will Love
When we speak about serving consumers, the focus is not restricted to agent support alone. Companies can help consumers and offer them support in a variety of ways. Using digital technologies like contextual self-service, intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs), chatbots and interactive voice response (IVR) systems can help reduce friction in service, empower end-consumers, as well as reduce the work pressure of contact center professionals.
When companies utilize digital technologies and deploy AI-powered helpdesk software to aid consumers, they provide a higher level of support. Handling complex problems and escalations, tackling rising call volumes, and providing 24/7 support with shorter resolution times become possible — minus the extra effort.
AI is transforming the way agents work and interact with consumers. To offer the best service it is crucial for organizations to understand consumer intent and sentiment across conversations on all communication channels (including social media)
Golden Rules to Offer Best Service
Whether you are a B2B or a B2C organization, the fact remains the same. Whoever your customer is, retaining them requires you should have a fantastic product that brings value to them. Also, remember that convenience and quality experience precedes price considerations for consumers. A business doesn’t have to always have the lowest price for its products. You can offer quality and convenience, and still make profits. How?
Following this checklist can help:
- Make technology your company’s friend. If agents pilot your contact center, make AI-powered helpdesk the co-pilot.
- Unify all communication channels. Repetition, lack of context, and unwanted agent transfers irk customers the most. The ill effects of a haphazard communication system can be disastrous for business.
- Use automation to complete repetitive, mundane tasks like data collection/entry, etc. Lack of automation consumes agents’ time significantly, which could have been put to use to solve difficult tickets or cases that require empathy.
- Man all your touchpoints. Identify problem areas before they become full-blown issues.
- Stay at least two steps ahead of your customers. Predict their behavior and put in the effort to engage them meaningfully with your business.
- Remain approachable to your customers all the time. Nobody likes to knock on doors that don’t open. If the customer is doing business with you, you are obligated to serve them, and help them in times of need.
S/he profits most who serves best. You want your customers to think that you are worth the extra price and it shouldn’t pinch them. The value you give to your customers will come back to you. Just remain patient, stay focussed on delivering your best product or service, and most importantly dedicated to consumers. Your efforts will pay off.
Provide excellent customer service and make your brand the preferred choice of your customers by choosing an AI-powered helpdesk software like ThinkOwl.
Article written by: Soumyadeep Roy
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