When customers have a question or a problem, they want a personalized approach and relevant help. Above all, they want a quick solution – something customer service doesn’t always offer.
According to a netomi study of U.S. customers, 47% of all respondents expect support to be fast and convenient. Meanwhile, only 23% expect personalized service.
Service must be easily accessible
Of course, this doesn’t mean that personalization isn’t an important element of customer service. But the results make it clear that speed and making the service experience as simple as possible are priorities.
One should consider whether personalized customer portals that require a customer account and login really are what customers want. Often, these are ways to provide personalized self-service. However, the hurdles (login, password, customer number, invoice/product number, etc.) and complex navigation might even be purposeful to reduce the number of direct customer inquiries. If it’s too difficult to contact service personnel, maybe the customer won’t even try and will use one of the complicated self-service options.
Only 10% of all customers surveyed see customer service as convenient. 46% have had frustrating and slow experiences with service offerings.
For companies in this situation, a customer journey mapping workshop is potentially recommended for specific customer journeys when it comes to service requests.
Test customers can also be used to check how intuitive, understandable and fast support channels are. While the number of channels provided is growing, they must also be easy to access. For example, if a company offers a social media channel for support issues, it should communicate this on its website and any other channel where customers might go for their support issues.
Speed also means fast problem resolution
Customer service has to be fast. For 44% of all customers surveyed, long wait times are the most frustrating service experience. A customer survey by Hiver comes to the same conclusion. The most important characteristic of a successful customer experience in service is quick problem resolution.
Also interesting is the fact that a negative customer experience often is linked to not being able to solve the problem during the first interaction. This is a time-problem as well, because every second attempt costs additional time – for both customers and providers (and is therefore also costing companies).
Among the six reasons why customer service frustrates, issues around waiting times and the duration of problem resolution play the biggest role.
61% don’t want to keep repeating themselves to different service staff.
60% despair that the problem could not be resolved the first time they contacted them.
44% don’t like waiting for feedback when contacting a company via email, chat or social media.
The Hiver study also mentions that customers tend to be unhappy with automated confirmation emails. While the intention is to notify the customer that their message has been documented, the customer experience of receiving this information (usually in form of a no-reply-mail) is not ideal.
are annoyed by automated confirmation emails.
Imagine you contact a company with an urgent problem. You fill out a contact form summarizing all the necessary information about the problem, enter your email address, and submit it. Ten minutes later, you get a notification. You are pleased that it went so quickly. But instead of a response, you find a no-reply email telling you that your contact form was received. You don’t find out when you’ll actually receive a helpful response.
The solution: design processes from the customer’s perspective
When customers want a quick resolution to a problem, it doesn’t mean they expect it all the time, everywhere. It’s not about companies providing 24/7 support for every concern. Rather, processes and information must be designed to address customer needs, make expectations realistic, and be as simple as possible for customers (and ideally support staff) to access. This includes a combination of simple processes, intuitive navigation, and friendly and informative communication.
Self-service options are a good starting point
FAQ pages, chatbots and customer forums can provide quick solutions to simple problems. However, they should definitely be linked to further support channels so that they do not become a dead end where complex problems go to die.
Service channels and options should be communicated transparently
Even though it happens often, it is bad form to hide information on how to skip the phone- or chatbot and be rerouted to a service rep. Similarly, the fastest channel for immediate support should be communicated transparently. Customers shouldn’t be forced to figure this out like a puzzle video game. Be open and generous when it comes to service information.
More is not always better
Instead of offering more and more channel options, even if you can’t service them properly, focus on your strengths. Offer one or two channels less if this ensures quality of the existing channels. In short, offer only those channels that you can support to the fullest satisfaction of your customers.
Check the usage data of your channels and evaluate it
How often do customers abandon processes? On which channels are problems most often solved? Take a critical look at your processes and identify weak points. If the chatbot is used frequently but rarely leads to problem resolution, there is obviously a need for improvement here despite the high usage rate. Also take a look at interactions that occurred before a customer churn, cancellation, etc. Learn from negative experiences.
Support your service team to provide world-class support to your customers throughout the customer journey. With the right platform, it’s easy to set up, analyze, and optimize processes. Learn more on our info page.