Customer experience can be defined by a number of factors, but broadly it boils down to:
- How easy it was for your customer to perform a needed action (e.g. signing up for a service), and
- How your customer felt they were treated whilst performing that action.
Customers expect it to be relatively easy to perform almost any task around their accounts (purchases, upgrades, downgrades, cancellations, support queries etc), and they expect to be treated well during those interactions. Which doesn’t seem like much to ask, but we all know how complicated it can actually be to deliver these seemingly ‘simple’ things.
So - where could you be falling short? What’s the gap between expectations and reality? What do customers expect in the digital age?
Read on for the 4 essentials of a great customer experience...
Whilst many people are justifiably sceptical of how their data is used by companies, consumers are surprisingly willing to grant service providers access to their information, in exchange for a more personalised service.
By providing a ‘personalised experience’ we’re referring to things like:
- Having an easy-to-access self-administration portal that contains all of your service information
- Being able to communicate with a friendly customer service agent by name, with your name/account number and your interests at heart
- The service provider communicating accurately, rather than with broad sweeping and irrelevant marketing campaigns
- Providing service specific information, FAQs and how-to’s, along with upsells and cross-sells
>> Key takeaway: Use customers’ information to be relevant to them
#2. A consistent multi-channel experience
Customers don’t mind speaking to someone different each time they make contact with your company, they just don’t want to have to repeat themselves, regardless of the communication channel they’ve chosen.
There is nothing more frustrating than being passed from agent to agent to solve a problem, or thinking you’ve had a problem solved in one communication, only to find out later that all the information exchanged during that conversation has been lost - and you need to do the whole thing over again.
To provide a positive customer experience, you need to be able to provide this consistent experience. Each business department needs to have access to a central database where all customer information is stored, and a single record is easy to find by any department, through any channel.
>> Key takeaway: Use centralised data storage to provide customers with a consistent experience.
#3. 24/7 Self-Service
This goes pretty much hand-in-hand with our generally increased desire for instant gratification. Having to visit a brick-and-mortar store during store open times, or call into a call centre to achieve something can be extremely time-consuming and frustrating, regardless of how good your customer service is.
Increasingly, more people want to be able to review and manage their own services online and your business needs to provide that ability.
I recently wanted to upgrade my fibre cap and the thought of having to call in, explain, wait, explain again, wait (etc) was enough to leave me running for the hills. On the off-chance I was able to do this myself, I logged into my ISPs portal. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was able to easily and instantly upgrade my cap. No fuss, no waiting. What a wonderful experience. And I didn’t even have to engage with another human.
It’s this level of self-service that consumers are beginning to expect as standard.
>> Key takeaway: You need to provide your customers with the ability to self-manage their accounts
Security really covers 2 aspects, (1) Physical Security, and (2) Digital Security.
(1) Physical Security.
Living in South Africa comes with a very real conscious expectation of physical security. Your customers do not want to be made to carry large amounts of cash into a physical store to pay a bill. This is simply not safe. You need to ensure the physical safety of anyone entering any of your stores.
(2) Digital Security.
Identity theft is also on the rise in South Africa and understandably consumers are less likely to give their credit card or personal details to an agent over the phone. They expect their personal and payment data to be protected at all times.
>> Key takeaway: You need to provide your customers with secure online payment options whilst ensuring their data is protected at all times.
How do you meet these customer expectations?
The reality is, you simply cannot meet customers expectations in the digital age without quality business automation software. To find out how to use all the benefits of automation to improve your customer service, read this piece here.
It is this software that will allow you to have a central database upon which each department can view operational and customer data. You’ll be able to create a personalised and consistent customer experience, whilst providing safe and secure online payment options.
At SOLIDitech we see daily the immense benefit enjoyed by internet service providers from our integrated, end-to-end business software platform.
It’s time to make the investment into custom software for your business because you simply cannot afford the alternative.