Welcome to Navigating the Customer Experience, Happy International Women’s Day 2022.
We have been podcasting for almost 6 years, and we are already 158 episodes in, like, Wow. Thank you so much to every one of our listeners that has ever taken the time to listen to our podcast. And we really hope that you are able to get some value out of our conversations.
Today, I want to spend a little time and talk about a few customer experience trends for 2022. Let’s first begin by defining what our customer experience is. The term customer experience describes a customer’s overall impression of your business throughout the course of their customer journey. From first discovering your brand to using a purchased product or service.
There are many strategies a business needs to invest in to create fantastic customer experiences. These of course may include offering stellar customer service, driving proactive customer engagement and building positive customer relations, solving your customers problems and issues and communicating with them often. All of these things can potentially be brand differentiators for customers in their own right.
Now, some big ticket item trends that we have seen emerging and developing further in 2022 and beyond include:
- Social Media as a Primary Service Channel – Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn have become vital elements of the customer journey. A 2019 survey revealed that 85% of contact centre leaders say that social media is a simplest way to support customers. Customers are increasingly discovering brands, browsing products and making buying decisions on social media. As a result, they expect to be able to ask questions and get help on the same channels. However, in 2021, only 14% of consumers strongly agreed that companies are effectively combining newer channels such as social, digital and mobile and traditional ones like email, telephone, paper mail to provide a positive customer experience. Many companies may be struggling to bring the same standard of service to yet another channel. But as I’ve mentioned before, social media represents one of the most effective channels to provide your customers with timely and easily accessible support. In 2022, it’s definitely worth prioritizing your social media as part of your omnichannel service strategy.
- Abundant Self-Service Options for Customers – Many customers do their own research, conduct their own analysis, and many times may even proceed to purchase even without speaking directly with a representative from a company…. you may ask WHY? People enjoy serving themselves, and this allows them to be in control of their experiences and control the pace. A Harvard Business Review found that a whopping 88% of U.S customers expect organizations to offer a self-service support portal. Things like this may include an FAQ page (frequently asked questions), chatbots or even a comprehensive knowledge base. In addition to meeting these customer expectations, providing robust self-service tools reduces the burden on your customer support team. With the right resources, customers are empowered to successfully solve their enquiries, often in less time than a representative can. And of course, this will free up your customer service team to focus on more complex and hands on items or issues with customers.
- Increased Communication – According to Salesforce, 84% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services. And two- thirds of customers say they’re willing to pay more for a better customer experience. One way to deliver on this expectation is to use customer service automation. Automated customer service tools powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence are excellent for improving the speed and effectiveness of your customer service team. Autoresponder emails, for example, allow you to offer a better first response time to customer queries and assume and assure them you’re working on their issue. Chatbots are another example of automation that leverages artificial intelligence to walk your customers through solving common issues without the help of live customer service representative. Chatbots can provide blog links, drop-in prewritten answers to frequently asked questions or even connect your customers with a representative if necessary. In addition to assisting customers in a hands free manner, automated tools can be used to help your customer service team collect and analyze customer data, segment and prioritize tickets based on your criteria, and of course, effortlessly assign representative to tickets. If we do all these things combined, then we’re going to be able to increase the frequency and the level of communication that we give to our customers.
- Shorter Response Times and 24/7 Access for Customer Support – Customers are looking for lightning-fast response times now more than ever. Although survey results have varied, they all point to our need to respond quickly and effectively. Here are a few statistics that demonstrate this: 90% of U.S customers rate an immediate customer service response as “important” or “very important.” 60% of people who needed support defined “immediate” as 10 minutes or less. 71% of customers expect companies to communicate with them in real-time. And 31.2% of customers want a response to their email in one hour or less. I continuously tell my clients and even my participants in training sessions that the global standard for email correspondence used to be 24 hours, it has now been reduced to one hour or less. Customer service software has made it possible for more and more companies to offer 24/7 real-time support across a variety of channels. And as these real-time interactions become more common, more customers have developed an expectation for them. Once again, automation can go a long way toward helping your company reduce its response times and provide all our support without the need to hire more customer service representatives. From live chat tools to automated emails to chatbots, there are many tools available today that can help your company meet these rising expectations.
- In my own personal life, approximately a month ago, an object still unknown to me, fell on my windscreen and cracked it – a very frightening experience for me, however, after calling my insurance company GK Insurance in Jamaica, the agent was extremely responsive, she felt my pain, discomfort and the grave inconvenience this was for me and she was able to issue me an authorization letter within two hours of the incident occurring and I was able to have my windscreen replaced within 24 hours. The only reason the replacement was not completed on the same day was simply because the Windscreen Replacement provider had a cut-off time of 2:30 pm and so on by 8:00 am the following day, my car was there and by midday my windscreen was replaced. What started out to be a horrible experience turned out to be very manageable after dealing with a representative and seeing the level of urgency, and how quickly she was able to turn around an authorization letter. I will forever remember this experience.
We have merely touched on the critical areas that I believe if implemented consistently, will propel your company or brand and set you apart from your competition. Focusing with a clear intention to master Social Media as a Primary Service Channel, Increase Access to Abundance of Self-Service Options, Increase Communication and Reduce Response Times and Create a 24/7 Access for Customer Support are guaranteed to help your business offer a fantastic customer experience and create loyal customers for life.
Disney is absolutely one of the most magical places on planet earth and in his very own words, Walt Disney said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.”
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