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Blog

Dec 12, 2016

What is Excellent Customer Service Really All About?

young woman on tablet having excellent customer service

[Estimated read time: 3 minutes]

Excellent customer service must first satisfy a consumer’s needs with a resolution of their problem, then meet their expectations for speed, efficiency, and courtesy, and finally “delight” them by creating an emotional connection with the brand.

To provide excellent customer service, companies need to use smart technology to offer personalized, omni-channel experiences.

Personalized Customer Service

The term “personalization” is often used interchangeably with “segmentation” and “customization,” but it is a very different concept. Segmentation divides customers into distinct groups based on demographic and psychographic similarities, such as “new moms,” or “business travelers,” with the assumption that all the members of a given segment will have the same preferences. Customization, on the other hand, asks consumers to report their own preferences. But personalization uses data collected about each customer’s behavior, and then tailors marketing, communication, and engagement strategies at a one-to-one level.

How to Provide Personalization

Until fairly recently, personalizing customer service required the time and expertise of an experienced live agent. So although companies recognized the value, it wasn’t scalable. But technology has changed the game. Now smart CRM software tracks and collects customer information from across all channels in a central location and uses it, along with current context, to guide agents through creating the personalized interactions that are essential to excellent customer service.

Self-service can also be personalized. Advanced technology connects to a company’s CRM to pull in customer information, previous interactions, purchase history, and more. It adds that context to the customer’s current request to deliver a personalized, highly relevant response—not just the one right answer, but the one right answer for each individual customer.

The Value of Personalization

Almost three-fourths of consumers say they get frustrated with websites when content, offers, ads, and promotions appear to have nothing to do with their interests. And 40% of online shoppers buy more from retailers that personalize across all channels. In fact, adding personalization to the shopping experience has been shown to lift sales by almost 8%. Informing content, offers, and service with rich context provides excellent customer service that encourages consumers to take a desired action in the moment and remain loyal in the long run.

Omni-Channel Customer Service

Multiple devices showing omni-channel customer service

Approximately 75% of consumers use three or more channels to access customer service, and 60% will change communication channels depending on where they are and what they’re doing. Customers want to interact with brands on their own terms—when and where they prefer—and they expect a consistent experience across all channels.

How to Provide Omni-Channel Engagement

Nearly 60% of customers are frustrated with experiences that are inconsistent from channel to channel, and 91% expect to receive consistent information over multiple customer contact channels. Despite that demand, though, a meager 17% of consumers say that companies make it easy to switch between channels. Why have companies been slow to adapt to this shift?

Many have a fundamental misunderstanding of the difference between multi-channel and omni-channel engagement. Most brands offer multiple channels for interactionsuch as phone, email, web chat, and social mediabut few have integrated them to create truly omni-channel engagement, where a conversation or transaction that started in one channel can seamlessly transition into another.

Omni-channel engagement can only be achieved through the use of smart technology that:

  • Shows agents a comprehensive, cross-channel interaction history on one screen
  • Stores customer information in a central CRM database so that the most recent data is always displayed on all channels
  • Integrates social relationship management software with the CRM to track responses and create seamless escalation to different channels
  • Includes robust context when self-service interactions are escalated, to allow a live agent to pick up where the virtual agent left off
  • Gives agents access to the same knowledgebase as customers, so that consistent information is provided, regardless of channel

How Astute Can Help

Astute’s blend of leading-edge technologies helps you provide excellent customer service by allowing customers to communicate seamlessly when and where they want, and giving you the tools you need to create personalized interactions at every touch point. Request a demo to see our software in action.

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