August 19, 2021
Here’s an old business adage you’ve probably heard more than once: “The customer is king.” (Or queen, of course.) But putting the customer first is much easier in theory than in practice, which is why many companies continue to substitute lip service for actual service.
That flies in the face of ample evidence that businesses value a stellar customer experience (often abbreviated as CX) above all else. In a recent survey of nearly 2,000 business professionals by SuperOffice.com, CX was the top priority by a wide margin, beating out pricing and product. Not only that, the survey found, companies will gladly pay more to be treated well.
It’s a head-scratcher, then, that so many service providers apparently don’t practice what they preach — particularly because doing so is beneficial both reputationally and financially. Besides minimizing customer churn, investing in CX has a huge impact on revenues. “SaaS companies in particular,” a 2018 study by the Temkin Group found, “can expect to increase revenue by $1 billion” after a mere three years.
What is customer experience?
Delivering a truly great customer experience means making customers feel like they’re your only concern. It means collecting and parsing the data they provide to glean insights about their operations, anticipate their needs and deliver personalized services. It means quickly and effectively addressing any issues that arise. It means bolstering your cybersecurity protocols to safeguard the sensitive data they’ve entrusted you with and investing in cutting-edge technologies (like AI and machine learning) to help them help themselves as bot-driven service tickets mount over the next decade.
The impact of COVID-19
During the past 18 months or so, as the pandemic has reshaped American culture and business, customer service has taken hits it was in no condition to withstand, various surveys found. According to callback software and services provider VHT, they include but aren’t limited to missed connection opportunities, excessive hold times, increased escalations and redirects and outdated customer protocols.
The negative impact could be permanent.
“Particularly in times of crisis, a customer’s interaction with a company can trigger an immediate and lingering effect on his or her sense of trust and loyalty,” McKinsey noted in an April 2020 blog post. “As millions are furloughed and retreat into isolation, a primary barometer of their customer experience will be how the businesses they frequent and depend upon deliver experiences and service that meets their new needs with empathy, care and concern. Now is also the time for customer experience leaders to position themselves at the forefront of the longer-term shifts in consumer behavior that result from this crisis. Keeping a real-time pulse on changing customer preferences and rapidly innovating to redesign journeys that matter to a very different context will be key.”
Multi-channel (or omni-channel) service is a must these days for 80 percent of companies, a 2020 PWC report concluded. And the not-so-secret secret to providing a superior customer experience that supports chat, social media and calling, among other communication tools, is having the right systems and cloud-based contact center platforms in place. Support for mobile and self-service has never been more crucial, several studies found, because so many companies rely heavily on both to communicate with their customers. Drop the ball on either (with service bots that can’t answer simple queries, say, or a website that’s not optimized for mobile) and you’re liable to lose valuable business that won’t return.
If all of this seems complicated and challenging, that’s because it is. Fortunately, there are service providers and contact center experts (like Mindsight) that can help you prioritize, organize and optimize so you can retain clients while boosting your bottom line. Mindsight routinely works with clients to help them identify the contact center platform that will best meet their needs. There are platforms galore in the marketplace often making it difficult for organizations to choose. Mindsight helps by understanding needs and requirements and mapping those to the platforms in the marketplace, then offering recommendations, and if needed, helping with the migration and ongoing management of the environment.
As the pandemic enters yet another phase that’s already having a significant effect on businesses around the world (many small ones, especially, are struggling), customer experience is in the spotlight like never before. Would you rather get a standing ovation or be booed off the stage?
“A few years back, you could make customers feel taken care of by sending automated replies and just by convincingly stating that you are doing your best,” Niraj Ranjan, CEO of Gmail-based helpdesk provider Hiver, said in October of 2020. “That does not fly anymore, as customers are more educated and better connected. Throw a pandemic in the mix, and you have very high customer service expectations.
“This is why the focus has to be on building relationships, and the key to that lies in looking at customer happiness as everyone’s responsibility.”
Mindsight, a Chicago IT services provider, is an extension of your team. Our culture is built on transparency and trust, and our team is made up of extraordinary people – the kinds of people you would hire. We have one of the largest expert-level engineering teams delivering the full spectrum of IT services and solutions, from cloud to infrastructure, collaboration to contact center. Our highly-certified engineers and process-oriented excellence have certainly been key to our success. But what really sets us apart is our straightforward and honest approach to every conversation, whether it is for an emerging business or global enterprise. Our customers rely on our thought leadership, responsiveness, and dedication to solving their toughest technology challenges.