Customer Experience News & Trends

4 areas where customer service is falling short

Here’s where new research found many companies already fall short in the customer experience, and how you can escape the pitfalls: 

1. Customers wait too long

Three out of four customers say it takes too long to get to a helpful person when they need personal attention, a Harris Interactive poll found.

As customers adopt self-service, they handle less-critical issues and housekeeping issues themselves. That’s the objective, after all. So when they do call, it’s often a more pressing or complex issue — which calls for a faster, precise response.

Stanford Federal Credit Union overcame wait time issues with two initiatives. First, they added staff and gave employees more access to information that would help them solve issues, as well as the authority to take care of everything. They also started a call-back system. It allowed customers to choose to get a call back when wait times were longer than they would like. The system invites customers to press “1” for a call back and holds their place in the queue.

2. Customers can’t switch smoothly

Almost 60% of customers need to switch from web-based customer service to phone-based at one time or another. Sometimes they can’t find what they want on a site.

If something from an existing search or chat gets lost in transition, customers are disappointed that they can’t just pick up where they left off when they pick up the phone.

Many vendors offer software that allows a smooth transition. More importantly, customer service pros who are working with customers online need to keep solid notes in case another person picks up when it moves to a personal call. Even better, service pros should be able to give customers a direct number, not a general 800 customer service number, to continue the interaction.

3. Customers don’t get up-to-date information

People look at their phones for information constantly. Many crave knowing the latest and have alerts set up so they don’t miss changes in everything from weather and stocks, to sports scores and train departures.

Many will take updates from the companies they do business with, too, but most companies don’t offer it. More than three-quarters of millennials think well of companies that offer text and alerts.

You can use text alerts to let customers know the progress of a fix or where they are in a queue for a call back. The key — once you get customers to opt in — is to only send them relevant customer service information.

4. Customers must contact you

More than 90% of customers say they’d use an online knowledge base if it were available, yet many companies still lag in self-service. They don’t update frequently asked questions (FAQs). They don’t post trending issues in social media. They didn’t create an online customer community. They don’t maintain a customer portal.

You don’t need cutting edge technology to make online self-service an effective tool for your customers (although, dependable technology helps). What’s most important is that the information is up to date and easy to find. List FAQs. Post information in social media based on the most frequent inquiries you receive.

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