Customer Experience News & Trends

The state of service: What leaders do to fix inconsistencies

Sometimes front-line customer service pros are overwhelmed. Sometimes they’re under-whelmed. And that can make for an inconsistent customer experience, according to leaders in a recent study. 

About 40% of customers’ questions and concerns are highly repetitive, yet easy to resolve, according to recent research from DigitalGenius, leaving service pros a bit bored.

On the other hand, service pros can get overwhelmed by the tools they need to navigate to help customers with more complex or in-depth issues. Most customer experience leaders said their employees navigate more than two systems (and up to eight!) to help customers, the study found.

Often times, service pros need to work with one system for the channel that customers use to contact them (web-based, phone, email, etc.), another system that manages customer relationships and another system for back-end tasks such processing financials, validating transactions or customizing orders.

“The exploding number of ways customers can now reach service agents in 2018, combined with soaring customer expectations, are all illuminated in this research,” says Mikhail Naumov, president and co-founder of DigitalGenius. “It is clear from the data that tools which can address mundane, repetitive work will leave more time for agents to tackle the complex work their human brains were meant for.”

How can customer experience leaders and front-line service pros balance the demand so customers get a consistent, expert, pleasant experience every time?

How to keep the customer experience consistent, expert, pleasant

Here are five tips that can help:

  1. Automate what you can. Naumov eluded to using more automation and artificial intelligence in contact centers. Every organization has financial and personnel limitations on what can be done. So invest what you can in systems that will handle low-level, repetitive tasks and queries. And remember to leave time and resources available to educate customers on accessing it and ways to divert them to the automation.
  2. Standardize all you can. Nearly every customer experience can – and should – be a little different from the last. But standardizing as much as possible ensures that experiences are similar in expertise and process. Create easy-access guides for specific tasks and offer strategies to handle the less-obvious, more complex requests and situations. Also important: Create a team to regularly review the processes to uncover inconsistencies and boost efficiency.
  3. Train consistently. Service pros will follow standardized processes to deliver consistent experiences as long as they’re regularly reminded of the standards. Train regularly. Include examples of things that had gone wrong when standards weren’t followed.
  4. Build a culture of accountability. Workarounds and shortcuts lead to inconsistency. You’ll want consequences for failing to follow the processes. Also offer incentives for efforts to find and train others on shortcuts that weed out inconsistencies.
  5. Get more feedback. You can uncover inconsistencies and fix them quickly if you get continual customer feedback. One standard processes that can help with that is to ask customers at the end of interactions if things turned out the way they expected. Send short, transactional surveys via text or email when possible. Ask groups of customers quarterly for more in-depth feedback on the consistency of service.

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