Consumer expectations for 24/7 service and support are growing. Many brands cannot tell their customers that service and support is only available from 9am through 5pm on weekdays, because for many brands, regular business hours do not apply.
An example of this is Tagged.com. An incredibly popular social network with more than 300 million members worldwide, Tagged faces an imposing customer service challenge. Their members are constantly connected and using Tagged’s website 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and therefore, need to engage Tagged for support at any time of the day, and typically on weekends or after normal business hours.
Therefore, round-the-clock customer self-service and full-service options available on the Tagged site are incredibly important to the company that has been ranked on the Inc. 500 and named to the Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies, among other awards.
The Power of Online Self-Service
A self-service knowledgebase and support ticketing on the site’s customer service portal were key support additions for Tagged.com, but it was the continued development of the brand’s self-service knowledgebase, and more importantly, continued improvements to its functionality and organization that proved the most beneficial in improving customer convenience, support and satisfaction. Read More
Whether it’s answering the phone, an email, a chat, a ticket or a tweet, what you say and how you say it makes a big difference. Satisfactorily handled customer service interactions are associated with high levels of brand loyalty, but while it’s easy to ask customer service representatives to walk the walk and talk the talk, when it comes to customer care, consistent delivery just doesn’t seem to be happening.
The most recent Customer Rage Study conducted by CCMC, in collaboration with the W.P. Carey School of Business and the Center for Services Leadership, shows a great divide between what customers want and what they receive when they complain or request assistance: Read More
With the heightened customer expectations of today, investments in customer service (both assisted and self-service) must be made to keep up with demands. Backing this notion is a recent study by Bain & Company that reveals 80% of companies believe they are delivering a superior experience to their customers, while only 8% of customers agree.
Self-service to the Rescue
Self-service is an important component in improving overall customer satisfaction. Not only does it empower customers with 24/7 answers, information and updates – but for organizations, it also serves to deflect a high volume of frequently-asked-questions from high-cost, high-effort channels such as phone, email and support ticketing, so that customer service teams can focus on both improving service and information, and delivering superior customer experiences.
And customers are perfectly fine with getting their own answers. In a 2014 report titled The Real Self-Service Economy, 40% of approximately 3,000 consumers in a global survey said they prefer self-service to human contact for their future contact with companies; 70% expect a company website to include a self-service application. Read More
According to the latest COLLOQUY Loyalty Census, the average number of loyalty program memberships per U.S. household stands at 21.9, yet less than ten of those memberships are active ones, and this number has been decreasing since 2010.
And while U.S. brands can collectively boast 2.5 billion loyalty program members, the numbers above show that loyalty programs do not necessarily a loyal customer make.
The Quest for Customer Loyalty
What brands must begin to increasingly accept is that while delivering a single delightful experience or a reward to a customer is in the moment delightful, it typically does not earn a customer’s long-term loyalty. Instead, it’s multiple and consistent satisfying experiences that pay off in the long run. Delighting once is easy; delivering a satisfying customer experience multiple times over multiple channels including the phone, web, chat, social and mobile to name a few, is a quest few brands, it seems, can fulfill.
According to eMarketer, annual ad spending in the U.S. alone is projected to top $175 billion this year and reach nearly $200 billion by 2017. But if you look for similar numbers around customer engagement, they’re currently hard to find. The majority of brands say in general that customer engagement is a top priority, yet putting their money where their mouth is with planned, actual-number spending projections seems yet to have broadly materialized.
A new report from Gallup, however, shows that planned investments for customer engagement deserve just as much budgeting attention as advertising. The State of the American Consumer Report shows that customers who are fully engaged with a brand represent an average 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue and relationship growth compared to the average customer. In contrast, actively disengaged customers represent a 13% negative in those same areas. Read More
We all have a set of set of books that we have read or plan to read for professional development in our industry, and if you’re a Chief Customer Officer, Customer Service Manager, Customer Service Representative – or CEO, CMO, CIO or CFO for that matter – you may be reading up on how customer experience is becoming the competitive differentiator for many leading brands over even product or price. According to a recent Temkin Group Customer Experience Expectations and Plans for 2014 report:
63% of companies expect to spend significantly more or somewhat more on customer experience in 2014 than they did in 2013.
51% of companies plan to increase the staffing of their centralized customer experience team in 2014
78% of companies plan on dedicating significantly more or somewhat more effort to improving their web experience in 2014
And 84% of companies expect to increase their focus on customer experience measurements and metrics. Read More
In customer service and engagement, technology is a terrific tool, but it’s still the people that make all the difference. This is especially true for social media where being sincere, open, collaborative, interested, authentic and likeable still can’t yet be duplicated by a program or bot. Don’t think the human touch makes that much of a difference? Well recently, NPR ran an experiment using its Twitter profile which typically auto-tweets news headlines from its RSS feed.
For five days, NPR put a live person in charge of its account, and the results were pretty amazing. According to the data collected, the links and tweets shared by a live person at @nprnews were clicked on nearly 100,000 more times than the links shared via auto feed. Read More
If you follow the news (or even if you don’t), you know many government agencies are struggling right now with delivering efficient and effective service and engagement. But despite the long shadow that’s been cast, there are many agencies that are working improve and evolve service and engagement.
As an example, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently adopted a “Taxpayer Bill of Rights,” listing ten rights, with the top two being (1) the right to be informed and (2) the right to quality service. In addition, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) posted its first tweet recently (and a humorous one at that), which received more than 150,000 retweets and 85,000 favorites within six hours, showing the public is open to and appreciative of engagement from federal, state and local agencies on social media:
A new 2014 State of Multichannel Customer Service Survey commissioned by Parature, from Microsoft shows that old customer service channels certainly aren’t going away, but new ones like social are creating both greater and faster service expectations across the board.
It’s About Time
The survey, which gauged the responses of 1,000 U.S. consumers, shows that time and effectiveness are of the essence when it comes to a satisfying customer experience. Those surveyed listed getting my issue solved quickly (41%) and getting my issue resolved in a single interaction (26%) as the top two most important aspects of a good customer service experience. Read More