Focusing on new business goals for the upcoming year is a crucial component for success. Setting reachable goals and benchmarks may involve numerous areas within the company. Some areas may only require minor changes. Others may require a completely new approach to meet the changing trends of the new year.
One of the most important aspects of any business is customer service. Failure to meet the needs of the consumer may result in a loss of sales to a competitor. The changing trends and behaviors of the average consumer require companies to concentrate on the personalization of customer service in 2017.
The Knowledgeable Consumer
Advancements in modern technology allow for today’s consumer to be more knowledgeable about goods and services. The wide-spread use of mobile technology allows for a consumer to research items of interest immediately. The ease of access to product information drastically changes shopping and buying trends.
The changes allow the consumer to understand the differences in customer services. Replacing the simple concept of good and bad customer service is meeting and exceeding expectations. The average consumer expects a higher level of customer service. Updating customer service to meet the new expectations of the consumer may require research and changes to existing policies.
Getting to Know the Smart Consumer
Measuring current customer satisfaction is a crucial component for understanding expectations. Implementing customer satisfaction surveys will help a company identify problem areas. The customer satisfaction survey sends a message to both the consumer and employees that each transaction is important.
Surveys should be simple with a few questions concerning the recent transaction. Always allow a space at the end of the survey for additional comments. The consumer experience may involve an area, not in the survey. A carefully placed comment section may yield to new changes in the customer service strategy.
Over time, using customer satisfaction surveys will allow for measuring newly implemented guidelines. A new strategy may work over a specific time period. After the next benchmark in measuring the new guidelines, the ratings may decline. Lower ratings may require another approach to the customer service strategy. Even a small dip in customer satisfaction ratings may negatively affect future profits.
What Does the Consumer Expect? Five Strategies to Implement
Customer satisfaction surveys identify the expectations of the consumer. Business owners and managers will be able to design a customer service strategy around the expectations. In the world of advancing technology, personalization still is a major expectation of consumers. The personalization of the consumer transaction should be the same for both large and small purchases.
1. Mobile Customer Support
Generally, every company’s website contains instant customer support options. Online chat or contact forms are part of the web page. Receiving customer support is a vital part of satisfying and exceeding expectations. Busy consumers will access the company’s website through mobile apps. In order to increase purchases and customer relations, business needs to offer integrated support for the apps to aid in general questions. Failure to meet the tightly scheduled customer’s immediate needs will result in loss of sale.
2. Upgrade Social Media Usage
Billions of people log on to different social media platforms every day. Companies need to use this still growing trend to personalize the customer service experience. A social media page is easy to implement and use. Posting daily questions, photos, and news about products allow for customers to make comments.
When a customer or potential customer comments, reply and interact as soon as possible. For example, the customer may require support information. The simple task of responding with customer service direct phone numbers or the company’s web page shows the question is important. The response should always start with acknowledging the customer and the importance of addressing the issue.
The best part of social media usage is the ability to reach new customers around the globe. Viewing the online social media interactions shows the company values each consumer. A company’s reputation for caring about customers may increase with each positive social media interaction.
3. Online Chat Options
Offering online chat options on the company’s web page enables instant communication. Answering questions or addressing concerns in real-time increases customer satisfaction. Knowledgeable customer service representatives will be able to personalize the chat by addressing the customer by name. Answering a question immediately enables the customer to proceed with the buying options. If a customer has to wait, the chances of clearing out the online shopping cart increases.
4. Frequently Asked Questions
When chat is unavailable, a frequently asked questions page is a useful self-help alternative. The FAQ page must be accurate with regular updates to obtain value. Numerous customers will use the FAQ page prior to calling the customer service hotline.
5. Customer Service Hotline
Even with the use of interactive chat services, self-help sections and social media use, many consumers prefer communicating with an actual person. In order to maintain customer service satisfaction, the wait time must be minimal. If the wait is long, the automated service should allow for a call back number option to hold the customer’s place in line. Calling a customer back shows the company cares about the question or concern.
In either situation, addressing the person by name is crucial for personalization. The customer service representatives must be knowledgeable, friendly and courteous. Failure to provide positive interaction on the phone may result in loss of sale.
Staying on Top of Customer Service in 2017
Companies must recognize the value of customer service. The growing trend of the knowledgeable consumer requires companies to implement new strategies to personalize the shopping experience. Focusing on improving the customer service experience will help in retaining current customers and attracting new ones. When a company projects the value of the average consumer, a positive reputation will follow.