Customer service continues to grow in importance for businesses across all industries, and doesn’t look likely to become any less so over the years, as more and more consumers make spending decisions based on the customer experience they receive.
In fact, according to a study released by NewVoiceMedia, organizations lose over $62 billion each year because of poor customer service. As well, an Aspect and Conversion Research survey found that over half of the internet users in the United States have stopped doing business with a general retail company due to customer service they found lacking.
With today’s consumers having such high expectations, it is important for businesses to keep a close eye on customer service trends so that they can deliver the best experience possible, and enjoy increased sales as a result. Read on for some of the key trends to be aware of today.
While in recent years there has been an increase in the consumer usage of smartphones for browsing, buying from, and interacting with brands, this trend is only set to keep on growing. If you want to deliver a top customer-service experience then, it is vital that you ensure your business is up to date on mobile technologies.
For starters, your website needs to be mobile friendly so that current and potential customers can browse your wares and service offerings online, and find out any information they want to know about your opening hours, contact methods, payment options, and more.
As well, shoppers must be able to purchase via mobile devices so that they can finalize transactions whenever and wherever they like. Look for mobile point-of-sale systems which can handle a variety of payment methods (including PayPal, mobile wallet, credit card, and gift card transactions), and which are secure and easy to use.
If you have workers (such as sales reps, tradesman, service operators, and the like) who visit client homes or offices to take orders or complete tasks, it is also helpful to empower them to take payments on the spot using mobile point-of-sale devices.
While this is very helpful for businesses because it means transactions get finalized then and there and time and money is saved, it is also beneficial to customers. You will have happier customers if they can make a payment straight away, rather than having to remember to chase up an invoice and then log on to their bank account or make another payment method at a later date.
Using mobile payment solutions will also help you to increase the customer experience at busy times of year or peak periods during every trading day. If you have, for instance, a café, restaurant, retail store, or similar type of outlet, you can utilize smartphones and tablets to accept additional payments. Rather than make customers wait in line for limited registers, you can have staff completing transactions through mobile gadgets at the same time.
Self-service customer service options are also becoming more and more prevalent as businesses realize how much shoppers have come to expect, and attain value from, these types of options. By making self-service tools available to your customers, you will enable them to source information, complete tasks, and get answers to their questions more quickly and conveniently.
Through solutions such as Instant Answers, Dynamic FAQs, automated help desks, chatbots, forums, tutorials, videos, and over-the-phone payments, consumers no longer have to wait until business hours to speak to customer service reps. Instead, no matter what time of the day or night they’re browsing, they can find what they need straight away. This also avoids shoppers having to wait to receive email responses or them being kept on hold on the phone while they wait for their call to be responded to.
Social Media Interactions
Another trend that continues to grow in the area of customer service is interactions via social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. It is becoming less and less acceptable for businesses to not have a daily presence on social networking sites, and to not respond to customer questions and conversations in a timely manner. Shoppers use their social media accounts often, and want to have easy and quick access to brands at the same time.
Customer service interactions over Twitter, in particular, have increased dramatically — a whopping 250% in the last two years. On Facebook, the brand’s Messenger feature has been particularly popular with consumers as well.
If you’re thinking that introducing customer support via social channels will be too much work and not worth the time or effort, consider the fact that answering a complaint posted on social media is reported to increase customer advocacy by as much as 25%, according to Convince and Convert.
As well, getting back to customers quickly on social sites can drive revenue. According to one poll conducted by Twitter, airline customers said they’d be willing to pay more than $2.30 extra for the same or enhanced service if a response on social media was provided in 67 minutes or less, or an even more significant $19.83 if they heard back within just six minutes.