Is this the year of the customer experience?
Years from now, we may look back at 2018 as the year of the customer experience. With so much focus on the customer journey, we might one day look back at this year much like we think of 1991 as the year the World Wide Web went public or 2007 as the year the world was introduced to the iPhone.
In the recent article, “16 surefire tips to improve your customer service experience,” a study by McKinsey found that 70 percent of the consumer buying experience is based on how good agents make the customer feel. With the customer journey so critical to sales and customer retention, it’s no wonder that Gartner predicts that 50 percent of contact centers will be redirecting their investments on innovations in the customer experience.
These numbers should be enough to generate the attention of banks and businesses, who are constantly working on creating a better overall experience for their customers. The article goes on to identify specific areas that call centers should focus on to improve their customer journey, including:
- Understand your customers’ ideal experience: Identifying your customers’ ideal experience through surveys or focus groups can help create an environment that meets their needs and expectations.
- Listen to your customers: While this goes without saying, paying attention to your customers’ preferences and what they want cannot be understated. Catering directly to their needs is how organizations can build a more customer-centric contact center.
- Offer preemptive customer support: Taking a proactive approach to resolving customer issues with things like technology tutorials and product demos before customers call in can help resolve problems faster and reduce customer frustration.
- Increase call center efficiency: Leveraging IVR, call routing and analytics to make the customer experience more efficient can help improve your contact center’s performance to gain a competitive edge.
- Align your customer experience with your brand: Your business reputation is only as good as the service you provide. A reliable, efficient and easy to navigate customer experience is a reflection of your brand, and exactly how you want to be remembered by your customers.
- Happy agents make a great customer experience: A happy workplace can help employees perform at their best. Confident, well-trained telephone agents who are happy at what they do can create a positive rapport with your customers, ensuring a more satisfying experience for both your agents and customers.
More and more studies show that the customer experience will soon surpass both product and price as an organization’s top brand differentiator. But only time will tell if 2018 will be the year contact centers took steps to improve the one area primed to set them apart from the rest – the customer experience.