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Paul Hudson
Paul Hudson CEO of Intersperience
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Meeting Customers' Raised Expectations

Customers are the essence of any business and loyal customers are the key to long-term success. What you sell to your customers is one thing, but how you sell it and how you interact with your customers is another. Customer service helps to determine if you will sell to a customer again. 

So, in a digital world, what challenges do customer services face?

Our research shows that mobile internet is entertaining and helps pass the time, but most importantly, it’s a source of information. This means that access to the information is instant (well… almost!) and the speed of ‘I ask? – I know’ has increased significantly. To consumers, constant access to information is now a given.

To no one’s surprise, instant access to information raises expectations from customer services in terms of speed of response to queries. The time a customer is prepared to wait is noticeably shorter. 

When not receiving the response in the time they expect, that customers get annoyed, frustrated and dissatisfied is obvious. However, our research also shows that they demand attention and swap channels until receiving a reply, generating even more contact. 

What should businesses do?

  • Prepare technology – minimise technical glitches to ensure technical errors don’t slow down the communication and ensure they can handle the volume of customer contact your business receives
  • Prepare systems – make sure the system treats the seemingly multiple enquiries as joined up. If one agent responds on one channel, does the other channel know?
  • Prepare resources – one member of staff responding to multiple contacts at the same time might seem like an efficient way of handling customer contact, but our studies show that staff appear distracted, their responses are confusing and conversation is disjointed with ‘I’ll be with you in a minute’
  • Prepare staff – so that they can answer queries quicker and more confidently. Constant access to information makes consumers more knowledgeable and they expect agents to know at least as much as they do

Taking a couple of days to respond to customer’s e-mail, or holding a customer in a call queue for 15 minutes, is no longer accepted. The response targets need to be shortened, to stop customers from multiplying the contact on other channels. Businesses should review their current customer support strategies and check if, and how closely, they meet customer’s raised expectations. 

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