6. Eliminate pain points. “Get serious about fixing the things that frustrate your customers,” says Robert Wollan, senior managing director, Accenture Strategy. “Over half of the top 10 most frustrating customer issues are the same as they were over a decade ago. Customers actually make it easy for brands to identify frustrating experiences if they are paying attention and will do something about it.
“Complaining on social media about poor experience is the norm for 44 percent of U.S. consumers who admit taking to social channels in order to vent,” he says. “Negative experiences can directly impact profitability and quickly send loyal customers to a competitor. Companies that build great customer relationships address poor experiences and fix them so they don’t happen again, to ensure customers get the experiences they want and deserve.”
7. Don’t underestimate the value of human interaction. “Human interaction is a vital component of customer satisfaction, even [or especially] in the digital age,” says Wollan. “Eighty-three percent of U.S. consumers say they prefer dealing with human beings over digital channels to solve customer services issues and get advice. Yet many organizations are cutting back on exactly those type of experiences in favor of digital,” he notes.
“Many [companies] wrongly assume that their digital-only customers are their most profitable, and customer service is a cost,” he continues. “Consequently, they over-invest in digital and lose their most profitable customers – multichannel customers – who want experiences that cover both digital and traditional channels.”
8. Ensure that customer service representatives are well-trained. “The first line of contact for a customer's service experience in a multichannel environment is a company's customer service representatives,” says Lara Ponomareff, customer contact practice leader, CEB, a best practice insight and technology company. “So it's critical that reps are trained and trusted to be problem solvers, not just call takers.
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“Train service reps to actively listen to customers and ask questions,” she says. “That allows them to gain critical context for a customer's query or problem and create more tailored solutions for the customer. By listening, the rep gains the insight needed to make customers feel that their problems are being resolved. Rep training can be a real value-add and strong customer retention strategy.”
9. Have your sales, marketing and customer service departments share customer data. “While it can take time to create a shared repository of data between sales and marketing [and customer service], you’ll gain the ability to understand your customer’s actions and preferences better than ever before [if you do],” says Swann.
10. Be mobile. “Implement customer support software that can be accessed across multiple devices, such as smartphones and tablets, to enable mobile support anywhere there is an internet connection,” says Robert C. Johnson, CEO, TeamSupport, a provider of B2B customer support and help desk software. “This mobility enables teams to respond quickly.”
11. Follow up with customers. “Follow-up is key to building a lasting customer relationship, and it doesn’t have to be a hassle,” says Mask. “Automating customer follow-up can deepen a customer relationship by allowing you to send timely and relevant information to the right people while you stay focused on running your business.”