Delighting customers is not the key to consistently satisfying customer service. One, it’s hard to do consistently. Two, if you do it consistently, it stops being delightful and starts being an expectation.
But customers don’t expect (or evenly necessarily want) to be delighted every time they engage for customer service. They usually just want the fastest resolution possible with the least amount of effort.
But it seems we may still have a long way to go in making things easy. In Microsoft’s 2016 State of Global Customer Service Report, 44% of the 5,000 respondents across Brazil, Germany, Japan, the UK and the United States said they feel it takes them, the customer, more effort to resolve their customer service issue than it does a brand.
This number is awfully high considering the technology available to both the customer and brands and organizations today, but common issues (most with relatively simple fixes) still remain. According to the survey here are consumers’ top four customer frustrations:
1. Inability to Reach a Live Person for Support.
Almost one-third (31%) of consumers listed not being able to engage with an agent when they needed to as their top complaint.
Examine your customers’ experience when it comes to hold times. What do your customers feel is an optimal response time? Set a standard from their feedback and work to meet or beat it. Avoid the use of rabbit hole IVR solutions or courtesy disconnects. (There’s nothing courteous about being hung up on after waiting on hold for 20 minutes.)
Make sure your brand’s self-service offerings are complemented by assisted service channels such as a customer service phone number or live chat with highly-visible placement.
2. Customer Service Agent Does Not Have the Knowledge or Ability to Resolve My Issue.
Twenty-eight percent (28%) of consumers are most frustrated when an agent says, “I don’t know,” “I can’t” or “you’ll need to speak to a manager.”
Empower all agents with a current, consistent, well-organized knowledge base that will make even the newest employees sound like SMEs. Promote real-time collaboration and knowledge sharing among agents using community and/or social tools.
Empower employees to solve issues and make decisions without escalation through training and reasonable compensation boundaries.
3. Inability to Resolve My Issue or Find the Information I Need Online.
One-fourth (25%) of all consumers ranked this as the most frustrating aspect of a customer service experience, as more and more customers try to serve themselves before contacting an agent.
According to Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report, 75% of consumers have used a search engine to try and find the answer to their customer service question, and 90% expect every organization to offer 24/7 online self-service.
Make sure your customer self-service portal is current, well-organized and provides the content and answers your customers want and need.
Add communities to your self-service offering so customers can not only help each other, but your brand with self-service content.
4. Having to Repeat or Provide My Customer Information to the Agent.
Sixteen percent (16%) of the consumers polled for our survey ranked this as most frustrating, and in fact, most customers (72%) now expect an agent to know their contact information, product information and customer service history from the moment their support interaction begins.
Again, it’s all about empowering your agents with the knowledge they need to reduce customer effort, which in turn, increases customer satisfaction.
Customer expectations continue to mount. More than half (56%) of all consumers have higher expectations for customer service than they did just one year ago, and 60% have stopped doing business with a brand due to a single poor customer service experience.
Evaluate your customer service experience and make it easier for them to stay.
Whether you’re in customer service, marketing, sales, IT – or especially if you’re the CEO, CFO or CDO – you’ll be fascinated by the results revealed by Microsoft’s new 2016 Global State of Customer Service Report which polled 5,000 consumers across Brazil, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US on their customer service preferences and expectations.
The variations based on both geography and age will either confirm or totally change the way you think about, invest in, improve and incorporate customer service as a foundation of your brand or organization.