Customer experience is the guiding light of successful businesses.
And that has always been the case!
We sometimes talk about CX like it was invented in the last decade. But great experiences have always been the key factor to loyalty, satisfaction and profitability.
And whether or not you’re engaging with it, the demand for great CX is shaping your contact center right now.
So here are some of the customer experience trends that urgently need your attention.
81% of businesses compete primarily on CX
This seems like a good place to start.
There are a lot of elements that shape a customer’s experience. The contact center is responsible for many of them – but it’s often the weak link.
Why is that?
Bad metrics are one bogeyman that contact centers still struggle with. Many metrics focus on outcomes for the contact center – basically, is it cheap, and is it fast?
Those metrics don’t generally align well with positive customer outcomes.
It’s an iron triangle problem. Something can have the properties of good, fast or cheap – but not all three.
But if you prioritize service that’s fast and cheap, here’s what you’re missing: bad service isn’t faster, because it generates more traffic. Bad service isn’t cheaper, because it loses you customers.
So are you trapped by this problem?
Maybe not. Sure, you can’t make every part of your service good, fast and cheap. But you can build your service out of different, integrated components that play to their strengths.
Your IVR system is fast and cheap, but not as good as an agent. Your agents are good – but they’re relatively expensive.
If you have a strong integration strategy, you end up with well connected services and channels offering the best, cheapest, fastest service possible.
A 2% increase in retention has the same impact as reducing costs by 10%
Let’s not be coy about the profit motive.
Cost reduction via better service isn’t just a hypothetical benefit – it’s measurable money in your pocket.
Increased retention is one part of that benefit. In fact, it might be the most significant measure of your success – happy customers stay, angry customers stray.
Customers who stay longer spend more and more over time. (A typical purchase from a loyal customer is about 67% higher than from a new customer.)
You’ll also see better ROI from investing in retention vs investing in getting new customers – it costs 5-10 times more to sell to new customers.
44% of customers become repeat buyers after getting personalized service
Now we can get into the detail – what makes an experience great?
Personalization is one element that moves customers. Nobody wants to feel like a cog in a machine, so if you can offer something personal, you can foster far more loyalty.
It’s not as difficult to personalize as many businesses assume. Personalized service really just means using the data you’ve collected to nudge customers in a particular direction.
The same research found that over half of customers expect a personalized discount within 24 hours of making a purchase.
Would it surprise you to learn that that’s very good news?
Customers are primed for upselling like never before. They don’t resent it! In fact, they investigate good offers based on their previous purchases.
Price may not be the big differentiator it used to be, but that just means you should offer discounts at a different stage in your journey.
Now, discounts aren’t a baited hook – they’re a reward for loyalty.
In a six minute service call, 75% is devoted to manual agent research
What does an effective customer service call look like?
Well, we know it doesn’t look like four and half minutes of silence.
This is a big and surprisingly common problem for contact centers. Agents have to do a lot of leg work to understand a customer’s problem, let alone solve it.
There are two ways you can address this.
The first is a better data collection system. Businesses using conversational IVR have been able to capture caller intent in 75% of incoming calls.
That information can get delivered to agents at the same time as the customer – and can dramatically cut down on research time.
Capturing caller intent (automatically) will also improve the next step – call routing.
Customers undoubtedly have better outcomes when they arrive at an agent with appropriate skills. Send your customers to the right agent first time and they’re far more likely to get a quick, straightforward resolution.
50% of customers don’t believe their feedback goes to anyone who can act on it
… and that’s often true!
In a way, feedback has become a kind of marketing. Asking customers for their thoughts is known to have a broadly positive impact. You can do it just for show.
But obviously, that would waste a major source of insight…
There are a few kinds of feedback, and a few ways it gets wasted.
- Complaints don’t make it to senior advisors
- Surveys don’t feed into process design
- Ad hoc comments are added to customer notes which nobody reads
- Sentiment scores don’t drive initiatives
This is where the ACAF customer feedback loop comes in.
ACAF is a pretty simple way to standardize how you process feedback. (And yes, it works just as well for feedback you don’t ask for.)
Implementing this plan isn’t too challenging. You may find that the larger challenge is processing each stage in a structured way.
The solution is contact center automation.
Asking for feedback, and following up with people who provide it are the easiest parts to automate.
Actually putting what you learn to good use is the harder part. The only way to get that done is to make it part of somebody’s job.
That’s why two thirds of businesses now have a senior CX leader and a centralized CX team.
With that in mind, every contact center should aim to put resources behind improving customer experiences along every touchpoint.
That means integrating every tool and every system of record, for consistent and reliable service. It means automating wherever possible, to let agents focus on issues which only they can solve.
Ready to learn more about integration and automation in the contact center? Get ‘Your (free) Guide to Contact Center Automation’