Hit-and-miss customer care ultimately won’t cut it. Neither will experiences that don’t provide adequate self-service options. Companies with perceived “slow poke” responses also will drive consumers elsewhere.
Customers expect a consistently positive experience, the opportunity to decide how to interact, and fast answers.
They’re not patient when these expectations aren’t met.
An astutesolutions.com article addresses all three: “32% of customers stop doing business with a brand they love after only one negative experience. (PwC)…Customers expect answers, fast…75% of people expect to get immediate info when they use their smartphone. (Google)…90% of customers expect an ‘immediate’ response to their support questions (10 minutes or less). (HubSpot Research).”
The article continues: “Consistency is key to great CX…63% of customers say the best brands exceed expectations across the customer journey. (Wunderman, via Adobe)…65% of respondents would become long-term customers of a brand if they can provide positive experiences throughout the customer journey. (Forbes / Arm Treasure Data)…42% of consumers say a seamless experience across all devices and channels is a ‘top expectation’. 11% of decision-makers see seamless, omnichannel experiences as the most important factor when delivering quality experiences. (Wunderman Thompson).”
Accordingly, the key takeaway cited in the article is that, “Every experience counts. Brands must not only measure the experience at key moments throughout the customer journey; they must also ensure these insights reach the right people at the right time to enable quick action.”
Self-service as part of the “self-sufficiency suite” is gaining traction quickly. According to astutesolutions.com: “Customers are more mobile and self-sufficient than ever…Customers want access to the information they need right now, wherever they are, and many would rather be given the tools to get this information themselves…Customers want to help themselves when possible…Over 6 in 10 customers today prefer to use digital self-serve channels to answer their questions (website, mobile app, online chat, and voice response system). (American Express)…59% of consumers find that self-service options improve their customer service experiences. (Nuance).”
In toto, this describes the customer experience—the overarching determinant of how a customer views a brand. While individual interactions, the essence of what some call customer service, play a key role, in the end overall impressions of the experience will save or sour the day.
Notes an acquire.io blogpost, customer experience “encompasses all interactions, including browsing products on a website, interacting with staff, making a purchase, reading promotional blog posts, and using your product. This seems very broad and complex but it all comes down to customers’ perceptions and relationships. A brand with a pleasant, cohesive, and consistent customer experience is likely to retain customers and achieve more customer loyalty over time.”
The map to customer care success is well-defined. How many companies choose to follow it remains the big question.
Is taking care of customers a strategy or a tactic? Is it transactional or a relationship? Does it encompass problem-solving or the totality of the experience with the customer? The answer to all of this is…all of this. In some circles, the process of problem-solving with customers is a series of tactical transactions. In other circles, customer care involves an overarching strategy that addresses making the total customer relationship as positive as possible. In some cases, transactional, tactical care is called customer service, while strategic relationship-building and tending is called customer experience. No matter what you call it, it’s all important. Maximum benefits are achieved when a global customer relationship strategy is developed, then implemented in a hands-on way with every customer conversation.Mark Lusky
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Mark Lusky (aka The Happy Curmudgeon)
is the owner of a Denver-based marketing communications firm. He’s a veteran writer, storyteller and author, with 40+ years of public relations, advertising, marketing and journalism experience, and author of A Wandering Wondering Jew… and co-author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Leverage.