Despite the rapid evolution in technology and user experience, customer service strategy has largely been pushed to the backburner with the exception of tracking “key” metrics, regardless of how aligned these metrics are with their strategy. When the pandemic hit and lockdowns went into effect, those businesses with a successful customer service strategy were able to adapt. But for many organisations, that was not the case. Subsequent crises, such as the recent fuel shortage in the UK, have served to provide more insights into the customer journey, for better or for worse.
To complicate matters, financial services has become somewhat ubiquitous, many companies now offer a financial services arm. As more and more companies offer both products and related services for their core offerings, such as payment plans and insurance, the customer journey becomes extremely complex for both parties to manage.
But this evolution has also provided opportunities.
To truly understand how to evolve their current customer service strategy, it’s critical that companies first reassess their business model, its requirements, and regulations, and then map out what is required for excellent customer service. Those organisations that set goals, identify the breaks in customer journeys, fix these and upgrade their customer service, are likely to come out on top, even during a crisis.
New customer service standards
Let’s consider telco, utility, and other essential services for a moment. Gone are the days when a utility company simply sold a boiler. Now, these companies are likely providing related financial products. For example, telcos may offer cybersecurity protection, customised subscriptions, payment plans, and even applications for different rewards and services.
The recent collapse of several energy providers in the UK has only highlighted the current complexity of such organisations. As the remaining energy suppliers scramble to onboard thousands of new customers at once, their customer service teams are subsequently overloaded. They not only have to provide onboarding materials, accept payments, and resolve issues, but they also need to respond to complaints from customers who have been lost in the process.
But energy suppliers are not alone. With the pandemic, telcos and other essential services worldwide have had to reassess their customer service goals in their attempt to balance their products with regulations.
And as the lines between core products and their related financial products become blurred, it’s clear that organisations will need to streamline their customer service operations to remain compliant and provide a consistent experience.
The benefits of investing in customer experience
The fact is, multiple studies have shown the immense value of investing in your customer experience strategy. Looking at the Walker 2020 report, some noteworthy highlights include:
- 86% of buyers will pay more for a better experience
- Sometimes, these buyers will pay up to 18% more for better customer service
- Companies that earn $1 billion can earn an additional $700 million within three years through investing in customer service
These are incredible data points that all suggest that an optimal customer service strategy is more than “worth it” – it’s mission-critical.
But there is more to it than promoting a positive experience. Negative experiences can drastically harm your organisation.
Customer complaints spread rapidly online. A website such as Citizens Advice can provide data and reviews on any business, even utility companies and telcos. As a result, more and more consumers are able to view businesses in a marketplace setting and choose those organisations with higher user rankings.
In other words, as powerful as excellent service is, customer complaints can also reduce your customer base over time and tarnish your overall image.
To improve your customer interactions and boost customer loyalty, it’s critical to take advantage of this opportunity for growth. Any changes you make today towards providing great customer service will pay dividends down the road, and become a competitive advantage.
5 tips for improved customer satisfaction
Good customer service is about far more than your net promoter score (NPS). Automation and digital transformation can help you improve your response time, send accurate feedback and directives to customers, and provide seamless touchpoints to boost customer happiness.
To get started, we’ve put together five key features you should look for after establishing your baseline.
1. Real-time customer journeys – In most cases, customer service representatives end up guiding their client to solutions over the phone, with no visuals. However, this method is ineffective, since client’s can easily get lost, especially if you give them multiple options and lead to broken journeys. A digital platform should be able to push data to your customers in a real-time session, including rich media images, contracts, and other materials, so that they can easily follow your team’s recommendations and troubleshooting help, including effortless onboarding and compliant e-kyc.
2. Regulation-ready – When dealing with financial products, such as insurance or other protection, it’s critical that your support team use a platform that is built for compliance. Your digital customer service platform should log every interaction and store that data securely for full auditing compliance purposes.
3. Easy payments – Utility and telco bills are often sent through the physical mail, even emailed bills can be missed and forgotten about and is inefficient and costly. Having the ability to pay in real-time in a PCI compliant manner, can ease the process of transacting payments, having the ability to peruse the clients payment status in real-time can help customers stay on top of their commitments without clogging your customer service channels.
4. Clear client communication – Whether you need to let users know about an update or remind customers about their insurance packages and other deals, having a clear and direct real time communication channel with your customers is the key to keeping them happy. This can come in the form of a live chat option, as well as satisfaction surveys and other key touchpoints.
5. Designed for upselling – A truly end-to-end digital solution should allow you to effortless cross- and upsell products. For example, support agents can push recommendations for different mobile packages based on a customer’s usage and send them the related materials in real-time if they are interested. This is a great way to add personalisation into your workflow and provide customers with real value.
Boost your customer experience
The fact is, customer experience is becoming the key differentiator for most companies. As more and more consumers become used to highly personalised and targeted support networks, it’s likely that these end-to-end platforms will become a necessity, not simply “nice-to-have”. And when built for compliance, these customer-oriented channels become essential for effective auditing and keeping up with regulations.
These platforms should also include automated workflows and customer self-service options, which can reduce your employees’ workload or direct their efforts to high touch, high value customer interactions.
Want to see if such a platform could work for your company? We’ve developed a state-of-the-art, end to end digital customer engagement platform, that is fully compliant, easy-to-use, and customisable to your business needs. Schedule a demo for Klarion, our end-to-end customer-centric platform, to learn more about how you can rapidly enhance your customer experience.