Having digested a number of CX Trends reports, I am left with the distinct impression that what every brand, organisation or company should be looking for is a monogamous relationship with its customers.
In the past, brands in particular have relied on generating promiscuity in the form of promotional offers to lure away loyal customers from one brand to another. And it's not just on the high street. Price competition has been equally rife in the B2B sector.
But times are most definitely changing. Organisations are realising that profitability and growth might be related to the service that they provide to their customers. Nor can loyalty be bought any longer. The modern customer is so web savvy that they have become experts at shopping around, exploiting loyalty and reward programmes without making a genuine commitment.
We are now in an era where you need to court, nurture and love your customers if you wish to grow both your business and your bottom-line. To back this up, research shows 73% of business leaders are now reporting a direct link between customer service and business performance.
Even more telling is the data relating to customers themselves. 61% of customers would defect to a competitor off the back of a single bad experience. That’s a whopping 22% increase from the previous year.
But what is really telling is how customers are measuring organisations up, when making buying decisions. 93% will spend more with a company that offers them choice in terms of how they reach customer service; 90% will spend more if customer service is personalised; 92% will spend more with companies that don’t ask them to repeat information; and, 88% will spend more with a company that allows them to self-manage without having to even speak to an agent.
If we momentarily stray into management speak, then your consultants will tell you that you need to drive better experiences, improve efficiency, create stronger relationships, increase CSAT and sustainability etc.
In practical terms, if you are at the coal-face, dealing with customers all day, every day, this means you need to adapt and adopt technologies that allow you to metaphorically link arms with your customers and be there for them when they need you.
To make this happen, you need to be able to embrace and lead in two key emerging areas of customer support: Conversational Customer Service and AI & Automation
No customer enjoys having to repeat themselves or hanging on the end of a phone-line waiting for an agent to either resolve your issue or pass you over to another agent (to repeat yourself). Conversational customer service seeks to circumvent this by using technology intelligently to offer fast, convenient and personalised service in whatever channel customers want. 70% of customers expect conversational support, and it’s not just Gen Z or Millennials that are driving the trend. More than two-thirds of customers over the age of 40 are seeking conversational engagement whether it's using social messaging, web, mobile or even zero touch conversations driven through AI.
Which brings us neatly into AI & Automation. Despite the futuristic, post-Armageddon world envisaged by Ridley Scott in the “The Terminator” trilogy where Skynet’s robots dominate the world, 7 out of 10 consumers agree that AI is good for society. In the arena of customer support, 66% give AI the thumbs up in terms of making their lives easier, saving time and improving experience.
The most astounding piece of information to fall out of research, is that only 17% of companies are set up on a single platform that connects all service channels. So if you are one of the 69% of companies planning to migrate to a single platform, then I’d suggest that you start by watching this very short, succinct but to the point video.