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Customer Service (CS) is all about satisfaction. The goal of your company is probably to sell as much as possible, and getting that done in the easiest way. The most important thing –next to actually have a magnificent product or service of course- is providing a good customer experience, which can only be reached by good customer service. 95% of the leaders1 say that this actually is a top strategic priority.
So this made us curious. ‘What do customers want in their purchasing experience?’ And is there such thing as ‘THE customer’? Like a generic customer? Luckily some research shows us that there is something to get a grip on.
1. Customers want YOU to meet THEIR expectations
It is a simple as that. A customer has an expectation when he or she decides to buy a product or a service from you. And the discontinuity between the expectation and what is actually delivered can cause frustration. MIT Sloan Review did a study and found that CS had two levels:
*desired level –what a customer hopes to obtain
*sufficient level – what the customer actually finds acceptable
But of course we can add a third level;
*unsatisfactory level– where a customer does not obtain what he hopes for, nor finds it sufficient of acceptable what has been delivered.
Key in this is too really understand what the customers expectations are. From that point you can either choose to “under promise and over deliver” in order to increase the likelihood of exceeding customer expectations. Or you can take pride in high expectations, knowing full well that you can deliver the goods. Regardless of the approach, it’s imperative for companies to manage customer satisfaction.
(See post ‘Why does a non-happy customer share his or her story?)
2. Customers want a PERSONALIZED experience
Although we live in a very individualized, seemingly anonymous culture, customers DO like a personalized experience. And with all the data you have, combined with technologies (CRM) and more; you can actually pro-actively contact customers or initiate follow-up calls. And even better, with all the data you have, you can make it possible that customers do not have to repeat their story every time they call. And some even might like it when you send them a birthday card!
Fostering relationships with customers can significantly increase the likelihood of exceeding their expectations, turning them in to advocates of your brand.
3. Customers want options in HOW they CONTACT you
In short: customers expect companies to communicate with them on their preferred channel. Studies show that channel preference depends on the type of interaction. Complex questions or situations like to dealt with a live agent.
Being where the customer is – wherever that may be – is the key to meeting customer expectations.
4. Customers expect a TIMELY response
Nobody likes to wait. It doesn’t matter where you are, nobody likes to wait. And therefore you should know what your customers think is an acceptable or reasonable time to wait. And that also varies per channel. We found for example that on Twitter, 53% of the customers expect a company to respond under an hour. And when they have a complaint, 72% expects to get an answer within an hour. Do you know what your customers expect?
5. Customers want YOU to SOLVE THEIR problems
Every inquiry of a customer is based on the need for a quick resolution. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that customers don’t want to jump through hoops to get their problems fixed and questions answered. Empowering your agents so they have the ability to resolve customer issues is key. With each transfer, subsequent call or email, customers lose patience with your organization, resulting in a loss of goodwill which can significantly affect your ability to retain and grow your customer base. (See also the post Why does a non-happy customer share his or her story?)
So in short: Customers want YOU to SOLVE THEIR PROBLEMS in a PERSONALIZED way with the channels THEY like. With that you can meet THEIR EXPECTATIONS, and both live happily ever after!