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THE ISSUE (ON THE LEFT): It gives some companies an edge

The Northridge Group

THE ISSUE (ON THE LEFT): It gives some companies an edge

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Is customer service still a major key to business success?

NEW AND PROMISING channels through which brands can nuture customer relationships continue to expand and evolve. Customers can now interact with brands instantly through email, live chat and self-service, and they can even do so publicly through social media.

These channels hold tremendous potential for elevating customer service support and follow through, but every company that uses them must also shoulder the responsibilities that come with delivering attentive, first class customer service.

Implementing a broader, more accessible, responsive and consistent customer service experience through new technology should not be approached as a cost burden.

Rather, it is an opportunity to use this more complex, omni channel environment to attract new customers and cultivate loyalty among existing ones.

Particularly in the case of social customer experience, the current customer service landscape also offers powerful new ways to listen to customers and gain valuable insights into how best to support them.

Customers tend to contact companies when they have a problem with a product, service or experience. It is well known that providing outstanding service to your customer at this “moment of truth” can result in higher levels of customer loyalty than if they had never had the problem in the first place.

While customers should be able to transition between channels seamlessly to receive the support they need, customers are switching between self-service, phone, email and social not because they want to, but because they often have to as they work to get their issue or enquiry resolved.

Therefore, it is critical to not only understand what issues your customers experience, but also how your customers are using each channel. Doing so will ensure the service experience is tailored to your customers’ specific needs.

The rise of new technologies and platforms for communication is transforming the way that companies interact with their customers.

No longer is communication a one-way street – or even a two-way street. Today’s customer service environment is omni dimensional, and thriving within it requires responsiveness, strategic discipline and the ability to leverage best practices. Companies need to first understand how customers want to interact with them before they can bridge communication gaps within and across channels.

Companies are meeting basic customer service expectations, but it’s likely that customers have come to expect poor service. Sixty-one per cent of customers have to interact with a company on more than one channel to get their issue resolved, and one-fifth have to contact them on three or more channels.

The customer’s path to resolution is far from effortless, and there is a significant opportunity for companies that would like to leverage customer experience as a differentiator in the marketplace and a source of competitive advantage. While improving this omni channel experience is a key priority for most companies; many are struggling to understand how to expand their service strategy to include social media.

It is imperative that companies find the right level of engagement for their specific customers on this burgeoning channel.

The Northridge Group is a management consulting, quality monitoring and customer experience firm in the United States. It recently surveyed more than 1 000 consumers for its State Of Customer Service Experience Report 2015.