In 2020 customers will have more access to emerging technologies, continue to become more informed and demand more from an organisation.
So, what can a company do to create and maintain excellent customer service in the future? Orla Kearns is the Head of Customer Operations at emovis Operations Ireland. After 20 years in the industry she has gained a wealth of knowledge and has seen customer service become a powerhouse of the service industry.
How important is Customer Service to a company?
Customers are driving businesses to morph and to start delivering exactly what it is they want and need. Customers are no longer willing to settle or put up with limited choice. They invest more time researching alternatives and have no qualms about switching providers. Excellent customer service is an expectation these days and is crucially important, sometimes exceeding expectations is not enough. To be truly effective at CX you need to embed the customer centricity in every area of the business from recruitment through to IT, it’s not just about your front-line agents.
For your customers to have an excellent customer experience, every member of customer facing, or support function teams need to have a customer first mentality. Each staff member needs to feel valued and feel as though they are delivering a quality service each day that’s recognised. This in turn will filter down to front line engagement with customers. An organisation needs to live and breathe (and not just talk about) positive and emotive experiences, it is a way of living rather than a ‘programme’ or metric.
How do you feel the trend of customer service chat robots will impact the industry?
Often the latest tech can be a ‘fad’ and the rush for all organisations to get on board is not always the right thing to do. Not all Tech is aligned to the business or service you operate and for a business to be brave enough to say no to some of these emerging technologies is to be commended. The age-old phrase of one size fitting all is not necessarily the case.
The best customer experience may not have to engage with customer service agents at all. Connectivity I feel is more of the way forward. Such things as your fridge learning the pattern of your purchases and triggering an order for delivery to replenish your food, delivered at a time that’s suitable based on your doorbell tracking your habits is more of what citizens want and need. The challenge around all this progress is the human fear of sharing data but won’t the benefits overcome this fear?
Top Tips for Improving customer service
- Focus on what’s truly important – it’s not necessarily the fanciest website or best app, look at what your customer base really For many, time is the most valuable commodity and the best interaction a customer may have with you may be to not have any interaction at all.
- Know your customer – they are more than a revenue figure or an account number, they are a person so treat them as such. Imagine they are your family member, next door neighbour, your kids school teacher.
- Listen to your customers – I mean really listen, don’t survey and get responses and analyse the data to death. Truly understand the meaning behind the answers they are giving you. The metric is one thing, but the value is in the message they are giving you.
- Make it easy – remember you may be in competition with a bedtime story, doing homework, going to a concert, a west end show, even a soak in the bath. What’s going to make you win out in the choice between these everyday activities that are meaningful in a customer’s life versus engaging with your product or service. The answer is to make the engagement as frictionless as possible. Be available at each moment in time, each avenue possible, phone, tablet, desktop, shop. Be no more than an arm’s reach away at any minute of the day. Allow them to engage with you how and when they wish to.
- Never stop changing – but remain consistent!
Author: Orla Kearns
Head of Customer Operations
emovis Operations Ireland