Stephen Ball of Aspect Software shares two key elements of service that customers currently crave more than ever.
Disruption to traditional business models in recent years has meant that today’s consumers are more demanding than ever – they expect to able to access services instantly through intuitive apps and experience great service at the same time – and why shouldn’t they? Technological advancements have made this landscape a reality so the struggle for many organisations now is what to implement.
New research has revealed that almost two-thirds of consumers (72 percent) are willing to pay more for exceptional customer service and over half (57 percent) are willing to pay more for good service, proving that investment in the functions that enable this great service are worth their salt!
These findings are according to the 2018 Aspect Consumer Experience Index Survey, which also found that almost half (44 percent) stopped doing business with at least one company because of poor service and two-thirds (66 percent) did more business with at least one company because of good service.
So, what’s enabling this great service that consumers are crying out for?
1. Agent Friendliness
Interestingly, the research found that friendliness is much more important than convenience to consumers, showing that while it’s great that many organisations are implementing new technologies that facilitate this convenience, it’s more important to tackle the basics of ensuring well-trained and happy staff/agents that can in turn provide friendly service.
This was also supported by the fact that nearly two-thirds (62 percent) said talking or live chatting with a happy customer service agent would also make them happy and 72 percent would rather interact with a happy agent and have their experience take a little longer than interact with an uninterested agent and have their experience go a little faster.
2. Automated Options
Automated services such as chatbots, SMS or modern IVR systems are preferred by consumers for most enquiries. These services enable them to resolve simple questions quickly and accurately.
For the younger digitally native generation in particular, these channels are often preferred, with millennials’ preference for text-based chatbots increasing 250 percent in the last year.
In addition, nearly half (43 percent) of consumers like the idea of customer service interactions completed via a home-based intelligent assistant such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home, with this figure rising to 62 percent for millennials.
Encouragingly, businesses are realising the importance of automated options, with research into contact centre and customer experience trends from analyst house Aberdeen stating that 70 percent of companies expect to increase their adoption and use of self-service over the next 12-18 months. The same survey also shows that businesses expect to increase their adoption of AI three-fold within the next 12-18 months, compared to current adoption.
But while it’s essential that organisations listen to their customers and provide more automated options, it’s also crucial that they ensure they don’t lose the human touch where it’s needed. For example, more complicated enquiries may require a skilled and very specialist agent to respond. It’s important that contact centres implement the technologies their customers want, but also upskill their agents alongside this to ensure customers receive the best possible experience.