2015 is a new year, with new business opportunities and new challenges. Today we explore five key customer service trends your business should consider adopting this year to make sure you stay ahead of the competition.
We know consumers are gradually becoming more confident about spending again, for the first time since the recession began. However, people seem to be less satisfied with the service they receive when parting with their hard-earned cash. The Institute of Customer Service revealed this month customer satisfaction is at its lowest point since 2010.
This is an important learning for the service sector, but why should this be important to you? Great customer service, which should result in customer satisfaction, means a higher percentage of customer loyalty along with recommendations to other potential customers and increased awareness of your brand and product or service.
So how can you make sure your business excels in customer service this year?
1. Consider your customer approach
It may sound obvious, but your customers need to be at the heart of your operations and an integral part of your business strategy, ethos and culture. 2015 will be the year where companies who truly value their customers will get ahead in terms of customer loyalty and market share. Consumers notice when they are at the bottom of an organisation’s priorities, and are increasingly taking their business elsewhere.
Management teams should also push investments in customer service technology to show a commitment to customers, as the tools and training can help achieve higher satisfaction rates through offering tailored experiences.
2. Prioritise training
Customers are extremely quick to identify when businesses are being false or just supplying automated responses. Admit it – we all find it incredibly frustrating when we get an automatic reply. Ensure that you employ the right team, who possess key skills such as highly developed emotional intelligence paired with commercial awareness.
Nothing can imitate human empathy, so prioritise training in call handling techniques and communication skills to ensure your team knows how to respond to clients in a timely, appropriate and ‘human’ manner.
3. Be personable
People are no longer happy to receive standard processes or generic responses, especially on social media. We all want human conversations with businesses online. Take a look at how Tesco’s Twitter feed is professional but also funny, warm and personable, without seeming contrived.
4. Be flexible
Thanks to developments in technology and widespread use of the internet, customers have more access to unlimited amounts of information. People are busy, and expect your service to fit around their lives.
Giving your customers a point of contact 24/7 is crucial: whether it’s live web chat services or a helpline, being available around the clock is invaluable to people who work full-time or unsociable hours.
5. Go multi-channel
Last but by no means least, your customers this year will contact you via a variety of devices, including phones and tablets. Now 39% of global web traffic is accessed via mobile phones. Focus on communicating in new ways: through mobile-friendly websites and branded apps.
Try not to see this as a threat but rather an opportunity to be a savvy communicator. It’s a way to add value to your product in new, innovative and modern ways. Keep in mind your audience when choosing how to interact with customers. For example, the older generation is now the fastest growing Facebook demographic, whereas younger people now spend more time on platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Keep an eye out for new social media platform ‘Ello’, which is predicted to increase in popularity over the coming year.
Take a closer look at some of these key trends in customer service for 2015. Your business could reap the benefits of increased customer loyalty, market share and staying one step ahead of your competitors.