3 ways to beat expectations with customer service

Customer expectations are evolving and companies need to keep up. But how can organizations master the customer experience in a world of constantly shifting expectations? Eduardo Olvera outlines three ways to embrace customer needs to increase the business bottom line.
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Companies should embrace cross-channel data sharing to improve the customer experience.

Customer expectations continue to evolve as consumers become more comfortable with various self-service technologies. Consumers are learning to adapt their interaction patterns to the channels more convenient for them and starting to assume that companies have access to at least the same level of information about their preferences, their accounts and past interactions.

As we can see from McKinsey & Company’s recent report on “Winning the expectations game in customer care,” this desire for personalized experiences, immediate resolution and convenience at all times has turned into a heavy burden for customer service. Many companies cannot currently deliver seamless customer interactions or consistent experiences across different touchpoints, so organizations are struggling to meet customer expectations and increase revenue.

Upon closer examination of the report’s findings, some natural questions might come to mind:

  • Is it possible to exceed customer expectations with exceptional service?
  • What can be done to push the long-term benefits of exceptional service to the corporate bottom-line?
  • What are the first steps to adopting exceptional service?
  • How can companies discern between fads and truly lasting trends in customer service?

No matter where your organization is in terms of experience customization, usage of virtual assistants as gatekeepers for critical channels, agent skills building or technology investments, having the right mindset is key to finding quick wins and aligning your business towards this quickly evolving landscape. Here are three ways to start redirecting your customer service strategy and start paving the way for new opportunities:

  1. Go beyond cross-channel data exchanges: While technologies like CTI allow you to pass data back and forth between channels, think about how to share the context of the last interaction. For example, if I’m in the middle of a transaction and get transferred, call centers should include data on where I failed, how many times I tried and what steps to resolution have been skipped. That way, agents can continue the conversation seamlessly, without having to ask users to explain – once again – what is it they need.
  2. Be proactive, proactive and proactive: Virtual assistants and chatbots provide a fantastic way for customer to engage in a self-service conversation. However, most systems rely on customers to start the conversation and provide relevant information. Consider leveraging outreach strategies from other channels, such as email, outbound calls and even mobile notifications. As soon as you identify a relevant pattern for your users, have your assistant proactively reach out to the customers in their preferred channel. By being proactive, you may be able to solve a need they didn’t even know they had!
  3. Customize multi-channel actions: While customers’ needs and goals might be similar across various channels (web, phone, email, mobile, etc.), the resolution of that goal might need to be different based on the channel. For example, if I interact with a virtual assistant over the web, it might be appropriate for the system to help me navigate through visual content to reach my goal. But the same request over the phone might be better served via a visual IVR interaction. And querying a request via mobile app would be better handled as a conversation with a live agent.

Where ever you are in your journey to delivering exceptional customer service, implementing a cross-channel data exchange, being proactive and providing customized actions can only increase customer satisfaction and your company’s bottom line.

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Eduardo Olvera

About Eduardo Olvera

Eduardo Olvera is a Senior UI Manager & Global Discipline Leader at Nuance Communications. His work on many international English, Spanish and French voice user interfaces for such industry leading corporations as US Airways, Wells Fargo, Ford, Walgreens, Telefonica Movistar, Bank of America, Fidelity, US Bank, Geico, Vanguard, Samsung, Virgin, MetroPCS, Sprint, and Sempra, give him a deep understanding of the user and business challenges of mobile, multilingual and multimodal application design, development and implementation.