You don’t need us to tell you that consumer expectations are rapidly changing. In what seems like the blink of an eye, we’ve shifted from two-day expectations to a today expectation. The situation becomes particularly meaningful as we realize consumers now differentiate between companies based on service, with trust beginning to overtake service in some sectors. Think of consumer trust as a result of consistent and satisfying experiences with a company.
All too often, a company’s worst-performing channel is customer self-service. IVR systems are typically the single point of failure. From the same Frost & Sullivan study in the above quote, companies are facing these operational challenges:
- Most IVR designs are outdated and unable to meet the needs of contemporary customers
- IVR updates are overlooked in favor of pushing improvements to other modalities
- Many IVR systems are over modified and untested, resulting in a complex, buggy and difficult to maintain solution
- Inattention has lead to stagnation of functionality and a plateau or decline in overall performance
- 79% of people expect every company they deal with to offer the same level of service as that of major national brands
Expectations Are Evolving
Let’s have a look at a simplified view of an average customer journey. Our example customer, Paul, has “today expectations.” Paul, being just like nearly 70% of all consumers, begins his quest with an Internet search. After all, he’s interested in solving his question or problem without having to speak to someone. The search will typically bring him to your company’s website. If he can’t find his answer there, there’s a 57% chance that he’s going to call customer service. Now that he’s on the line, like 67% of all consumers, he wants to manage his problem through self-service, with a live agent being his last resort.
Hopefully, that live agent was able to help Paul. If not, the consequences can be far-reaching. Frustrating experiences are driving blowback in record numbers because today’s consumers are connected and accustomed to telling their social networks about their encounters. Poor experiences can quickly turn customers into vocal detractors, as seen in the Harvard Business Review study:
On the flip side, great experiences forge loyalty, trust, and new customers.
What Customers Expect From Self-Service
If we were to sum up customer expectations when it comes to self-service with companies, it’s being in control. And being in control means making sure you deliver on three primary areas.
Intelligent & Responsive: Paul doesn’t differentiate between channels. Remember, he’s omnichannel. His expectations include the same level of awareness of his needs and his relationship with you across all touchpoints.
Options: Website chat, Facebook Messanger, Twitter direct messages, text, email, phone, and smart speakers are all channels Paul may opt to use. He wants to choose the best channel for his self-service needs.
Rapid Response: Most importantly, Paul demands quick access to information and the ability to perform complicated queries on his terms.
The Evolution Continues
The only thing sure about the future of customer expectations is that they will continue to evolve. That’s why it’s essential to adopt an omnichannel self-service strategy now, as the platform for evolving with your customers.
Contact us to learn more about our ability to help you not just evolve with your customers, but anticipate what’s next.