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Ensure a positive experience in the contact centre

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Jim Freeze, senior vice-president of Aspect Software, offers five tips for customer service success.
Most of us will have been at the receiving end of bad customer service, and it is normally something that you do not forget too quickly. However, it may not purely be the contact centre’s fault; according to research we did earlier this year, our expectations of the quality of customer service (everything from speed to going above and beyond the call of duty) have risen in the past three years, and this trend is likely to continue.
Offering customers a positive experience can prove pivotal to an organisation’s reputation, yet today many companies are still more focused on finding more customers than they are in keeping their current ones happy. This is a flawed process; the fact of the matter is that this is a well-known adage even among the layman – it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than keep a current one. This makes it even more imperative that the experience you offer your customers is as good as it can possibly be. So to help you achieve this, here are some important issues that all business leaders, large and small, need to know in order to plan for a tiptop customer experience.

Bad customer service is something you never forget
Thanks to people being so interconnected today, consumers have the capability to make or break a brand through sharing their experiences to a huge audience via social media. The Aspect survey found that 55% of consumers stopped doing business with at least one company during the past year because of a poor customer experience.
The danger with negative customer service being vented through social media is that everyone has access to it – even the mainstream media, and if they pick up on poor service, it could be disastrous for your brand. However, offering good customer service through this channel can have the reverse effect, creating a positive brand perception that is shared the world over.

It’s not just customers who can benefit
Good customer service works both ways; it benefits the customer and in turn, benefits your business. Customers feel very strongly about the service they receive and stated in our study that they would pay more money to a business if it ensured they received a positive experience. We also found that more than three quarters (76%) of consumers think that customer service is a “true test” of how much a company values its customers.
For years customer service departments have been considered a hindrance to a company’s budget and not as a necessity to invest in to help expansion. It is important to have customers who are happy, so that they remain customers (and for longer), and you are able to grow as a business.

Always add a personal touch
Customers don’t want to be told how they must interact with your company; they want to be able to contact you in a method of their choosing. We live in a digital age where consumers simply do not want to have to chat to a business over the phone, they want to be able to use social media, text, or the internet to engage with you, and businesses need to provide these solutions.
Personalisation provides an opportunity for businesses to build customer loyalty, customers will inherently be more satisfied if they don’t have to put in a lot of leg work to get their questions answered, and allowing them to control how they contact you will do this.

Customer interactions benefits your business as well
It is important to remember that offering customers a personalised experience also has its benefits for your organisation. By harvesting and analysing customer data – such as a purchase history, their habits when they visit your website online, or what kind of marketing communication they respond to – your contact centre and marketing departments have the capability to gain critical information on what your customers want, and what attracts them to your company. This provides an opportunity for you to use this data and understand how best to promote your brand.

The customer journey is an information goldmine
Marketing teams are missing out on a huge opportunity if they do not use customer service as a platform for future campaigns. If you follow your customers’ experiences across all touch points, you’ll be amazed at the wealth of information you’ll acquire.
Understanding consumers’ journeys can give insight into how their experience affects their loyalty to you and their future business with you. So, pick up the phone and call, tweet or text your customer service professionals. You’ll be surprised what you learn.