Customer experience in the digital age. What do customers expect?

Guest post by Sam Widdowson

It’s no revelation that more and more customers are choosing to shop online. Computers, tablets, and smart-phones have empowered the customer, giving them the flexibility to shop anywhere, any time.

Though the channels they’re using to shop with are changing, their expectations are not. Customers want an efficient, consistent, and enjoyable customer service experience every time they need it. Whether they choose to self-serve with an Intelligent Self-Service tool or a Virtual Agent , or speak to an agent over a Live Chat system, providing them with up-to-date, accurate, consistent information across all channels is now more important than ever as *92% of consumers say they would stop purchasing from a company after three or fewer poor customer service experiences.

Just because customers are now interacting with your brand from behind a screen, the same basic principles still apply as if they were wandering through a shop – if they need an answer to a basic question on a product or service, they don’t want to be waiting around for the next available ‘specialist’, even though that may be what they have to do as there are only finite resources on a shop floor. The Digital Age changes that. Harness the knowledge that flows through your company at the core, and allow your customers to absorb it through the channel of their choosing. Customers expect to be able to self-service  70%+ of their needs through customer portals or mobile applications. Not only does this make your customers happier by giving them the opportunity to get the information they were after efficiently, it will also influence your Customer Service department as the enquiries coming in will be more complex, and agents will be able to allocate the time necessary to give that customer the attention they deserve, keeping those CSAT scores sky-high.

But be careful not to lose that human touch… There’s nothing more frustrating than getting stuck in a loop with a poorly designed ‘chatbot’ that fails to answer even the simplest of questions. Make sure that whoever has commissioned your self-service solution, whether that is an Intelligent Self-Service tool, or a Virtual Agent, factored in escalation routes to speak to a real human, at identified frustration points, through an efficient, convenient channel such as Live Chat or Callback, otherwise those routine enquiries you seem to be deflecting will end up being the customers themselves.

Lastly, personalisation can help deliver exceptional customer experience. Knowledge of the product, company, latest offers, etc, is great for your employees to have; however, if they’ve got no knowledge of the customer’s previous interactions, or frustrations, that have led to that contact, it’s going to be an uphill battle from the outset. Making every interaction personal is what customers want and expect in today’s ultra-competitive market.