If you are a first-time outsourcer or just reviewing your customer experience strategy, this blog will give you the answers to three key questions which in turn will help you define your requirements.
Note: Defining a successful customer experience strategy should involve all departments of your company, as different stakeholders may answer the same questions with different approaches.
Who are your customers?
The definition of your customers will impact the type of customer service/channel that you offer them. Not everyone communicates the same. Our experience shows that elderly people still prefer the phone while younger generations (for example millennials) will rather prefer to ‘text in’ using social media, live chat or e-mail. Defining your customers and their chosen channel will help you to decide the best strategy to provide outstanding customer support.
Tip: Go beyond defining demographics and segment your customers including their behaviours and hobbies. You should aim to create real relations, do not only focus on the numbers but also in their relation (and correlation).
When will they contact you?
Two key elements related to “time”:
1. What time will they contact you?
Office hours may be Monday to Friday 9 to 5 but if you are selling online, your customer support should be available when your clients are purchasing your goods. In the retail sector, a good rule of thumb is to adjust your customer support to your website activities peak (and more if you have live chat!). If a higher number of visits are registered on Wednesday evening, then a bigger number of customer representatives should be available at that time to support potential sales enquiries. Post-sales enquiries would be related to your enquiries. For example, if you offer two-day delivery and you are aware that your warehouse shipments are running late then expect an influx of phone calls after a large number of orders have been placed.
2. At what step of their journey?
Different types of interactions may be required depending on where is the customer in relation to their purchase. Customers may inquire about your services and products before, during and after a purchase. In the last decade, we have noticed a decrease in calls related to products/service information requests. Customers are becoming savvier in the use of the Internet, and access through smartphones makes it easier to compare different options and check other customer reviews. This trend has had less impact on high-end goods or health-related companies.
Tip: Understanding their motivations will help you to elaborate FAQs and design effective Knowledge Management systems. It will increase your first contact resolution and improve customer satisfaction levels.
How and Where will they contact you?
A famous tv show in the UK is ‘Location, Location, Location’ and it focuses on the importance of location while buying a house. In a similar fashion ‘location’ is a key element for customer interactions. Two key elements to consider here:
1. Where is the customer physically located?
Differences arise while interacting with customer representatives in relation to time and perception. For example, it is different if the customer is on their tea break or at home on a Saturday morning. Physical location is paramount in the acceptance of waiting time.
2. How are they reaching you?
Expectations also differ in relation to the channel used.
For telephone answering service, the call centre standard is 80:20 (80% of the calls are answered within 20 seconds). But being honest, the person calling doesn’t care that 80 people over 100 were answered within 20 seconds. We want an answer straight away. Other channels such as live chat have a shorter waiting time acceptance (just seconds). And on the other hand, no one expects you to answer back an e-mail within seconds, but anything over 1 hour can be perceived as average customer service – and over 1 day as bad customer support. It is all about differing expectations depending on the channel, and therefore, you should allocate the resources to meet the volume by channel and their associated expectations.
Tip: Understanding customer expectations should help you to allocate the resources required to meet their requirements. You should consider the use of dedicated teams supported by shared resources to provide Omnichannel support and meet the increase in demand.
If you are a first-time outsourcer or just reviewing your customer experience strategy, get in touch. We’ll provide you with a tailored solution to support your customer strategy.