Tips to deliver the service that today's customers expect

Lindsay James
Lindsay James
By Lindsay James on 09 October 2015
Tips to deliver the service that today's customers expect

Attracting and retaining customers is the Holy Grail for today’s banks, who are finding it increasingly difficult to meet expectations at a time when margins are tight and competition is rife. What’s more, in the current digital landscape, if a customer isn’t happy, then everybody knows about it.

“You’ve heard the horror stories,” explains Matt Kresch, director of product marketing for service by Microsoft Dynamics CRM, in a recent blog post. “A single customer interaction is mishandled, the customer posts the experience online, and in a matter of hours what was a simple customer service misstep becomes an internet sensation, costing the unfortunate company in question both its reputation and some serious cash.”

So what’s to be done? Kresch says that, on a basic level, most customers simply want to be treated fairly. “It’s a simple ask,” he explains, “but creating a service solution that meets customer expectations can be tricky – especially when you’re handling service requests from multiple channels at once.”

With this in mind, Kresch has outlined six of the most common customer engagement don’ts that should be avoided:

1. Don’t treat customers like strangers. By the time they’ve navigated their way through your service channels, customers have already left you a substantial trail of personal data bread crumbs. Make sure your service team has access to everything from customers’ profiles to their purchase histories and the conversations they’ve had with other agents.

Every bit of that data can help your team identify and resolve a customer’s individual needs. When you address their issues in the right context, you’re telling your customers that you’re paying attention.

2. Don’t make customers repeat themselves, especially with basic information. When customers reach out for support, they’re already having a rough day. Don’t add to that strain by making them repeat their account information every time they’re transferred.

Keep your team connected across all of your service channels, so that a customer whose issue was brought up in a chat window doesn’t have to start over again if the conversation moves to another channel, such as phone or email. 

3. Don’t restrict how customers can find solutions. If waiting in a phone queue is the only resource your customers have to resolve their issues, you’re going to end up with a lot of hot tempers. Offer customers ways to find their own answers via self-service and social channels, and make sure they have access to a single source of knowledge that is consistent across the different ways they will search for answers, from your Facebook fan page to your website – and even third-party sites such as online communities or inside a game. All of this should be designed to work from any device, computer or kiosk.

4. Don’t stop sharing new knowledge – ever. As your product’s life cycle progresses, the issues your customers bring to your attention can change too. When new topics are brought up, it’s important to address them with care, find a resolution, and then share your new knowledge with the rest of your team, as well as with your customers. New, visible solutions are a great way to demonstrate how hard you’re working for your customers.

5. Don’t assume today’s service solution will be relevant tomorrow. Just as direct mail took a back seat to email, and email to chat, today’s customer service solutions won’t last forever. Use analytics to keep an eye out for which channels are attracting particular customers. Make sure your tools are set up to evolve with the times and to meet changing expectations for response times.

6. Don’t let problems spiral out of control. Online sentiment grows and changes quickly, so make sure you have social engagement technology that keeps you abreast of what’s happening and how people are reacting online. The best time to stop ill feelings from spreading is right at the beginning.

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