We live in a world that's constantly evolving and for this reason, customer expectations of service continue to change considerably.
Technology is actually the driving force behind the majority of these changes, social media in particular. Listed below are a few of the trends in customer service expectations which we identified by having conversations with customers, workshop attendees and colleagues.
24/7/365 Mentality: Customers these days expect to get whatever they want, however they want it and whenever they want it. You must be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. The moment a product or service provider fails to meet up with this expectation, customers just change to a competitor who can deliver such service.
Prompt Response: Another major trend in service delivery that is vital in ensuring that today’s customers are satisfied, is prompt service. Gone are the days of accepting “we'll get back to you within 24 hours”. Customers are very much aware that forward-looking organizations utilize multichannel systems for service response to make sure they are available and also respond to the needs, wants and expectations of customers. Some of these channels include 24/7/365customer care center, online FAQ, automated voice response systems, mobile technology accessibility, chats and email. Their expectation is that all businesses must follow a similar model.
Service Efficiency: Customers expect that technological advances will make it easier to receive better service. Some get upset when they have to keep repeating steps or be disturbed when being served. This implies that when they input their personal information and credit card details onto an automated phone system or a computer screen when calling to ask questions or lay complaints or when placing orders, they don't want to experience a situation whereby they have to repeat or re-enter their information all over again if the process requires being transferred to another service point.
Service Effectiveness Over Fluff: As enticing as incentive programs may be, what typically ensures that customers return and improves customer loyalty is the ability of the organization to provide efficient, effective, friendly and timely customer service. Fulfilling the wants, needs and expectations of a diverse customer base will frequently prevail over a “buy 10; get 1 free,” a free refill, or a next purchase discount offered by a loyalty program.
Human Interaction: Automated response is very much welcomed in certain situations for as long as the customers are satisfied with the information or service received. Nevertheless, most customers prefer to interact with humans. Ensure that the people serving your customers are knowledgeable, competent, well trained and do not act like robots. In addition, they must be able to fluently speak the language of the organization's customers.
Low tolerance for errors: Customers will most likely not accept excuses especially with corporations promising that something would be handled immediately, and computers being able to spell-check to help catch blunders, as well as several other companies giving unconditional guarantees to fix things when they go wrong. Their expectation from companies is to deliver on their promises. Also, they expect that the organization's employees are authorized to take decisions and solve problems without the need to wait for their supervisor.
Free Shipping: Top organizations such as Amazon, L.L. Bean, Lands End, Zappos have been providing free shipping for years now, and free return shipping in some cases. A person who regularly orders from a company or places bulk orders can save big as a result.
There are lots of other trends in service delivery which you and your organization ought to be aware so as to meet customer's needs, wants and expectations. Invest time into education on customer service and its latest trends. Go for training and workshops on the subject. Whatever is required to get ready to meet the shifting expectations of customers and help make sure they are satisfied, Do it!