The demands of modern customer service

Some argue that customers are expecting more from service organisations, but when you assess their requirements, today’s customer demands no more than that of a customer fifty years ago. They want a customer service that includes:

  • A service to be available whenever they need it
  • To be able to communicate using the channel most convenient to them
  • To have their issue resolved as quickly as possible

What is different, is the world we live in. Technological innovation has dramatically changed the scope of customer relations through widening the number of customer engagement touchpoints. While this has created many exciting opportunities to enhance customer loyalty, this technology also presents numerous challenges.

3 significant challenges include:

1.  Greater choice
With information a click away, prospects have far more data available to help them reach their purchasing decision. Where once, customers would have perused a phone directory for service businesses which met their requirements in their local vicinity, today they have no geographical restrictions.

Furthermore, thanks to the wealth of data now available, customers have the power to reach their own conclusions on business suitability, purely based on their first impressions and on other customer feedback shared online. In fact, these experiences often hold more credibility than any message disseminated by the organisation itself.

The internet also restricts your ability to sell your services in person. Prior to the internet, a prospect would nearly always speak to one of your representatives before reaching any conclusion. Now you have to make a far greater impression on potential customers when they first come into contact with your organisation, on whatever channel the customer chooses.

2. Increased empowerment
Customers are gaining more power over the reputation of businesses they deal with. If they choose to be, customers can now be very vocal. Social networks provide a platform to immediately vent frustrations whereas previously, customer dissatisfaction could only be vented directly to the organisation or by word-of-mouth.

Such venting would also usually be delayed, often resulting in the recipient reflecting on the issue and classifying it as less of a concern than the moment they were initially disappointed. Add to this the complexity of monitoring social media and it becomes clear how much of a minefield mitigating dissatisfied customers can be.

3. Educated customers
The customer of today is very knowledgeable. When a customer first engages with your company they are likely to have first carried out research online. When they come to speak to one of your representatives they expect them to be equally, if not more knowledgeable. Furthermore, their new found knowledge will make them far less patient. If they don’t get the answers they want in those initial conversations they are likely to look elsewhere.

In summary, customer needs haven’t changed, but the way you interact with them has. Social networks, buying power and competition have changed the relationship. While 50 years ago the control predominately fell with the provider, today, control is firmly in the hands of the customer. They require far greater flexibility and although this is a relatively straight-forward demand to meet, the difficulty comes in delivering this flexibility in a cost effective way.

Despite this, award winning property services provider, Sovini continue to successfully leverage technology to provide customer service excellence for their end-clients, in the most efficient way possible. To find out how, read their case study here.

You can also discover how Customer Satisfaction Surveys could improve customer retention in our best practice guide ‘How to turn good field service into outstanding service’. Read here.