Good and Bad Customer Service Trends

New customer service trends emerge all the time because everyone is looking to improve their company’s customer service. Your customers are the lifeblood of your company, so adopting new customer service techniques and mediums can vastly benefit your company. However, just because they are trending does not mean that all of these techniques are effective. Here is a look at both good and bad customer service trends.

 

Good Customer Service Trends

 

Text Messages: Studies and surveys show that most customers prefer a text response. They are great for communicating with customers quickly, with little to no hold time. The only real caveat is that your responses have to be precise and accurate. Your customer service agents will need to be highly trained, in order to think and solve problems quickly.

Rapid Response Times: Customers are getting used to customer service response that is nearly instantaneous, and they come to expect it out of every company. So, no matter which medium you use for customer service responses, the faster your response times are, the happier customers will be.

Social Media Outreach: More and more customers are reaching out to companies through social media. It is usually one of the fastest ways to get in contact with a company, and people are taking advantage of it. You are missing out if you are not responding to customer service inquiries on your social media, because companies that are responding publicly are getting a lot of customer satisfaction because of it.

Follow Ups: Customers do not like to think that you solved their problem and then forgot about them. So, a follow-up contact to check in and make sure they are not still encountering a problem can go a long way towards increasing a customer’s satisfaction level. Follow-ups can be done in the form of phone calls, emails, texts, etc., so they are pretty easy to implement.

Scheduling Apps: In this fast-paced world, customers do not want to wait on hold to schedule an appointment. It is far simpler for customers to schedule the appointments themselves. You can implement this system in a couple of different ways: you could add a section on your website for DIY scheduling, or you could use an app like Schedulista.

FAQ Videos: Customers tend to like to solve their problems themselves before breaking down and calling customer service. So, having a large list of FAQs is a great way for customers to troubleshoot. However, they like “how to” videos even more. Short videos that explain how to use features or fix common problems give your customer step-by-step instructions, along with visuals. It is easy to upload such videos to YouTube.

 

Bad Customer Service Trends

 

Negative Online Contacts: Just because celebrities get into arguments with their followers online does not mean that your business can afford to. Anyone who represents your company should maintain a positive online presence. Treating a customer badly in such a public way can have a drastically negative effect on your company.

Using Only Facebook: People are turning away from Facebook as more types of social media sites and apps are emerging. So, if your only social media presence is on Facebook, you are missing out on a large customer base.

Exclusively Telephone Customer Service Support: Customers are evolving to use new technologies, and we now have other ways that they can contact us. Text, chat, and email customer service make up a lot of customer service contact volume today. If you are only using telephone customer service support, you are really missing out.

 

 

This is the age of the informed consumer. They can see a good business when they see that others like it too. So, when you treat them well, they are really good at writing rave reviews online. So, if you provide good, fast customer service, not only will your customers be happy, they will sing your praises to others. Since the majority of people now rely on the reviews of a business to make decisions on which company they will choose, a great review will hopefully result in even more customers.

 

 

The Nearshore Experience

Map_Blog_Nearshore_Outsourcing

What do you get when you combine the cost advantages of outsourcing offshore services with the quality and control achieved from outsourcing onshore? "A Nearshore Experience”. The term first introduced by Softtek (a global provider of process driven IT solutions and global nearshore operator) in 1997, is defined simply as a form of outsourcing that refers to services delivered from a nearby location, very close in geographical proximity.  Businesses willing to venture into such strategic partnerships do so with the mindset of gaining access to World Class Capabilities. However, the achievement of world class capabilities and competitive advantages in some instances isn’t met without challenges and concerns that operators (both vendors and clients) must seek to address before engaging in any form of exchange.  These concerns include (but are not limited to):

  • Infrastructural challenges
  • Cultural differences
  • Accents
  • Language ability
  • Contractual constraints
  • Possibility of reductions in service levels

The Nearshore model seeks to address and remedy these concerns as a strategic alternative to achieving business excellence through process outsourcing. Nearshoring primarily allows business consumers gains in the following three main areas:

  • Proximity: close geographical locations
  • Close cultural affinity
  • Cost savings

While additional benefits of this type of engagement include:

  • On par hourly rates with offshore labour
  • Lower travel expenses
  • Time-zone advantages
  • Highly skilled & talented workforce
  • Lower political risks
  • Comparable IT skills & infrastructures
  • Considerably lower attrition rates

 

Let’s take the experience a step further. Nearshore operators enjoy the added benefit of having a lower Total Cost of Engagement (TCE) than offshore operators. What is this? TCE evaluates the total expenditures of offshore engagements. It is easy for an offshore vendor to advertise or boast lowest costs and lowest hourly rates in comparison to onshore based vendors. But what about the additional costs they incur making them essentially more expensive than a nearshore choice? Hence, the term TCE was coined, highlighting the competitiveness of opting for a nearshore vendor.

Additional costs include:

[photo credit: www.sciodev.com]

graphEngagement Managers: These managers are tasked with the responsibility of liaising with the outsourced vendor ensuring programs are run in alignment with the organization’s goals. This more than likely includes travel to the remote locations at least twice a year, or as the client sees fit given the program’s duration.

Team Leads: The bigger the contact center the more team leads are required. It is recommended that there be a team lead for every 6-10 center agents. These leads primarily connect directly with the client (Engagement Manager), where all reporting is done. This being the case, team leads need to be highly competent and proficient to ensure constant effective and relevant communication to the engagement managers. Not having the right employee fit in the role may result in time wastage, deviation from functional and operational goals and a slow-down in the decision-making processes. Thus it is expected that a team lead is hired at a higher pay grade than your agent seats.

Staff Turnover: The monetary costs as well as time cost invested to recruit and select a skilled competent workforce adds its weight to the concept of TCE. High staff turnovers usually seen in offshore operations increase the overall costs incurred by a company. When training is constantly repeated as a result of high attrition, it frustrates the productivity of a company when benefits to be gained from the learning curve effect cannot be fully realized.

Travel: Increases in global fuel prices, have caused travel to become an expensive luxury, especially to locations not within a close geographic proximity.

Where's the focus at for 2014?

Industry professionals report that one of the growing trends for 2014 is that increasingly more businesses currently outsourcing their customer contact operations will shift focus from cost savings to realizing higher quality in the delivery of customer service. Companies are now willing to pay more to have their process outsourcing services onshore or nearshore.

KPI Connect has recognized the industry’s need for the provision of world class capabilities and has thus aligned operations with this trend. We exist to provide world class support that seamlessly integrates with our clients, enabling growth through enhancement of the experience of their customers.

 

Author: Dexter R. Norville, Director Marketing (KPI Connect)