Are you losing customers and increasing churn?
Gaps in your customer journey can derail the quality of your product or service and waste the efforts that have gone into winning and selling your company to new customers.
Even worse, your most valuable customer - the one you've already won - can go from being satisfied to ready to leave if they fall between the cracks.
Where do customer experience gaps emerge?
Customer journey gaps occur during the buying and post-sale experience when you do not have the data that you need to track and respond to trends. A service and help system that is integrated with marketing and sales data, and built around an easy-to-use CRM (one that people don't hate), is the essential foundation from which you can level up the customer experience.
Use data to identify the gaps:
- Look at customer satisfaction levels throughout the buying and post-sale process
- Identify critical moments in the process from first brand exposure to post-purchase support
- Review support requests to identify themes and trends
- Automate information collection throughout the support process
- Use your CRM to identify segments and purchase types that have higher churn
Customers demand flexibility and choice
There is a huge range of communication preferences across the unique demographics that you serve. Some love to talk on the phone, and others hate it. Some live on Facebook and want to chat with support, others have little or no social media access but they do watch video online.
TrustRadius research reports that 87% of buyers want to self-serve during part or all of their buying experience, and 57% of buyers are making their purchase decisions without ever talking with a vendor representative. They are doing this by employing their preferred research and social methods.
Providing customers with a service and self-service channel that fits their preferences is an important way to level up your customer experience. The challenge this presents is the management demand that it creates. Simply adding
- live chat,
- knowledge base chat,
- Facebook chat,
- unified email communications, and
- other channels
...can create customer service collisions if they are not fully integrated, trackable, and full-featured.
Without a plan for content and automation across these channels, it can sink an already over-worked customer service team if it is not accompanied by the right automation.
Empowering customers to find answers on their own time and with the channel they prefer is now table stakes. Leading companies who employ these approaches outpace the growth of their competition by 10% according to HubSpot's State of Service 2022 Report.
Improve outcomes across the team and customer lifecycle
The ability to create and share best practice messages and responses across your customer service team is vital. The only way to do this effectively is with multiple layers of automation.
Automation should impact each step of the customer interaction by providing them with:
- Confirmations of activity
- Quick access to reference documents
- Follow-up after contact
- Multiple customer satisfaction survey types
- Channel switching to maximize the experience
- Prioritization of client and need types
The majority of customer service leaders report that one of their biggest challenges is simply not enough time in the day.
Well-developed automation reduces the time demand on service leaders because the quality of communication and follow-up improves across the entire team. It also allows for prioritization of specific clients or challenges with faster triage.
Too many tools the miss the essentials
Many customer service leaders feel they are juggling demand for training, implementation and upkeep of too many customer service tools. At the same time, they don't have access to some of the basics that are now the basic floor for effective customer service.
Customer service tools are built on top of spaghetti code.
Some of the tools in common use are put in place on top of an open source web platform. This is essentially adding a band-aid to a system that is already hard to keep up. This commonly occurs with WordPress plugins that are a response to the need for better customer service. But they add limited value while compounding security and maintenance requirements.
All-in-one approaches build unified and simplified systems on top of solid buyer and customer journeys. They are built around a CRM so that a single source of truth for marketing, sales, and customer service provides shared data that improves the entire customer experience.
The best customer service tools are actually easier to use than the bolt-on and after-the-fact. And why should you invest in
- live chat,
- knowledge base,
- and automation
as separate and disconnected units?
The customer experience begins with the first brand encounter.
Demands on customer service depend upon the journey that the customer took to become a customer. When we understand that the customer experience is a continuum,
- that begins in the marketing encounter,
- deepens in the sales process and
- continues post-sale with support and opportunities for resale and upsell,
it changes the perspective.
The customer experience and the commitment to seamless customer service doesn't begin after the sale - it begins in the first brand encounter. The way you serve-up information during the buying experience sets the stage for the experience that customers have after purchase.
Effective customer service views the website as part of the toolkit, and having an effective website serves marketing, sales and customer service.
If customers get the sense that it will be hard to work with you during the search and consideration process, they are much less likely to move ahead with a sale. Those pesky reviews from poor service also taint the brand story in big ways.
Creating a strong customer service outcome requires collaboration for the entire customer story. That means that the system, culture and goals have to be shared across the marketing, sales, and service teams.
Each team has something significant that it adds to the experience, and multiple skills and value that the team brings to the other two teams. When these teams operate in silos it is impossible to create a seamless, quality customer experience.
Take these steps to create the right collaboration that builds the overall customer experience:
- Unify the teams around the journey(s) of your customers.
- Create shared goals that create a win for each team and the company.
- Use service level agreements to build cooperation.
- Use a CRM that provides an integrated single source of truth for all three teams about the customer experience.