Self-service is a wonderful thing, until it isn’t. Perhaps nothing is more irritating than needing to address a complicated question about a product or service and finding no one to phone or contact on a company’s website.
Indeed, in a 12-nation study of consumers, connecting with a human being remains the preferred way to receive customer service. In fact, 83% of respondents believe speaking to a customer service representative on the phone or in-store will always be important.
The study, conducted by Opinium Research LLP with support from technology provider Verint, involved 24,000 consumers spread equally across Australia, Brazil, India, France, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, the U.K. and U.S.
The results point out the disconnect between the growing use of technology as a customer service solution and the opinion of 64% of survey respondents that it is more convenient and they get better service when engaging by phone or in a store. Some 68% overall believe they can negotiate a better deal by speaking with someone (with a high of 78% believing this in Mexico and a low of 51% in Germany.)
The researchers identify six ways to successfully manage their customers’ journey:
1. Listen to your customers; place the voice of the customer at the heart of everything you do.
Different customers prefer different forms of contact. It’s up to the marketer to find out which works best when.
2. Improve digital services, but not at the expense of traditional engagement offerings.
Digital opens new doors and expands the opportunity to communicate, but brand, store and contact center will continue to play a key role for some time to come.
3. Empower your staff to provide exceptional service and give them the tools to succeed.
Employees need the tools and data to go the extra mile when they can.
4. Evaluate the customer experience to better understand customer satisfaction.
Customer metadata, key buyer behaviors, purchase histories, interactions, previous survey scores and customer journeys (both structured and unstructured) all feed into the picture to allow for more personalized and human customer service, even on digital channels.
5. Align your organization to optimize customer engagement.
Benchmarking what optimal customer service looks like makes it more likely to happen, and improves the bottom line while increase employee engagement.
6. Understand transparency is key to building trust.
Customers want personalization, but organizations must be open and honest about what they collect and how they use it or risk breaking trust. New, more secure and faster authentication processes, such as biometrics, can help.
Digital natives are more satisfied than the overall population interacting with brands through digital channels with 66% believing digital self-service and online chat provide a better overall customer experience as compared to 45% overall. Still, the research showed 87% want to know how secure their personal information is.
When consumers have a good customer service experience on the phone or in store, they are more likely to behave positively towards a brand and are:
What’s more, consumers are 57% more likely to do nothing following a positive customer experience on digital channels than in person.
Click here for a deeper look at the complete research results.