In an age of rapidly viral social media, your customers tell others about their experiences. Not everyone does that on a presentation stage before thousands like my brother does, but people talk.

Are you driving people to your business only to deliver a mediocre customer experience?

Recently, I had lunch at a new restaurant in town. This restaurant opened two days before I was there. We had a safely distanced table, a masked server, and excellent service. Within minutes, I added a post to my Instagram account and texted several friends about this winning new establishment. There were about a dozen other diners in the restaurant that day, many of whom were doing the same thing. I predict success for this new restaurant!

On the other hand, I ordered groceries for pick up the other day. I pulled into my assigned spot, checked in on their app, and waited. A good 35 minutes went by before anyone came to my car – or answered the phone. How many people do you think I told about that negative experience?

My examples are in-person businesses, but your digital customers’ experience is even more critical. As a recent article in the Wall Street Journal points out:

                    “A company can differentiate itself from competitors in one of two key ways:  by providing a superior customer experience or by offering the lowest prices. For companies that prefer the former, digital channels are, far and away, the most cost-effective way of reaching out to their clients. The explosive growth of mobile devices means that you can be engaged with your customers whether they are at home, at work, in your store or anywhere else.”

So, what can you do to ensure your customers are getting what they need, when they need it?

Experts agree on three key strategies

1. Take a multi-channel approach.
Writing for Forbes, Shep Hyken recommends using every channel your customers are using. For example, if they are on Facebook, you should be there too. Customers are finding their information on their phones more than ever now, so what’s your Google presence? Google your business and find out!  Also, make sure your phone number is linked so customers can call directly. Test your channels. If you run a small business, enlist friends and family to engage your business in a variety of ways. If you run a large business, hire the equivalent of secret shoppers. Don’t do this to punish your customer service employees, but rather to empower them with information to better meet digital customers where they are.

2. Deliver a personalized experience.
Digital exchanges don’t have to be cold and impersonal. Incorporating principles of design can help in developing a personalized customer experience. Jeanne Liedtka examined this in Harvard Business Review:  “Defining problems in obvious, conventional ways, not surprisingly, often leads to obvious, conventional solutions. Asking a more interesting question can help teams discover more-original ideas.”

Here are some great questions in this article from The Future of Customer Engagement and Experience:

  • How can we have agility to adapt to new situations as they arise?
  • How can we better align with other parts of the organization so that service teams have the visibility they need to help customers?
  • How can we leverage knowledge management to provide service agents the support they need in their work, every day?
  • Do we have the capabilities to ensure targeted, ad hoc trainings exactly when and where needed?

3. Provide real-time customer support.
According to a recent survey by HubSpot, “33% of customers getting service help are frustrated by waiting on hold, and 19% are frustrated by slow response times. This data tells us that now, more than ever, customers want quick responses to their customer service queries.”

In these uncertain times, businesses should have the ability to quickly adapt to evolving needs. This type of customer service involves taking proactive steps, like drafting procedures that detail courses of action when problems arise.

For standard questions (the ones your contact center is getting regularly), FAQs, chatbots, and AI work well.  “Smart AI chatbots continue to drive self-service,” says Nestor Gilbert of FinancesOnline. But keep in mind, most people still prefer human interaction. Research says only 40% of people don’t care if they’re helped by a chatbot or by a real human.

This means Live Chat is essential for delivering personalized service and support. The kind you want your customers to have. The kind that keeps them raving about your business and sending friends and family your way.

A Winning Customer Experience:  Why Live Chat is Key

Stay tuned for our next post where we’ll dive into Live Chat and why it is key to delivering a winning customer experience, especially in 2021.