Customer Experience (CX) is the future of business and companies who don’t get on board will have trouble competing in an evolving marketplace. In a Deloitte research study, customers who enjoy positive experiences are likely to spend 140% more than customers who report negative NPS scores and remain customers for five years longer.

As companies like Amazon and Uber continue to offer great customer experiences, companies must adjust to consumer’s rising expectations. Jeff Bezos built Amazon with an obsessive focus on the customer. He is known for bringing an empty chair to every board meeting where “the customer” sits, which has influenced many of the decisions made in the boardroom.

Research by Gartner’s Customer Experience in Marketing Survey is confirming that companies are starting to see the light on customer experience. 81% of companies say they will compete mostly or fully on customer experience alone.

1. Create a Benchmark for Your Customer Service Experience

The first step in developing improved customer experience is to measure where you are so you have the data needed to focus your improvement efforts. It also gives you the data to link customer experience to value in order to prioritize future business initiatives.

There are two popular methods for measuring customer experience: Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT).  NPS measures how likely a customer is to recommend your company to someone else. CSAT measures customer satisfaction related to a specific interaction. While both methods are incredibly valuable when it comes to CX insights, CSAT may be the most appropriate for collecting specific and actionable insights within your CX.

2. Offer Multiple Channels for Customer Support

According to Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service report, more than half of consumers want to start the customer service interaction online, opposed to making a phone call or in-person. What’s surprising is that it’s not just millennials that want more options, but those 55+ as well. The study also showed that 30% of those surveyed from the U.S. have used social media to complain about a brand or its customer service.

As customer expectations continue to rise your support options must grow. Companies need to innovate in order to keep up with consumer demand. Your business should be meeting customers in all channels of digital support, so they can choose the realm they feel the most comfortable with. Some popular options include:

  • Forums
  • Self-help articles
  • Social media support
  • Email
  • Chat
  • In-person support centers
  • Phone

3. Optimize Wait and Response Times

There’s nothing worse than having a customer take the time to explain why they’re having issues with your company, only to have them feel like you weren’t listening because it took longer than expected to receive a response. By that time, the customer may have moved on.

The end goal of any customer response time is zero, but that’s not necessarily feasible as a first step. So, let’s look at some benchmarks for response times:

  • Call Center: Waiting for more than 90 seconds on hold to talk with a customer support representative will decrease customer satisfaction levels.
  • Facebook: They show response times for business, but they offer a “very responsive to messages” badge to any business who responds to 90% or more of messages within 15 minutes.
  • Email: A 2017 survey of 1200 people revealed that 44% of customers expect an email response within four hours, with 87% expecting a response within 1 day.
  • Twitter: The same survey showed that 50% of customers who tweet at your company expect a response within an hour. In fact, 23% expect a response tweet in 15 minutes or less.

4. Proactively Close the Loop with Upset Customers

Closed-loop tools enable you to create follow-up tickets with customers after they leave negative feedback. Closing the loop with your customers is important because it can reduce attrition rates and keep your customers loyal to your brand. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate to your customers that their feedback is important and you care about them. To build a closed-loop system, you’ll need a ticketing system that alerts you when a customer has an issue and a case-management system that allows you to track the issue through resolution.

5. Turn Your Support Department from a Cost Center to a Profit Center

Highly satisfied customers will increase your bottom line and cost less to serve than dissatisfied customers. Sprint has even said that by focusing on customer experience, they reduced their customer care costs by 33%. It’s also cheaper to retain current customers than it is to get acquire ones. If you can predict which customers are going to churn and resolve their issues before they do, you can increase the lifetime value of the customer because the customers are happier and are more likely to repurchase your products. By saving customers from churning, your support department can actually help generate more profit for your company.

Get the free satisfaction survey template

Download Template