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|Customer Expectations are Climbing – Will Your Business Keep Up?

Customer Expectations are Climbing – Will Your Business Keep Up?

The 2018 Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report shows customers are as demanding as ever but they still place a premium on good customer service.

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Building Customer Loyalty
by Sitel staff January 15, 2019 - 3 MIN READ

The 2018 Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report shows customers are as demanding as ever but they still place a premium on good customer service.

The study, which surveyed 5,000 consumers in Brazil, Germany, Japan, the U.S. and the UK demonstrates the clear link between a positive customer experience and building customer loyalty. Over nine in 10 respondents (95 percent) said that customer service is a crucial element when it comes to remaining loyal to a brand and 61 percent claiming that a poor customer experience (CX) has seen them switch to a competitor.

“CX is the great differentiator. The brands that can deliver the best customer service are the ones that will continue to stand out, no matter how fierce the competition gets,” explains Mike Small, Chief Client Officer for Sitel Group Americas. “When brands get CX right they create an emotional connection with their customers, and that’s what builds brand loyalty and turns your customers into advocates.”

Brands are failing to help customers serve themselves

As for the friction points that companies may be inadvertently creating that could lead to customer churn, the top answer across all geographies is the quality of self-service – 88 percent of all respondents expect companies to offer an online self-service support portal. And that’s because, when it comes to resolving an issue, only 34 percent of consumers will reach for the phone straight away, compared with 66 percent who want to attempt resolve it themselves, first.

However, 43 percent of consumers complained that there isn’t enough information available through organizations’ self-service assets while 34 percent said that there is either too much information to sift through to find an answer or the content available is too poorly organized or too difficult to search through, meaning that they have no choice but to reach for the phone.

“Too many organizations are guilty of viewing assets like their website, FAQs and knowledge base as one-shot products, but nothing could be further from the truth,” Small points out. “All self-help content needs to be constantly refined and constantly updated and it has to be easy to find and easy to search. If a customer becomes frustrated with your website, you’ve created a pain point – and now a call to customer service will be a moment of truth.”

The phone is still the most popular channel

Although consumers are increasing multichannel – 50 percent now use between three and five customer service channels – voice is still the channel of preference, cited by 39 percent as their favorite, followed by email (20 percent).

Perhaps surprisingly, the majority of consumers are yet to use social channels to resolve a customer service issue. Though 32 percent of all respondents said that they have used Facebook to contact customer service, 55 percent said that they have never used any social channel for this purpose.

But those that are happy with social networks have high expectations – 37 percent of consumers expect a response before the end of the day and 28 percent expect to receive an answer within the hour.

“A company doesn’t have to be available across every conceivable channel in order to deliver a winning CX,” Small says. “Instead choose the channels that align with your customers and ensure that you’re genuinely present and genuinely responsive and that customers can move between any of those channels without having to start over.”

First call resolution is consumers’ first choice

Regardless of channel, consumers from all countries surveyed agree that what they expect most from organizations is to be able to resolve their issue with a single interaction (33 percent). The second most important aspect of customer service is being able to speak to a knowledgeable customer service representative (31 percent), while not having to repeat details each time a call is transferred was the third most popular response (21 percent).

“Technologies change but expectations remain constant,” warns Small. “The key to delivering differentiated customer service is still removing friction points on the customer journey and connecting customers with knowledgeable advisors who have the ability to resolve an issue with a single call.”

From customer journey mapping, self-help portal development and omnichannel strategies to customer service advisor training and outsourcing services, Sitel Group can help your organization build customer loyalty by building up your CX.

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