Service is an important factor in generating customer satisfaction and loyalty. But how good is the service provided by businesses really? One study conducted by Arvato CRM Solutions in the US reveals a divergence between the opinions of businesses and those of consumers in this regard.
Companies overestimate the quality of their customer service – that was the conclusion of the “Transforming Customer Service” study, for which 500 consumers and company representatives in the US were interviewed. While 89 percent of the company representatives rated their service as “good to very good,” only 52 percent of consumers agreed with this statement. And only 9 percent of consumers stated that they “always” received good customer service.
The core problem is not a failure to deal with customer concerns. On the contrary, 81 percent of respondents stated that the service center was able to help them. However, the execution of the service was poor. 34 percent were annoyed by long waiting times, and 31 percent noted that they had to provide the same information a number of times. Despite that, only 14 percent of companies are aiming to cut waiting times in customer service this year. Only 40 percent of companies believe it important to provide round-the-clock service of the kind most consumers expect. So it seems that a number of companies are prioritizing the wrong “pain points.”
Lacking a technology strategy
The study also reveals that many companies do not have a clear vision and strategy for implementing new technology. Most respondents stated that they have no plans to introduce chatbots (65 percent), virtual assistants (58 percent) or video chat (55 percent) – even though these could help to efficiently implement a 24/7 service.
However, a large number of consumers are also skeptical of these new technologies, preferring tried-and-tested channels instead. 52 percent said that the phone is the most reliable channel for them when they need service support, while 49 percent noted that they would not want to be served by a chatbot. Customer expectations varied depending on the age and gender of the survey respondent. 30 percent of men have a positive attitude towards virtual assistants, while that figure is only 17 percent for women. And while 65 percent of baby boomers, those aged 60 and above, expect top service at all times, only 28 percent of “millennials,” those aged between 18 and 29, have such high expectations.
“Considering the importance of customer service for the success of a brand, it is surprising that a number of companies do not align this service better with the needs of their customers,” says Fara Haron, CEO Arvato CRM Solutions North America and the Philippines. “Our study shows that companies not only need to focus on the result of their customer service, they also have to look at how they provide it so that they can make it convenient, personal, and seamless.”
Tips for good customer service
Even though the study results apply to the US and the European market is subject to different rules, there are some general tips companies can use to lay the foundation for good service:
- Invest in technology. By this we don’t just mean cutting-edge digital solutions such as chatbots – a lot of companies don’t even have an up-to-date CRM system. That leads to situations where customers have to give the same information multiple times, and the customer advisor is unable to refer to past conversations.
- Treat customers like individuals. That involves not only looking at their request individually, but also taking into consideration their customer history, for example in goodwill cases. Analytics solutions help you to select the appropriate next best actions for every customer.
- Conduct regular customer satisfaction surveys with your customers. They know best what kind of service they want, and what they expect of your company.
First published at https://www.future-customer.com