Poor customer service is one of the biggest killers of businesses, resulting in nearly $75 billion in lost revenue each year in the United States alone.
In today’s high-tech world, customers demand fast, seamless, convenient, and value-added experiences from the organizations they deal with. In fact, 93% of customer service teams say that customer expectations are at an all-time high.
The future of customer service
If there’s one thing we’ve learned (and continue to learn) from the catastrophic events of 2020 and 2021, it’s that the world has changed and will never return to the way it was.
Looking ahead, it’s clear that customer and employee experience are the forces propelling and sustaining growth – and this is placing customer service professionals on the frontline.
Unpredictable market conditions and rising expectations are forcing businesses to adopt strategies to innovate, keep pace, and excel – or face falling behind the competition. The onus is on organizations to thoroughly understand who their customers and employees are and how they interact across all touchpoints.
Omnichannel is changing the role of contact centers
Today’s buyers demand freedom and flexibility when they embark on their journey across retailers, utility companies, service providers, and more. They expect to have the option of various touchpoints on their search and to arrive at their destination quickly and without incident.
For example, in the retail world, a buyer may start researching on a website, then interact with a customer service agent for more information – either through chat, email, or phone call – then complete their purchase in a physical store. And they want the entire journey to be seamless. That is, without having to repeat their details at every touchpoint.
Omnichannel contact centers allow customers to get help when they want it, through the communication channels of their choice, whether with a live agent or real-time self-service options.
Customers want to feel valued, and an excellent omnichannel customer experience builds customer loyalty and helps prevent voluntary and involuntary churn.
Almost 80% of consumers believe that the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services, reflecting the growing demand for a high level of customer engagement.
According to CustomerThink, organizations that utilize omnichannel strategies have an average 89% customer retention rate, compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel buying options
The evolving landscape of customer experience technology
A good customer experience means communicating seamlessly with a business, and a multichannel communications approach is the best way to engage customers anywhere, anytime.
Communications channel usage and preferences have evolved in a short time. While video chat adoption and the use of chatbots and AI surged during the pandemic, other channels lost ground. For example, interaction by mobile phone remains the preferred method for consumers to connect with businesses and service providers.
Image source: Vonage
It has become clear that providing a seamless customer experience involves a great deal of technical innovation. That technology is evolving at an astounding pace – and many have struggled to keep up.
Automated solutions are becoming the preferred way to handle the growing volume of customer inquiries, yet 75% of consumers still prefer to interact with a human. This presents a dilemma because a significant chunk of time spent on a typical manual (agent facing) support call is spent searching for client information.
Mapping the customer journey
In an omnichannel experience, the course that customers chart through a website or mobile app shows what they’ve been looking at buying, how they manage their accounts and the information they’re searching for about particular products. Customer service agents can use these details to elevate the customer experience.
For example, knowing what web page the customer was searching for allows them to pull up the relevant product information. Or, if the customer opted out of a purchase or web form, the agent can complete the transaction without requesting all the information again. This greatly reduces customer frustration and can potentially recover a sale.
Response time consistency is vital
Even if an organization offers multiple channels of communication and omnichannel purchasing options, consumers expect consistent levels of service across every channel. This means providing the same speed of service over digital communications as traditional call centers.
Unfortunately, many contact centers struggle to maintain consistency across all channels. For example, while they may answer 80% of calls within 20 seconds, a survey found that 62% of businesses never respond to emails!
Data and analytics for a better customer experience
Out-ranking competitors, increasing conversion rates, and establishing trust and transparency are major goals for every business. Those goals can’t be achieved without collecting data and using it to inform the way businesses market products and services to their customers.
The valuable insights that data provides can influence marketing campaigns and strategies to help deliver and maintain a superior customer experience.
Data also provides a better insight into the customer journey and browsing habits, allowing organizations to make necessary improvements and adjustments to keep customers coming back.
Performance management and proactive testing: You need both
If customer experience is the lifeblood of any business, then a great customer experience is at the heart. Success depends on unified communications and contact center technology being fully functional – 100% of the time.
For many businesses, keeping up with changing market demands means their contact center technology is constantly evolving. The potential for disruption increases with the addition of new channels, so outside-in, end-to-end performance testing ensures an exceptional customer experience.
Read more about how testing solutions can improve customer experience here.
You may think your systems are working as they should, but as we’ve discussed in this blog, many organizations have large gaps between their assumptions and their actual system performance. In fact, nearly 90% of service teams say the pandemic has exposed their technology gaps.
How testing can keep the heart of your business beating
To deliver the best possible customer experience, you need to know if your technology delivers the experience you intended.
With IR Collaborate voice, web, and video testing solutions, you can get the real-time insights needed to deliver a superior level of customer service.
Here’s how we can help:
- Load testing for peak performance.
- Ensure that your unified communications and contact center systems can handle full peak load scenarios.
- Avoid downtime by stress testing voice, web, and video in real-time conditions.
- Stress testing to ensure availability under all conditions.
- Test in real-time under real-world conditions to verify capacity, performance, stability, and resilience.
- 95% of StressTest engagements identify serious customer experience-impacting issues.
- Maximizing customer satisfaction.
- Deliver a great customer experience with automated, outside-in testing that shows what customers and users are experiencing.
- Provide real-time insights into voice, web, and video availability, performance, and service quality.
- Proactively solving problems before they impact customers.
- Get automatic alerting to pinpoint issues like packet loss, latency, jitter, video quality, and more.
- Proactively testing all components in the UC environment to verify stability and resilience for optimal performance.
With IR Collaborate voice, web, and video testing solutions, you can identify the gaps between your assumptions and actual system performance and get the real-time insights you need to deliver a level of service that exceeds customer expectations.
Want to see how your customer experience technology stacks up? Learn more about our complimentary 30-day test replicating actual customer interactions via real telephony calls — 24/7/365. Know what your customers are experiencing in real-time.
Find out more about our testing solutions and how to access our free 30-day customer experience testing and validation program here.