Make Customer Experience a Differentiator for Your Contact Center

Certain industries are notorious for their poor customer service, and on the flip side, there are a few companies that are memorable for providing an outstanding customer experience. Why? Because it’s a differentiator that attracts new customers, and retains existing ones. While delivering a great customer experience is a powerful competitive advantage, maintaining that edge requires a culture of continual improvement and innovation as competitors rush to catch up. The real winner in this scenario is the customer, who can choose where to take their business based on good customer experiences rather than bad ones. Whether customer service in your industry is known to be sub-par or excellent, all businesses can take steps to improve the customer experience and become more competitive in their market.

Who is doing it right?

As I mentioned in a recent ICMI article, inContact released a study that identified customer satisfaction hits and misses across 10 different customer service channels and 20 industries. The results revealed that airlines, retailers and credit card companies provide the highest quality customer service, and are among the top-rated industries for both likelihood to recommend and continue.

Who needs to improve?

According to our research, the sectors that could use some improvement include fast food, Internet providers, and car rental companies. What are they all missing?

While scenarios vary per industry or service provided, each of these industries are failing to keep pace with increasing customer service expectations. They seem to be lagging when it comes to a seamless experience across channels, as well as personalization, which causes frustration with customers.

Learning from this, companies can take action to improve customer satisfaction – no matter the industry:

  • Improve cross-channel communication. 71 percent of customers expect to continue talking with the same representative when switching channels. Select a technology provider that can help create seamless interactions with customers, no matter where the conversation starts or ends.
  • Provide more personalization. 87 percent of customers expect companies to direct them to the method or channel that resolves their situation the quickest. There’s a reason IVR and email have the lowest customer service ratings – they are viewed as the least personalized and slowest channels, often not providing the most complete information. Customers are willing to go through a short IVR menu if it gets them to the right place, but it needs to be quick.

According to the survey, “resolving my question or issue in the quickest way possible” is the top driver of channel performance and a priority area for improvement efforts for both Agent-Assisted and Self-Service interactions.

These industry-specific findings demonstrate the need to customize service channels based on users and on specific business needs. That said, businesses will be judged on customer experience compared to the best in the world – not just specific industries.

Building a reputation for good customer experience is key to growing and retaining a customer base, especially since 70 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for a product or service that has a good customer service reputation.

Thinking back to an instance where you had a bad experience with a company, did you continue to give them your business, or did you switch to a competitor?

This article originally appeared in ICMI.