What do your customers expect from you? How do they want to interact with you? And is the current digital environment, brought on by advances in technologies and encouraged by constraints of the pandemic, a boon or a barrier to an effective and even memorable customer experience?
A recent study on customer trends by Zendesk revealed that one in two customers in Asia Pacific (APAC) say that customer experience (CX) is more important to them now compared to a year ago. Since the start of the pandemic, average weekly support requests are up 20%, and e-commerce sales jumped by 30% last year. On top of this, digital adoption has accelerated by 50% over the last three years. One thing is clear – the pressure is on for companies to deliver great CX.
The new generation of customers
The company’s third annual Customer Experience Trends Report looked at a unique data index on how more than 90,000 companies use their support solutions, with the results of surveys gauging the attitudes of more than 8,000 consumers, customer service agents and managers, and technology buyers, in 15 countries, including US, UK, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, Japan, Mexico, India, Singapore, Korea, Italy, the Nordics, and Benelux.
It found that, more than ever, companies are expected to be available whenever the customer requires and on whichever channels they are already familiar with. Regardless of the channel, customers want it to be easy to use, quick and effective in resolving their queries.
And when their expectations are not met, the survey showed that 50% of Asia Pacific customers would shift to a competitor after just one bad experience, rising to 80% after a second one.
The dramatic events of 2020 have caused customers to take a hard look at their priorities and values. As a result, they want companies that lead with their values – whether that means having greater empathy for customer needs, prioritizing diversity, inclusion and equality in their workplaces and communities, or being more socially responsible.
A more conversational world
The question then is, are you up to the challenge?
In simple terms, the advice is to listen to your customers, find out what they care about and devise a plan to act upon it.
The market is extremely fluid; customer support teams need to be able to quickly scale their operations, streamline workflows across teams, and find opportunities to reduce the demand on agents.
The survey found that messaging apps have had a pandemic boost across the board – through a company’s own website, social messaging apps, and to a certain extent text/SMS. This highlights the need for organisations to go omnichannel.
Omnichannel CX is reflected in the role of distributed workforces on customer service. With staff no longer office-bound, companies need to reimagine the workplace and have systems and processes that allow agility, scalability, and collaboration. Empower agents and managers with the right tools, processes, and resources to do their best work while remote.
In this environment, companies lean heavily on technology to manage the volume of customer activity and remote workforce, such as AI, automation and self-service to manage the volume of tickets and greater use of data analytics to optimise the experience.
Delivering on the digital conversation
The survey report says that these digital transitions are happening quickly. Companies are making these changes now rather than playing catch up later.
They appreciate that CX is growing in importance and that investing more in customers and employees has a considerable pay-off. Companies can look at the example of those that are more mature in their CX activities and how they stand to gain more through their investment in tackling the omnichannel-based CX.
Opportunities highlighted by the survey include better access to customer data, video conferencing, greater use of analytics. Investment in internal help desks is forecast to double post-COVID. And a third of companies that ranked CX investment areas as low priorities prior to COVID-19 are now planning to spend more.
Which all mean that not only are organisations looking at improving customer experience, but staff satisfaction and engagement should be equal concerns.
Zendesk has a series of best practice questions and solutions to help you step up your CX operations and benchmark your organisation with industry best practice. Click here to find out more.