Customer trends are constantly shifting and growing based on the needs and wants of the modern buyer. Today’s customers choose to shop at specific companies because of affordability, luxury, believing in what the brand stands for, the quality of the product, etc. However, with 79% of consumers saying customer service is extremely important when deciding where to shop, it should make us all ask the question: what exactly is it that customers are expecting from their customer service experience?
At Kustomer, we’ve conducted original research on this topic of customer service expectations. In this blog, we’ll explore types of service expectations, from general expectations that remain the same, to important changes in what the modern customer expects, and the importance of a cohesive omnichannel strategy.
What Are Today’s Top Customer Service Expectations?
Customer service expectations are constantly evolving. Today’s customers choose to shop at specific companies for varying reasons, but one remains constant: the quality of customer service is extremely important when deciding where to shop. Explore types of service expectations, from general expectations that remain the same to important changes in what the modern customer expects.
What Are General Customer Service Expectations?
From businesses only ever setting up shop at a brick and mortar location, to cold-calling over the phone, to being able to sell any product on the internet 24/7 — customer service is always evolving. The ways customers expect to be communicated with are also often in flux, but there are a few tried and true customer service expectations for businesses to live by.
- Solve Customer Issues Promptly
In effective customer service, there are best practices to proactively respond to today’s customers. Getting ahead of unhappy customers with proactive customer service is one of them. When businesses go the extra mile to reach out to customers or anticipate potential concerns before the buyer even needs to inquire, they are proactively engaging their client.
However, even if you do everything in your power to give a customer the ideal experience, every business will receive a question, complaint, or feedback at some point. Best practices when responding to a customer’s issue are pretty universal across all communication channels (SMS, email, phone, in-person, etc.), and they all start with responding to the customer as soon as possible.
It’s always a good idea to begin this response with apologizing for their negative experience and providing context for what happened. Reassure the customer that the issue won’t happen again, and offer an incentive, refund, or discount. All of this should happen within just a few hours of the customer’s complaint, if possible.
- Compassionate Customer Service
The desire to be treated kindly is a universal human experience, and implementing compassionate customer service is nothing new. When 70% of buying experiences are simply based on how the customer feels they are being treated, it’s easy to deduce that customers expect businesses to take an interest in their request or problem and treat them with dignity and respect.
70% of buying experiences are simply based on how the customer feels they are being treated
Here are a few tips for employing compassionate service for today’s customer:
- Technology: Ensure your support agents have the right technology, a modern day customer service CRM with an integrated data system, to support a full-spectrum, omnichannel view of customer history, enabling them to treat people as valued individuals. Having full context on an individual level means customers are effortlessly understood. And of course customers automatically expect business to have protocols in place to protect whatever personal data you’ve collected.
- Tone & Language: It was once much simpler to understand tone when interactions were predominantly face-to-face. Now that businesses are often interacting with customers via digital communication, basic social cues are stripped away. Remember to make up for this with written communication that appeals to people’s emotions and use language that conveys a sense of interest in their needs.
- Customer (Human) First: Remember that customers are humans, not a ticket or task to be checked. Ask them how their day is, patiently and actively listen to what they need, clarify kindly if you need more details, and be genuine. Start and end each interaction with a compassionate human touch, and your customers will notice the difference.
- Personalized Customer Experience
Delivering on consumer expectations is all about understanding what the consumer wants and creating personalized customer service experiences based on those needs. Research shows that customers are keen on personalization, as it helps them remain in control in customer service conversations, reduces feelings of stress and defeat, and helps them feel more empowered as a customer.
When you create a personalized experience for customers, you have more meaningful conversations with them, enhance their trust in your company, and improve their overall satisfaction in your service. Customers who feel heard and taken care of are more likely to remain loyal to your brand; therefore, creating a personalized experience also plays a huge role in maintaining consistent business.
Addressing the customer’s needs promptly, treating them with compassion, and giving them a personalized experience are all customer service best practices working toward a common goal: customers who feel seen, appreciated and valued will keep coming back.
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What Are Modern CX Expectations?
While all of these general service expectations remain the same, a lot has changed in terms of what customers expect from businesses today. Let’s dive into some modern customer service expectations that are important to implement in any business.
- Embracing Digital Technology
Embracing digital technology is key to creating the best experience for your customers. Today’s customer expects business to be available across all communication channels (the web, social media, phone, email and text) with text messaging, according to our own data, being the most frequently checked and responded to channel, especially among younger customers.
This omnichannel strategy (when businesses are open to communicate across multiple platforms) also helps to build a relationship with the customer through brand awareness and maintaining customer loyalty. With 64% of consumers reporting they enjoy talking to customer service via the same channels they communicate with family and friends, the importance of expanding your communication methods to SMS and social media cannot be underestimated.
81% of consumers report that they appreciate proactive support
- Proactive Support
As previously mentioned, customers don’t want to be treated like a task that has been checked off a company’s list. If they’ve reached out to a business with a question or issue, they expect that line of communication to remain open, and to be remembered, even after the initial conversation ended.
For example, when a customer reaches out to a business with an issue, it takes time, energy, and patience on their end to explain the situation. Hopefully, by the end of that conversation, the company has done all they can to reach a solution with the customer. However, if the same person reaches out again, the company is expected to have a history of the previous interaction and proactively support them in continuing this conversation. Seventy-three percent of consumers appreciate followup after their problem is solved. Perhaps if the company in this scenario had taken the proactive step of following up after the initial interaction, the customer wouldn’t have even had to initiate the second conversation, saving everyone time.
- Instant Gratification
A major shift in the evolution of customer service is the modern customer’s expectation of instant gratification. Gone are the days where the average person expected to wait in long lines, hold on the phone, or receive a delivery longer than after just a few days of placing their order.
Customers expect a convenient and speedy response to their questions, with nearly half of them expecting customer service representatives to respond in less than four hours. However, the average response time for customer support teams is over 12 hours. By implementing response automations through your customer experience software, businesses can more easily resolve this disconnect and work toward delivering higher rates of customer satisfaction and an overall better customer experience.
Master Modern CS Messaging and Meet Customer Expectations
Service expectations are constantly changing. They may differ based on the age of the customer, their need, or even just their personality. But if your company can maintain general expectations and start to implement these modern trends, you should start to see this result in more valuable relationships with your customers. Download Kustomer’s interactive report on the Modern Age of Customer Service Messaging to learn more.