As the direct-to-customer market grows, many brands continue to adopt traditional approaches to customer service and stumble over the same obstacles again and again. How should customer service professionals rethink client care? And where should brands even begin this process? Let’s unpack some common customer service problems and solutions.
Below, we outline common obstacles, such as adapting to new customer preferences and gauging success, and cover modern solutions.
Customer Service Basics: What’s the Problem?
Despite popular wisdom, a majority of buyers do not want to speak to a support agent. That’s according to a survey by market research company Forrester. Analysts found most customers simply want accurate, relevant and complete answers to their queries. Why does this matter?
Returning to the study, more than 50% of U.S. adults said they’re likely to abandon their online purchase if they can’t find a quick answer to their question.
Speaking to only those one-in-two shoppers for whom speed is a factor, whether or not a brand closes a sale depends on how quickly customers can locate answers related to a product.
Delving deeper into this topic, 70% of adults said valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.
Customers are increasingly using self-service and agent-assisted digital communication channels for customer service, which apply less friction to the shopping experience, Forrester researchers write.
Examples of these channels include:
- Web or mobile self-service.
- Online forums or communities.
- Live chat.
Of course, now’s not the time to unplug and retire the landlines. What this report points to is a more nuanced, tech-forward approach to our customer service problems and solutions — an approach that is more vital now than ever.
Common Customer Service Problems
Customer service problems have become an all-too-common frustration for consumers worldwide. From endless hold times to unresponsive agents and hidden fees, the list of issues seems never-ending. These problems not only hinder the customer experience but also corrupt trust and loyalty. It’s time to address these common grievances head-on and seek out companies that prioritize exceptional support. We delve deeper into some of the most prevalent customer service problems plaguing consumers today.
- Endless Hold Times: Spending hours on hold, listening to repetitive music or pre-recorded messages, is a thing of the past.
- Unresponsive Agents: Have you ever reached out for assistance, only to receive vague or unhelpful responses? Unresponsive agents can be one of the number one causes of customer dissatisfaction.
- Lack of Empathy: Feeling like just another number can be frustrating. It’s valuable to prioritize empathy, understanding your concerns, and making you feel valued as a customer.
- Poor Communication Channels: Limited communication options, slow response times, or a lack of alternative contact methods can hinder your customer experience.
- Inconsistent Service Quality: Consistency matters in customer service; let the tech improve this area.
How Did COVID-19 Shift Customer Service Solutions
COVID-19. Social distancing. Virtual connections. With an eye on the upcoming year, Forrester suggests customer service centers will adapt to a shifting market, one shaped by the pandemic. There’s a “need for a more empathetic service experience,” analysts write. Additionally, customer service will become a lifeline for an estimated 33 million consumers.
“With U.S. unemployment peaking in April ,” they write, “millions of individuals found themselves struggling to pay for food, bills, and other necessities.” They suggest responsible organizations provide high-quality, emotionally sensitive customer support in a form that meets customers’ needs.
Concurring with the above trend, Forrester predicts a sharp, 40% spike in virtual customer support cases, placing greater scrutiny on brands and greater urgency on their support agents to meet shoppers’ preferences: namely a demand for self-service and agent-assisted digital communication channels.
Finally, Forrester projects the creation of hybrid store/contact center roles. While brick-and-mortar stores have been hurt by the pandemic and subsequent social distancing guidelines, they haven’t been erased. Assuming a hybrid posture towards customer service problems and solutions creates the greatest opportunity for brands to meet shoppers’ needs.
Tackling Customer Service Problems and Solutions
As we covered in a previous blog post, customer service agents who aim to improve their care face a unique challenge. So often, the starting points for new solutions are major issues that may be intangible and tricky to define, such as:
- Feeling ineffective.
- Immediate need to deflect conversations.
Equally challenging is gauging the benefits of your customer service. Of course, a five-star review on a public forum is a clear sign. Generally speaking, these kinds of signals can be few and far between, creating time gaps without concrete feedback to indicate how well a service center is performing. Where should you look to get a sense of how your service is affecting consumers?
First, look within. Everyone benefits from excellent customer service, not just shoppers. When buyers are happy, that can radiate to an entire organization, boosting morale and — potentially — translating to sales. And in that way, a company’s bottom line becomes a clear, tangible gauge of customer service efforts.
And second, check your workload. Customer service takes time to perform, especially when done well. As such, professionals may find themselves overburdened when fielding a large volume of easy-to-answer conversations, and unable to attend to more severe cases. Often, giving agents the freedom to deflect avoidable queries is a matter of implementing tech solutions, such as self-service and agent-assisted digital communication channels.
Customer Service Solutions
Here are just a few options available to customer service professionals:
- Providing shoppers with resources, such as an easily accessible FAQ section.
- Installing an AI chatbot.
- Implementing a proactive outreach strategy, allowing agents to address customer concerns before they arise.
Learning how to tackle customer service problems and solutions doesn’t have to stop with this blog post. Trust Kustomer as a source of invaluable tactics for honing your customer service center strategy. Download Kustomer’s buyer’s guide to learn more.