Perception is everything, and in the business world, providing an exceptional customer experience has never been more important. These days, consumers expect quick, effortless and helpful responses to their concerns in real time. And if you can’t provide a seamless brand experience for customers, they’re bound to find another business or provider that can deliver.
Talk about putting your best foot forward again and again. So, if you haven’t gotten the message quite yet, one key statistic says it all: More than two-thirds (67 percent) of consumers say poor experiences with specific brands were the reason they switched to another service provider, according to strategist Esteban Kolsky, founder of ThinkJar LLC.
Fortunately, improving your customer experience is something you can implement and roll out quickly to make a dramatic difference. Here are three surefire strategies you can begin implementing today.
1. Adopt a Chatbot
Though a majority of tech publications continue to tout its potential, true artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning remain out of reach for most companies. Now, progress is being made on this front by world-renowned researchers at MIT, Google and IBM, but most companies outside the Fortune 50 are still unable to tap into the vast potential that’s expected to arrive within the next few years.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t gains to be had, however. One fantastic area to benefit from is the world of chatbots. The different options on the market vary in sophistication. The most basic resemble an interactive FAQ page that can deliver accurate information in real time.
Others do, in fact, lean closer to actual intelligent automation with natural language processing capabilities that are legitimately impressive. But no matter which option fits your needs — and budget — chatbots are powerful digital tools that all firms should consider for improved and quicker responses to customer questions.
2. Partner with a Cloud Call Center
Another increasingly popular option to improve customer service is partnering with a cloud call center. Because companies today have a presence on so many platforms, it only makes sense to seek assistance from the pros.
Cloud call centers are among the world’s leading experts in providing top-notch service across many different channels (known as an omnichannel strategy), and using one as a resource will free up your company to focus on its core competencies to drive sales and profitability.
By partnering with large firms that have well-established systems and experienced agents to handle contact channels — including interactive voice response, text, web, mobile, live chat and social media — businesses can spend more time doing what they does best. As a strategic side benefit, this approach will also allow your staff to get out of the trenches to start leveraging the analytical data and insights collected by your partner provider into actionable plans for growth.
3. Hire Freelance Agents
The new industry norm is to constantly strive for a better and better customer experience. And this is definitely where the focus of any company should always be. That said, the traditional rules of profit and loss still apply to every area of the company. While you need customer service to be a driver of repeat business and elevate your reputation in the industry, you also need to manage costs.
This is why businesses of all stripes can benefit greatly by embracing a popular modern trend: the rise of the work-from-home customer service rep. More and more qualified and motivated professionals now prefer the flexibility of working remotely. Companies can realize great savings on labor costs while still getting great service by simply bringing some of their best into the fold.
“If companies desire to add new customer service reps in NYC or San Francisco, the real estate cost alone is astronomical,” writes Laduram Vishnoi, CEO of Acquire.io. “Hence, consider listing the job as a remote opportunity. You may be amazed at the number of qualified applicants you find.”
Implementing Strategies Quickly
There are always ways to improve the customer experience. The good news? Recent developments in technology and business models mean any company can make progress quickly and without taking on massive expenses.
The customer service winds blow in a few clear directions: more digital tools, more partnerships and more non-traditional methods of getting things done. In response, any company would be wise to consider adopting a chatbot, partnering with a cloud contact center, or hiring remote agents.
If your customer reviews and referrals still aren’t meeting expectations, it’s time to try something different. Make the move now, and watch 2019 become your company’s best year yet — for you and your customers.
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