This first appeared in Field Technologies Online in December 2020

Customer service and support (CSS) leaders are continuously facing pressure to increase customer loyalty as consumers continue to raise the bar of expectations with everything from timelines of service, to quality of the product and finding the best value for their dollar. Nearly 80% of Americans have cited speed and convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service as the most critical elements of a satisfactory experience. Defining and continually measuring metrics against a low effort customer service experience is the baseline for CSS organizations.

Low-Effort Resolution Is Not Enough

Beyond simply resolving a customer’s challenge, best-in-class CSS organizations provide “value enhancement” by leaving the customer both satisfied with problem resolution and confident in their original purchase decision. While a low-effort resolution typically moves customers to a neutral view of the CSS organization, a value enhancement engenders loyalty, recommendations to friends, family, and colleagues, and opens the door for upselling opportunities. According to Gartner, following a value-enhancing service interaction, it’s 82% more likely that a customer would stay loyal to a business when actively considering a switch to a competitor versus only 61% of customers receive a low effort resolution (but no value enhancement).

Steps To Increase Value

The opportune time to present value is during customer inquiries, which is a significant percentage of customer interactions. CSS organizations can dramatically increase value enhancement by incorporating several vital ingredients into customer interactions:

  • Reassure the customer that their purchase was the “right” choice. During an interaction, delighting customers will reinforce their decision that aligning with this company and product was the best decision.
  • Use predictive features to anticipate the customer’s needs and features that they may find valuable. As described in the FTO article, 4 Ways to Leverage AI in Customer Service, utilizing tools like predictive analysis, which can better inform a case agent of proactive steps needed to offer a heightened customer experience, will speed up resolution time and add value.
  • Help customers understand the product or service features most relevant to them and continuously educate customers ensuring no part of the value-added experience is left on the table and introduce new or untapped capabilities that enhance loyalty.

Key Takeaways

Providing a low-effort customer service resolution is now considered “standard” for Customer Service and Support organizations and these companies have pivoted to provide additional value-added enhancements to the customer experience. This has proved even more difficult to operationalize due to the challenges associated with providing Customer Service during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as history has demonstrated, CSS organizations that excel will focus on exceeding customer expectations; conversely, those that will fail will not take the steps necessary to ensure a tighter connection with their customers and increase customer loyalty.

Ivan Moore