By Brighton Chidoma, Senior Client Success Executive at Infobip
Modern day customers have become increasingly unforgiving when it comes to brand experiences. The rise of instant communication and multiple avenues for expressing dissatisfaction have given brands just seven seconds to make a positive impression or risk losing their customers. At the same time, the ability to express dissatisfaction over multiple channels has increased the need for brands to ensure that consumers get instant responses, as communication is no longer restricted to a contact centre that operates during working hours.
According to exclusive online research on customer service quality conducted by Infobip, a majority of survey participants (51.3%) give a brand two chances. Following this, 22.1% of respondents grant businesses just one chance, before taking their money elsewhere.
The research reveals that the biggest challenge faced by customer service agents is time – particularly, the speed with which inquiries can be resolved. When speaking with contact centre agents, 44.2% of respondents expressed that their experience would be enhanced if they could immediately connect with the appropriate person, while 40.4% highlighted that a quick answer to their query would improve the engagement.
This underscores the fact that today’s customers have little tolerance for enduring extended wait times, such as being placed on hold for five minutes when attempting to submit a query through a contact centre. Prolonged delays can trigger customer frustration, often prompting them to express their discontent on social media platforms, potentially causing substantial damage to a brand’s reputation.
Struggling with personalisation
It is also clear that contact centres still struggle with personalisation, with customers wanting to feel that a particular brand knows them and their needs and preferences when they engage with an organisation. The issue of repetition is also a significant concern for customers – for example, if they have been prompted to provide their ID number at the start of the call or have already furnished the details of their query via a different channel, most are reluctant to repeat this information. Instead, they expect a contact centre agent to have their profile ready and know the reason for their call so that the issue can be resolved quickly.
According to the research, the retail industry receives the most complaints, with 43.9%, followed by food delivery companies (19.1%) and utility companies (16.4%), with queries often focusing on long wait times and unresolved complaints.
Effective communication and engagement with customers is therefore key, as a positive service experience significantly impacts brand loyalty, with 64% of correspondents saying that a positive customer experience made them a brand advocate.
The research also finds that while effective digital communication is crucial and email remains the preferred channel, call centres are still preferred over chatbots and social media, emphasising the need for personalised and timely engagement.
Brands can improve their customer experience by ensuring that they can be reached on multiple channels in order to resolve complaints or queries in a timely manner. For instance, brands that use chatbots to handle frequently asked questions usually have a high net promoter score, because customers do not have to connect with a contact centre for simple queries, such as requesting documents or basic information. This can easily be handled by a chatbot and alleviates a lot of pressure on a contact centre, freeing up agents to deal with the more pressing and concerning issues that customers might have.
The nature of the interaction also plays a major role in customer service. Customers want to feel like the brand knows them personally, so organisations should ensure that whatever customer data platform or system they are using is populated with customers’ details.
Ultimately, when a customer engages with a contact centre or a chatbot, the interaction must have a human element to it that makes a customer feel as though the brand actually knows them and is invested in helping them. Only then will organisations reap the benefits of turning good customer experiences into long term brand loyalty.