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As it turns out, new consumer-reported statistics have confirmed what we knew all along. According to a recent Oracle survey of 5,028 consumers, 68% said they would buy more from brands that “put service back in customer service.”
Right. But what does this mean exactly?
79% Want their issues to be resolved in one interaction
76% Will use a company that can minimize menu selections and get them to the right individual quickly
75% Recognize the value and efficiency of voice and video chat
The findings reinforce the need for smart telephone communications and a multichannel approach to support. Speed and organization are key metrics all brands should seek to improve when creating the best customer experience possible.
How to Foster Quicker Resolutions
The rise of on-demand services has changed consumer expectations. Brands need to operate quickly and efficiently — oftentimes beyond traditional business hours. But how can businesses routinely meet (and exceed) the growing demand for instant gratification?
It may seem counterintuitive now that the internet is nearly universal, but the phone is vital to any support scheme. Chat and email are good alternatives for in certain contexts, but nothing moves faster than a person-to-person conversation.
In fact, consumers aren’t the only ones who recognize the value of phone calls. Aircall recently surveyed 475 support industry managers, directors, and team leads to see how they approach CX.
When the results were in, 62% of responders said the phone was their customers’ top preference for resolving issues quickly. Furthermore, 77% of brands offer phone support to their customers, making it the most common form of communication for teams. (Email came in a close second, with 75% of teams offering support via that channel.)
79% of consumers want issues to be resolved in one interaction. – Oracle Survey
And time-to-resolution is at its lowest when issues are resolved in just one interaction. These coveted single-touch resolutions are the hallmark of a competent and CX-oriented brand.
But first-contact resolutions begin before a conversation even begins. Sound cryptic? Website visits, sales inquiries, and previous support issues are all trackable. Learning about these past “touches” gives agents an ability to foresee problems and plan effective remedies. Brands that consistently provide superior service know more about their individual customers from the very beginning.
A Way to Maintain Sanity
Oracle’s consumer survey statistics indicate largely positive feelings toward multichannel communications.
However, what’s missing from these data points is how brands are able to operate many support channels in conjunction with one another. If, for example, phone conversations are not informed by previous email threads, your agents are missing out on vital context. Every interaction will be just as uninformed as the first.
Statistics in image taken from Aircall’s independent survey of customer support leaders.
To smoothly operate across phone, email, chat, social, and whatever channels pop-up in the coming years, well-run support teams will use organization tools. CRM (customer relationship management) and well as “helpdesk” software have become an industry unto themselves.
After asking support teams how they would rank their CX competency, we isolated two populations: those that thought their support teams were elite in the industry (The Best), and everyone else (The Rest).
Frankly, we were surprised by how apparent the statistical gap was between the two groups. Regarding CRM/helpdesk usage, 70% of The Best were using software to aggregate all their conversations. It was a 26-percentage-point jump over The Rest.
Getting all conversations in one place (and arranged by individual customer) gives The Best a head-start over The Rest when it comes to delighting customers. This, in turn, means support agents approach conversations with more context and are better able to assist. Calls are routed more appropriately, and issues can be resolved in a single interaction. (This is true regardless of which channel a customer chooses to use for support, but especially for the phone.)
Customer Support Statistics That Cannot Be Measured
Teams that provide an excellent customer experience are more likely to track metrics and invest in new tech. However, new tools aren’t necessarily the shortcut to 5-star reviews.
75% of consumers recognize the value and efficiency of voice and video chat – Oracle Survey
According to Ryan Buell in the Harvard Business Review, there are some aspects of person-to-person service that will never go out of style, and cannot be automated by tech.
That is to say, customers usually reach out to support when they’re emotionally vulnerable. Maybe they’re disputing a fraudulent charge, or perhaps months of vacation planning are just moments from falling apart entirely. It’s moments like these where a never-ending IVR* or a non-responsive email inbox create brand detractors and lower your CSAT scores.
*(IVR = Press 1 for store hours. Press 2 for shipping. Press 3 for…)
Phone conversations can emotionally validate stressed customers, leading to satisfying interactions and more brand promoters. Furthermore, Buell believes that “when we’re looking for creative solutions to service problems, we still seek out other humans.”
While email, chat, social media, and other newer forms of communication do encourage some level of personal connection, there’s something about hearing another person’s voice that feels more intimate and immediate.
New communication channels are beneficial when used in an appropriate context, but the speed and personality of the phone will not be replaced anytime soon.