Good enough service is not enough, reveals the latest Zendesk report.
In fact, many customers expect no less than the very best when it comes to the service their preferred brands provide.
The CX Accelerator report found that over the last 12 months, 66 percent of customers have become increasingly less patient with companies that are slow in adapting to shifting expectations.
Thankfully, companies are aware that they are not meeting rising customer expectations, with 64 percent reporting that customer service greatly impacts their business performance.
Declining performance seems to be a worrying trend among high-standard brands – those Zendesk dubs ‘Champions’ – as they have more unresolved inquiries compared to those surveyed in 2021.
Average response times have also increased by 24 percent year-on-year, with more than 60 percent of companies taking more than an hour to respond to inquiries.
The findings also reveal “a new breed of CX challengers” – the Risers – which are disrupting the customer service space.
How? By nabbing more customers from their stalwart competitors. Indeed, a staggering 79 percent of ‘risers’ are blurring the lines when it comes to business performance.
The key to getting back on track with customer expectations might be in long-term planning. As Peter Lorant, Chief Operations Officer EMEA, Zendesk, says: “Customer expectations have clearly been rising faster than CX leaders have been able to keep up.
“In addition, with the economy getting tougher and global competition increasing, now is the time for businesses to implement smart strategies that accelerate their CX and gain greater competitive edge in the long term.
“Our latest research shows that by maximising operational efficiencies for customers, agents and their business, organisations can achieve a lower Total Cost of Ownership and fast Return on Investment, all while strategically investing and protecting every relationship for long term business stability and growth.”
Balance is Key
Customers want options when interacting with businesses, whether over the phone or through a digital channel.
Many businesses see an opportunity here to invest in AI-powered solutions and provide more seamless experiences.
Indeed, 90 percent of businesses are using bots to route customers to the right place, freeing up agents to focus on more complex tasks.
Agent productivity has skyrocketed since the adoption of bots, says 57 percent of companies.
Yet, it is important to walk the fine line between hyperautomation and the human element of customer experience, as Matthias Goehler, CTO EMEA at Zendesk, recently told CX Today. He said:
“We don’t believe that automation should reach the level of 100 percent. There is a reason and a need for human interaction.
“But there should be a good degree of automation to make agents more effective and deflect the number of customer requests properly.”
In order to do so, companies need to identify where automation is the most effective and provides support, while guiding agents towards more intricate tasks that require empathy.
Finally, agents can hardly provide an excellent experience without the right data, which is often the element that transforms the experience from average to outstanding.
Incorporating customer feedback into databases helps not only improve product or service offerings but can also provide insight into how agents may optimise future experiences across all touchpoints.