The Gist

  • Heightened customer expectations. Customer service teams must be aware of and adapt to customers' high expectations.
  • Diversifying customers. Post-pandemic, customers are becoming more selective in their choice of brands.
  • Proactive strategies. Planning and executing responsive customer service strategies can maximize customer bonding.

Customer service teams are more aware than ever before regarding the high expectations of customers. Post-pandemic, customers are diversifying and being selective in their choice of brands to invest in and connect with.

There’s been no better time to get ahead of the curve and ensure your customer service agents are planning, preparing, and executing the most responsive strategies to help customers bond with your brand and maximize your offering.

We explore what discerning and informed customers want from companies right now, how to create a future-proof customer service strategic plan, and how to instigate a customer service vision that helps customers feel personally seen and heard.

How Are Customers Feeling?

Research from Q1 of 2023 suggests that the leading preoccupation in shoppers’ minds across the globe is inflation, with people concerned that consumer goods will become more expensive and remain that way.

A significant 94% reported that inflation was affecting their shopping behavior, with 59.5% of inflation survey respondents saying they had seen the biggest jump in prices with groceries.

Customers are also reporting concerns around "shrinkflation", which is when products are smaller in size but sold at the regular price, as well as price gouging when prices for sought-after goods increase substantially as a response to excessive demand. With these consumer-related issues front and center, it’s no surprise customer purchasing power is altering and behavior patterns are less predictable as a result.

Any successful business keeping their finger on the pulse of consumer behavior, attitudes and spending practices will be aware of customers reassessing how and where they spend their money. A key strategy for many will be refining and redefining the ways that their customer services teams interact with, listen to and resolve customer issues in a proactive manner.

Here we look at some tactical customer service solutions to support excellent customer service addressing the fast-paced needs of customers.

Use Strategic Data to Boost Customer Relationships

These days, companies have access to a wealth of customer-related data, from when they shop to where they buy their products and how they pay. It’s not necessarily more data businesses need, but knowing how to leverage existing data to serve customers better in the future.

New research reports companies that monitor consumer shopping habits and use related data to improve their customer services outperform similar businesses in sales growth by 85%.

Using that data to accurately predict consumer spend and brand loyalty is vital in staying a step ahead of your customers and competitors. This will help deliver what consumers want next, how they want this delivered and tactics to strengthen those essential customer relationships.

In essence, it’s a smart move to map your consumers’ journeys in alignment with their real-time experiences. Then, combine these insights with a spectrum of consumer data and relevant research into your market. These three strands offer the opportunity to grow connections and support long-term relationships to help your business thrive.

You can also look to the future in other areas. Watching how the markets where you operate develop, alter and pivot over time is a key tactic in helping you plan strategically for upcoming trading periods.

To boot, you can monitor customer feedback from your customer service teams using feedback loops. You may also want to evaluate your competitors and how their customer relations are evolving while maintaining a flexible approach toward industry alignments and transformations to ensure you stay on track.

Learning Opportunities

Person-to-Person Communication

AI technologies are revolutionizing customer relationships and how businesses strategize for customer interactions to fulfill customer needs, but a 2022 Statista U.S. survey showed that 86% of respondents felt that it was important that they could contact a real person when communicating with a business. Even in today's technology-dependent world, people like to talk to other people. Shoppers like to feel they are being listened to and that they can chat through an issue instantaneously for a quick, smooth problem resolution.

Help your customers to access improved communication with you through regularly updated social media threads and a customer service phone line that’s widely available for consumers to call when they need support. Having multifaceted customer service options empowers shoppers to get in touch in their preferred manner when and where they feel most comfortable, which will undoubtedly boost levels of customer satisfaction with your service.

Good customer service becomes excellent customer service when teams listen to customers, gather information on patterns, and then create actionable strategies to resolve common issues.

Remove Pain Points

It’s an accepted part of being in business that customers will have, at one time or another, an issue with your product or service. The question is, how do you know they are having a bump in the road and what do you do to eliminate this?

Listening to customers across diverse channels of communication supports an enhanced understanding of customer issues while spotlighting common patterns of customer dissatisfaction and areas for future development.

In fact, Voice of Customer programs have become integral to many companies, and for good reason. Using an easy, quick response survey through one of your communication channels, customers can simply select from a multiple-choice menu how they feel about each aspect of your product and service overall.

Being where your customers are (online, in-store, or on-call) can help you become aligned with their hopes and feelings about your products so you can deliver refined solutions quicker and minimize any particular pain points.

What Is Great Customer Service?

Excellent customer service starts with a critical evaluation and detailed scrutiny of what your customers actually want, how they feel about the products and services you currently offer, and what you can put in place to resolve issues they are struggling with.

Respecting customer relationships and developing long-term partnerships are two vital strands of an excellent customer service strategy. Selecting important consumer viewpoints and evaluating customer patterns through data analysis support deeper insights into ever-changing customer behavior.

Using these strategic points as a foundation, consumer-focused businesses can evolve and deliver ever more advanced and intuitive customer services to support the exponential growth of brand loyalty.

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