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Why customer service is an integral part of customer experience

AvatarGuest Author | July 10, 2019

What comes to your mind when you hear the words “good customer experience”? You might think of something simple like a well-designed video that helped you understand a product better. Perhaps, you will remember a conversation with a support rep where he/she understood your problem perfectly, and helped you resolve it in no time. Or, maybe, you will recall a sweet gesture from your favorite restaurant where they offered a complimentary steak on your birthday. In any case, you will think about an experience where a company gave you what you wanted and did something a little extra to win you over.

Customer experience (CX) is one of the most important contributors to building customer loyalty and fostering long-lasting customer relationships. And in most cases, it is tied very closely to good customer service.

Sometimes, you may not even realize how elements of customer service are present in the most basic user interactions. For example, consider making a purchase on an e-commerce website. Once you land on the homepage, you will be greeted with a chat pop-up that will ask you what you’re looking for and will assist you in finding the right product. After you’ve selected what you want, you will find all the required details like the price, specifications, frequently asked questions, return/refund policies, and more. You will also have access to what other customers are saying about the product, and from these reviews, you can gauge how well-received/trustworthy the brand is. Finally, after you’ve completed the purchase, you will be asked for feedback on your shopping experience and suggestions on what can be improved.

If you look back at this whole purchase cycle, you will notice how each step has an aspect of customer support associated to it. Let’s examine them in detail and find out how they’re all essential to good CX:

Intelligent chatbots

Most websites/apps today have AI-powered chatbots that guide users to find what they’re looking for. For example, a b2c company that sells T-shirts might want to ask its customers about their preferences on the type of material and their budget. On the other hand, a b2b company that sells CRM software will have questions about the customer’s industry, the number of employees they have, and their location. Chatbots engage customers in a conversation by presenting these questions upfront and providing options that are tailored to their needs. This way, they help in deflecting potential support tickets.

By using a good ticketing system, the transition from the bot to an actual support agent can be made easier. If the customer asks a question that is too complex to be handled by the bot, they’re given an option to directly create a support ticket and speak to an agent. The conversation with the bot is recorded as is, so the agent never loses context of the customer’s question. Chatbots can also intelligently learn from the user’s behavior on the website and offer suggestions on what they can buy/use.

Effective self-service options

When customers are using a product, it’s natural for them to bump into bugs or issues. For example, if a user is looking to buy a smartwatch on an online store, he/she might have questions about the operating system, the battery capacity, and if the watch is water resistant or not. By having the right self-service resources in place, companies can help the customer find answers to these questions by themselves without having to get in touch with a support agent.

Brands should offer detailed user guides and feature descriptions, along with a set of frequently asked questions to their users. Along with this, videos and tutorials covering the important nuances of the product are also essential in educating customers and strengthening their product knowledge.

Customer-to-customer interactions

Chatbots and self-service options help customers find the right product and understand its specifics better. But in order to make their purchase decision easier, prospects will look for validation from existing users. If existing customers approve of the product and are satisfied with the experience they’re getting, new buyers will feel more confident.

Brands use community forums and user reviews for exactly this purpose. If you scan through a company’s forum, you will find multiple posts where customers are discussing various product hacks and ideas. They can also be seen posting reviews and grievances. How the brand replies to these posts plays an important role in influencing the customer’s perception of them. Quick turnaround times are appreciated, while slow responses and delayed resolutions are often looked down upon.

Another advantage of customer-to-customer interactions is that seasoned forum users can help new customers understand the more difficult aspects of the product, and help them get on board quickly. Community users can also suggest ideas for new product updates, which can be used to improve the overall customer experience.

Customer feedback

Feedback comes into the picture after the customer has extensively used a product. Brands typically ask customers to rate their experience on a satisfaction scale to find out how happy they are. They also send out surveys with questions on what customers would like to see them do next. This gives customers a chance to share their suggestions and ideas on the improvements they’d like. Their feedback can influence the company’s product roadmap and account for better decision making.

It’s also important for brands to keep customers in the loop about the steps taken to address their feedback. This will reassure the customers that the company actually cares about providing an optimal experience.

Proactive support

While the four points above cover the essentials of good customer experience, there is more that a company can do to deliver moments of wow. Rather than waiting for customers to reach out with a problem, brands should take initiative and be more proactive in how they anticipate and resolve issues.

Although the term ‘proactive support’ is mostly associated to big, extravagant gestures that garner a lot of viral attention, it can be incorporated in the customer service strategy in subtler ways too. For example, Amazon communicates shipping delays in advance and thereby, sets the right customer expectations. Bonobos sends an email notification every time a user abandons their cart, and offers them a 20% discount.

To sum up

Customer experience and customer service are two peas in a pod. Any customer experience strategy that does not include elements of customer service needs a rethink before it can be implemented. By incorporating customer service in customer experience, your brand can travel that extra mile and start delivering moments of delight.

Article exclusively written for cloudcherry.com

By – Abid Khan

Segment Marketing Associate – Freshwork