When done right, technology can help companies create great customer experiences. This is why 82% of top-performing businesses say they pay close attention to the human experience around digital and technology, according to a study by PwC.
However, IT Services companies often view the quality of service through the lens of applications and infrastructure, while their customers are more concerned with outcomes and usage. This creates a disconnect, which can lead to low customer satisfaction.
Eighty-three percent of EMEA consumers say they would spend more with a company that personalises the service they offer—businesses should take note. Customer service has emerged as a key differentiator between companies, a top consideration for customers, and a profit-generating force in its own right. With nearly half (47%) of EMEA consumers saying they now have higher customer service standards after this past year’s crisis, it’s worth finding out what good service means to your customers.
Nearly three quarters (73%) of tech companies gave themselves high marks for the quality of their service in Zendesk’s 2022 Customer Experience Trends Report. However, more than half (54%) of consumers report that customer service feels like an afterthought for most of the businesses they buy from. That’s a problem for those looking to impress customers and keep them coming back.
Customers don’t owe you their loyalty—you have to earn it
Satisfied customers are more likely to give a company repeat business when they feel emotionally connected to them. And in the IT industry, where almost every service is delivered on a contract basis, renewals are a company’s bread and butter.
The consequences of poor customer service can be far-reaching. It not only negatively affects your business but also your customers and, in turn, their customers—which can lead to the most obvious impact: lower retention rates. According to our CX Trends Report, half of consumers would switch to a company’s competitor after just one bad customer service experience. Meanwhile, 72% say a positive customer service experience makes them more likely to make another purchase. More than half of EMEA business leaders (54%) confirm that customer service improves their customer retention rates.
So, what does a bad experience look like for customers? It could mean support agents being unavailable when customers need help. Or agents not having a single view of the customer, and therefore, not all the information they need to provide the best support. The lack of context will also result in missed opportunities to cross-sell and upsell.
Meanwhile, if technology systems aren’t set up correctly, then even the right tools won’t guarantee good customer service. For example, chatbots and messaging apps may be beneficial to your customers and agents, but they may not be well integrated into the highest-value parts of your customer journey. If that’s the case, you can expect higher-than-normal bounce rates and—if customers are repeatedly unable to get the help they need—decreased retention rates.
To get them where they need to be, nearly a third (31%) of tech companies surveyed in our report said they’ll need to design and implement new work processes or risk more frustration for everyone involved.
Leveraging technology for better customer service
The good news is that there are numerous ways to optimise your customer service efforts and increase satisfaction among your customers and their end-users.
The performance of IT Services and technology companies is often measured on technical metrics, such as uptime, latency, or lag. While these are important, companies now need to go one step further and make the connection between technical metrics, customer service metrics, and customer experience metrics.
Businesses that develop a more data-driven approach to the customer service experience will reap rewards. After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. By looking at metrics such as customer dwell times and bounce rates, you can identify those points in the customer journey where improvements will yield the biggest results. You will also gain a better understanding of when to reach out to customers with the right message.
Equipped with those insights, you can then use automation, self-service, and FAQ content to help customers find the right information faster and easier. Empowering customers to help themselves will increase customer satisfaction and alleviate the pressure placed on agents. This, in turn, allows agents to spend more time with customers who have more complex needs. You could also provide customers with more communication and support channels, so they can reach you in whatever way is most convenient for them.
Understanding what good service means to customers, and investing in new customer experience technology is now undeniably crucial for IT Services and technology companies. This will allow these companies to be able to meet, or even exceed, service expectations and ensure that customers renew their contracts and don’t take their business elsewhere.