One of the most challenging aspects of being a customer support agent is exceeding customer expectations. According to Acquia, 66% of customers cannot remember the last time the support representatives of a company or brand exceeded their expectations. Customer expectations are difficult to meet. The higher they are, the less likely it will be for you to exceed them. So how can agents effectively meet and exceed these expectations?
Excuses like “their expectations are not reasonable” or “we didn’t prioritise it because the customer did not tell us it was important” etc. Perhaps you may have heard other agents say or may have used some of these yourself. If that is the case, then maybe it is time for some serious reconsideration. If you want to succeed at making your callers or customers happy, then explaining why you cannot do things isn’t good enough and will hinder your progress at effectively delivering a stellar customer support experience.
Understanding Expectations of customers
Generally speaking, customer expectations are a set of ideas that are harboured in the minds of customers about a service, product or brand. Customers feel the need for these expectations to be fulfilled, in order to have an excellent experience.
To understand these expectations, you need to first understand how customer expectations have changed and taken shape over time.
Customer expectations have been constantly changing over time for a number of reasons:
- Changing circumstances and events impact customer behaviour.
- The availability of technology has made access to online services cheaper and easier.
- With innumerable competitors in every industry, consumers have the power to choose from the many different alternatives there are out there.
Microsoft found that 54% of consumers have higher expectations for customer support service today than they did a year ago, which means that:
- The demand for incredible customer service is growing, especially amongst the generation of millennials.
Now you may wonder, How customers have formed these expectations?
Well, this happens across all stages of the customer journey.
- They may have already purchased the products and services of the brand you’re representing.
- They may have previously experienced a competitor’s product or service.
- They may have experienced your support service in the past.
- They may have heard or read reviews online
What do customers expect from support agents today and what you can do to fulfil them?
Here are some of the most common customer expectations that need to be worked through to exceed expectations and provide a stellar customer support experience.
- Customer support agents who know what they are talking about
Basically, customers want customer support agents who can answer their questions quickly and correctly to give them the correct information to support their purchase decision or any decision regarding the product or service. Make sure you know what’s hot and what to say to customers and how to handle their questions, complaints, etc. Microsoft found that 30% or one in three customers prefer talking to a friendly and knowledgeable agent and considers it one of the most important aspects of customer service. As a support agent, take an interest to learn about your products and the latest information surrounding them. This will help you develop your own product and industry knowledge while also having enough substance that will help in conversing with your customers.
- Low effort support experience
They are calling you, which means that they want you to do most or preferably all of the work. Make sure you provide the kind of service that helps them have to expend less effort on the task. If it is something that only they can do, issue a series of instructions and have it emailed to them so they can easily refer to it and perform the necessary steps.
- Quick resolution time
Customers want things done fast. They expect you AKA the company to resolve their issues ASAP. As a customer support agent, you have the responsibility of having to resolve customer issues as fast as they come. This is one of the top-rated customer expectations when it comes to their support service.
Whether they are calling you before or after purchase or even to get something clarified, always make sure to personalize their support experience throughout their customer journey. According to research conducted by New Epsilon, 80% of consumers are more likely to stick to a brand or make a purchase when they offer personalized support experiences. This can be in the form of using the customer’s name in conversation or even referring to the previous purchases etc.
- Quality customer support service
Customers just want to know that you care about them and don’t view them as a problem or a burden that needs to be dealt with. This expectation surpasses all else as it translates into their memory of the brand. Always remember to treat your customers like they are VIPs. Do not let your customers feel underappreciated. Make an effort at engaging with your customers and learning more about their feelings, desires, wants, etc. Empower yourselves to help the customers by being genuine and humane in your interactions.
Here are a few key takeaways you need to know of to exceed customer expectations and improve their overall experience with the brand or business you represent.
- Connect with your customers
Work with your customer on this. Make sure to make it easy for them by listening to what they want and providing them with exactly what they need. Walk in your customers’ shoes and understand their side of the story because if you don’t know what they need, you can’t give it to them.
- Focus on quality first and speed second
While both are important, perfecting the quality is always followed up by speed. Although this one comes with practice; make sure to prioritize every support interaction and work to keep your customer happy and satisfied.
- Work to go the extra mile
This one you must know of by now! Work your magic agents! Be kind and make an extra effort to keep them satisfied!
If you think you are someone that understands customers and their expectations, make sure to sign up with VOIZ to make more brands and customers happy!