5 Customer Care Trends Every SME needs to know in 2018

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January 25, 2018


You’ve probably heard the phrase: “People don’t buy products, they buy experiences”, and with today’s overwhelming offer, to sell experiences has never been more crucial for business.

After the purchase, the Customer Service team has the pivotal responsibility of creating a positive and highly-personalized experience for the Customer.

For SMEs, the challenge is bigger. How to guarantee good Customer Care with limited resources? These 5 tips will help you face the challenge:

1. Your Self-Service Options must be Superb!

Recently, Salesforce explained how our expectations of what service experience should be have changed. They stated that for 2018, customers will need fast, convenient and nonintrusive communication with the brand.

Your customers want a fast solution any day at any time. That’s 24/7/365. Something pretty difficult for any business, but especially for an SME.

The good news? Customers are also willing and eager to help themselves. A study conducted by Zendesk shows that 91% of survey respondents would rather use a knowledge base instead of calling a support agent. Offering self-service options can provide fast and convenient solutions. On top of this, you’ll reduce your agents’ workload and it will lower your support cost.

Gartner predicts that by 2020 a customer will manage 85% of the relationship with an enterprise without interacting with a human. That means to ensure first-class digital resources such as a FAQ page, a Help Center, informative blogs, Case Studies and Educational videos.

2. Embrace AI without losing human touch

Chatbots have evolved considerably in the last few years, and it seems like they are here to stay. AI Assistants can increase customer satisfaction and customer engagement during the onboarding process.

But make no mistake, that doesn’t mean there won’t be any room left for Support Agents. It means they will have to find efficient ways to work with AI. The technology that makes a chatbot reply in a “human way” is years away. AI Assistants can’t understand strong emotions like frustration and therefore, they have limits.

“You have to reduce the emotional noise your customers experience. Are they angry? What can you do to help them? When working with customer care, your team must seek to understand what emotionally motivates your customers to contact you and to use your product or service” -Keri Lindenmuth, from The Kyle David Group

For this issue, Zendesk proposes to “have real people ready to pick up conversations after the AI reaches its limit.” This way scripted bots and NLP-powered bots would handle the first wave of customer questions and in case the customer’s problem is not solved, customer service agents would take care.

This ensures your team stays on top of the biggest driver of Customer Care: Personalization.

“Although there may be common problems that arise, people do not want to be treated like a number. It’s important to listen to each individual case, whether that be positive or negative, and respond accordingly - rather than simply trying to make a standard response fit a person.” Kiarna Benson, from Tiger Sheds

3. Offer a Multi-channel Service

Even for SMEs, multi-channel customer service is a must-have, and the benefits are substantial. Companies with the strongest omnichannel customer engagement strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers. Popular channels to harness are web, mobile and social media.

The Microsoft 2017 State of Global Customer Service survey polled 5,000 people from which 47% have used between 3 and 5 channels to ask customer service questions. On that same survey, 72% claimed they have used social media as a customer service channel.

The challenge is to offer consistent communication so the customer doesn’t have to repeat his story on every channel. Data integration tools such as PieSync can help you keep your customer information in sync across your cloud apps.

4. Align Sales and Customer Service

Within a customer’s lifecycle, there’s normally an initial contact with Sales and multiple touch points with the Customer Service Department. But there’s more to it when your customers have a positive experience with Support: you get more sales, referrals and a longer customer lifetime.

Furthermore, Customer Service gathers valuable information about the clients through these touchpoints. Support Agents know better than anyone in the organization what the customer needs or wishes and what frustrates them about the product or service. When the Sales and Service Departments are well aligned, salespeople can use that information to transform one-time customers into repeat buyers.

One of the conclusions of The Salesforce World Tour 2017 was that the key to a successful contact center is having a unified view of every customer interaction with the different departments and across all the communications channels. This is something all business can achieve.

5. Take Advantage of Your Size

A frequent problem with SMEs is the lack of staff. But often they also have a smaller amount of customers to attend to, which means they can give truly personalized customer support. This is how John Kinskey from AccessDirect, takes advantage of working in small business:

“A small company’s advantage is the possibility to offer a more personal service. We often receive calls from potential customers after they have called our larger competitors. These callers are often frustrated, having spoken to a large call center representative who could not answer their questions or was answering from a script.” - John Kinskey, from Access Direct

A friendly Support Agent can generate a loyal customer and that’s priceless! Consumers are expecting, if not demanding, highly personalized experiences and contact with real people.

Whether you are creating self-service options and channels for your customers, embracing new technologies or boosting your current resources, keep in mind that you are someone’s customer too. If you want to create an amazing experience for your customer, put yourself in their shoes! What do you want from a brand? Combine your own experience with the latest Customer Care trends and take your business to the next level.

About Claudia Martinez

Claudia helps the Marketing and Communications team to let our clients know what’s going on in PieSync by creating great content and managing our Social Media. She flew all the way from Venezuela to work with us. This retired surfer is full of energy and creativity.