Addressing the #1 Customer Service Expectation: It’s About Time

What’s the fastest way to make a customer happy? Solve their problem or answer their question (effectively) in far less time than they ever imagined.

Forrester data shows that 71% of US adult consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide good customer service, and a 2013 LivePerson Connecting with Customers report which surveyed 5,700 global consumers corroborates that watching the clock is something customers do, and that brands need to do, too.

The Need for Speed
Eighty-three percent (83%) of the more than 5,000 consumers said they consistently needed some type of support during their online journey, and their expectations for speed of that support should prove intimidating for most brands:

  • 71% expect assistance within five minutes.
  • If they don’t receive it, 48% will abandon the site (this percentage jumps to 58% for consumers in the UK).

Consumers also ranked the top ten elements of a great online experience and coming in at one and two were getting my issue resolved quickly, and getting my issue resolved in a single interaction. Dealing with a friendly customer service representative came in at third. Nice is nice, but fast is better.

Time-Saving Tips
So how can brands consistently save their customers valuable time? Here are six quick tips:

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1. Be proactive. Put answers and information on trending issues online and on social media, providing answers before your customers ask. Customers will usually help out by sharing this proactive information. Everyone loves to be the first to know and give the answer.

2. Make service and support easily available and accessible. Hiding phone numbers, support emails or alternative contact channels won’t keep complaints at bay; it will actually cause more of them. There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than having to spend time scouring the search engines for ways to get in touch with a company.

3. Match customers with the best CSR. Via a CRM solution, customers submitting a help desk ticket, engaging in live chat, or posting a question on social media can successfully be matched with the best customer service rep for them based on criteria such as customer support level, the CSR’s product expertise, experience with customers who need extra TLC and more. Matching customers with the right person to talk to the first time around is a win-win for both the customer and the company.

4. Don’t make your customers repeat themselves. Maintain a real-time and accessible record of customer history and service interactions across all your customer service channels. If you don’t, you’ll frustrate your customers by making them repeat their information and problem every time they reengage with your organization via a different channel, and your staff will waste time by gathering the same data over and over again.

5. Make sure your CSRs have the information they need. Don’t just give your customers access to a self-serve knowledgebase; give your CSRs the same or greater access so that information and answers are both quick and consistent.

According to Accenture’s 2012 Global Consumer Pulse Research, 70% of consumers say they are likely to switch brands if they deal with agents who are unable to answer their questions, and 62% have actually switched brands in the past year due to poor customer service. If customer service is not available, intuitive and quick, the price organizations pay in terms of customer retention is steep.

Is your brand working to improve speed of service? There’s no time to lose.

  Discuss This Article

Comments: 1

  • All good points. I combine customer effort with First Contact Resolution. FCR is top priority, but if you’ve wasted customers’ time by making it difficult to get to a CSR, you’ve demonstrated that you don’t value them as a customer.

    But let’s start with the real issue here – If customers are trying to self serve in the digital channel, why can’t they? The failure is with the website/mobile app and the supporting back end systems. If a CSR can get the information I need, and/or complete a transaction, why couldn’t I?

    The voice channel’s value continues to climb due to poor digital channel design and lack of business ownership which are problems that also plague the voice channel.

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