Meeting Customer Expectations in Customer ServiceProduct and service markets are developing and customers’ expectations are changing accordingly at immense speed.

To keep up with the changes, it is important to know which customer expectations are relevant for today and how your company can reorganize your customer service to meet them.

Below are the 5 ways you can change and improve your customer service to stay on top of the trends and keep your customers satisfied in this digital age.

1. Speed up your response rate

With rapid development of internet technologies, customers’ expectation for quick service has risen dramatically. People find it extremely hard to wait for whatsoever it is and actually are not willing to wait. Especially that they know they have so many options from where to buy a product or a service.

Perhaps, this impatience is only a psychological thing. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the attention span for the average U.S. adult is only eight seconds. It’s even lower when people are viewing information from their digital devices. So possibly, this desire for speed can be explained by our short attention span.

Still, it is our reality today and we cannot ignore it. If we want to satisfy our customers and meet their expectation for fast service, we need to try to reduce our response time to any service, shipment or delivery request etc. 24 hours is the good old turn around for a customer’s ticket or email. Can we set a new standard and do better than that to satisfy our customers? Every business will have their own response to this question.

2. Create transparent pricing

One of the few things that can set customers back from doing any business with your company is when you don’t tell them clearly how much they are going to pay for what they want to buy.

You need to avoid any bills which contain hidden costs or additional fees to what customers expect to pay based on the price originally declared.

Other price related benefits that customers really like are free shipping and money-back guarantee. See if you can incorporate them in your cost structure. The customer satisfaction rates will fire up.

3. Implement strong omni-channel system

There is a lot of buzz going on around omni-channel service. The truth is, yes, customers do expect it. However, the problem is that the lack of integration between multiple customer data sources can be so severe that in many cases, different parts of the team don’t even know when a customer has made a purchase.

Implementing strong omni-channel system does not necessarily mean that you focus on giving support across all of those channels. The most important thing is to monitor all channels where your company is present and integrate the data you receive, in the form of customers’ comments, feedback, service requests, transaction history etc., into one data platform, which is available to all team members, especially the front line people, at any time.

4. Offer authentic support

When approaching customer service with a problem, customers highly value human contact. They want to deal with a human being and want to be treated like humans.

Train your agents to approach every client individually and avoid heavy scripting. Even if the agents have to deal with repeated questions over and over and they can’t help using canned responses, ask them to personalize them even just a little.

It is an art to create canned responses which don’t sound like automated messages. Hire professional writers if you have to and save your CSRs to be taken for robots. Show your customers a little personal attention and you will be surprised at the results.

5. Give your customers respect

Respect is the basis of any relationship. B2B and B2C relationships are no exception to this.

You can show your gratitude and respect for the customer’s business in many ways.

Respect by timely responding to their service requests. Respect by replying accurately, in terms of both relevance to their problem, accuracy, clarity of your language. Respect the many choices that they have and their freedom to choose what is best for them.

Facing this kind of attitude, customers will respond back with respect to your business and will remain loyal to you even if they are offered a few more incentives elsewhere.

If you put yourself in your customers’ shoes, which is not difficult to do, as we are all customers in our daily lives, what would you say are your biggest expectations from companies and the service they deliver? What factors are the drivers of your satisfaction with customer service? I would love to read your comments and opinion.