‘You don’t know me’: Consistency and personalisation are key to customer service success

BLOG: Providing your customers with a consistent, tailored experience across all channels should be one of your company’s primary business goals. But how best to make it happen? Chris Hall, Chief Marketing Office at Transversal, sat in on a recent webinar with partner Pitney Bowes to explain.

In an age dominated by technological advances, customer service can sometimes be a second thought. There is a sense that some brands rely on their use of tech to ‘automatically’ deliver great customer service, but tech must be applied intelligently before customer service will improve.

We’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to providing decent customer service through the application of technology. The internet has changed the flow of information from being a ‘push’ scenario to a ‘pull’ model, putting the consumer very much in the driving seat, but the principles remain the same: great service needs a personal touch.

But ‘personal touch’ doesn’t just mean knowing the customer’s name and being polite. It means knowing what your customer wants at every stage of the purchasing journey.

‘You don’t know me’

Nearly 80% of consumers say brands don’t know them well enough and don’t tailor experiences to suit them. This is a headache for most big brands, which are all striving to answer the same question – how can you efficiently tailor experiences for millions of customers, all of whom are looking for different chunks of information and have different needs?

More and more, consumers are interacting with your brand across different channels — your website, numerous social networks, over the telephone, and in-store. This means it is getting increasingly difficult to be consistent in your service. But consistency is a key to customer service success.

The answer can be found at the crossroads of technology and good old-fashioned customer care.

Knowledge, not just data

Your company’s website and your call centre staff are all part of the vital frontline that provides your customers with the crucial first impressions of your service quality — it’s too important not to be consistent, tailored and exhaustive.

The first and most important challenge is to pull together all of your touch points – your call centre staff, your social media team, your in-store staff, your web and e-commerce people, and provide them with a single information tool that allows anyone to interrogate a central knowledge database.

‘Anyone’ literally means any member of staff or customer, letting them all search the same knowledgebase using natural language input and providing them with the same (or consistent) answers.

The importance of search — in more ways than you might think

In recent years Google and other search and tech providers have been attempting to introduce more natural language search themselves. We see this in voice systems such as Siri, Cortana and Google Now, and in increasingly intelligent text-based search results.

Good knowledgebase systems will offer the same advanced functionality.

A properly functioning natural language search function also benefits SEO: organic and paid search are likely to already be a major contributor to your site traffic, meaning search engine optimisation is critical to your business’s success. The content on your site plays a huge role in improving your search ranking, and a constantly learning, updating knowledgebase system will help generate plenty of highly relevant content. It’s a major benefit, but often overlooked.

Three points to remember

Here’s our top three tips to help you achieve consistent customer service across all your customer channels:

1.    Recap the basics. Remember that customer service quality is linked to your revenue. Better service helps to retain customers and engenders loyalty to your brand. And almost every touchpoint with the customer is an opportunity to cross-sell or up-sell. Remembering the importance of customer service is half the battle.

2.    Consistency is crucial. Sixty-five per cent of consumers say they will not tolerate inconsistent service from companies. With the average customer active on six different channels or platforms, achieving consistency is tough, but it is undeniably achievable. Your call centre staff should have the same information available to them as your in-store staff, and a single knowledgebase system will help make this a reality. If you’re worried about the complexity of changing or adding systems, then customer engagement experts like Pitney Bowes can help.

3.    Invest in an early warning system. The digital world lets us see what people actually do, not just what they say they do. With modern tools, such as Transversal Prescience, you can begin to anticipate problems before they hit your business. Combining social media monitoring and call centre management tools, it is now possible to see what your customers are talking about and potentially predict issues before the calls arrive in your call queue.

Making the case for tailored customer service

Consumers have great expectations, and knowledgebase tech helps you meet them by centralising FAQs, so your call centre staff see the same as what is stored on your website.

Through technology, we can make customer service more human, and make more humans happy (and more likely to keep shopping with you!).