As anyone who has worked on the phones in a customer service department will attest, dealing with the concerns and complaints of customers isn’t easy. That said, back in the pre-Internet days, delivering good customer service was arguably more straightforward.
Today, customer service has to be monitored across numerous channels, with interactions taking place across email, mobile, social media, live chat and self-service portals, as well as traditional face-to-face, telephone and old-fashioned letter. At the same time, customer expectations are higher than ever, demanding their enquiries are satisfied with a rapid response or resolution, no matter what their means of contact, or time of day.
On one hand, having to monitor all these interactions presents a significant challenge that can feel a lot like firefighting. On the other, it means an incredible opportunity.
Now, every engagement is a chance to empower customer service teams with the intelligence to better meet the needs of other customers, and an increased knowledge of frequent issues faced and how to solve them. The more feedback that can be captured (and acknowledged) from these various interactions, the more you learn.
However, to turn this customer insight into great customer service, it’s important to consider that the data you collect won’t be much use in isolation. A customer who contacts you via phone expects you to have acknowledged anything they addressed in a previous email. In the same way, your call centre would want to know if a customer has been angrily tweeting or has launched into a tirade onto your company Facebook page - before they speak to them in person.
The problem here is that most of these customer service channels exist in data or departmental silos, meaning no one person has the visibility of a customer’s behaviour across their entire customer journey.
To overcome this, such insights must be pulled together into a Single Customer View: one that paints the whole picture of all their engagements with you. Unifying your customer data in this way means every time staff step in to engage with a customer, they have the information required to progress their issue to a conclusion, rather than trapping them in an infuriating loop where nothing gets solved.
The development of a Single Customer View can prove invaluable when developing beyond customer service (employees providing direct service to customers) into customer experience (providing a good service every time a customer interacts with your brand via one of your touchpoints).
When behavioural insights are fed into a marketing automation platform, they can be used to help shape a customer journey, intervening with relevant content or communications at the most appropriate time. Not only does this help maintain the customer experience, satisfied customers are less likely to swamp customer service staff with their demands.
Overburdened customer service and support teams is not something to overlook, and neither should your customers’ cost to serve.
If your business finds the ‘be all things to all people’ approach unsustainable or unprofitable, you might want to moderate who deserves the best of your customer service team’s attention.
In this instance, you’d want to use customer insight not necessarily to identify how they interact with your brand, but their value to your business. Identifying those ‘VIP’ customers and ensuring you keep them happy (over those time-wasters who sap your resources without giving much in return) may be considered a dangerously pragmatic approach, but it does ensure you can optimise the customer service you provide.
Whatever method of collecting and using customer insight is most appropriate, observing how your customers engage and spend with your business will be key to deliver a customer service that brings the most value to your business.
Download The B2B Guide to Customer Insight to learn:
- What is B2B customer insight?
- Why customer insight requires a foundation of data quality
- The process of cleansing, matching and enhancing customer data
- The three business objectives your customer insight goals need to meet
- What Money Mapping is, how it works, and the insights it can deliver
- How to leverage B2B customer insights for profitable gain