There was some good news for fans of mediocrity last week; Forrester published its 2016 US Customer Experience Index. It revealed that the percentage of brands who were providing an ‘OK’ customer experience had increased by two percentage points.
The excitement of this two percentile point rise was so palpable that you could almost hear the shoulders of execs around the US shrugging in indifference. ‘OK’ is, apparently, a comfortable place to be; 59% of the companies in Forrester’s report are providing an ‘OK’ customer service. ‘OK’ is the accepted standard.
Of course, all companies should be striving to join the 1% of companies who are delivering an excellent customer experience. But in order to do so they need to break away from the parity that exists amongst corporations that keeps everyone at a steady, passable level.
Digital-only companies rise above the pack
Telling among the results is how well digital-only companies have fared. Netflix and Amazon have risen to the top of their respective categories, leaving traditional TV service providers and retailers in the dust.
It shouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say that their success has a lot to do with how customers interact with their products, and the level of personalization these brands deploy. The entire Netflix experience, for example, happens over the internet. So a customer’s expectation of the service that they’re going to receive will be more geared towards online contact channel solutions (self-serve FAQ, email) than it will be towards human interaction.
Embrace the human aspect of customer service
And if human interaction is at the core of what makes a customer experience so memorable for companies that aren’t digital-only, then work needs to be done to give their digital service channels a more human touch.
Netflix and Amazon have been continually praised for the way that their product offers personalization to mould to the preferences of the consumer. In order to break away from being ‘OK’, more companies need to work out how they can personalize their service offerings.
One of the best ways to do this is by personalizing the contact channel offering on a company website. When a customer arrives at a company website with the intention of buying, or resolving a service issue, and their journey is stalled because of inappropriate signage on that website, it can hinder the customer experience. The customer may not find a resolution for their problem, or they may be forced to abandon their purchase.
Take advantage of existing data
If companies use the data available on their website to understand exactly who each visitor on their website is, and why they’re choosing to interact with the company, then they will be able to personalize the contact channels that they offer them, in real-time. To find out more about the importance of personalizing contact channels, read this blog.
Nobody wants to be seen as doing ‘OK’. If companies want to move away from the inadequate middleground, they need to think about how they can make their online customer experience more human through personalization.