Future-proof your customer support strategy: 7 tips from CX experts
Updated: Jan 28, 2022
The way customers interact with brands has completely changed over the past year and a half. Customers started using more digital channels to communicate with businesses and began expecting better, faster, and more personalized support.
Companies adjusted to these new customer habits — they digitized and optimized their support operations to be more efficient and effective. But as customer demand continues to grow, what can businesses do to ensure they stay one step ahead?
To find out, we gathered customer experience experts from leading brands for our second annual Resolve CX Festival. The day was filled with discussions around the future of support and adapting strategies to meet customers’ evolving needs. If you couldn’t tune into the event, here are some of the top tips and advice discussed throughout the day.
1. Use knowledge management to boost support team efficiency
Customers today expect much more from support. They want their issues resolved quickly — no matter where they are or what support channel they’re using. How can you make sure that every customer interaction is seamless? The answer: knowledge management.
Knowledge management is crucial for any support organization but especially in this current “work from anywhere” environment. When working in person, it’s much easier for knowledge to flow from one desk to another. But with more people remote, it’s difficult for support teams to get answers to quick, on-the-fly questions. Knowledge management helps close the in-person gap while also helping organizations stay efficient and innovative.
“Customers are expecting to interact with brands the same way they expect to interact with people. They expect us to remember them, their history, and every detail they provided us with previously...Good knowledge management can help us provide a seamless experience, whether the [customer] started by accessing our website and ended using our text chat, or called the call center. We always need to keep in mind that [customers] want the ability to reach out to us from wherever it is convenient to them, not necessarily to us.”
– Matan Rotman, Senior Future of Workplace Consultant at Deloitte
2. Set expectations upfront to enhance client or customer relationships
Setting expectations is something all companies should do with clients, particularly in the B2B world. Clients or customers should know who you are and exactly what they’re getting into when they work with you. This helps brands maintain consistent, quality communication while navigating partnerships and inevitable road bumps.
“Expectations are going to dictate everything, but there is an understanding that what we do and the scale of what we’re doing, mistakes will happen...It’s making sure what [the client] is looking for is something we can accomplish and just being transparent about that.”
– Jenn Popack, VP of Client Solutions at Barstool Sports
3. Focus on providing care and improving the agent experience
Your agents are the lifeblood of your support organization and one of the key touchpoints customers have with your company. The way your agents speak to customers and build relationships with them will ultimately impact how customers view your brand.
That’s why transforming your customer experience starts from within. Companies should shift their focus internally and start improving the agent experience first. Doing this will lead to happier agents and in turn, a better overall customer experience.
“We don’t want one prototype of an agent, no, we want humans speaking to humans. So, when you allow your people to be humans and use their natural skills, I think that you’ll get very good reactions from the team.”
– Ronen Ben David, VP of Global Customer Care at Wix
4. Save your agents’ and customers’ time with self-service
Many organizations have customer support teams that are stretched too thin and are unable to handle a high level of demand. Luckily, a knowledge management solution can help reduce the number of tickets coming in.
You can create a knowledge base or self-service center of articles for customers to troubleshoot issues on their own. This not only helps take the pressure off your support teams but also helps build customer confidence in your brand. In fact, a study by Forrester found customers prefer knowledge bases over all other self-service channels.
“If you think about putting yourself in your customers’ shoes, seeing that visual to say here’s what it looks like — here’s the button you need to press or even a video to walk you through that — customers really expect that level of interaction and visuals beyond a page of text.”
– Darren VanderVort, Senior Product Manager at Getty Images
5. Be authentic and set your customers up for success
Building customer loyalty comes from your overall brand experience, not just the products or services you provide. Turning customers into brand ambassadors will take some time. But, if you invest in your customers and help make them successful, they will start advocating for your brand. Focusing on lasting customer relationships, rather than one-off buyers, will create more memorable customer experiences — even amidst shifting demands.
“People want to be on the winning team and it all starts with having the best product...From there, people want to share what either helps them be successful or makes their life easier. And that’s where we go from the customer contact side of things. We want to make your life easier and provide you with the tools to be successful. And then when you win, people naturally want to help others win.”
– Derek Pawsey, Head of Customer Journey at Wix
“[The] relationship is the icing on the cake. It’s so easy to love the brand when you have that relationship...it’s not just a commercial relationship, it’s an authentic one. Being authentic, being kind, and continuing to maintain that level of communication in a non-selling way is crucial.”
– Baldo LaRussa, VP of Retail at Jimmy Choo
6. Turn all internal team members into customer advocates
Many organizations believe customer service starts and ends with the support team. Sure, having a strong customer support team matters, but that’s only the front line of your business. Customers view your company as a whole, not in separate departments. So, your internal teams need to work cross-functionally to create effective interactions at all points of the customer journey.
“The more that we’re able to allow anyone in the company — regardless of the department that you might sit in — to understand exactly what our customers are saying, the more people are able to react.”
– Ali Lichtenstein, Head of CXD at Dow Jones
“This established cross-functional relationship between support and product that keeps our customers front and center has been key to [our] success...It’s creating a better customer experience. It reduces customer churn and keeps our customers happy.”
– Eric Broulette, Director of Global Support at WP Engine
7. Build customer trust with authenticity
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a wave of new technologies emerge in the customer service space — from real-time messaging and chatbots to artificial intelligence (AI). More recently, there’s been major hype around non-fungible tokens (NFTs). They became big in the art and sports worlds, but are now gaining broader appeal.
Many companies and brands are using NFTs to evolve their relationships with customers and build a deeper sense of trust. ORIGYN Foundation is the first company worldwide to use NFTs and biometric data to authenticate products. Their technology allows buyers to scan products, see their certificates, and also transfer that data to a new buyer. Leveraging blockchain technology to ensure authenticity not only helps protect products but also creates a great customer experience.
“In terms of consumer journey and experience, we need to give clients a new tool to make sure what he or she buys can be resold afterward on another marketplace. So we need to give that person some tools to first [determine] what he or she buys is authentic and to prove to the new buyer of that object that what he or she is selling is authentic.”
– Vincent Perriard, Founding Partner at ORIGYN Foundation
Ready to take your customer support strategy to the next level?
With 2022 right around the corner, now is the perfect time to look at your support strategy. Consider these tips as you start to build your plan and grow your support team. Starting the new year with the right strategy in place will set you and your customers up for success — who doesn’t love a win-win?