Speed, personal service are deal breakers for customer loyalty now

Johannesburg, 26 Nov 2021
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Ankur Yadav, sales leader for South Africa at Freshworks.
Ankur Yadav, sales leader for South Africa at Freshworks.

Customer satisfaction is no longer good enough – customers today expect to be delighted by the levels of service they receive from brands.

This is according to Ankur Yadav, sales leader for South Africa at Freshworks, who was addressing a Freshworks webinar on digital-first and omnichannel CX.

Consumers have embraced the digital-first engagement, and now expect service to be faster and better than ever before, he said. At the same time, they still want the connection and empathy of personal connections, so personalised service has become even more important in the digital-first environment.

In a poll of webinar participants, 90% said they had seen a significant shift in consumers demanding faster than ever services and responses.

“If you give a person a business class experience once, it is very hard to bring them back to economy class,” Yadav noted.

“We surveyed over 4 500 businesses and analysed 107 million customer interactions to understand the key driver of customer satisfaction. The data showed that speed of service had the highest impact on CSAT scores. Today’s customers want to receive support through any channel they can grab onto immediately, especially if they are on the go. It could be via an app, messaging platform, or website. A new ‘want it now’ mindset dominates online customer service interactions and is likely to bleed into other channels as well,” he said.

“For businesses, this reinforces the need for a seamless omnichannel strategy that speaks to the digital-first consumer,” he said.

Phones are passé, he said: “Consumers are engaging on digital channels now, and our customers are excited about adding as many new channels as possible. Freshdesk consolidates omnichannel queries to create customer delight.

A new ‘want it now’ mindset dominates online customer service interactions.

Ankur Yadav, Freshworks.

"In omnichannel customer engagement, the customer journey of interacting with the brand can start on any channel and end on any channel – website, email, chat, social media. The entire history needs to be centralised and archived so that when the agent talks to the customer, he has their historical details including demographics and last queries, so the customer doesn’t have to repeat himself and the agent can create a personalised experience. Integrating with third party systems – for example the order shipment system – enables a better and more seamless experience.”

Yadav said leadeding brands are leveraging modern technology platforms to cut repetitive tasks for agents and allow them to focus on customer relationships. Customer engagement platforms are changing the nature of an agent’s workday. Efficiency features like AI-based ticket classification and automatic routing of incoming customer contacts to the right agent can save agents up to 1.2 hours a day.

"From taking over manual activities from agents to helping them handle volumes, AI-powered chatbots are great efficiency tools," h said. "Now, businesses are starting to explore how their investment can go the extra mile to elevate both customer and agent experiences."

Businesses are beginning to realise that bots can help keep pace with customer demands efficiently - with a personal touch, he added. "Smart bots can automate, smarter bots can predict customer behaviour, scale customer service, and deliver delight."

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