The importance of customer experience and the value a business places on that experience clearly depend on the industry. Some industries face fierce competitive pressures—where the customer experience literally can make or break a  business. In other industries, such as government agencies, competition isn’t a factor. For example, renewing your driver’s license isn’t always classified as a “great experience,” but there’s nowhere else to go. 

When consumers have the option to choose, the customer experience is critical.

Industry Experiences

Don’t Become a Viral Customer Experience Statistic

We’ve all seen the recent customer experience horror stories in the news and on social media. Customer experience nightmares for airlines and service providers have been a common theme over the last year. Thanks to social media and the proliferation of video-enabled mobile devices, these customer experience stories are instantly available for the world to see. Yet, most of these stories have one common theme—a breakdown in communications between people and processes. Managing all aspects of the customer experience, from initial engagement with a prospect through customer support and renewals—across the entire customer journey— is critical to remaining competitive.

In the Genesys State of Customer Experience research, consumers report that airlines, utility companies, government agencies, technology service providers and insurance companies offer the worst customer experiences. Yet when those same businesses were asked about their own performance related to the customer service and support experience, they rated themselves higher than consumers do.

What Consumers Value Most

Solve the Problem the First Time

Although brands are defined by the experiences they deliver, great customer experience stories are hard to find. Numerous studies demonstrate that a single bad experience can lead to a loss of revenue. But what do customers really want when it comes to the customer service and support experience? Twenty-nine percent of consumers ranked first contact resolution as the most valued customer service and support interaction. No one has hours to spend solving a problem, tracking a product or fixing billing issues with a business. Consumers set aside time to engage with a business and they expect to have their issue resolved the first time they reach out to the business.

However, business stakeholders often have different ideas of what customers value most in service and support interactions. Twenty percent of customer care executives agree with consumers and rank first contact resolution as the most valuable interaction. However, only 13% of IT executives and 15% of marketing executives surveyed ranked first contact resolution as most valued.

  • Customer Service: Which of the following does your organization value in a customer service interaction?

  • IT: Which of the following does your organization value in a customer service interaction?

  • Marketing: Which of the following does your organization value in a customer service interaction?

Initiate a Mobile-First Strategy

Engage With Customers on Their Terms

When interacting with a business for customer service and support, 78% of consumers surveyed use a mobile device. And that number jumps to 90% when working with millennials. The shift to mobile is clear—the global population uses mobile devices, computers and laptops almost equally to engage with a business. It’s crucial to know your customer segments and demographics.

Make the Wait Worthwhile

Give Customers a Good Reason to Wait

The majority of consumers prefer a voice conversation when interacting with a business for customer service and support. However, their tolerance for waiting for that interaction is limited. Twelve percent of consumers believe it’s acceptable to wait up to one minute to speak with an agent; another 46% believe a one- to three-minute wait is acceptable. However, when asked if they would be willing to wait longer for a more knowledgeable representative, 30% of consumers noted they would be willing to wait up to two minutes, while another 45% would wait between three and five minutes.

That’s very telling. Tolerance is generally low when it comes to waiting, but reassuring customers that they’re waiting to speak with the right representative gives them the incentive to stay on the line slightly longer. The bottom line: Your customer experience reputation and brand are at stake when you make your customers wait for assistance—regardless of the channel. This is driving growth in service channels that offer more immediate responses like social and self-service.

Customers Will Pay More for a Better Experience

Add Value to Your Customer Experience

Many consumers are willing to pay more for an improved experience. Just look at the success of Apple. Customers pay a premium for Apple products and services, but they’re really paying for experience. Apple gives customers seamless access to their product, service and support experts—in store, online and through their service and support center. But many businesses do not capitalize on the value of the experience. In fact, our research shows a disconnect between marketing and customer care when it comes to the value of customers paying more for a higher level of service.

The Genesys State of Customer Experience research reveals that one in three consumers would pay more to receive a higher level of service. Yet, marketing and customer care executives disagree on the value this provides to their companies.

Only 19% of marketing respondents believe this would be beneficial, while 38% of customer care executives believe this would offer good value to both customers and their businesses.

Know Your Customers

Segmentation Strategies to Get You Started

To truly affect the customer experience, you need to understand your customers’ needs and expectations clearly. Your business has to be aligned on a unified understanding of what customers value most. That understanding must span all internal groups and teams that influence or touch any part of the customer experience.

It’s equally important to obtain a clear picture of how customers want to engage and interact with your business. Ongoing customer segmentation activities are crucial, as is understanding the lifetime value of each customer and segment. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have a unified understanding of what my customers value most?  
  • Which customer segments offer the most value today versus the long-term?  
  • Are our customer demographics evolving? How and when will those segments shift? And how will those shifts affect my business?
  • Do I know how each of our customer segments interact with us for service and support? Is that preference changing based on demographics?

Customer Experience Isn't Easy: Let Us Help You

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What Are Your Customer Preferences For Service?

Have you asked? Learn about trends in customer prferences with our eBook Keeping Pace with the Modern Customer.