Abhay Prasad, Senior Director of Cloud Solutions at Aspect, discussed customer expectations and the steps today’s organizations can take to meet or exceed these expectations during a Thought Leadership Spotlight to Argyle’s Customer Care membership at the 2016 Customer Care Leadership Forum in San Jose on March 30. In his presentation, “Consumer Engagement 20/20,” Prasad examined how today’s organizations can improve the customer experience and reduce their operating costs by promoting self-service options.
Technology can help customer care professionals resolve customer pain points. And today, there are many consumer interactions that require a lot of improvement, according to Prasad. As such, businesses that devote the necessary time and resources to bolster their customer satisfaction levels may be able to gain a substantial competitive advantage over their rivals.
So how can a business transform its customer interactions? Today’s companies must understand customers’ expectations and work with their clients to ensure they are fully supported at all times.
Many businesses are in the midst of a customer service “crisis,” Prasad noted. However, these companies boast powerful technologies they can use to foster long-lasting partnerships with clients. And ultimately, these tools may disrupt how businesses connect with customers, both now and in the future.
“There is a lot of disruption that has been happening in the past few years,” Prasad said. “All of the industries are being disrupted. And it’s all [Millennials’] fault.”
Millennials may become the largest consumer demographic in the United States by 2017. Meanwhile, few businesses understand this target audience and lack the skills and know-how to provide Millennials with the support they demand.
In many cases, Millennials want to be able to handle customer service issues on their own, at their convenience. This has led to the rising demand for customer self-service options — something that businesses of all sizes should consider going forward.
“We really are failing consumers as a group. We really can do better.”
Millennials expect more from today’s businesses as well. Furthermore, many businesses prioritize customer satisfaction, but recent data indicates that the majority of companies fail to meet consumers’ needs consistently.
“We really are failing consumers as a group. We really can do better,” Prasad noted.
In addition, Prasad pointed out recent data shows that most customers would prefer to solve customer service issues on their own because it makes them feel better about themselves. As a result, many customers need self-service options to feel satisfied with their experience with a business.
If customers feel rewarded by a behavior, they are likely to repeat it. And with self-service options, a business empowers its clients to get the support they deserve whenever they need it. These options can help a company ensure its clients better understand its products and services and support themselves if they ever encounter issues along the way.
Customer service agents, however, can provide significant value for a business, particularly if they serve as subject matter experts.
In the past, customer service professionals would commonly assist clients with transactions and other basic requests. Thanks to revolutionary technologies, the role of these professionals has changed dramatically.
And going forward, customer service agents need to provide additional value that clients otherwise won’t be able to find elsewhere. That way, these professionals remain available to consumers who require extra assistance after they engage with a business’ self-service options.
Moreover, today’s companies must ensure that customers are able to connect with them via numerous state-of-the-art technologies.
“Everyone has a Millennial mindset now. All of the other generations are now increasingly comfortable with the way Millennials communicate.”
With new technologies like social networks and mobile devices, today’s consumers demand instantaneous support from companies. And businesses that invest in these technologies must be prepared to deliver instant support to ensure their clients are able to optimize the value of a product or service.
“Everyone has a Millennial mindset now,” Prasad said. “All of the other generations are now increasingly comfortable with the way Millennials communicate.”
In the future, Millennials will continue to reshape how companies and their customers interact with one another. But with self-service options, a company can empower its clients to complete simple transactions without delay. Plus, the combination of self-service options with support from subject matter experts guarantees clients can receive immediate answers to their questions and concerns.
Companies need to devote time and resources to learn about their customers. This enables businesses to deliver reliable customer support as well as garner attention from consumers across a variety of segments.
Businesses also have a valuable opportunity to transform any consumer into an advocate. And companies that empower their clients can ensure that these consumers can become experts who fully understand their products and services. And over an extended period of time, these customers will be better equipped to recognize the value a business offers and share positive feedback about a company’s products and services as well.
Abhay is passionate about building products customer-back and thrives on making the connection between a real-world business need and the technological solution that will solve it. He is focused on developing a customer experience vision that will turn interactions into memorable experiences for key industry verticals. He has extensive experience in working with Fortune 100 companies to identify and quantify the business value of their collaboration/customer care investments. Previous avatars have included wearing the product management cap at a Silicon Valley startup as well as leading engagements at a top-tier management consulting firm. Abhay is a graduate of Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay and the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.