Akhil Talwar, Senior Product Manager, LogMeIn, discussed how customer support can serve as a key differentiator for today's businesses in his presentation to Argyle's CX membership at the 2016 Customer Experience Leadership Forum: Fall Event in New York on Nov. 2. In his presentation, "Driving Value from Strong and Consistent Customer Support," Talwar described how providing outstanding customer support can help a company enhance its CX levels.
According to Talwar, ensuring customers are fully supported has become increasingly challenging, particularly in today's always-on, always-connected global marketplace.
Consumers now have the ability to connect with a business and one another on any device, from any location, at any time. As such, how a company supports its customers may dictate a business' short- and long-term success.
Ultimately, if a company emphasizes customer support, it may be able to find innovative ways to assist customers day after day. On the other hand, a business that fails to prioritize customer support may struggle to provide its customers with positive experiences and risks losing these customers to rivals.
"It is so easy to lose a customer today," Talwar noted. "Customers are constantly connected and they have access to all of the information on all of their devices. When they're calling and talking to you, there's a very good chance that they're browsing a competitor's website and looking for a better deal."
Many companies understand the value of providing excellent customer support, and as a result, have dedicated substantial time and resources to drive improvements in this area.
"We all want to provide resolutions to our customers' issues faster," Talwar said. "We want to provide them with a better customer experience. And hopefully, that translates into loyalty and stickiness."
Furthermore, businesses are revamping the way that they evaluate CX – something that likely will continue in the foreseeable future.
"Customer experience really matters, and there are companies actually using it to drive value with their end customers," Talwar stated.
Although companies want to provide outstanding customer support to drive positive customer experiences, doing so may prove to be difficult for several reasons.
"A lot of organizations have thought of sales and support as different entities that don't mix well together. But that's changed."
First, businesses may offer multiple channels that customers can use to connect with a company. But if companies fail to optimize the customer interactions on these channels, they risk alienating customers due to inferior service or support.
Millennials also are changing the way that businesses need to connect with customers, as these individuals are demanding personalized interactions. Thus, companies that fail to learn about their target audiences and understand what is important to them risk missing out on opportunities to build trust with customers.
Customer support and CX are becoming interchangeable, and support and sales teams must work together to ensure a company can achieve its goals.
"A lot of organizations have thought of sales and support as different entities that don't mix well together. But that's changed, and there's clearly a blurring of lines between sales and support," Talwar said.
Talwar pointed out that every support interaction now serves as a potential cross-sell or upsell opportunity, and businesses that find the best ways to support customers may be able to drive revenue and sales growth for years to come.
"Organizations have changed their whole stance around customer experience," he noted. "The support and contact that you provide to your customers is no longer seen as a cost center. There's actually business value and business benefits to providing high-quality support to your customers."
Businesses must find ways to drive value from every customer interaction, and many opportunities are becoming available to help companies do just that.
"With one bad experience, [a customer] may have a sour taste and be ready to jump ship."
Talwar noted the convergence of mobile technology with the Internet of Things (IoT) may transform the way that companies collect customer data. Going forward, businesses may be able to retrieve a wealth of customer data in real-time and use this information to drive enhanced customer experiences.
Automation technologies also could prove to be important for companies of all sizes in the near future. These technologies may help businesses automate customer support and CX functions, ensuring companies can fulfill customer requests without substantial time and resource investments.
Businesses must continue to focus on providing each customer with a positive experience any time he or she connects with a company.
Talwar said even a single poor customer experience can cause long-lasting damage to a brand, and companies must go above and beyond the call of duty to stand out from rivals both now and in the future.
"With one bad experience, [a customer] may have a sour taste and be ready to jump ship," Talwar stated. "Every single interaction has got that much value."
Akhil Talwar is a senior product manager at LogMeIn where he drives product management and strategy for LogMeIn BoldChat, the company’s omni-channel customer engagement platform. Akhil joined the LogMeIn products team in 2014 and has helped customers in various industries redefine their online customer engagement initiatives. Prior to joining LogMeIn, Akhil has worked within enterprise software product management/development at Recommind and General Electric. He’s passionate about progressive rock, running and all things tech.