We’re well into the holiday season, and, for many, that means preparing for festivities. And, it’s also that time to look back, reflect, and set intentions for the new year.
That’s right, it’s resolution time. And while most will focus on personal goals, like “read more books” and “exercise more,” we think there's also a little room to work on professional goals, too.
Since we specialize in customer experience, we made a list (and checked it twice) of New Year’s resolutions to consider to improve your customer service in the new year.
1. Finances💰 : Save costs with self-service
A common resolution in people’s personal lives is better money management. And in business, finding cost-effective ways to deliver better services is a year-round pursuit.
So, this year, try sprucing up your self-service options. This means having a complete and easy-to-navigate knowledge base, a chatbot that answers routine questions, or an FAQ page full of helpful info. By having these options available, many routine customer issues will be resolved before they even reach your team, and much faster to boot — saving resources.
Another upside? People like it when they get answers without having to wait or explain anything to an agent. In fact, 88 percent of consumers actually expect you to offer self-service.
So, if you don’t have self-service options, get started. If you already do, it’s good practice to re-evaluate them. Are customers typing in keywords in your knowledge base that you don’t have? Is your chatbot doing a good job? Commit to creating the best self-service support there is.
2. Wellbeing ☕ : Keep your team “healthy”
Customer service is a tough job as is. But, the past year was extra hard due to the uptick in digital sales and support requests, brought about by the pandemic. This may be a factor in the Great Resignation — the trend of workers quitting their jobs en masse during 2021 — which seems to be affecting multiple sectors and industries.
So, there are two aspects to look into here: one, rewarding your team, and two, making sure they have all the tools and processes they need to do their job without hassle.
For the first, there are lots of options — remuneration, team events, stipends, subscriptions in wellbeing and health apps, and more. At Acquire, for instance, we have access to apps like Headspace, Spring Health, and Aaptiv.
For the second option, it pays to look into your digital transformation initiatives (which you may have done anyway). While setting goals and evaluating your tech stack, involve your team: ask them what they have trouble with and what they’d find more efficient in terms of tech or workflows. At the very least, customer support automation helps take the burden of repetitive tasks off agents’ shoulders and enable them to focus on more complex problems.
3. Upskilling 🎯 : Learn something new
This is a resolution many of us have made at some point. In our personal lives, that could be learning a new language, playing a sport, or making origami frogs (true story). In a professional setting, this can be anything you do to innovate or improve your work and your team.
That course you wanted to take but didn’t have time to? Sign up! The fascinating newsletters you get and never have time to read? Set aside 30 minutes per week to sort through them. Plus, you may find interesting new webinars and events, or even books on customer service and leadership.
For example, here’s a few readings we came across:
- The Experience Maker: How to Create Remarkable Experiences That Your Customers Can’t Wait to Share, by Dan Gingiss
- Punk CX, by Adrian Swinscoe
- It's About You Too: How to Manage Employee Resistance to Your Diversity Initiatives and Improve Workplace Culture and Profitability, by Lori B. Rassas
- The Formula for Leading a Customer Service Culture: T + R2 + C3 = Great Customer Service, by Don Stuckey
4. Creativity 🧠 : Experiment and innovate
This is an exciting one. The customer experience industry offers lots of opportunities to innovate, especially online. There’s so much intriguing tech to look into, such as:
- Artificial intelligence and chatbots
- Augmented reality and virtual reality
- Voice and visual search tools
- Artificial design intelligence
- Predictive analytics
- Cobrowsing technology
- Internet of Things (IoT)
Resolve to check out these technologies and determine how they can help you create more engaging customer experiences. Even launching a small project to give one of these solutions a try will give you valuable insight on the expectations of your customers.
This may be a great way to innovate before your competitors, too, as some of these technologies are expected to grow fast — AR/VR technology is predicted to have the fastest growth until 2025.
5. Giveup ⛔ : Quit data silos
Quitting a bad habit is a popular New Year’s resolution, but also one of the hardest to keep. And in the business world, a habit that’s been causing problems for a while now is data silos, often accompanied by legacy systems. Many companies use multiple tools to communicate with customers, and different departments may have a different stack. This causes frustration with lack of context and consistency, and loss of data.
That’s why many businesses are trying to find ways to deal with these silos by modernizing their tech stack. According to Forrester, for instance, companies are moving previously on-premise tech to the cloud — a trend accelerated by the need for work-from-home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It seems the migrated systems could remain there permanently.
For customer service, there’s a straightforward solution: pull every CX tool together into one centralized platform. Tools like Acquire unify live chat, video chat, chatbots, help centers, email, SMS, cobrowsing, and all analytics together into one system. This will enable you to create a unified view of customers that gives you context about what customers want and where they're coming from. Hint: this is a great way to personalize service.
6. Relationships 👥 : Get great at listening to your customers
What would any resolutions list be without resolving to improve a relationship? And that’s basically what customer experience is: your relationship with customers and prospective buyers.
Most companies have mechanisms to capture customer feedback, such as NPS or CSAT surveys. But, there’s always room for improvement in how well you understand customer impressions and what you do with that insight.
For example, do you practice social listening? Monitoring how people talk about your brand — on social platforms, review sites, forums, etc. — is a great way to find out what works and what doesn’t. Consider weaving interviews with customers, focus groups, surveys, and more into your customer service strategy.
What’s even more important, though, is to act on this feedback and create two-way communication. For example, 74 percent of millennials say social media responsiveness improves their perception of a brand. But, 37 percent of customers don’t believe companies take actions on feedback. Time to change some minds.
Ready for the new year?
No matter what your resolutions are, the new year will bring a lot of changes. The pandemic, the digital shift, and new technologies all call for innovation in customer experience. Let’s take a breath and prepare for an exciting year. Happy holidays!