This following article comes from Olark contributor Jack Saville at Bynder Digital Asset Management. Today Jack's sharing current emerging trends for UK customer services, a topic which should prove particularly helpful for those who already have a customer base in the UK or are looking to expand.
The tragic demise of UK customer loyalty
In a study conducted by JDA/Centiro, 76% of UK consumers who had a bad online shopping experience this past Christmas would switch to an alternative retailer in the future. The wide range of retail options that are now available via the web means that it takes very little to push a customer away from your brand and towards one of the other many brands who are vying for the business of your customers.
The result of this change is that positive shopping and customer service experiences in the past will no longer be a driving force in bringing customers back to your site.
It also means that providing top class customer service at every stage of the buying process is of utmost importance.
The impact of Brexit
After the Brexit vote, accessibility to foreign customer services talent became more uncertain. Foreign customer services talent is crucial to the UK customer service industry, as it is needed to fill foreign language gaps.
However on the other hand as the UK leaves the EU, access to the single market is also increasingly a point of uncertainty. Reduced trade with the EU could result in a lower demand for foreign customer services talent. The true impact of Brexit on the customer service industry is not yet known, and it will be some time before it is.
The rise of self-serve business data
As Brexit has cast a small shadow of uncertainty over the economy, proving the return on investment of customer service in your UK based company is as important as ever. This has lead to an urgent increase in the need for business analytics and data, so that return on investment can be more easily quantified and proved.
There are a number of things that can be done to prove the ROI of customer service. One way is to integrate your webchat feature with Google Analytics. This way you can track whether a customer bought from the site or signed up to a service after interacting with a chat window.
Some chat features also allow the customer to rate their customer service experience after the chat has ended. This feedback can demonstrate the current level of return on investment in terms of how helpful agents currently are, but can also demonstrate that the CS team are continuously looking to improve and increase the ROI that it generates.
Complaint handling matters more to the older generation
Customers in the upper age ranges have higher expectations from customer service teams when they make a complaint
According to a report from the Institute of Customer Service, “younger customers’ satisfaction with complaint handling is actually higher than that of older people, reflecting our research into customer priorities which revealed that complaint handling has a more acute importance for older customers than for younger ones.”
One reason for this could be that young customers, and specifically the more online savvy ones, will be aware of more online review sites where they can vent their frustrations rather than going to the company directly. Therefore complaint handling matters less to younger people as they prefer to vent their frustration on other sites.
An increasing reliance on online chat
UK customer service is increasingly focusing on online chat platforms like Olark. Other methods of customer interaction that also increased in usage were interactions via a website, through an app and over email. Phone and in person interactions with customers are becoming less common.
This move towards online chat platforms presents a unique opportunity to UK customer service teams in terms of collecting customer feedback. Collecting feedback over the phone can be difficult as the chat needs to be recorded and then transcribed. With an instant chat, the whole conversation is recorded in text format immediately.
Some online chat providers will also enable you to automatically send the chat transcript to relevant people after the chat has ended. This means that urgent feedback, such as an ecommerce checkout not working or login page not working can be rectified as fast as possible.
In conclusion, UK customer service is set to change in a number of different ways, and being prepared for these changes is essential if your customer service team is going to fulfill its potential in 2017 and beyond.
Are you a UK-based business that provides customer support? What trends are you seeing this year?