MarketingWeek recently published an article titled 'Customer satisfaction levels plummet in financial, retail and telecommunications sectors'. The article was based around research from Gfk which showed that customer satisfaction levels across financial services, telecoms and retail are flatlining and many businesses in the UK are failing to deliver a differentiated customer experience.
In relation to the findings John Banerji, director of customer experience research at GfK, said that "people always tell us how much they are investing in customer service and how closely they listen to customer feedback, so this will come as a shock to many". Clearly something is going wrong in terms of where this time, effort and money is being invested.
Banerji also stated that “the reason it may not be cutting through is that feedback sometimes comes from a vocal minority who may not be wholly representative. Some businesses also have a tendency to focus on short-term changes to maintain profitability, so the more complex, longer-term issues are deferred.”
In my opinion it's a case of companies needing to begin better listening to what their customers want and need. Companies can't afford to make assumptions on whether they are providing the products and services which their customers desire. Companies can't assume that they have perfected the customer experience either. Even if they have, the customer experience needs to evolve with the changing wants and needs of customers.
Not only is it a case of listening to as much customer feedback as possible but it's also a case of tapping into this information. Listening to customer pain points and feedback and then putting it into action is what improves customer experience and satisfaction. As Banerji says, "unless the marketing and communications teams tap into how they can add value, make sure they are relevant to consumers and refresh their proposition effectively it is likely consumers will not feel engaged".
Discovering customer pain points and then using this information to improve customer satisfaction is a key benefit of using live chat. Live chat is at the front-line of your website, most consumers' first point of call for any information about or interaction with your brand. With it being less formal and a less structured form of communication, live chat allows a customer to easily open up to a live chat agent.
With a live chat conversation being more relaxed than a phone call to customer support or an email exchange with them, the chat agent can begin to learn a lot more about customers. Customers are happy to open up and explain what they feel are the pros and cons of your brand and the customer experience. You can learn what your customers' pain points are and start to solve them in order to improve customer experience.
As MarketingWeek suggests, companies need to start to "listen more effectively to customers and read between the lines about what they want from the relationship and what they want next". Live chat gives companies the opportunity to listen to more customers and learn more than simple problems that they face. Companies can get overall feedback from a vast proportion of their customer base. Companies need to pay attention to this information though. Live chat agents need to be able to relay the information about customers to decision makers in order for them to act.
Listening through live chat. Acting upon customer grumbles. Creating a better customer experience. This improves customer satisfaction levels.