2013 Customer Service Trends – Rise of the High Information Customer – Part 3 of 4

Do you have a hobby?  Let’s say your hobby is golf.  So what would a basic  question be that you’d ask a pro shop about golf?  You might ask if they carry Ping clubs.  You could go to the company’s website to get the answer.

But what if you had a more complex question?  Often the basic FAQs (frequently asked questions) can be found via the web, but answers to the more specific questions, the more complex questions or issues are not found there.

So you might find the company’s “Contact” page and find a phone number to call.  And when you’re calling that pro shop, you’re not going to ask a basic question like “Do you carry Pings?”  You’ll ask about a loft of the club, the angle of the lie.  You might ask about the G10 v. the G20, and the relative spin rate.  You might ask how a specific driver of a specific length with certain specifications compares to a competitor in terms of distance, accuracy, spin, and carry.

In other words, the employee answering your call isn’t being asked the basic questions; the employee is responding to the complex.

We address all 4 Key Trends for 2013 in our Stepping Up Service Podcast, but here’s Trend #3 for 2013…

Trend #3 – Businesses Struggle to Keep Up with the High Information Customer

In 2013, companies will struggle with these “High Information Customers.”  Businesses will see their employees struggling to answer the more complex questions.  Staff will be spending more time on the phone with the callers, trying to juggle that call with the customer standing in front of them.  Stress will push down on the employees to deliver great service in very specific, sometimes unpredictable situations.

What’s the Answer?

Businesses will need to train staff far deeper on product, service, and process knowledge.  They will have to more thoroughly train staff on how competitors’ options compare since many customer searches of the web involve seeing comparable products across multiple sites.  Yet, staff knowledge also needs to include better knowledge of the customer.  If the customer has done their pre-call research, they want to verify or learn something specific, so staff need to hone their questioning skills to best know their customer and situation more specifically as well.

Also, with more of the basic questions being addressed via the web, businesses will need to ensure that they interject themselves into social media discussions and web/customer interactions more proactively to ensure that the company’s website encourages the customer in their research effort to contact the business instead of looking for more information on a competitor’s site.

We’ll be back next week with Trend #3 for 2013.

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