Does exceptional customer service make a difference?
Not according to recent CEB research study that looked at more than 100,000 customers and found that exceptional customer experience does little for most companies.
So, all the talk about delighting customers during the customer service experience might just be a business fad.
But what isn’t a fad is meeting expectations; the research also showed that while exceeding expectations mattered little, meeting expectations mattered a lot.
There is a precipitous decline in customer loyalty when their expectations are not met, so in some cases, the drive to exceed customer expectations can be counterproductive because it can take the focus off the more basic goal of just doing what the customer expects.
Meeting the basic expectations of the customer might sound like a truism, but the study showed that most organizations grossly underestimate the negative loyalty generated by service experiences that fall below the customer’s expectations.
So to summarize: Stop investing in exceeding expectations and focus more on meeting the expectations that are already known.
The key to meeting expectations is reducing customer effort, according to the study.
Customer disloyalty is directly related to the degree of effort the customer has to go through to get the problem resolved completely.
This means focusing less on first call resolution and focusing more on resolution itself. Because even if the customer only calls once, that does not mean they will have all their downstream problems resolved.
So, again counter-intuitively, what we think we know might be wrong: a focus on first call resolution can actually hurt a business if this drive to only have customers call once comes at the cost of truly handling the customer’s needs.
Another part of meeting expectations is having the business ready to listen. Customers expect to be heard, and reaching out to a contact center and waiting on hold for an inordinate amount of time does not meet those expectations.
That is why solutions such as on-demand call centers make so much sense. With an on-demand contact center solution, the contact center can scale to meet the call volume so a customer never needs to wait to be heard.
There’s still a place for delighting the customer. But sometimes that means simple things like answering the phone quickly when they have a problem.