Covid-19 has irrevocably changed the world, the most obvious change being how people interact in business and social settings. The experience customers have during transactions is a moment critique for any business wanting to lead in the approaching post-pandemic economy.
“Retail and consumer businesses have been particularly affected by the pandemic. And now is the time to ask, ‘Am I taking advantage of the opportunities that the pandemic has surfaced and am I doing what is needed to stay ahead of future change?’,” says Owen McConnell, regional vice president, commercial sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, at Zendesk. Change should be driven out of good reliable data.
Key CX lesson from Zendesk’s trends research
Zendesk’s 2022 CX Trends Survey gathered data from more than 97 000 customers across 21 countries. Says McConnell: “On one hand, it confirmed what we already knew from long customer experience (CX) industry knowledge — high-performing companies drive growth with customer service. But we also learned something new: the importance of getting the CX right has grown dramatically during the pandemic.”
It is no surprise that customers are fickle and will leave if you fail to meet their expectations. The data shows that 61% of customers will defect to a competitor after just one bad experience. “That is over 20% growth on the previous year (50%). We also know that 90% of customers will spend more with companies that personalise their service, so there’s a massive CX incentive for would-be industry leaders,” McConnell explains.
In Jasco’s experience, customers want helpful, knowledgeable and empathetic agents, always-on support, and streamlined conversational experiences. That desire applies no matter who they are talking to (be it human or bot), and on any channel. Business leaders are recognising this, and responding. The survey confirmed that 72% of organisations view customer service as a critical business priority and that, increasingly, C-suite executives are reviewing CX KPIs on a daily basis.
Five common CX traps to avoid
To help readers avoid the pitfalls, Jasco would like to highlight four common CX traps (uncovered in the Zendesk survey) that hinder businesses from fully adopting customer service best practices that maximise CX-driven growth:
- Customer service (CS) performance isn’t wowing customers — and the survey indicated that the pandemic raised the bar for 60% of consumers’ service expectations.
- Many leaders aren’t fully committing to CS — one in three still view CS as a cost centre rather than a profit centre.
- Investments aren’t keeping up with growth demands — only 30% of businesses strongly agree that CS spending has kept pace with company growth.
- Agents feel burnt out and undervalued — one in four agents have reported receiving less than one day of training, or no training at all; and 50% report that they are overworked.
- Disjointed systems confuse customers and halt growth — 68% of consumers expect personalized service every time they reach out; less than half of businesses can deliver on that today.
If you are interested in hearing more about these CX traps, join Zendesk’s CX Trends: Views from around the world and hear from speakers from OneDayOnly, PLP, Discovery, Cell C and Vodacom. Register today!
The balance between bricks and clicks
Key Zendesk customers such as Takelot, Leroy Merlin and OneDayOnly have had to make some significant changes to their businesses to keep up with the increased demand and growth in online sales over the last two years.
For example, when DIY became a popular activity during the Covid-19 lockdown, Leroy Merlin had an opportunity to supply the growing market. But its service agents were home like everyone else. By choosing Zendesk, Leroy Merlin was able to implement omnichannel customer support that gives customers a better choice of channels and created a more seamless CX.
A knock-on effect of that growth is the massive impact on logistics. Another of Zendesk’s customers, The Courier Guy (a worldwide courier service based in South Africa), saw 120% growth in business at the peak of the pandemic as online purchase delivery demand soared.
This presents an amazing opportunity for businesses to tap into the power of digital platforms like WhatsApp to meet customer expectations. While reliable access to the Internet isn’t available to everyone in Africa, mobile penetration remains extremely high (over 60% in South Africa, a number which has more than doubled in the past five years). As new customer interaction channels — ranging from WhatsApp to Instagram — open up, customer service agents behind these interactions have shifted from issue resolution to sales support. Suddenly, the call centre (traditionally a cost centre), has become the central customer engagement and sales hub.
For e-commerce businesses and retailers, unified, robust conversational commerce strategies are vital to continued success and increased revenue. From chatbots that provide product recommendations, to ordering via home voice assistants, conversational commerce provides a customer-centric shopping experience. It allows instant access to a brand’s products or services and creates an ongoing relationship with consumers throughout the customer journey.
The pandemic has forced businesses to innovate and discover what is possible. But it is important to remember that digital channels, though convenient and cost-effective, are not necessarily right for every transaction. “The future of the CX is not about going online at every possible opportunity. It is about using data and analytics to find the right blend of bricks and clicks to deliver a seamless, personalised shopping experience,” says McConnell.
Zendesk started in 2007 with a simple idea: great customer experiences should be available to all (not just the biggest) companies. We carefully craft powerful customer experience tools to help more than 100 000 customers in 160 countries (of all sizes, from all industries) achieve customer-led digital transformation.
With more than 40 years of experience in customer experience solutions, Jasco is South Africa’s leading contact centre, workforce management and CRM provider, and an accredited Zendesk solution provider.
- The author, Louise van Zyl, is head of business development at Jasco
- This promoted content was paid for by the party concerned