According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), American consumers are showing continued dissatisfaction with the level of service they receive from the brands they interact with.
In the quarterly study that analyzes 47 industries and 10 economic sectors, customer satisfaction has declined for three consecutive quarters. Additionally, it has plunged by 5% since 2018, the largest descent in the 28-year history of ACSI. Across all industries, customer satisfaction now stands at 73.1 (on a 0-100 scale) and has slumped in 12 of the past 15 quarters.
The ACSI goes on to report an anomaly that customer experience professionals should take heed of. Typically, when consumer spending is increasing (as it is now), customer satisfaction scores will follow suit and increase. However, this has not been the case in recent quarters of sharp satisfaction declines.
This all comes at a time when consumer expectations are at an all-time high, with research from Hiver reporting that 80% expect better customer service than they’ve received in years past. And now more than ever, they’re willing to move on to a new brand if they are dissatisfied.
So what can brands do to stop this trend and improve service to foster loyal and long-term satisfied customers? In our years of experience and success in improving customer satisfaction on behalf of our clients, it starts with ensuring you have a customer-centric approach in place at all times, including:
1. Understand What Customer Centricity Means: According to Gartner, customer-centricity is the ability to understand customers’ situations, perceptions, and expectations. Customer centricity demands that the customer is the focal point of all decisions related to delivering products, services, and experiences to create customer satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.
Designing a customer experience program that does not sacrifice customer centricity for profitability will always win out in the long run. It requires the acknowledgment that AI tools are a key part of the customer journey that supports efficiency, but do not have the ability to understand each and every customer situation.
2. Let Customers Define Their Journey: A truly customer-centric approach is built on the understanding that each customer is different. Despite the overwhelming desire to deal with live agents, there is a rapidly growing segment of the population that is comfortable with self-service tools, especially for more routine items. At Servicing Solutions, we rely on our automated tools to handle these routine requests, but the option to speak to a human is always available. With 47% of consumers reporting frustration with being forced into one communication channel, regardless of their preference, it’s something we’ll never abandon.
3. Develop Smart Systems that Make it Easy to Get To The Right Agent: In the same Hiver study, the number one complaint from consumers is “having to explain issues again and again.” We’ve all had the experience of having to provide our personal information or describe our inquiry repeatedly, through multiple communications channels.
Access to a live agent is only the starting point for addressing this concern. Ensuring that customers are routed to the right agent who can handle their inquiry and have the necessary information to do so is paramount. Our highly personalized concierge approach to customer engagement is backed by powerful Artificial Intelligence and Predictive Modelling tools to do just that. We are able to learn customer behavior and preferences on an individual level, allowing us to route all inquiries properly for each individual customer.
4. Treat Customers With Respect and Empathy: This may seem overly obvious, but research shows that among the top complaints from consumers is rude or untrained agents. Given that 90% of customers point to good customer service as a driving factor behind staying with a brand, we are committed to employing only the most knowledgeable, friendly, and empathetic agents in the industry. Anything else would represent a disservice to our clients and their customers.
Ready to develop a customer-centric approach that leads to increased CX ratings? Invest In Real Experience by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.