The customer service gap illustrates the very real gap between the level of customer service companies think they are delivering and the reality of what their customers are experiencing.
To illustrate just how vast the customer service gap is, a whopping eighty percent of people believe their company already delivers top-notch customer service, while the truth is that only a mere eight percent of customers will say the same (Bain & Company).
This discrepancy in perceived customer experience is one of the biggest challenges that businesses face today.
When your overall customer experience doesn’t measure up to what your customers expect from you, it can lead to reduced sales and a bad reputation. It may reflect on the quality of your product or highlight poor service from your team. Either way, it shows that your brand cares very little about your customers. And with 73% of consumers rating a good customer experience as a key factor in their brand loyalty, you don’t want to risk this.
Improving customer satisfaction ultimately hinges on a company being able to close the customer service gap. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Conduct quality assurance (QA)
You may think that you have your customer experience nailed, but you may be surprised by the reality of what your customers are actually experiencing. By conducting regular QA reviews, you can stay on top of your day-to-day customer experience and make sure your team has everything they need to provide the level of service your customers expect. Using an automated QA system will make your life even easier by scheduling and conducting reviews automatically.
QA has the added benefit of helping your agents develop in their career, too. By identifying and jumping on coaching opportunities, your team will become stronger and feel like you are investing in them, making for loyal employees that stick around for longer.
2. Gift your agents with a knowledge base
The best customer support will ultimately depend on how well your frontline agents are able to deliver support to your customers. Therefore, it’s important to find out if your own employees are aware of what’s expected of them throughout the entire customer support journey, as well as if they have everything they need to provide a great customer experience.
Introducing a built-in knowledge base to your customer service tech stack will save your agents from searching through internal documents, or worst case scenario, googling questions, when trying to help a customer. The level and accuracy of their support will improve and the time it takes to write a knowledge article will be more than made up for in time saved looking for information.
3. Ask for customer feedback
Customer expectations are a moving target. As much as you’d like to dictate what your customers should expect from you, they will likely have something different in mind. Customer feedback helps you identify points of friction in your customer journey and therefore anticipate and manage customer expectations more efficiently.
Asking for customer feedback can take a few different forms, but implementing a customer satisfaction survey that covers questions about your services, products, employees, return or delivery policies—and even website usability, is an easy way to understand what you can do to improve your service experience and close that gap. You may think that you have your customer experience nailed, but you could be surprised at what your customers are actually experiencing. These concerns will also likely vary, depending on customer profiles and demographics.
4. Implement changes in your business that will narrow the customer service gap
The whole point of identifying the customer service gap in your business is to enable you to make changes to your existing set-up. For example, if your customers say that they are dissatisfied with your wait times, you can proactively address this by implementing a chatbot that can lighten the load on your agents, while providing immediate help to customers that have questions like “where is my order?” or “what is the status of my return?.” Providing team members with support tools designed to make customer service more efficient will ultimately help them better meet customer expectations.
5. Understand that it’s an ongoing process
Learning, understanding, and implementing changes to close the gap between the level of support customers expect and what they actually receive can improve your customers’ satisfaction. But know that this is an ongoing process. As a business, you have to understand that this isn’t a one-time thing. Customer expectations and needs evolve over time and the systems and tools that are in place to help bridge the gap have to be reviewed regularly to make sure that they are able to keep up.
With the high level of competition in today’s marketplace, customers who feel that your service falls short of their expectations will take their business elsewhere.
If you’d like more tips to close the gap and improve your customer experience, our CX Insights report, Reconnecting the Customer Experience, is here to help.