Important Takeaways from Microsoft's 2018 Global Customer Service Report


Authored by Raquel Guarino

Tech giant Microsoft recently came out with a yearly report on the state of customer service around the world. The research surveyed 5,000 participants from the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Brazil, and Germany. Here are the most important insights we took away from their findings.

 

Good Customer Service is a Brand Differentiator

As markets become more and more crowded on a global scale, the survey reports that customers are more likely to choose a brand based on the quality of its customer service; this is opposed to other competing factors such as price and product. According to Microsoft, "95% of our survey respondents indicated that customer service is important to their choice of and loyalty to a brand." In addition, Microsoft says their data shows that customer service quality is the "cornerstone" of a customer's experience, with 61% of participants saying they switched brands due to poor customer service.

So what can your business do to ensure a positive customer support experience? According to the tech leader, the key to creating exceptional customer service experiences and cultivating brand loyalty is through personalization and outreach. Companies that reach out to customers proactively are more likely to receive positive feedback from those customers (FYI, Help.com's platform has a nifty proactive chat feature). Interactions with customers should value-add to the product and work quickly to turn negative experiences into positive ones.

 

Source: 2018 Global Customer Service Report, Microsoft

 

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Anticipate Customer Frustrations 

What better way to improve customer service than to understand your customer? That's what Microsoft says at least. The survey findings emphasize the importance of understanding your customers' values, behaviors, and common frustrations so that you can make their experience as smooth as possible. This is especially important as more than a third of participants stated that they were unhappy with the current state of customer service and felt it was only getting worse. This means that a good portion of companies just aren't doing enough to truly understand their customers' needs.

One example of this coming into play is in an agent-customer interaction. The report shows that more than 75% of participants expect customer service representatives to be able to view previous interactions and purchases. In reality, nearly half of the agents surveyed claim they either occasionally or almost never have the full context they need in an interaction. (If this something your company is missing, Help.com's software offers a multichannel timeline of customer interactions along with a same-page view of past purchases.)

An easy way to understand your customers better is to ask for feedback from them directly after finishing an interaction. The study says that 90% of people surveyed have a positive opinion of brands that let them give feedback about their experiences.

 

Source: 2018 Global Customer Service Report, Microsoft

 

Provide Customer Service Whenever and Wherever

Last but not least, Microsoft underlines how essential it is for your customers to be able to reach out to you whenever they need and from whatever devices they want. According to the study, customers expect to be able to communicate across channels from a variety of different devices. Anything that doesn't meet these expectations will likely disappoint them. In addition, customers expect communications through different channels to remain consistent and seamless. Creating a multichannel experience for your customers will help your business stay competitive while maintaining brand loyalty.

 

Source: 2018 Global Customer Service Report, Microsoft




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