As the consumer gains more and more control with each passing year, where does the future of customer experience lie?

“The future of customer experience puts consumers in the driver’s seat,” Wes Hayden, CEO of Virtual Hold Technology told Loyalty360. “Age-old gripes like excessive hold time and incompetent call center reps are eliminated. Customers take control of how and when they communicate with organizations. Self-service options are modified to provide a contextual bridge connecting consumers with service personnel who are empowered to provide a seamless experience. Additionally, the service ecosystem will expand to new mediums like online chat, text, and social.”

According to recent Virtual Hold Technology research, there is a large customer service disconnect: While organizations increasingly say customer service is a top priority, consumers are not seeing improvements even at the most basic levels. What’s more, 96%of those surveyed reported they have to repeat information (account details, explanation of issue, etc.) to call center agents.

Customers increasingly demand that businesses be more proactive about customer service. The research revealed nearly 54% of those surveyed do not want to wait on hold or call back if a customer service rep isn’t available right away; in fact, those people prefer a call back from the company.

“The brands that are winning in the Customer Service arena have re-aligned their organizations around the singular mission of delighting their customers,” Hayden said. “This includes a combination of technology, processes, and people working together to provide an exceptional customer experience.  As far as missed opportunities, our survey revealed several basic service blights that are remain prevalent today. Many reported excessive hold times and apathetic or ill equipped personnel.”

Hayden said the key to differentiating a customer experience lies in understanding what your customers want, and successfully delivering on that experience.

“It sounds simple but requires vision, alignment, investment and execution,” Hayden explained.

He said there are many reasons a company may fail at providing stellar customer experiences.

“Despite all research to the contrary, many organizations simply don't connect exceptional customer service with long-term economic growth, so they're not willing to make the necessary investment,” Hayden said. “For more progressive companies that do understand this connection, there can still be many impediments -- lack of data necessary to truly understand the customer need, lack of technology to provide a superior experience, or lack of trained personnel to deliver the critical human touch. Cultural change is necessary if a customer-centric focus is not already present within a company’s guiding ethos. Everyone within the company must be aligned around providing an exceptional customer experience.” 

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