Exceptional Customer Service: Meeting and Surpassing Expectations


The Gist

  • Rising expectations. Customers demand quick, efficient and personalized service, expecting seamless interactions across all channels.
  • Human connection. Despite the usefulness of AI-based chatbots, customers still value having the option to speak with human agents for assistance.
  • Eliminating pain point. Proactively identifying and addressing customer pain points ensures an exceptional customer experience, increasing satisfaction and loyalty.

Customers today have more choices than ever before. They can easily find the products and services they need from a variety of different sources. As such, being able to provide excellent customer service has become a priority in order to stand out from the competition and build customer loyalty.

This article will explore what customers expect from world-class customer service today, how brands are meeting those expectations, the challenges in providing top-notch service and the importance of investing in customer service for long-term success.

What Do Customers Expect Today

Customers today have high expectations when it comes to customer service. They want to be able to get help quickly and easily, no matter what channel they use to contact a business. Whether it’s through phone, email, chat or social media, customers expect prompt responses and efficient resolutions to their issues.

The importance of providing excellent customer service can’t be overstated. A May 2022 Statista survey revealed that 94% of respondents said that a positive customer service experience made them more likely to purchase from a business again, and 82% would recommend a brand based specifically on excellent customer service. 

Consumers today expect to interact with customer service representatives (and customer service chatbots) who are knowledgeable, helpful and empathetic. By exceeding customers’ expectations and treating them as individuals, businesses can build brand loyalty and create a positive reputation that attracts new customers.

Additionally, customers expect seamless and hassle-free interactions with brands across all channels, emphasizing the importance of minimizing customer friction and pain points in marketing strategies. To determine the ease with which customers can interact with a brand, businesses often rely on the customer effort score (CES), a critical metric that directly influences the chances that a customer will be continuing their relationship with a brand. For customer service, the CES question could be phrased like this:

[The brand’s name] made it easy for me to solve my problem.

The customer responds by using a standard 1–7 scale that is reflective of the difficulty of interacting with customer service, or if they agree or disagree. 

Customers expect to have the same level of service when dealing with customer service as they did when they used a brand’s mobile app, browsed its website and placed their orders. Struggling to talk to a live agent, being transferred multiple times and having to repeat their information all can lead to a poor, annoying, irritating customer experience. If customers have to make more of an effort to be satisfied during their customer service experience, the CES score goes down, as do the customers’ inclinations to do business with the brand.

Corey Donovan, president of Alta Technologies, an online retailer of used servers, told CMSWire that world-class customer service is all about making the process of getting to a resolution as easy and painless as possible for customers, which includes allowing them to control the narrative by choosing the customer service channel of their choice. “This means providing them with multiple customer service options such as a chatbot to help them search for solutions, a live chat option, an email option, and of course the traditional phone call option. This allows customers to be able to choose the method they’re most comfortable with.”

Related Article: How Have Customer Expectations Changed Over the Past 2 Years?

Chatbots Are Great, But Customers Still Want a Human Option

Although generative AI-based chatbots have absolutely made a mark in customer service and are highly useful, a 2023 Statista report indicated that 86% of respondents in the United States said that it was important or very important that they had the option of speaking with a human agent for customer service. World-class customer service focuses on people, not problems, and requires a personal approach to each problem, no matter its scale or urgency. 

Maria Pardee, chief commercial officer at TELUS International, a CX and digital solutions provider, told CMSWire that one obstacle that brands can face in implementing customer service chatbots is mitigating bias within these AI-based tools. Pardee suggested that the best way to mitigate bias in AI is to use a trusted, diverse training data set to ensure many diverse views and perspectives are incorporated and represented in the design and deployment of algorithms and the data that feeds them. 

“A large community of diverse data annotators can help combat this challenge by ensuring the data is labeled (annotated) by individuals with a variety of world views for the training datasets and during testing of the machine learning algorithms,” said Pardee. “Prioritizing a ‘human-in-the-loop’ approach, meaning that humans are actively involved in the training and ongoing analysis of the data, ensures increased accuracy and efficiency of the chatbots.”

Related Article: Call Centers: What You Can Do to Meet Customer Expectations

Customers Demand to Be Heard

Customers in 2023 expect to be listened to and heard at any point in the customer journey, through any of a brand’s channels, at any time and on any day. Michael Maximoff, co-founder and managing partner at Belkins, a B2B lead generation business, told CMSWire that his business views customer service as a fully functional multichannel operation that is expertly available to all of his customers 24/7. “This kind of customer service is always up to the task, available on multiple channels, and suited to each customer’s needs, with senior representatives always around to help.” 


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