Change is never easy. Not even when it’s obviously for the better. It can be a very scary and difficult process which is why it is often rejected or, at best, reluctantly accepted. When you add the seeming uncertainty of constantly changing customer expectations, it is understandable that the familiarity of “the usual process” can look like the easier and safer option but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In today’s highly competitive business world “the usual process” is more likely to hold your business back from delivering the dynamic customer service that yields brand loyalty.
So much of the success we see in business today is based on the ability to create deep, personal relationships with customers. Today’s customer is engaged with a variety of brands and constantly exposed to new and innovative ways to deliver services and support.
>See also: Legacy systems: the next financial crisis?
Even if a service is not necessarily related to what they provide, consumers feel the differences in the delivery and their experience – which leads to increased expectations across the board.
For example, you don’t have to be a technology company to be impressed by the level of service from Apple and to wonder what it would take for your business to be performing at that sort of level. And despite not directly competing with Apple, you can rest assure that your customers are comparing the quality of support.
Companies like Apple are constantly refreshing their business model in accordance with the change in the landscape – leaving less agile companies in the cold. These companies tend to have long standing value chains and a fixed way of doing business which means that even if they want to change, change will not come easily. Some businesses don’t even want to change.
Perhaps their model has been successful for a long time and maybe it is still delivering some success. However, a closer look might raise questions on the longevity of that success.
Innovation around customer experience and support is growing faster than ever and pressure from customers and competitors means businesses cannot afford to stand still. With 82% of customers ready to stop doing business with a brand after one bad experience, businesses cannot afford to not keep up to date, or better yet set the pace, on what customers want.
>See also: Propelling legacy systems into real time
So how much of a problem are legacy systems in this new world of customer support? Are there really any significant differences in solutions or is it just a matter of marketing? There are 3 main problems with legacy systems.
A focus on un-intelligent automation
Most legacy systems were designed to automate the process – not provide the personalised, seamless experience customers are looking for. These infrastructures are inflexible and cumbersome and don’t easily allow support across channels including web, mobile and apps.
These are the tools today’s customer is looking for. Automation can be a good thing for customer support. Being able to automate low-value, repetitive questions can save time and money, but it requires an upgrade in automation technology. Next-generation automation technologies are intelligent, self-learning and are designed to ensure a human agent is easily accessible if a question is not answered to satisfaction.
Lack of purpose-built support solutions
There are a lot of organisations that use solutions for support that weren’t purpose-built to handle customer support – like collaboration tools for example. It’s a quick fix sure, but ad-hoc solutions have their own problems.
At the end of the day, those tools are focused on effective collaboration in the workplace and not built for a customer support team. Instead companies need to be looking for solutions that can grow with the business, offers specific remote support features that will create an elegant experience that creates long-term customer loyalty. Building your support strategy on the wrong foundation can be as detrimental as not having one at all.
Ignorance is not bliss
Most legacy systems do not have the capabilities to collect and harvest data in a meaningful way. Data is becoming more important than ever in the customer support space.
Knowing what your customers are seeking help for, how they are asking for help (web, phone, apps, self-service) and when (are they a new user who is having trouble on-boarding or an existing user who needs to upgrade?) allows support reps to proactively approach a problem with a personalised experience the moment they engage with the customer.
Additionally, the more data that can be collected and analysed the better support agents will know the end customer and the better they will be at proactively serving them. This leads to much quicker resolutions and happier customers.
Change is scary and for some companies it can feel near impossible. The future of customer support is happening now and those companies that get on board quickly and focus on customer loyalty and retention will be lightyears ahead of the competition.
Sourced by Peter Zeinoun, director, Support Solutions, LogMeIn
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