18th Jan 2016
Customers are becoming considerably more impatient, and organisations need to be ready to resolve their queries as soon as they arise.
These are the findings of Autonomous Customer, a report produced by BT and Avaya, a global leader in business communications. The research points to a growing army of what they refer to as ‘monster customers’ – highly connected people who want their problems resolved with the immediacy that online communication has led them to expect.
The report identifies three types of monster customers – visionaries (those who just want to achieve their goal), crisis customers (those who have gone wrong somewhere, and need help) and utilitarian ones – those that ring a call centre because they have pursued all other avenues. The monsters emerge when service staff are then not able to meet their high expectations.
To tame the customer’s inner monster, organisations need to focus on both speed and accuracy, says Dr Nicola Millard, customer experience futurologist for BT Global Services. “Employers still look at how quickly calls can be answered, rather than how adequately they are able to deal with these angry people,” she says. “Angry customers destroy these call resolution statistics.”
The key, she says, is to back up customer service decisions (such as embracing a multi-channel solution) with action and resources. Email correspondence, for example, needs to be handled with the same immediacy and foresight as face-to-face service. “Email tends to get picked up by different people; but consumers prefer dealing with the same person,” Millard notes. “We’re also in a much more immediate society. Our research finds that 63% of consumers expect to receive a reply to their email query within two hours – so it’s no good offering this service, but failing to live up to expectations.”
Companies who think monster customers are merely an angry minority to be ignored, need to think again. “Customers ‘rant’, ‘rave’ or ‘recommend’,” Millard notes. “The monster consumer will rant before they recommend, and they represent a real reputation challenge for companies. These networked consumers are buoyed by the growth of smart phones and tablets – and this will only increase.”
Meeting growing customer expectations is therefore a reality that all companies must face. “I have an analogy,” Millard shares. “It’s about accepting you can’t own the dance floor – that is, you can’t change what people are doing, but that you can join the dance. How you watch and listen to what’s going on will give you the steer you need. What you do will determine whether your monsters can be tamed. Now’s the time to decide how you’re going to dance.”