Article

Customer Experience: The True Brand Differentiator For 2023

Luna Tidrick

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It used to be that some products and services were only available from a select few vendors. The more you were looking for something uncommon, the more you’d appreciate just finding it. Well, that’s no longer the case.

We live in a time where our phones give us the means to order almost anything that we might want; product, or service. And here’s the thing: we can get it fast too.

Quality and speed are always going to be top factors in the mind of a customer, but they’re not differentiators anymore.

In fact, things are very simple when it comes to those 2 arguments: you need both great quality, and fast delivery. That’s it; there’s no way around it. Almost all markets have high-demand and low-patience consumers these days.

If you’re lacking in those departments, you won’t even be considered as a provider.

So then, what’s the “secret”, right? Well, it’s not much of a secret really. It’s always been there – customer experience (CX).

In a hurry? Jump to the 5 CX trends for 2023.

Is That Really All There Is To It?

Yes.

We’ve been operating in the business process outsourcing world since 2015, and trust us, CX has only gotten bigger.

As our main focus has been creating customer success with our range of outsourcing solutions, we’ve seen this development first-hand.

As the years went on, consumers began to expect brands to understand them. Not just their needs, and wants, but them, as people.

It’s only logical that this is going to continue in 2023. Why? Because top businesses are building new systems and improving on current ones to facilitate better CX.

All right, but why are businesses doing that? Answer – it’s a reaction to customer demands. Ever since 2020, there have been a few significant increases in consumer trends (as researched by Salesforce):

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  • Customers want to actually feel understood by brands.
  • Customers want a genuine impression that businesses care about them; that they aren’t just as a statistic. In their study, Salesforce found that 66% want empathy from the brands, but a mere 37% feel like this is accomplished.
  • 74% of customers have started using multiple channels to complete a transaction. They move seamlessly from social media, to a company’s website, to phone support, live chat or email support. An omnichannel approach is key.
  • Only 48% of customers declared that they trust the companies they buy from.

Let’s stick to that last statistic for a second. Fewer than half of customers trust the brands they purchase from.

So, what do you think will happen when another company that provides great CX and at least the same quality products/services shows up?

That’s right – those are their customers now. But they could remain your customers, if you play your cards right.

3 CX Ingredients For Business Excellence In 2023

We’ve all heard the “customer comes first” mantra by now. But, what does that actually mean in practice? Our take is that you can break it down in 3 core elements:

  • Success – Your customer’s, that is.Has your customer been successful with what they tried to achieve via your products/services? When the answer is “yes” almost every time, then you'll be successful too.
  • Effort – was it a pain for the customer to achieve what they wanted, or was it a seamless, organic, faultless experience?
  • Trust – depending on how (and if) success was achieved, how has the customer’s trust in your brand changed? Will you be a positive memory for them?

It’s essential to build a CX mechanism around these 3 aspects. A system whose sole aim is to provide the needed information, support, and self-service resources that the customer needs to get the most value out of what you’re selling.

How do you go about that then? Well, one way to make that happen is by outsourcing your customer service to the pros . At SupportNinja, we live and breathe CX!

As your friendly, trusty, global-scale, 24/7 support offering, 13 language-speaking, potential BPO  partner, we’re passionate about helping you to succeed.

5 Key CX Trends For 2023

1. More Personalization Demands

We all like to think there’s something unique about us, and that’s no less true for customers. Even where you have 200 consumers purchasing the same thing, personalization is fast becoming non-negotiable.

You have to show your customer that you really appreciate them – as in the specific individual that’s buying your product or service.

Don’t misinterpret this point  though. It’s obvious to many customers that they’re just one of many purchasing from you.

But that’s precisely what makes this extra effort to personalize so special. Amidst the tens, hundreds, or thousands of other customers, you took “5 seconds” to make their experience a bit more personal.

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This could be something as simple as adding their name to a receipt email. Sure, if you’re selling something heavily customized, you have to up the CX game as well.

The great thing though is that the premise always stays the same. You just have to figure out the degree of personalization that customers expect from you.

2. Seamless Integration Of AI

This one’s a finicky topic, and yet so very important. Everyone has their views on how AI will influence customer experience at this point.

Will it completely replace customer service representatives? Has technology reached a point where a predictability matrix can just serve the customers what they want, without knowing it?

We’d advise a grain of salt here and there. Life’s not a Sci-Fi movie, not yet. Well, not completely. Realistically, we can do so much for CX with AI that it can even trouble the mind a bit.

Perhaps the most obvious example are chatbots.

At this point, we’ve all been on a website where a live chat opens by itself and “John” offers to help you out. And also at this point, we know that’s not really “John”, or “Jane”, or a living being.

And yet, it works; it gets the job done, it’s fast, it can tackle the same conversation in 5,000 instances, all at once, all with the same level of quality.

Awesome, so you don’t need support agents anymore, right? Wrong!

As great as AI already is, and as much as it’s going to break the limits of what’s possible, it’s not going to be “human” for a looong time.

All automated CX processes are going to lack the specific type of empathy that only another person can provide.

  • You can create complex email marketing “if this, then that” functions.
  • You can write templates that really don’t look like templates.
  • You can take advantage of VoIP technology to its fullest.
  • You can implement self-service systems that offer immediate resolution.
  • You CAN’T simulate a human connection. When your customers have a more complicated problem, they will always want to interact with another person. Someone they feel understands them and is in their corner.

3. Increase In Outsourcing

As businesses look to expand into new markets, especially internationally, offering support quickly becomes high-velocity.

Request volumes start going up, with customer service agent attrition levels following suit. When a high enough level is reached, that’s when you start having employee retention problems.

Soon enough, you’re swamped in overhead, as constant recruitment and onboarding become a real thing. What’s more, that also means that support quality can never stay at its top-most value.

This is a consequence of keeping all front-office and back-office processes in-house. Yes, it’s tempting to do it.

It’s comfortable to feel in control of all operations, to have that confidence that your brand image isn’t being tarnished. To have the final say in everything going.

We’ll share a “secret” that some of you already know though: outsourcing doesn’t take any of that way!

Scale your customer support

Actually, it improves on all of those facets, by enabling your internal teams to focus on more pressing tasks: scaling, improving product/service quality, getting new leads and closing them, upping your marketing game, etc.

Choosing to outsource your customer experience is possibly the best choice you can do for your business's future.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to take just our word for it. Check this out – 90% of SMBs planned to use some form of outsourcing this year (2022).

If that doesn’t put things into perspective, there’s more. Outsourcing is just externalizing work to a (usually) offshore team:

  • Lower overall costs or some forms of tax exemption.
  • Save critical time better spent on other business priorities.
  • Get direct access to industry experts who perform those tasks successfully day in and day out.
  • Take part in the sourcing process, having the final say on who joins your team, what they need to be experts at, what the core KPIs are, and all executive decisions.

4. More Self-Service Expectations

Like we’ve touched on above, patience is not really a virtue of the modern customer. We tend to want things done “now”. Not fast, now.

And, it makes sense too. Especially with the inflation we’ve gone through this year, the prices of…everything, have even skyrocketed in places.

When you pay a lot for a product or service, you expect to receive the experience you wanted.

However, if that experience, for some reason, isn’t up to your standards, you want an immediate resolution that’s in your favor. Like it or not, this is how customers will think more and more going forward.

That’s why self-service has become a hot topic. It’s never going to be the be-all and end-all solution for obvious limitations, and yet it’s a must.

The most basic example is the Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section of a website. If you’re seeing the same questions again and again from your customers, put them up on your website.

Promote that FAQ in places where you’re advertising getting in touch with your support team.

This will not only satisfy the customer’s need for an instant solution (if the problem isn’t too complex), but also free up your phone line/chat support for customers that need it more.

Self-service can also be applied to things like navigating a SaaS product interface, in the form of a tutorial and accompanying knowledge base.

The list goes on; it’s just a matter of what would suit your industry’s customers best.

5. Demands For Omnichannel Alignment

42% of the U.S.’s population are digital natives (millennials and generation Z). For them, your business must exist first and foremost on the internet.

That means your website and social media presence must be top notch, and interconnected with all other customer touchpoints.

The reasoning is simple – being as accustomed to smartphones as the back of their hand, digital natives expect to find everything…digitally.

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So, CX doesn’t mean just a single interaction anymore, but the sum of all interactions. Whether in a social media message, or over the phone, or an in-store chat with a customer. Because in the end, digital natives are going to look at the whole picture and draw their conclusion.

Do your paid ads messaging and website landing pages match up perfectly? Are details consistent across your product descriptions to interactions with support?

Is that discount code they got off of your email newsletter actually applicable when they make the purchase?

At the end of the day, that’s why we even call the concept customer “experience”. It’s not just about support.

Support is there to reinforce and promote a positive customer experience, but its creation must be omnichannel.

Reinvigorate Your Customer Experience In 2023

Are you ready to enable your teams to refocus on the tasks that actively propel the company towards higher revenue?

Then leave the support side of CX to us. In fact, you can leave other parts of it too!

Our deft Ninjas regularly solve both front-office (like customer support) and back-office (like data entry) assignments with utmost efficiency.

We have outsourcing solutions in 13 languages, available 24/7, and with maximum care towards agent attrition. We take care of our people, and they take care of your business.

One of our biggest accomplishments is consistently providing higher gross margins and stronger E.B.I.T.D.A. for our mid-level clients, with services such as:

  • Customer Success
  • Technical Support
  • Content Moderation
  • Data Processing - including lead generation and data analysis
  • Professional Services - including finance & accounting, software development and more
  • We’re eager to get to know you and your business needs!