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You’ve probably heard a story or two of exceptional customer experiences where consumers are completely caught off guard by attentive and proactive service. The observant hotel employee that rescues a beloved stuff animal or the considerate customer service agent who sends a gift card along with an exchanged item to make up for a shipping error.

Some companies seem to have an uncanny ability to get ahead of their customer’s issues. Ask any of them and they probably won’t say “it just happens”. This type of dedication to creating exceptional customer service is created by design and is usually built into the culture of the company.

Anticipating customer needs can seem daunting, after all, you can’t read minds. The good news is that your customers don’t expect you to read their minds, but they do want you to anticipate the problem they are trying to solve and help them reach a resolution as quickly as possible.

For all of the work it requires to make anticipating customer needs happen, the payoff is well worth it. Let’s take a look at how to anticipate customer needs and what it means to your customer service.

how anticipating customer needs can improve customer service

Disrupt expectations and increase accessibility

When we walk into a store, we expect clean, organized displays and friendly staff. When we research a company online, we expect to find some digital presence – a website or social media profile, perhaps some reviews. As consumers, we are trained to expect certain experiences during our entire relationship with a company.

Regardless of whether we’re shopping for a vacation getaway, office supplies, or a new car loan from your credit union, there is a certain level of convenience and responsiveness that consumers expect. The absence of these things can degrade the customer experience.

The converse is also true when it comes to interrupting the day to call customer service, waiting on hold to speak to a representative, or having to wait days for an email response. There are certain things within your customer’s journey that they’ve come to expect and dread. If these dreaded experiences were removed it would greatly improve their experience.

You don’t need a crystal ball to see that consumers are using mobile devices to communicate and prefer the ease and convenience of engaging in messaging channels such as SMS, web chat, and social media. Implementing messaging to reduce wait times, deflect calls, and provide faster assistance disrupts and resets the consumer expectation that contacting a company for help is slow and inconvenient.

At Quiq, we help our clients provide convenient ways for customers to engage with a brand and allow consumers to reach out to companies on their terms. Communicating with companies via messaging is still pretty new and we’ve seen so many consumers respond with surprise and delight at the ability to text a company for help.

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Set a precedent

The biggest problem across the customer experience lifecycle are communication inefficiencies. As consumers, we’ve all experienced the inconvenience and dismay of having to navigate an IVR system, wait on hold, or wait for an email response from brands when we need help.

During these moments of need, we want the ability to reach out to a company without having to interrupt our day to receive fast, convenient help. Customer loyalty is won (or lost) at these moments of need.

Aligning your people, processes, and technology to reduce effort, increase personalization. and maximize value will allow you to set a precedent for the kind of service your customers can expect in the future. Imagine how your customers would perceive your brand if they were able to text a question to your contact center and get immediate help and resolution. No interruptions to their day, no inconvenience or waiting involved.

When your customer expects to be taken care of, they can engage with your company without feeling that they have to play offense, which leads to more pleasant interactions for both sides. Customers will expect every interaction to be positive and anticipate you will do whatever it takes to resolve their issue.

Influence and win customer loyalty

We’ve touched on customer loyalty in earlier posts, but we can’t stress the importance of winning your customer’s loyalty enough. In a digital-first age, where customers have so many choices, winning customer’s loyalty is more important than ever before and customer service has become a major competitive advantage.

When it comes to customer loyalty, good customer service matters. CCW’s research on customers engagement preference shares some very compelling statistics

  • 70% of customers demand resolutions on the first contact,
  • 69% view speed as a top priority,
  • 66% value friendly, personable agents, while
  • 65% utterly oppose waiting on hold!

Significant numbers of customers also prioritize agent knowledge (65%), effort level (64%) and 24/7/365 access (55%) when interacting with businesses. There’s no question that we are in the age of customer-centricity, so these consumer demands should come as no surprise.

Forbes recently reported that 67 percent of customers have become “serial switchers” and are willing to switch brands because companies fail to create positive, emotional experiences that drive loyalty. The path to struggling businesses are paved with bad experiences such as customers on lengthy holds and brands not being available at the customers moment of need.

Predict future needs

Unless you really do have a crystal ball or have suddenly honed your ability to read tarot cards, you can’t anticipate every unique situation that may come your way. Sure, there are some customer issues that may be frequent and obvious enough that you can anticipate their exact need, like needing to change a delivery or service date or receiving the wrong color and want help with an exchange. Regardless of the issue, the one thing you can anticipate is that your customer wants resolution in the fastest, most pain-free way possible.

Quiq is helping companies across multiple industries do just that through messaging. We enable customers to engage with their favorite brands with the same ease and convenience they talk to family and friends. Whether a customer needs to text you to ask about an exchange or new car loan, needs assistance via chat in finding and buying the perfect gift, or wants to schedule a service and pay for it through Apple Business Chat, Quiq Messaging is the solution that powers those seamless connections.

Quiq makes it easy for customers to contact a business via Messaging, the preferred channel already in use with friends and family.  With Quiq, customers can engage with companies via SMS/text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Web Chat, In-App, and Kik for help with their pre-sales and post-sales questions. In return, companies get a digital engagement platform to communicate with customers. Try it out yourself today with a free demo!