Did you know globally, 54% of all consumers say that they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago? If you’re a consumer services professional, it’s time to up your game and give customers an unbeatable experience. You don’t want to just settle for “satisfied” customers—you want engaged customers that will stay loyal and become repeat buyers.
With the massive disruption of COVID-19 and growing adoption of digital technologies, gaining the attention of customers is no easy task. Consumer services professionals are facing a difficult landscape, and we’re here to help.
👀 Are you looking for an eBook made specifically for consumer services professionals? Look no further! Grab our how-to guide for consumer services professionals.
What do consumer services professionals do?
First things first, let’s define what a consumer services professional exactly does. If you work in the service of selling or consulting mainly to individuals, instead of organizations, then you’re most likely a consumer services professional. Consumer services professionals aren’t limited to what they sell—it can be any service from education, home, media, restaurant, travel, or some other consumer-facing industry. For example, think about goods used by consumers for personal, family, or household purposes, such as shampoo, food, or even paints—these can all be categorized under consumer goods.
5 key steps for success
Now that you’re in tune with what a consumer services professional does, let’s get to some top tips and tricks. Below, we outline five key steps for success for consumer services professionals.
1. Prioritize the customer experience
We’ve all heard the term “customer experience,” and there’s a reason why it keeps popping up—it’s the cornerstone of business success, especially for companies in the consumer services industry. In fact, companies that lead in customer experience outperform laggards by nearly 80%, and 73% of consumers say a good experience is key in influencing their brand loyalties. So, what can you do to start upleveling your customer experience as a consumer services professional? For starters, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you evolving with customer expectations?
- Can you communicate with your customers on their preferred channel of choice anytime, anywhere?
- Is it easy for your customers to reach the right person the first time?
- Have you taken advantage of customer data to prepare you for their next sale?
- Can you easily view and analyze customer communications to discover insights for service improvements?
These are just a few of the many questions you can start asking yourself to see if you’re truly keeping your customers front and center.
🔍 Want more tips to improve the customer experience? Grab our customer satisfaction checklist for consumer services professionals.
Remember, neglecting to prioritize the customer experience comes with negative consequences: 89% of consumers have switched to doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. It’s safe to say that you don’t want to lose your customers to competitors, so make sure that every action you take ties back to the customer experience.
2. Assess your communications setup
Whether you’re scheduling appointments, coordinating service distributions, or providing assistance to customers, it’s clear that the right communications setup is a need, not a want. If your communications setup is dated and causing headaches, it’s time for an upgrade. Move to the cloud if you haven’t already, and here’s why according to a survey:
- 74% of respondents said that cloud communications gives the company faster access to advanced features and capabilities.
- 66% of respondents said cloud communications eliminates the hassle of integrating products from multiple vendors. This can save a substantial amount of money and time in the long run for small to medium-sized businesses.
- 61% of respondents said switching to the cloud makes the cost of hosted communications predictable. Lower costs of telecommunications equipment are always a huge benefit.
One of biggest perks of moving to the cloud is instant cost-savings. Let’s take a look at Binswanger Glass for example. Binswanger Glass has grown to be one of the nation’s leading glass retailers and was able to save half a million dollars by upgrading their communications setup to a cloud-based solution.
By switching to RingCentral Office®, the company was able to eliminate the cost of unnecessary hardware and services. RingCentral’s integrated fax capability meant the company could remove hundreds of fax machines and analog lines. And since the IT team can now administer the phone system remotely and users can adjust their own settings, the company no longer needs the ongoing help of expensive external technicians. As Parsons explains:
“With network and phone cost savings combined, we’ve saved half a million dollars annually.”
Ready to move to the cloud and unsure how to get started? Check out this infographic covering cloud communications for the modern consumer services professional.
Your communications setup can make or break your success as a consumer services professional—one dropped call can be business lost. This is why it’s critical to get a cloud-based communications setup that’s reliable with 24/7 support, allows you to work from anywhere, improves your flow of work, and is rated #1 by industry experts.
We live in 2021—there’s no more excuses to stick to pricey, clunky legacy systems. It’s time to get your hands on a single app for all your communication needs, including messaging, video meetings, phone calls, texts, and even faxes so that you can communicate with your customers and colleagues on their channel of choice anytime, anywhere. By turning to one unified app, you won’t have to deal with the pain and extra costs of managing multiple apps.
🤔 How can the right communications setup help your consumer services company stay competitive? Find out with our consumer services brief.
3. Upgrade your contact center
Did you know 9 in 10 consumers want absolute omnichannel service? This means they expect a seamless experience when moving from one communication method to another. Take advantage of platforms like RingCentral Contact Center™ to create an omnichannel contact center that helps you connect with your customers on their channel of choice, whether through phone, web, chat, email, social media, self-serve options, or any other digital channel.
Here’s another interesting stat to think about: 72% of consumers say that when contacting customer service, they expect the agent to “know who they are, what they have purchased, and have insights into their previous engagements.” Do you know your customers’ history before engaging with them? If not, you’re potentially letting down 72% of consumers.
With RingCentral’s integration with CRM systems (such as Salesforce), you never have to worry about being in the dark with your customers. Through the power of integrations, you can dial customers and prospects (through RingCentral) in your CRM dashboard, while viewing key information such as contact referrals, the dollar amount of each potential deal, and more. You’ll know exactly who the person is on the other end of the line before conversing.
4. Create personalized experiences
Who doesn’t want a personalized experience? Customers want to feel special and attended to—a generic one-size-fits-all approach to the customer experience simply doesn’t cut it. This is especially important given 48% of consumers expect specialized treatment for being a good customer and 67% say they’ll pay more for a great experience.
As a consumer services professional, it’s your job to make your customers happy. Simple things like remembering their preferences or suggesting new products that address their particular challenges can make all the difference. These little touches and extra efforts help personalize their experience and make them feel heard.
Another way to personalize the experience is by ensuring that your customers reach the right person the first time. The sooner a customer is routed to the right person, the sooner they can get answers to their specific needs. No one likes being routed to 10 different service professionals before getting to the right one—turn to skills-based routing so you can connect customers to the best-matched agent faster.
5. Gather honest feedback
Keyword here: honest. Sometimes hearing honest feedback isn’t always easy, especially when it’s harsh criticism—but it’s criticism that’s going to help you understand how to improve your business. By gathering honest feedback from prospects and customers, you’re able to gain valuable insights from your target audience.
Not only are you able to gain insights on how to improve your business, but you’re also gaining trust with your consumers. Brands are viewed more favorably by 77% of consumers if they proactively invite and accept customer feedback. You need to go to your customers to get their feedback given only 1 out of 26 unsatisfied customers actually complain. Start reaching out to your customers and ask them for their feedback, whether giving a direct phone call to add a more personal touch or offering them a customer survey to fill out anonymously.
The next time a customer complains, ask more about it. The last thing you want to do is ignore their feedback. You’d be surprised at how many businesses follow the latter: 79% of consumers who shared complaints about poor customer experience online had their complaints ignored. Don’t be a part of the 79%. Instead, start viewing complaints as an opportunity to build better relationships with your customers and refine your business approach.
Success stories: How two companies are improving consumer experiences with RingCentral
Are you curious about how businesses have turned to RingCentral to improve consumer experiences? Look no further. We have two great success stories for you.
Neighborly levels up its contact center
Neighborly is a Texas-based company that owns over 20 brands specializing in repairing, maintaining, and enhancing people’s homes and businesses. As Neighborly acquired more businesses, it became difficult to integrate all the various phone systems and communications platforms it had inherited. To solve this problem, the company decided to adopt RingCentral Contact Center, which proved to be a more scalable solution.
Preston Williams, the company’s Director of Network and Infrastructure, describes how the company homed in on RingCentral as its number one choice:
“As we looked at contact center solutions, our wish list kept growing—video conferencing, webinars, voicemail, IVRs, and so on. The more tools we added to our list, the more vendors fell away until only RingCentral was left.”
Neighborly was able to roll out the RingCentral unified communications and contact center platform to dozens of locations without a hitch. Using RingCentral Contact Center, the company’s support department now has a versatile system that lets agents access the help desk and provide support from anywhere on any device. What’s more, RingCentral’s built-in team messaging app means agents can chat in real time, making it easier to coordinate tasks and send out urgent messages to their team simultaneously.
Junk Chuckers boosts conversions by 275%
Junk Chuckers is a small Canadian business that removes unwanted materials for homes and businesses in Toronto. Al Noufaro, the company’s owner, quickly realized his sales team needed a reliable, integrated phone system to process the onslaught of orders. So, he turned to RingCentral:
“Our old phone system didn’t give us a way to digitally centralize or monitor activity… Thanks to RingCentral’s integrations, I was able to connect our phone activity with our CRM and the project-management app Trello. That gave our team a whole new simplified view of call activity, the status of leads, and what everyone’s next actions should be. This improvement alone really moved the needle for our business.”
Noufaro also credits RingCentral with helping the business boost conversions by 275%. He specifically mentions the platform’s voice prompt feature, which frequently chimes in to reassure prospects who are on hold that their call is important to the company:
“It might sound like a small thing. But since we fired up that feature, we’ve noticed the average caller waits an additional 60 seconds—and that wait time gets them to a rep, which is why our phone-to-bookings rate has skyrocketed.”
🕹️ Get a hands-on look at how RingCentral works by booking a product tour:
💰 You can also use this calculator to see roughly how much your business could save by using RingCentral to support your team’s communication with each other, clients, freelancers, and more.
As you grow your career as a consumer services professional, we hope you take these five tips with you. It’s important to never lose sight of the customer experience and equip yourself with the right communication tools so that you’re set up for maximum success. Moving forward, we encourage you to continue learning from your peers in the consumer services industry and customers—they’re the best source of knowledge you’ll get.
Originally published Apr 26, 2021, updated Jul 06, 2021