Customer needs now and then
27/04/2020 |

Customer needs now and then

Customer needs have changed dramatically in recent years and
demands have increased. What options do smaller companies
in particular have to respond to these changes?

Customer needs today are very different from those that were standard just a few years ago. We are in a continuous state of change, and these changes are particularly noticeable – particularly with digital transformation. In addition, needs and customers are changing much faster today thanks to increasing technological development.

However, companies are not always able to react adequately to increased customer demands. The gap between trendsetters and those who are lagging behind is widening. Digitization and digital transformation have triggered many trends in customer expectations and thus created new demands. Companies must now meet these demands or they will fall by the wayside.

Let’s Look at Ourselves

To understand how much customer expectations have changed and to realize that they are constantly increasing, we only have to look at ourselves. We have long since gotten used to online orders being delivered the same day or the next day, to having information always at hand and to technology making our lives easier. It is becoming more and more natural for automation to take certain tasks off our hands.

All of this generates a whole new expectation of service culture. The new focus on customer experience has developed and is exemplified by large corporations in particular. But expectations are generally rising, putting pressure on many smaller companies that often can’t keep up.

The customer and his expectations should always be at the center of consideration when evaluating and rethinking the service.

The Targeted Use of Tools as a Survival Measure

An important measure for small and medium-sized companies is the targeted use of tools to meet the expected service standard, such as by implementing OTRS service management software. An advantage of OTRS is the flexibility of the software. It is completely individually configurable and therefore always fits – no matter how large a company is or what industry it belongs to. In addition, OTRS is a true enterprise service management solution, so it can be used in almost all areas of a company.

The customer and his expectations should always be at the center of consideration when evaluating and rethinking the service. When it comes to setting yourself apart from the competition, the customer experience is the new success factor. While technology has been instrumental in creating higher customer needs, it is also the solution for optimizing customer service.

Every Customer Request Is a Chance

Every customer enquiry counts, because it opens up the opportunity for a more intensive relationship or the long-term positive strengthening of the same. This requires optimal conditions, which can be created by using customer management software. This kind of software increases the quality of customer service in the long term, because customers are optimally supported from the very first moment they contact you, including automatically informing them about the status of their request.

In addition, your service employees are provided with useful features, such as:

  • Communication templates,
  • Assignments, and
  • Communication history.

Requests can even be automatically classified and immediately assigned to the right departments so that there’s no waiting time for customers.

Finding the right answers is another example of delivering a good customer experience. Well maintained FAQs and a user-friendly knowledge database are essential for this. The customer wants to be able to access information quickly and easily.

Today, the way we communicate is also crucial. This has long since changed and been adapted to the mobile lifestyle. Communicating via all common channels, including social media, has become essential to meeting current customer needs. With OTRS 8, service employees can of course be contacted via many common channels, such as Facebook, Twitter and live chat.

Technology, or more specifically, customer management software can therefore be used to create wonderful customer experiences and to optimize service delivery. By mapping processes and structures, efficiency increases and cost savings can also be achieved.

Regularly recurring processes are another opportunity for optimization. In principle, processes exist in every company. When poorly structured, they can tie up resources and are very error-prone. Small and mid-sized businesses can benefit by automating their workflows. They can use:

  • process and communication templates,
  • inquiry masks,
  • assignments,
  • consistent documentation and
  • communication histories

to ensure increased efficiency and help to avoid mistakes when they automate their processes.

The use of a process management system thus enables even more precise work. The simple and uncomplicated operation even makes it easy to adapt processes or to create new process templates. Technology, or more specifically, customer management software can therefore be used to create wonderful customer experiences and to optimize service delivery. By mapping processes and structures, efficiency increases and cost savings can also be achieved.

It is important to recognize that the interaction between customers and companies has changed and will continue to change. Parts of the customer journey have shifted to digital channels. Consumers are researching, comparing and buying both online and offline. The border is becoming increasingly blurred.

Personal Advice Remains Decisive

What remains of immense importance to customers, regardless of all technological developments, is receiving personal advice. It is often the decisive factor in the purchase decision. Especially in complex situations, customers seek personal contact. At the same time, however, the need for mobility, flexibility and individually-controllable interactions with companies is increasing. The customer will take advantage of self-service options, but wants to spend as little time as possible on these. Therefore, personal advice related to services must be simple, ideally self-explanatory and seamlessly extendable through additional channels.

Increasingly, individuality and personalization also play an important role to both customers and service providers. People are looking for an individual style, follow individual life paths and have an individual digital identities. They buy products that are individually tailored to them and use individual service offerings. This was clearly reflected in the results of a global study by the OTRS Group from January 2020. The majority of respondents (62 percent) primarily want software that is tailored to their personal needs when working with customers. In Brazil, this number was 97 percent; it was 72 percent in Mexico, 60 percent in Germany and 50 percent in the United States and Singapore. On an economic level, the trend is clearly towards individualization, which culminates in a company’s ability to personalize products.

Contemporary technology takes the need for personalization into account too, because positive employees are crucial for business success, especially in customer service roles. The service management software OTRS attaches great importance to this. OTRS 8 provides a large number of personalization options that encourage more fun at work and thus increase the motivation of your employees. Users design their workplace according to their personal work styles.

Digital transformation promises added value or additional benefits through innovations and personalized offers. It opens up opportunities for companies to establish themselves with new services and business models. However, creating an excellent customer experience in line with customer needs is the decisive success factor and one of the greatest challenges as businesses change.

Let’s face it: Customer needs are constantly changing. If companies want to be successful, they must be able to anticipate these changes and react quickly and efficiently. It takes courage, perhaps a little willingness to take risks, and the right tools in order to tread new paths and enter into a dialogue with customers about their wishes.

Embrace it — this courage. It will be worth it in the long run.

Text:
Photos: Blake Wisz on Unsplash

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