8 Requirements of the 21st Century Customer

8 Requirements of the 21st Century Customer

When choosing companies with which to do business, today’s customers look for a blend of traditional service traits and newer ones that have arisen with technology advances.

We are now closer to 2020 than 2010. Whether you are a business owner or one employee out of thousands, and whether your job title is IT director or call center specialist, everyone today is in customer service. Here are eight mandates of modern customers you must heed if you want to remain competitive.

Customization

The era of mass production of goods and services is over. Your customer wants a certain style of shirt in a certain color and a certain size and he wants it today. Be prepared to adapt your current offerings to whatever your customers have identified they need, and think about how to price accordingly.

Human contact

Some automation is to be expected, but when your customer decides she needs to talk to a person, give her a person. Companies that force customers to push “0” a million times to no avail are losing business, guaranteed. This will be harder to do, but even more important, as machines take over more and more business functions.

Social media responsiveness

Whether they’ve had a good experience or a bad one, your customers will share it over Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Put a system in place to manage your properties every day so you can show them you’re listening to feedback and that you care, and so that you can put out small fires before they turn into a conflagration.

Mobility

Any piece of information you provide to a customer has to be mobile-accessible. That means she can do anything, anywhere, on any device. Mobility is no longer a “nice to have” but an imperative. At the same time, don’t forget the late adopters and keep your standard device support around for a while.

Multiple touch points

Some customers like Live Chat while others prefer to email. Some might even prefer to wait 45 minutes on the phone. I personally love when companies let me schedule the time for the customer rep to call me back. The point is, give people options and don’t limit them to getting in touch during 9-5 business hours.

Self-service

When it comes to simple activities like placing an order, canceling a subscription or updating an address, provide mechanisms so customers don’t have to bother you or waste their time. If you’re doing this right, your customers shouldn’t need you most of the time.

Memorable experiences

Today’s customers don’t just want to buy things from you, they want to have a meaningful relationship with your brand. This means that when they interact with you, you should give them the opportunity to feel something. Engage their spirit and you’ll increase their loyalty and their referrals.

Empathy

This one has been the hallmark of good customer service for centuries, and it won’t change. Realize that if your customer is contacting you with a problem, there is usually a legitimate reason. Listen, be understanding if he expresses frustration, and do everything you can to remedy the situation.

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