Growing up all of my clothes came from the same company: Land’s End. Two words are enough, to sum up why my mother shopped there year after year: lifetime warranty. It was a huge differentiator for us since we tended to be the kids who tore their clothes or grew out them way too quickly. When something happened, my mother sent the clothing back. A week later, new clothes showed up in the mail — all of this for free. This was the Land’s End guarantee.
Now as many of us know, Land’s End has not been as successful in recent years. Countless other retailers have adopted the lifetime warranty model including LL Bean, Eddie Bauer, The North Face, and more. You can read a full list here but for the purposes of this post, let’s just say that Land’s End lost their competitive advantage.
Nowadays, many businesses find their competitive advantage within their customer experience. The experience is carefully curated from the moment we become a potential customer for a business. The advertising is curated to speak directly to our needs, the onboarding is made to be as painless as possible, and checkout is a breeze. So why is customer support still a reactive portion of the funnel? Why has this not evolved?
NextGen Customer Support
Predictive support is the next model in the evolution of customer support. We should no longer be reacting to customer support tickets, rather fixing issues before they are even broken. This can manifest itself in two different scenarios:
- Know something is wrong before the customer does. Your support team can now fix issues within your product before the customer know there is something wrong. Using this method, a support ticket never even enters the system.
- Work on the issue before communication begins. This is a more satisfying and sexy version of the prior scenario. This is when you get to say to the customer “We noticed you were having the following issue and have resolved it for you.”
With either scenario, you have significantly increased your customer satisfaction and increased the likelihood that the customer will turn into an advocate for your product.
Customer Satisfaction and Predictive Support
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), there are many factors that go into true customer satisfaction but one of the heaviest weighted factors is customer complaints. They measure the number of complaints that come directly to a company within a specified time frame. Satisfaction has a negative relationship with customer complaints, as the more satisfied the customers, the less likely they are to complain.
Does predictive support affect customer satisfaction?
The fewer complaints there are, the higher your score will rise. The quicker the complaints decrease, the faster it will happen.
Moving away from scoring, predictive support will decrease the quantity of support tickets entering your system. Knowing where errors are occurring will give you the ability to fix the issue before a customer even enters a support ticket. Furthermore, the few tickets that do come through will have significantly reduced support times because the issues will already be identified.
As technology continues to revolutionize the world around us, the demands of our customers will continue to increase. We must continue to evolve the customer experience to retain a competitive edge — or we face the same fate as Land’s End and many other beloved brands of the past.