Agent Motivation

Best Practices for Meeting (and Managing) Customer Needs

There are some brands that seem to just get it, that understand customer wants and needs and are able to meet and exceed those expectations in the moment, at any given moment in time. 

And what sets these customer-centric leaders apart from the rest? For in-depth insights on this topic, we at Stella Connect by Medallia commissioned a research study of more than 2,100 consumers to get a better understanding of the evolving customer service and customer experience landscape to determine the best practices for meeting and exceeding customer needs.

Here’s what we learned and where we recommend brands focus their customer service efforts.

4 Strategies for Meeting and Managing Customer Needs

#1: Lowering Average Time-to-Response Rate 

It’s the on-demand age, and delivering customer service with speed and convenience is a crucial factor driving business success today. 

According to our research, both US and UK consumers rank response time as the #1 factor that matters the most when interacting with customer service.

What matters the most when contacting customer service?

#1: Response time

#2: Agent knowledge about products and services

#3: Overall time and effort needed to resolve an issue

#4: Personalized communication and resolution

#5: Agent tone and communication style

Source: 2021 Stella Connect by Medallia survey of 2,100 consumers in the US and UK

And as to how long they’re willing to wait on hold? More than one third (35%) of US consumers and just under 3 in 10 UK consumers say they’re only willing to wait up to 5 minutes for customer service to respond. And less than 10%—only 8% of US consumers and 6% of UK consumers—say they’ll wait longer than 15 minutes. 

#2: Increasing First-Call Resolution Rate 

Take a minute and think about the last time you had to reach out to a brand multiple times before customer service resolved your issue. More likely than not, it was a frustrating, time-consuming experience and not in line with today’s customer expectations. It’s no wonder then that improving first-call resolution rate (FCR) is positively correlated with higher customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores and, conversely, poor FCR rates are associated with poor CSAT scores. 

Our latest findings serve as a reminder why FCR should be a priority. Nearly one in four—23% of US and 21% of UK—consumers say they would NOT be willing to reach out to a brand again if their customer service issue isn’t resolved on the first attempt. 

As further evidence of why FCR is one of the most important customer service metrics to track and strengthen, the majority of individuals we reached out to—64% of US and 70% of UK consumers—say they’re only willing to reach out to a brand for customer support two to three times before they will leave a negative review about their experience or switch to a competitor. 

#3: Collecting Real-Time Customer Feedback

The power of capturing and adapting your customer service strategies based on the voice of the customer is undeniable, especially when you consider the immediate impact of just one poor customer experience.

What Customer Service Leaders Should be Prioritizing in 2022

40% of US and UK consumers say they will post about a poor customer service experience online

49% of US and UK consumers say they will tell their friends and family to stop buying from a brand after a poor customer service experience

60% of consumers across the US and UK say that they will stop buying from a brand after a poor customer service experience

53% of consumers say they have switched brands due to a poor customer experience

67% of US and UK shoppers say they would stop doing business with a brand after only 2-3 poor customer service interactions

Source: 2021 Stella Connect by Medallia survey of 2,100 consumers in the US and UK

According to our survey, about half of customers who have a negative interaction will tell their friends and family to stop buying from the brand and more than half (about 60%) will stop buying from the brand. 

Brands that leverage real-time VoC data can improve the customer experience by:

  • Driving product innovations
  • Optimizing customer service training programs and performance
  • Meeting customer needs better the next time around—at the individual and collective level—based on information gathered

#4: Turning Things Around When You Don’t Meet Customer Needs the First Time 

It’s only inevitable that some customer interactions will miss the mark. Fortunately, service recovery can be an effective strategy for ultimately meeting customer needs, even when your team’s initial attempts fall short. 

This is important to keep in mind, especially when you consider that more than half (53%) of customers say they have already switched companies due to a poor customer experience—this up from just 33% of customers who said they switched brands after a negative customer service experience in 2020.

The good news? Nearly all of our survey takers (97%) say they’ll keep doing business with companies that turn negative customer experiences into positive ones. In fact, service recovery efforts can even boost brand loyalty in the process. Up to 84% of US and UK consumers tell us that when customer service is able to provide a solution, they feel a deeper connection to the brand. 

97% of consumers across the US and UK say that they would continue to do business with brands that turn poor experiences into positive ones by solving their problems immediately

88% of consumers are more likely to leave feedback if they know doing so would help the customer service agent improve the customer experience 

84% of US and UK consumers say that when customer service solves a problem for them, they feel more emotionally connected to the brand

Source: 2021 Stella Connect by Medallia survey of 2,100 consumers in the US and UK

Effective service recovery strategies include:

  • Collecting better customer feedback
  • Following up with customers who have a negative experience
  • Making things right
  • Asking for additional feedback after attempting to resolve the issue
  • Measuring the impact of service recovery efforts on NPS over time

The Top Customer Service Trends to Help Your Business Meet (and Exceed) Customer Needs in 2022

Dive into the findings from our report: Customer Service Trends for 2022: Preparing for the Future of Customer Service to unlock key insights that will help you and your team meet and exceed customer needs in the year ahead.


Customer Service Trends for 2022