3 new customer expectations that can’t be ignored

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Business leaders and customers alike know how we do business has changed, but are we truly acting on it or merely observing? In the second episode of TTEC's "Redefining Value" podcast series, Mary Nelson sat down with Matt Benjamin, US & Canada Operations & Technology Customer Engagement Leader at Mercer, to learn more about what customers value and how to meet these expectations head on. With more than 20 years of experience, Benjamin is a seasoned strategy product management and operations leader. Here are some snapshots of their conversation.

This conversation has been lightly edited for briefness and clarity.

Mary Nelson: Let's talk for a moment about value creation in a post-COVID world. What customers valued before the pandemic has, in many cases, changed. What are your thoughts on what's changed? And what are you seeing in what customers value?

Matt Benjamin: I think we can definitely all agree that the world is a much different place than it ever has been before. And as a result of that, customer expectations have definitely evolved. I think there are three things that have really emerged over the past, maybe, 12 to 18 months as we've been going on this little bit of a rollercoaster. That when you package them all up together, they form a really interesting, maybe, new view on value from the customer's perspective.

First, without question, is, in my opinion, the need for speed . . . I think customers are placing an even more heightened degree of value on instant, or real-time, access to information, transactions, or even connection. That can span anything from ordering delivery to updating insurance coverage to connecting a Bluetooth device to joining friends, maybe, virtually for a happy hour.

Second in that three-legged stool is the need for ease . . . And then, the last leg of that stool, in my opinion, is simply the need for care, or should I say, to feel cared for.

MN: Absolutely, so true. And everything you're saying is spot on. You talked about different channels and the usage of different channels over the past year. You talk generally. What impact are you seeing in your own contact center?

MB: I think what's great to see over the past one to two years is that as more and more digital channel options have become available more customers are gravitating towards them, and they're leveraging them to get what they need, when they need it. The digital channel options range anywhere from virtual assistant types of chatbots to self-service enhancements, proactive messaging via email or SMS, or maybe additive capabilities through digital self-service websites. All things that we've been down the path deploying and launching and making available.

As a result, we've been seeing that increased utilization in those digital channels, while the traditional channels are starting to taper off. But what's still coming through those traditional channels is now the stuff that really matters. It's the more complex, more meatier stuff. The truly value added conversations, which, at least right now, are still best served through that live interaction with a person that you connect with.

To hear the full conversation and listen to all of Matt Benjamin’s insights, visit the CX Pod.