For global businesses today, Germany represents an important market. But keeping German customers delighted isn’t as easy as it seems. They have their own way of doing things and therefore, a one-size-fits-all approach to customer service won’t work.
German call centers need to adapt to the changing needs and expectations of customers in the region. With this in mind, we reviewed our interactions with German customers and spoke to our German Customer support team to gather some insights on brands can customize their customer experience and project their brand as a local familiar brand to their German customers.
So, let’s take a look at the latest customer service trends – including the subsequent takeaways – which multi-national companies targeting Germany should be cognizant of.
Customer dissatisfaction is commonplace
Germans are regulars in communicating with brands. Based on a survey, about 6 in 8, or 74% of them, do so at least monthly. What’s worrying though is that about half of those who responded to the survey weren’t satisfied with their experience. Biggest reason quotes by the German Customers for their disappointment was the time it takes companies to respond.
Takeaway: To think that German customers don’t contact brands enough is a falsified notion. They do and expect instant access to support or information when they approach customer service. When setting up German Call Centers, brands need to ensure that they invest in multiple modes of communication to make the support timelier, more mobile and more secure. Similarly, your German Call Center agents should be thoroughly trained on your product and services so that they are able to deliver fast and accurate responses to your German customers. There’s so much potential to turn dissatisfied customers into delighted ones, drive word-of-mouth marketing, and improve customer retention, all by instilling a culture of service excellence and building a robust German customer support team.
The Chatbot is yet to make waves
Based on a recent study of over 1,500 online shoppers, more than 50% surveyed turned down chatbots as a mode of communication with the brand. Common reasons include Chat-bots perceived as too impersonal, inaccurate, complicated and not adding any value that makes them worthwhile.
Takeaway: Businesses don’t have to reinvent the wheel and invest heavily on new technology. At least not yet. Germans take their communications with a brand a bit more seriously, they are a lot more formal in the way they communicate and hence do not exactly fancy an automated channel like chatbots which contradicts this cultural norm.
Phone, Email and Chat are still relevant channels
Phone, chat and e-mail are the most used customer service channels. Based on a representative study conducted by a Germany electricity provider, 80% of the surveyed people prefer phone while 60% prefer
e-mail for customer service.
Takeaway: German customers prefer talking to a real person on the other side than being overwhelmed by technology. For Germans, what matters the most when it comes to support is regular availability, prompt responses to questions as well as integrity and reliability irrespective of the channels used. Hence, focusing and investing in fancier self help tools and technology may be premature, instead brands should concentrate on how they can make their German call center agents more efficient on the good old phone, email and chat.
Knowing the local language is critical
Over 70% of Germans want German-speaking customer service reps and German Text-To-Speech (TTS) menus. They have shown clear preference for access to a local and toll free phone number to contact customer support.
Takeaway: To delight your German customers, localizing the customer experience you offer is your best bet. Brands cannot make do with German call center agents who do not understand the local language and the nuances of local culture. To deliver great service to German customers, the pre-requisite is to have a team of German customer service support agents who can handle calls, emails, and online chat communications seamlessly.
Millennial craze for Mobile Apps
Based on a survey in Germany, Millennials were 58% more likely to use mobile apps when compared to other age groups.
Takeaway: If the target audience of your business is millennials, your in-app customer service has to be spot on and flawless. Given that millennials want fast yet effective solutions, German customer support service agents need to be well-equipped to handle multiple in-app chat interactions, understand the context behind these conversations and offer personalized solutions.
Email as a standalone channel can be tricky
While 92% of Germans mostly use email to communicate with companies, 80% of them don’t open their email right away.
Takeaway: Never depend on Email as a standalone customer support channel. Whilst you might have sent a quick reply e-mail to a customer query, chances are that they haven’t opened it yet. German call centers agents, therefore, ought to adopt a multi-channel approach. For instance, when replying on email, you can make sure to follow up on SMS as well.
SMS soars in popularity
Germans are twice as likely as open an SMS immediately in comparison to an Email.
Takeaway: We touched upon the need to use SMS as a backup channel before. But in many cases, it would be practical for companies to leverage it as the primary customer communication channel. This would ensure that quick responses by your German call center agents not only reach customers.
At LiveSalesman, we offer high quality 24×7 German Call Center Solutions delivered by native German Customer Service executives. All our German call center agents are bilingual and are fluent in both German and English. We provide you with a local German phone number and flexible plans so that you can scale up and down according to your changing business needs. We offer Multilingual Call Center Solutions in over 30 languages including Portuguese Call Center Solutions, Spanish Call Center Solutions, Russian Call Center Solutions, and French Call Center Solutions to name a few.