Major Trends in Customer Service
73% of customers leave because they are dissatisfied with customer service, while companies think that only 21% go because of that.
Also, the company thinks that 48% leave because of price. However, according to the customer perspective, this happens only 25% of the time*
We all deal with customer service sometimes. Most of us only decide to express our opinion about our experience if we are either pleasantly surprised or extremely disappointed.
However, what we as customers value the most is predictability and balance between all the angles of the magic triangle: quality/time/cost. And this is what companies should be focused on – being predictable for their customers.
This rule applies to both B2C (business to consumer) and B2B (business to business) customer service. B2B has the benefit of following B2C, where changes and digital transformation happen first.
These changes are triggered predominantly by dynamic markets and the young generation of consumers. Changes are introduced at a slower pace in B2B customer service due to more personal business relations as well as higher complexity.
Let’s have a look at a few customer service trends worth observing now and in the nearest future:
1) Digitalization – solutions such as robotics, chatbots, Internet of Things, smart data, artificial intelligence-powered customer engagement portals, and case management systems will (or have already started to) revamp the customer service experience.
Fully automated processes on both ends reduce communication between customers and the company to the necessary minimum.
For example, AI can already interface various data sources (historical data, similar cases) and support an agent or a customer in finding an answer to their query.
Fully automated order placing, confirmations, status changes, and invoicing can lead to a fully digitalized interface between companies. This helps companies focus on the most important aspects of customer care.
2) Self-service – this is the key to increasing customer satisfaction and service efficiency. Widespread access to the Internet provides many users the opportunity to look for suitable products and solutions, learn more about their main features, and to exchange opinions with other users.
Also, customers have access to an extensive knowledge base and repositories with tutorials which allow them to find answers to common questions. Furthermore, smart data helps to authenticate customers and provide better support.
The interaction between businesses and their customers is becoming more digital. One of best examples is chatbots, which are already widely accepted (some studies claim that more than 60% of users prefer to interact with chatbots than a human customer service representative).
It is easier said than done and requires an in-depth analysis of customer behaviors and expectations. Knowing what your customer wants and needs is necessary so that self-service can expand to the interactive area.
3) Personification – customers love personalization. It really pays off to invest in a system which recognizes customers, and remembers their names and previous conversations.
If needed, make a note of what was discussed previously so you can refer to it the next time you talk. This requires maintaining excellent master data quality.
Another aspect of personification is giving customers the opportunity to select a communication channel of their preference such as a mobile app, a website, a call or chat.
This provides customers with more flexibility but also involves some additional challenges for companies (e.g. ensuring that the customer experience is at the same level in all channels).
4) Employee upskilling – with increasing automation, there is a higher demand for new skills among employees in customer service. They can now handle more complex tasks and there is stronger requirement to understand business requirements, customer needs, and even certain technicalities.
Employees are frequently supported by robots in the most mundane work but when it comes to more advanced tasks, expertise and emotional intelligence is required. I estimate that the future of customer service will depend on these highly professional interactions.
5) Nearshoring and onshoring – It looks like the trend towards service outsourcing/offshoring will slow down very soon in favor of nearshoring/onshoring. Automation will allow to focus more on other factors such as cultural fit, business understanding, and even hard skills such as engineering.
Economics and labor cost will probably remain major decision factors though. With limited volumes, a hybrid model might be the optimal solution.
This would involve a front desk and technical support being close to the market and some back-office activities being offshored and outsourced or automated if possible. Key prerequisite to apply the hybrid model is process standardization and unified omnichannel customer experience.
6) Performance monitoring – live updates on meeting customer expectations such as status of delivery, the number of follow-up cases, as well as volumes of enquires should be the cornerstone of professional customer service.
Reporting must be multidimensional as various stakeholders require different levels of detail – customer service staff needs access to more operational metrics, whereas management is usually interested in a summary only.
Reports should be available in real time to enable making immediate decisions to ensure SLA fulfillment.
To sum up, customer service is a function that ensures many companies a competitive advantage. This is an area where customers can get added value.
In a highly competitive market with decreasing margins and increasing similarities between products/solutions, after-sales service support is a key differentiator. Investing in digitalization is not enough though. A soft factor is critical here and requires high attention as well.
Please fill email address
Please enter a valid email address!
Thank you for Subscribing our Magazine
Sorry!! There is Some Issues. Please Try Again. Thanks!!
Your Email ID is already registered with us. Thank you.