Traditionally, when a customer had a product inquiry, troubleshooting issue, or simply wanted to schedule routine or preventative maintenance on their system, they would refer to a company’s call center—where service reps behind a desk would search for the information they need. While such set-ups still exist and thrive today, innovation in digital technology is transforming the role of customer service into a more omnichannel, immersive one—enabling reps to take their knowledge, answers, and expertise with them wherever they go, meeting customers wherever and whenever they need help. The result? A more responsive, timely, and proactive team—and dramatically improved customer satisfaction.
Thankfully, making the move to a more responsive and dynamic service environment doesn’t have to mean making a complete overhaul of existing processes and proven best practices. With a few adjustments, your teams can be prepared to enter the new year with confidence:
Personalization is Still Key
The pace at which innovation is growing is enormous. From automation technology to intelligence agents, this functionality is rapidly expanding into the service field. As a result, Gartner cites that channel choice is rapidly expanding to include sensors, virtual customer assistants, advanced search, kiosks and in-line video chat. Yet, such functionality doesn’t diminish the value that the customer service rep brings—in fact, Gartner predicts that though technology is expanding in this area, even by 2017, one-third of all customer service interactions will still require the support of a human intermediary. What does this mean for your support teams? Personalized, targeted support is irreplaceable, even by the most advanced tools on the market. Customers still crave customization, and are still seeking support that’s mapped to their goals, projects, and performance history. A proven CRM system is critical to this success—providing a centralized portal through which associates can easily locate customer data, turning every interaction into an opportunity for personalized engagement.
Consolidate, Consolidate, Consolidate
Engaging across the Internet of Things (IoT) means keeping up with myriad devices, platforms, and channels through which customers could choose to interact. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2018, five percent of customer service cases will be initiated by Internet-connected devices, up from 0.02 percent in 2014. To this end, sorting through multiple legacy systems or an outdated and cumbersome filing process is not only time-consuming, it directly limits the flexibility and functionality of your teams. Consolidating all service data onto a centralized CRM interface means that no matter where they are, they have access to the critical data they need, and can respond to requests from a variety of origins—a critical pillar of service success leading into 2016.
Expand Your Offerings
As previously mentioned, customers today expect to be able to reach reps through a variety of sources, and keeping your service operation limited to phone calls or e-mails isn’t enough to stay ahead in today’s competitive marketplace. As companies seek to improve globalization efforts, support offerings are likewise expanding, allowing customers to ask questions, make requests, and even purchase products and services through the channels they choose. While some forms of support will never cease to be valuable, others are becoming more popular. For example, Gartner predicts that by 2018, more than 100 of the 500 largest global businesses will introduce video-based chat for customer-facing interactions. Don’t be afraid to branch into the latest technology and see how it can help your company—and your employees—grow.
There’s never been a better time to stay connected to customer demands—from issue support to transaction guidance. By leveraging new technology to supplement and support—not totally replace—customer service reps, companies can begin to realize the transformative power they possess, and are better positioned to meet customer needs both now and in the future.
Effler, Scott, “3 Customer Service Must-Dos for 2016,” Bluewolf, Dcember 3, 2015, http://www.bluewolf.com/bluewolf-now/3-customer-service-must-dos-2016.
“Gartner Says Weak Mobile Customer Service Is Harming Customer Engagement,” Gartner Newsroom, January 7, 2015, http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2956618.