At the end of last year, Blake Morgan, a Customer Service expert, author, and veteran of companies like Verizon and Intel, wrote an article for Forbes magazine, Customer Service Is A $350 Billion Industry, And It's A Mess.
In it, she looked over the emerging trends that are dictating the current customer service landscape, and made some surprising predictions, particularly about the involvement of upper management in customer service-related companies.
She also mentioned that some companies might be unwilling to make efforts to improve their customer service, simply because of the cost and time that it takes to do so. But she disagreed with this strategy, noting that if companies don’t focus on the customer’s experience, they have no way of improving it.
Morgan focused on five key trends in customer service, ones that she thought would make the most difference in 2018 and beyond.
CEOs Will Become Involved In Customer Service Strategy
Morgan says that since the CEO sets the tone for his or her entire company, the philosophy about treatment of customers must start from the top.
The CEO creates the culture at their company, and that culture should be motivated towards improving the customer service experience, and, not insignificantly, at improving the employee experience. But regardless, it all flows from the boss. If there isn’t a company-wide focus on customer service, that sends a message to the entire staff.
A Customer’s Time is The Most Important Commodity
Morgan also discusses how the modern customer is fed up with impersonal, time-wasting treatment. She says the more a company knows about their customer, the less time that’s wasted on unnecessary questions. Therefore, a structured approach that’s based on as much knowledge as possible about a customer before the conversation even begins is key.
This does not mean that automated systems aren’t still a great help; in fact, AI and chatbots are more important than ever. It simply means that their parameters need to be more precise than ever before.
In order for AI and chatbots and other automated services to do that, they must take greater advantage than ever of gathering data, combing through it, and determining a course of action for the customer.
Morgan uses Sprint as an example of a company using their data to their advantage. After relying for a long period of time of customer service agents with little time to look through a customer’s data while on a call, Sprint turned to a data solutions company called Pegasystems and used their analytics system to proactively find solutions and special offers to increase customer retention. The result was not only a 40% increase in customer satisfaction, but a 40% increase in customers adding Sprint products, as well.
The Customer Service Cloud
Companies are increasingly relying on cloud-based technology not just for marketing, but for customer service, as well. They can combine information about a customer through data, their digital experience, and personalization to create a new, more efficient way to manager their customer interactions.
Augmented Reality Programs
Morgan says that augmented reality programs, or technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, can give a customer a good idea of what they can expect from an experience before they even contact a company. That allows them to make a better decision on how to make that contact, whether it’s by phone or email or chatbot.
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