As customers have more brands to choose from than ever, the businesses that win the battle of the customer service wins the game. In today’s world, more and more brands are chosen based on whether customer experience matches their rising customer centric expectations, and customer service plays the most critical role in creating that experience. It’s no surprise then that the top trends in customer service heading into 2018 all have one thing in common, the customer themselves. Let’s take a look:
1. Personalizing the Customer Experience
Last year the Microsoft State of Global Customer Service Report reported that 72% of customers expected call center reps to already know their contact information, product details, and service history as soon as they make contact. Unfortunately, only 17% of these brands have so far actually integrated their customer data across their digital assets, and it would suffice to say that these expectations have only risen since then. Today, however, big data analytics has now made it easier than ever to track customer preferences, trends, and insights with fantastic accuracy. With such data more accessible than ever, look more and more brands to finally make the push to leverage customer data from their CRM to create more tailored experiences in 2018 and beyond.
2. Customer Service on the Go
Did you know that of the 60% of customers today who opt for self-service, only 20% actually succeed, while the remaining 80% end up in the call center? Not succeeding on the self-service journey takes a toll on customer satisfaction, along with the costs savings IVR was meant to provide. It’s no surprise then that with already over 1 BN smartphone users worldwide and growing, IVT is being replaced in favor of Visual IVR. Visual IVR transfers the existing IVR voice technology onto phone screens where customers can see and touch their way through visible menus, speak to a specific call center agent or even see how long they will need to wait in line, and then choose a callback option, all from the comforts of their smartphones. Visual IVR is thus finally fulfilling many of the unfulfilled promises Voice IVR, including self-service empowerment, agent efficiency and cost savings for the call center.
3. Artificial Intelligence is Here
As customers voice their complaints across all channels, via phone, online chat, e-mail, social media, etc., many companies are still failing to respond fast enough to satisfy their customers across the board. Slow response times are the primary culprit why lousy customer experience creates an estimated $62 billion lost by U.S. businesses each year. Thankfully, the antidote has arrived to keep up with the explosion of omnichannel customer service, chatbots. These intelligent virtual assistants can provide fast, cost-effective, human-like customer service and can be easily deployed on almost any interface, for instant customer service at all times. In short, by cutting response times down to the minimum, while providing a round the clock presence, chatbots not only increase the efficiency of the call center operations in various ways, they also drastically improve the overall customer experience.
4. Don’t Be Anti- Social
Why do customers find social media and messaging support so attractive? It’s because they already spend much time on their phone, now they can get customer support from the comfort of the apps they are already on, and resolve their issues quicker than ever. In fact, according to Social Media Today, the average person will spend 116 minutes on social media every day! And 60% of that social media time spent is on a mobile device, and these numbers are only going to continue growing as platforms develop even further at the expense of traditional media avenues. This transformation in customer behavior is forcing companies to respond and to follow the customers where they are. The bottom line is if your brand wants to offer a customer experience that will keep customers coming back, don’t be anti-social.
5. Automating Business Processes
As RPA software robots can automate repetitive rules-based tasks by imitating the way live agents engage with applications, RPA is already dramatically changing the way companies approach many of their vital business processes. While the customer is not even aware of its presence, since the customers don’t actually interact with RPA bots, however, the increased speed of the internal processing they most certainly are aware of. Throw in easy integration with a relatively low cost, and it’s no surprise that RPA currently has such a high rate of adoption compared to other automation tools. In fact, according to Gartner, demand for RPA tools is growing at about 20% to 30 % each quarter. Expect to continue to see this trend continue to skyrocket in the coming years.
Today, providing easy and fast customer service, no matter what channel your customer chooses is the name of the game and is essential to keeping customers loyal and driving real business value. Are you ready to play?
[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Uniphore. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Uniphore’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.