As customers become increasingly tech savvy, highly demanding and ready to switch brands for the smallest reasons, customer service is fast being redefined to a form that is instantaneous, intuitive and increasingly proactive.
Here are the top mega trends in customer service delivery as we see them today:
Companies are catching up to the fact that no two customers are alike. Every customer has a unique reason for visiting your website and interacting with you. Hence, your response to customers should address their individual needs. 30% of marketers and internet professionals feel personalization is the top priority for their organization. One way companies are trying to achieve this is through an advanced CRM that holds sufficient customer data to empower agents, and marketing and sales professionals to deliver personalized service. Intelligent call routing is another way to deliver personalized service. Companies can use this software to connect customers to agents with the correct expertise, provide specialized service to high net worth customers and the like.
Customer service today is omni-channel with multiple avenues like phones, emails, websites, chat and a variety of social media platforms available for customers to use to purchase a product, seek information or request service. Your CRM platform should be sufficiently versatile to record all these interactions so that your agents are presented with a single customer view while interacting with a customer. This helps them deliver faster, more value-added service, regardless of the channel the customer uses to contact the company. 44% of companies see the customer experience as a key differentiator that can provide companies with a distinct competitive edge.
Business Process Automation cuts operational costs for organizations by automating specific processes. For customers, this translates into more convenience as they do not have to wait for human assistance. Companies can automate processes that directly interface with customers like self-checkout or help desk ticket management. They can also automate other core process like inventory management, email marketing etc., to bring in higher operational efficiency.
In the earlier days, the onus of initiating a customer service interaction was on the customer. Today, companies are shifting from this to practice proactive customer service. For example, a visitor to the product details page may be looking for information on the product. Similarly, a company may note that a customer has not received an adequate resolution to his or her problem in a customer collaboration portal. In such cases, the company can proactively initiate contact with customers to address their concerns or provide them with the information they were looking for. 87% of US customers prefer being contacted proactively by a company. Such proactive service makes the customer feel valued, thus fostering higher customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Big data gives companies an insight into customer preferences, their consumption habits, and their interactions within and outside your company. Such data can be analyzed to predict and meet customer behavior and deliver targeted service. It can be used to improve your marketing strategy, sense customer needs and proactively fulfill them. Retailers who leverage big data could increase their profit margins by 60%.
97% of global customers say customer service is very important in their choice of brand and their loyalty to it. The above customer service trends serve to prove beyond doubt that it is truly the age of the customer, and companies cannot afford to be lukewarm in serving their customers.