7 Customer Service Trends to adopt in 2018
2017 is behind us and it was a year of great transformations, essentially driven by technological innovation. Contact Centers are becoming more active in brand success and in managing the relationships with customers and their experience in a world that is becoming more and more digital.
The most innovative brands are making the best of this by shaping their own customer experience concept using technology and innovation. From the digitalization of consumption to the decrease of phone interactions or the need to be available 24/7, brands are recognizing the role of Contact Centers as a distinctive, important factor for their strategies. But is there room for innovation? What’s still left to do in the beginning of this new year?
Analytics in the Age of Information
Analytics tools, when used correctly, allow companies to gain a competitive advantage and enhance their focus on business priorities. Currently, these tools must have the capacity to make forecasts and generate recommendations based on the gathered information, therefore providing Contact Center agents with a context on each interaction.
By focusing on customer preferences, Analytics tools may aid brands to reach their target audiences with the most relevant information. The world and the economy are being driven by data, a scenery that is expected to expand with the Internet of Things. So, it makes sense that brands are increasingly focused on managing and analyzing the available consumer data. In 2018, we are going to see a change and an additional effort to optimize the way in which data is managed, promoted by some legislations like the GDPR.
Mastering the Omnichannel Experience
Nowadays, companies support an average of nine communication channels with their customers. According to Dimension Data, this number is likely to increase to 11 in the next six months. This development, boosted by consumers, generates great challenges for companies that wish to create a unified customer experience and manage all their communication channels.
This dynamic strategy, focused on the digital world, is transforming the modern Contact Center management models, leading companies to ensure that they can respond to the increasing number of interactions, scaling the operation when needed. Another challenge is ensuring that different channels can communicate between them. Companies adopting more innovative technologies will benefit from this 360º view of their customers, which brings critical advantages for the service experience.
More Intelligence to Deliver Interactions
Interactions based on customer history and individual needs may help brands to offer a more customized experience. All digital interactions, even if they’re very short, provide data that puts client’s needs, characteristics and purchase behaviour in context. When properly handled and forwarded, this data can be used to improve the customer service experience and satisfaction. Gathering data is not enough anymore. Information must be used effectively to improving results and reinforce customer loyalty.
The Expansion of Self‐Service, 24/7
Self‐sufficiency is a trend among consumers as younger generations ignore traditional customer service channels and prefer to use more autonomous systems. Regular channels like phone are starting to be used as a backup when self‐service channels fail.
Younger generations grew with the internet and the world at the distance of a click and are much more likely to use FAQ, online forums and social media to find answers to their questions, before they even think of using their phones. The ideal customer service for these generations is essentially self‐service. It is very likely that next generations will seek this same type of support that is always available. Also, more than client satisfaction, self‐service significantly lowers company costs, which makes this a trend to adopt in 2018.
Customer Service will become Proactive
With the growth of digital channels and the ability to gather and analyse millions of data, proactive service is becoming a key factor for brands that seek to be different. Finance, Telecom, Industry and Retail organizations are leading this trend which will grow significantly in 2018.
Proactively reaching a customer who is experiencing difficulties when shopping online or providing clients with a solution before they even realize there is a problem will be differentiating factors in the future of customer management.
A Hybrid Ecosystem for Artificial Intelligence
Despite the growth of Artificial Intelligence, these systems are still not as complex as consumers’ minds. There is still room for errors, confusion and therefore client dissatisfaction, in an environment exclusively managed by bots.
This is when the Hybrid human‐bot ecosystem comes into play. This is a growing trend in Contact Centers that allows bots to obtain information on customers and register the issue that was raised and, when applicable, transfer the interaction to an agent. As long as bots are unable to recognize and replicate human emotions and empathy, they will not be able to manage conflict and provide customers with a truly satisfying service experience. Bots may be specialists when searching for information or even responding to simple and more frequently asked questions, but they may sometimes have no answers to more complex or very specific questions.
More investment in Social Media
Consumers are increasingly using social media to interact with brands. Social media is the favourite service channel for consumers below 35 years, clearly showing that all brands should be using this type of service. However, 29% of brands are not in social media yet.
Social media provides consumers with the autonomy they seek, being a channel where consumers can check the feedback of other consumers, post their own feedback and interact with brands. The most innovative companies are benefiting from this trend and making their social media presence more appealing and fun, facing this evolution as a way to create a more unified service experience and to connect their customers in online communities. The number of agents allocated to social media and the investment in the training these agents, so that social media interactions are managed more effectively, is likely to grow.
The future of customer service is here. Are you ready?
We will see major changes in the Contact Center and customer service sector in the next 12 months. Is your Contact Center and your customer service strategy ready for 2018? Learn more about how we can help.
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