However, with great leaps in technology and consumer behaviors continuously evolving, customer service has seen some radical changes. By reflecting on how far the customer experience space has progressed we can gain some insight to what is potentially in store for the future.
Here are the four big innovations in the customer experience sector and how they will continue to drive marketing strategy.
1. The Rise of Better Customer Call Centers
We live in a world of immediate gratification, and consumers have come to expect this sense of immediacy from brands. As such, waiting on hold to speak to customer service is simply something people are no longer willing to do. Call centers play a significant role in how companies improve their customer relationships. Thankfully, we’ll continue to see a focus on drastically reducing (and hopefully eliminating) time spent on hold, while the whole customer experience gets an overhaul.
While some business are still struggling with customer service, the best brands are call centers to match the expectations of consumers and making big improvements to their overall customer service experience in the proces. One such change has been evident at Time Warner, who are instituting new solutions to remove wait time – like scheduling agents to call back at a more convenient time if the wait is over 90 seconds. Expect to see plenty more innovations of this kind in the telecommunications and call center space.
2. Helping Customers Help Themselves
Web self-service surpassed telecommunications as the most widely used communication channel for customer service in 2014, according to Forrester. Customers want to resolve their issues as quickly and seamlessly as possible, even if it means doing it themselves. In-depth FAQ pages, blogs and “how-to” content go a long way in satisfying customer queries.
The reason self-service has become so popular is because it helps decrease the time-to-resolution for customers, and empowers customers by equipping them with the information they need. Examples of great self-service reach far beyond the confines of a FAQs page or blog article, to include social media channels. For example, companies such as Apple and Dell, see great success in using social media to enable consumer product experts to answer questions. Both methods are centered on helping customer help themselves get the most out of a product or service.
3. Web-based Chat Will Keep Brands Human
Web-based chat is rising in popularity, and is a very successful driver of customer satisfaction. This has also seen an emergence in web-based chat platforms with real-time customer support at the ready (see Casper and Birchbox for some good examples). These companies realize the value of real-time, human interaction in resolving customer issues and providing help that can lead to a sale. If customers can’t solve a problem themselves, web-based chat not only provides an immediate, human element to resolving their concerns, but is also a great opportunity for brands to ‘surprise and delight’ customers,
4. Texting Brands On-Demand With Mobile Messaging
In our always-on world, customers have come to expect fast, immediate responses from brands. As a result, the next era of customer service will see brands make themselves accessible on mobile with a specific focus on real-time, instantaneous support. The power of mobile is not just being present on yet another device, but on a device that is with consumers all day, every day. This an opportunity for brands to connect with customers and be present at any time.
Mobile messaging is the hot topic; its rapid rise in popularity is evident in the steady stream of articles published on the subject each week. The natural evolution for customer service will be to take advantage of this powerful communication method so brands can ‘be there’ for consumers wherever they are, whenever they want.
There’s now a greater focus on providing superior customer experiences than ever before. These four areas of customer service will continue to see change as the demands and spending habits of consumers also change. However, there’s one constant companies can rely on: exceptional customer service will continue to be a timeless value-driver for brands that do it well.