It is rightly said that we are currently living in the era of the customer. There was a time companies spent ample time making their products perfect and their website perfect. However, with 2017 seeing a drastic change in the way consumers perceive businesses and their purchasing experience, many brands have switched priorities and begun placing customer service at the top of the list. Good customer service is not just about cost effectiveness or about about making SOPs more effective and efficient. It is infact a more organized and established method of leveraging on automation, information and manpower to achieve business success.
Today’s consumers expect top notch customer service from all brands they interact with. While some brands might think of this change as a hassle, many others have already begun capitalising on this edge to ensure they can satisfy their customers. By making your customers happy, you are ensuring that they return again. So here is taking a look at some of the predictions surrounding customer service skills and customer service rep for 2018.
- Great amount of transparency: Customer service will not be all pomp and show anymore. With the change in the era and the attitude of consumers, it is best to remain honest and true to your brand. Many consumers now rely on reviews from other people and the honesty of the brand to make purchases. Masking behind glittery ads is not going to fetch any company traffic. Values and integrity will be the guiding light for purchasers to make a selection.
- Self service will peak: While all consumers like to be made to feel good, there is an increasing demand for self service optimisations. Many organisations have created help pages and troubleshooting techniques for their consumers to attempt arriving at a solution before coming to customer service representatives. This is a brilliant way to ensure that not a lot of time is spent in first response and multiple back and forths.
- Automation with a human touch: Many brands are at that awkward middle stage between human assistance and complete machine assistance. Truth be told, consumers hate it. While human interaction is great, it is limited in terms of knowledge and slower than chatbots in most cases. While one would hope chatbots might be the answer to this problem, consumers hate talking to bots for lack of originality and personalisation. Yes, it is true, the consumers of today are a stubborn lot. So experts are now predicting a beautiful amalgamation of automation that comes with a personalised touch to ensure quick responses are meted out while not compromising on detail and quality.
- Mobile first: Let’s just say, about time companies began prioritising mobile channels before not so frequently visited website counterparts. While it is first step to work on enabling hands-on customer service on the website, companies should now begin reading the statistics and understanding that over 84% of the audience is accessing websites through their phones. Therefore, not only is it necessary to make the website mobile optimised but it is also important to ensure that chat or customer service features are as easily accessible and available on mobiles.
- Reading feedback: Customer service is defined by reviews and feedbacks. AI and machine learning is going to enable technologies that read these feedbacks including open ended ones and deciphering the behaviour of the customers. This will also help gather information on what consumers think about the customer service skills of a particular company. This information is a gold mine for companies that would like to tweak their customer service modules to ensure a steady, trustworthy and loyal following.
- Employee satisfaction: Predictions reveal that customer service is largely going to hinge towards how employers treat their employees. It has been estimated that many companies and team leads will begin investing more time in creating a healthy and holistic relationship with their team to ensure that they stay motivated and interested at all times. A happy employee will thus ensure that your consumers are happy and content.
- Omnichannel shopping: One of the best things about AI and machine learning is how it encourages brands to go omnichannel in their communication. You can provide your consumer with a multitude of customer service channels. However, upon multichannels result in confusion and thus with the help of AI all channels can be integrated to ensure every consumer receives one excellent response instead of multiple responses.
- In-store and Digital is intermingled: Gone are the days when in-store shopping experiences were different from digital shopping experiences. Today consumers choose a holistic path between the two that the difference is a blur. Some consumers choose to select a product online and then go see it in stores before making a purchase either online or in-store. Some people in the meantime, do the exact opposite, by finding products in stores first and buying them on the digital platforms. This action is largely based in comfort and convenience.
Needless to say, the predictions for customer services seem to be leaning towards a more holistic direction which relies on trust and honesty, besides good experience and satisfaction.