How was your customer service last year?
If it wasn’t epic, you’ll need to improve it. Otherwise, you’ll be an afterthought in consumers’ minds. And that can cut into your profits.
Customer service was big in 2017. It will be bigger in 2018. That’s because today’s consumers are more demanding than ever.
They want what they want when they want it, and how they want it. If you can’t meet their demands, they’ll bolt without giving it a second thought. And that will impact profits dramatically.
But delivering epic customer service—the kind needed to create loyal consumers—is a challenge. To do it, you need to be proactive. That will keep you one step ahead of what consumers want, which is where you need to please them.
More importantly, it boosts customer loyalty and increases profits. Below are six customer service trends you need to track to deliver epic customer service in 2018:
Most businesses communicate with consumers digitally these days using multiple online channels. But consumers still want to talk a human being for some purchases and more importantly for support of a product or service. It’s faster, easier, and more effective than tying messages back and forth. In fact, consumers prefer talking with humans especially when making a complex purchase or significant decisions, like applying for a first-time mortgage. Statistics back this trend up. According to a study by Google, 61% of mobile users call a business when in the purchase phase of the buying cycle.
Natural language processing (NLP) is impacting customer service more and more these days. In fact, many think it will be a critical driver of customer experience in the next decade or so. That’s especially true for bigger companies with substantial traffic support. As with any AI tool, the more data it’s fed the better it gets. One application of NLP in customer service, for example, is examining customer feedback to gauge service quality and impact.
Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned with the history of “provenance” of a product they purchase. Providing this information as part of a company’s customer service efforts could differentiate it. But how do you do this cost-effectively? That’s where blockchain technology comes in. It makes tracking products much easier. It enables suppliers to record their contributions quickly, conveniently, and securely in real-time. That allows consumers to check the provenance of a product whenever they feel the need.
The growing acceptance—and use— of these technologies is transforming customer service in many areas, but especially field service. They’re helping companies turn customer service into a smarter, more proactive, and connected experiences. They’re also making a difference in product quality. Leading manufacturers, for example, are using AI and IoT to detect potential product faults and flag nearby employees to address the issue before the customer notices it.
More and more customers are expecting brands to respond to their needs in real-time. In fact, 54% of consumers and 80% of business buyers expect this, a recent customer service report. But it’s not always possible for many companies because of limited resources.
Automated workflow, AI, and chatbots are making real-time responses more and more feasible and effective. Thanks to advances in these technologies, brands can now automate constructive responses to simpler consumer queries, with agents stepping in should things get complicated.
Aligning sales and service transforms the customer experience, as it did for Coca-Cola. It aligned sales and service and accelerated its B2B operations and processes. Originally, it took months to get a new cooler to a retailer. Now, it takes 72 hours.
Coke’s sales and service teams also work together to suggest products, process orders, and resolve customer issues. More importantly, aligning sales and service gives brands an opportunity to personalize questions and upsell appropriate products.
These six customer trends will make an impact in 2018 and beyond. Tracking them can help you anticipate customers’ needs and resolve issues before they impact customers, saving you time and trouble.
More importantly, staying abreast of these trends can help you provide the kind of epic service that delights customers, boosts loyalty and increases profits.