In a world defined by inconsistency and uncertainty, customer service remains a constant certainty.
Wynand Smit, CEO of Inovo
The Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report asked 12,000 customers around the world what exactly their expectations were, and South Africans answered: customer service.
Now, it’s not just about delivering a package on time or being polite on the phone, it’s a mix of all the different elements that make up any customer engagement, from personalization to experiences to convenience. As businesses enter a 2022 fraught with pandemic-related economic complexity, success hinges on connecting with customers in new and exciting ways, and delivering consistent service at every ongoing touchpoint. of road.
Client wallets are tighter. The market is volatile. And the complex future. That’s why these are the trends that are leading the way in customer service and experience:
Trend 1: Convenience, please
Two megatrends dominated 2021: the “big quit” and “burnout.” People were struggling with long hours, continuous anxiety, and incredible social and work stress. The result was millions of people quitting their jobs and millions of businesses left with empty openings they couldn’t fill.
People are fed up. Not just because of the working conditions, but because they are exhausted and out of time. So what they don’t want is to spend unnecessary time dealing with poorly designed admin and customer service platforms to solve problems or pay their bills.
People want to manage their own lives without spending hours on hold. The Salesforce survey found that 90% of South Africans use online self-service, 81% use knowledge bases, and 72% use online chat and support services or dedicated mobile apps. They also want options when it comes to online shopping – buy online, pick up at the store; buy online and deliver on time – and access goods and services.
Short answer: make every customer experience and touchpoint as convenient as possible, and use any feedback to the contrary to refine systems until they are.
Trend 2: Personalized experiences
People want to be remembered. Sure, a giant outlet or convenience store has thousands of customers, but with the technology available on the market today, even a mega-store can address someone by name, offer directions personalized service or connect with him by phone.
When customers come into contact with businesses, they want to know that their spending is valued and that their contribution is important. If their experiences are seamless from touchpoint to touchpoint, and if the customer journey is free of potholes, customers are more likely to stay engaged with the brand and trust it with their money.
As Gartner points out, customers want holistic experiences within engaging and integrated ecosystems, so break down siled walls and build journeys.
Short answer: Build trust and connect with customers by personalizing their experiences and creating complete ecosystems around each person.
Trend 3: Analyze, analyze, analyze
Yes, the conversation about data and analytics is so common that it’s a bit like that uncle telling the same stories at every family gathering. But as the technologies that improve data collection and analysis become more powerful and inventive, so does the information they provide.
If a business can tap into every customer communication channel and analyze the flow of conversations, it can fundamentally change the way it interacts with customers on those channels. Through speech, email, and social media analytics, businesses can improve their customer experience by removing roadblocks or bottlenecks that impact customer service.
The added benefit here is that this information can be used to assess where sales are lacking, how to reduce customer administration, and which platforms are best suited to meet very specific business needs.
In the financial services industry, for example, customer service must meet stringent regulatory mandates, and anyone purchasing a new policy or changing their data must follow very specific steps. This often results in longer call times and customer frustration.
But if chatbots and contact centers are combined, the user could get their documents on WhatsApp while the agent talks to them about the legalities on the phone. Or the customer has the option to start the process via self-service and then complete it at the bank or over the phone. The analysis can help refine the process and ultimately help the organization win over the first all-important trend: convenience.
Short answer: use technology to dig deeper into data and extract insights that can help refine processes, products, and customer engagement.
Trend 4: Empowerment
Customers want to be empowered. They want to control their life and their administration. They don’t want to be stuck in the office or at home looking at another email that says the same thing as the last email: useless, waste of time, frustration. The same goes for company employees who work on the front lines with customers. They want to be empowered to properly answer customer questions. They want access to tools that allow them to access the company’s knowledge center and intelligently answer questions.
Gartner predicts that approximately 60% of large enterprises will extend their customer service technology and processes so they can bring disparate systems together to create a more holistic approach delivering the multi-experience strategy.