On the 15th January, Now Interact is hosting an event in Glasgow called ‘Disrupt: Customer Service and the Digital Revolution.’ With speakers from Three and Barclaycard, discussion will revolve around exactly where the Customer Service industry stands in an increasingly digitized world.
There’s little doubt that digital will soon overtake voice-based contacts. At the end of the year, Forrester’s report ‘Contact Centers Must Go Digital Or Die’ precipitated this prediction by revealing that, at least in terms of consumer preference, web self-serve has overtaken call-in for the first time ever.
Ahead of our discussion about the impact wrought by digital change, read the five key characteristics that we believe will define 2016’s most successful contact centers.
Consumers respond well to personalization. They love it. They appreciate when a company understands who they are and where they’re coming from. Research shows that consumers are happy for companies to use their data if it means that they get a more personalized service.
Good customer service in 2016 means recognizing that personalization isn’t just a bonus, it’s an expectation – this is particularly true if your customer is a millennial or a mobile user.
- Help customers to take control of their own customer service
Now that web self-serve has dethroned the call center, it’s time for companies to stop automatically reaching to hold their customers’ hands. If there’s a quick and easy way for the customer to answer their question or solve their issue themselves, they will jump on it. Web self-serve saves time, prevents frustration and, in turn, demonstrates real value, particularly when you consider how much agent time it frees up.
The most successful companies will understand the need to direct the flow of online visitors away from the call center and, where appropriate, towards web self-serve. They will do this by using intelligent technology that understands user intent based on learned behaviors.
- Understand that customers are individuals
One of the key shifts in dialogue in 2015 came from the idea that B2B and B2C no longer exist and that we should be operating in a ‘Human2Human’ world. The basic idea behind Human2Human is that each customer is an individual. But how do we reach the individual person? What steps can we take to understand them?
Successful customer service operators will upskill their agents to better understand the needs of individuals. They will also use technology that can help agents by predicting each customer’s individual requirements.
- Adapt to mobile
Mobile’s big: that’s not news. What is news is the way that SMS and IM are being used to change the way that consumers shop. Retailers Nordstrom, Tictail and Zalando all introduced features last year that allow customers to chat directly to salespeople over text or instant messaging. China’s messaging giant WeChat is proof of just how profitable personal messaging can be for companies.
The service follows the same philosophy as Human2Human communications – it treats each customer like a true individual by operating in a space traditionally occupied by the consumers’ friends and family.
The most successful companies in 2016 will recognize emerging contact channels and formulate a plan that aligns with their pre-existing omnichannel strategy.
- Make omnichannel a priority
Last year’s Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report revealed that 50% of contact centers will soon be engaging with consumers over eight communication channels, seven of which are digital.
While these technological developments have built new lines of communication between the business and consumer, they have also led to fragmentation. Companies, by and large, are not very good at understanding each customer’s unique service journey.
The ability to actually provide an omnichannel, instead of multichannel, customer service offering is probably the strongest barometer of success for a contact center in 2016.
Book a space at our ‘Disrupt: Customer Service and the Digital Revolution’ breakfast briefing here.