In today's world, customers decide how customer-centric a company is. Good customer service should capture the fundamentals of a great experience: ease, effectiveness, and emotion. For many companies, this level of service is a cornerstone of their customer experience strategy, and good customer experiences can help control costs.
But their potential for sustainable top-line growth garners more interest from company executives. As a result, customer service technology is high on the list of investment priorities this year.
The customer service technology ecosystem has grown more complex over time. In 2016, for example, chatbots and messaging were the hot topics but have yet to prove broad value for customer service organizations. This, in combination with a constant stream of vendor mergers and acquisitions, creates risks for customer service planners. In addition, the various organizations that own customer service touchpoints historically have not shared the same objectives, reporting structures, funding, business processes, data management strategies, technology, or culture.
Customer service needs to get smarter by delivering the right service experience — either self-service or agent-assisted — to the right user at the right time within the cost constraints and customer experience goals of the company. What are the news trend?
- Robotic process automation guidance will standardize service delivery.
- Expect to see continued focus on RPA for automating repetitive rules-based tasks.
- Journey analytics equip companies to better support customer goals
- Forward-thinking companies will actively analyze customer feedback across departmental silos to find and fix cross-channel issues.
- Prescriptive advice powers offers, decisions, and connections
- Organizations will continue to extend the power of analytics to prescribe the right set of steps for customers or agents to more effectively service customers
Today customers use self-service for straightforward interactions, leaving complex issues like account closure or claims disputes for a phone conversation. These questions often take longer to resolve and are opportunities to build positive customer relationships. Customer service organizations must look out for customers' best interests and support their emotional state. In order to let you know what are the current trends that innovative companies are delivering, see below what is cited by Forrester:
- Field service becomes the face of your company
- Expect to see continued focus on using field service technologies outside of traditional industries
- IoT insights transform business models
- IoT will continue to transform companies from being product-based to service-based.
- Visual engagement strengthens the customer bond
- Companies will leverage visual engagement to strengthen customer relationships in a digital world
Pragmatic Execution is the Key to Success
As companies selectively undertake customer service projects to move the needle on the quality of service that they deliver, a solid business case and flawless execution remain critically important. AD&D pros supporting customer service must:
- Understand the customer. Your company surveys customers to pinpoint current pain points and does customer research to discover customers' needs. Get access to this data, and use it to formulate your technology plans.
- Audit the customer service ecosystem. Perform a thorough audit of the customer service technologies that you use as well as the processes that you support across the different communication channels. Understand the maturity of the technologies that you have, using Forrester's TechRadar research to guide you. And pinpoint newer technologies and business process changes to deliver a better customer service experience.
- Pinpoint the best opportunities for improving customer service. Assess your operations against best practices, and identify areas of opportunity. Use Forrester's best practices framework for customer service, which defines the critical capabilities for building high-quality customer service experiences that align with customers' expectations.
- Build a sound business case. Be pragmatic in choosing projects to tackle. Build a sound business case using Forrester's Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) methodology to justify your initiative. Then follow best practices in executing your changes.
- Incorporate feedback loops. Continually measure the success of customer service interactions against cost and satisfaction goals. Look for ways to evolve customer service so that it stays aligned with your company's overarching goals and mission.