Saturday, August 22, 2015

The future of customer service (Forrester trends 2015): "...valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do..."

In Forrester Research "Trends 2015: The Future of Customer Service", 10 key customer service trends were listed based on a lifecycle technographics survey of North American consumers.

One of the key takeaways was "Customer service requires a focus beyond operational efficiencies". In my perspective, this focus on outside-in preference and loyalty building requires more in-depth customer understanding and its utilization across the organization to differentiate sales, offering, delivery, marketing etc, based on identified customer parameters such as need, value, industry, location etc.

The report also discussed "customer service must be increasingly pain-free". Selection of service and communications channel is of utmost relevancy to a customer. A customer may want to self-serve over service. I believe in the future more people don´t want to "talk", rather chat or simply do things themselves because they already know what they want.

In addition to the key takeaways, some of the most interesting findings in my view was that, according to the report, for the first time web self-service was the most widely used communications channel for customer service, surpassing use of voice. Thus new communications channels are being explored. In my own company for example, sales is already used to communicating with customers over phone conferences or video conference. Even customers appreciate the savings in regards to time and money, and the effortless way of communicating once all parties are already familiar to each other.

From the respondents, three quarters stated that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. Service excellence does not only include superb products and the service experience itself, but making things easy for the customer to buy.